IBM faces tussle at the teller machine

By Lucas Mearian, Computerworld Singapore |  Operating Systems

IBM Corp. is pushing Linux as the upgrade path for current users of IBM's venerable OS/2, but most customers of OS/2 computing, especially branch banking, are looking towards a Windows migration. As support ceases for the operating system after 2006, IBM is recommending that OS/2 customers migrate to Linux. However, banks in Singapore are resisting this effort.

In Singapore, there are over 1,500 ATMs (automated teller machines) spread over three networks. DBS' network dominates with over half the machines, UOB-OCBC the second and a third new major network, since March 2002, shared by HSBC, Maybank and Standard Chartered Bank.

"Since IBM is no longer marketing OS/2, banks are primarily refreshing their front-end infrastructure with Windows. I have not heard of any major replacements using Linux in Singapore. In countries such as China and India, financial institutions are replacing some of their legacy SCO-Unix systems with Linux servers for running branch automation applications," said Rajnish Arora, senior program manager, Asia Pacific, Enterprise Servers and Workstations Research at IDC.

Head of Information Technology Division in Maybank Lim Kuo Siong said that Maybank is using IBM OS/2 as well as Windows on their network of ATMs, cash deposit machines, Internet kiosks and passbook machines. "We are prepared to consider Linux later when these considerations are met, with reduced total cost of ownership. But bear in mind that Linux does not mean free of charge," he said. "Before we choose an operating system, we have to make sure that there are well tested interface drivers and that we can develop on the platform quickly and effectively."

Elsewhere, IBM's Linux push does not seem to be getting a favorable response in the United States. The two largest ATM vendors

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