Novell chose this month to showcase one of the success stories it has notched up since acquiring SUSE LINUX from SuSE GmbH last year: the IT systems of McDonald's restaurants throughout Germany are now Linux-based.
McDonald's Germany, according to a "Solutions at Work item that went live at the Novell site this week, deploys SUSE LINUX Enterprise Server for DNS, FTP, and proxy services on the internet.
While FTP is not at first glance a core service for a fast-food company, since McDonald's has 1,200 restaurants in Germany this nonetheless must count as a high-profile vindication of the performance, stability, and flexibility of Linux in an enterprise environment. Certainly that is Novell's contention.
And McDonald's Germany agrees. "Being a product of the internet," says Thomas Trepl, Project Manager, New Technologies, for McDonald's Germany, "Linux provides the best technical basis for achieving optimum results with internet technologies."
"The implementation of SUSE LINUX Enterprise Server has resulted in uptimes of more than 400 days," he adds.
According to Trepl, cost and flexibility are key drivers: "Our current solution can be expanded at any time. This is possible due to the low price, the flexibility of a Linux solution, and the certification of SUSE LINUX Enterprise Server for solutions such as Oracle9i. Thus, there is no upper limit."
Skeptics have been quick to question the magnitude of this as a success story for Linux, but one commentator expressed unequivocal enthusiasm, on the basis of the "network effect" of such advances for enterprise Linux overall:
"Novell...convinced thousands of businesses to network in the 1980s and 1990s. And now they're selling Linux and support to more businesses. Which will need Linux software, and pay to get it. Either in cash, to developers, or in GPL code they revise and publish.
"The economic network effect will see Linux value increase exponentially as more nodes in the value net grow yet more nodes, passing value back and forth among the network - all paved with Linux. I haven't been this happy about Utah and Germany swinging together since the last Olympic skiing broadcasts."
It remains to be seen if "McLinux" will spread to the other 28,800 McDonald's restaurants around the globe.