Just when you thought the thin client computing model was dead, you find out it was only sleeping. And, in the case of Staybridge Suites, you discover that when it wakes up in the morning it goes online with a Novell-powered Linux thin client in its room. (Note: Staybridge is the extended-stay brand of the InterContinental Hotels Group.)
This is one of the most interesting Linux customer wins I've seen in some time, both because of what it could portend for the hotel industry (a "PC" in every room so that you really can travel solely with your Treo/Blackberry/iPhone), and for what it means for Novell on the desktop: the company continues to treat it seriously and make solid wins.
The hotel and Mainline evaluated Microsoft Windows desktops, but found that SUSE Linux Enterprise Desktop was a fraction of the cost, would provide a feature-rich desktop experience for guests, was a solid platform for supporting open-standards applications such as OpenOffice and Mozilla Firefox, and was an excellent fit for the hotel's thin client strategy.
"Once we made the decision to move to Linux, I immediately knew that SUSE Linux Enterprise Desktop was the answer," said Donn Bullock, Program Director of Virtual Client Solutions at Mainline Information Systems, Inc. "My experience with service and support from Novell? has been nothing but positive compared to others. Novell will bend over backwards to resolve any support issues and the quality of the products is unmatched."
I would love my hotel chain (Marriott) to get into something like this. I take my laptop because many tasks are simply easier on a laptop than on my Blackberry. But if I had a "real" PC in my room...suddenly, watching that Arsenal match streamed over the web becomes a real possibility. :-)