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Best Linux targets home user, globally
(IDG) -- If one thing was true at CeBIT 2000, it was that all things Linux were the stars of the show. The number of new Linux companies exhibiting at the show in Hanover, Germany, very likely equaled or surpassed the number of new Linux users in attendance.
One such company is SOT Finnish Software Engineering, producers of Best Linux OS2000, which for several years had only been sold in Finland and Sweden. CeBIT, which ran February 24 to March 1, was the distribution's international launch.
"Best Linux is already number one in Finland, with a market share of more than 90 percent of Linux," according to Santeri Kannisto, the company's CEO.
Kannisto says he's following Microsoft's initial plan of marketing primarily to the home user. "I think if you see our strategy, it's really easy. You look at what Microsoft was doing in its early days and do the same," he says.
"We are making it easier so that [Best Linux] works ... with Windows, so that the user doesn't have to change completely," Kannisto explains. Users installing Best Linux on the same machine as Windows can still boot the latter OS easily with the graphical boot manager.
"Also important is the installer. We are making it better and able to detect more devices all the time," Kannisto says.
He has indeed built an easy installer. I watched one of his technicians install the software while I suggested all sorts of odd hypothetical configurations for the machine. Best Linux installed flawlessly in a few minutes.
SOT began using Linux in 1995. "We had tried the other systems that were available, Windows NT and a couple of others," Kannisto says. "We were a software house, and we needed to have Webpages and an ecommerce site. We found that Linux was the only possibility at that time that was really working well. Security was our main concern, and Linux was the only one that provided that." After seeing that, SOT decided to start developing its own Linux software.
Best Linux "can be used in [Sun's] workstations, of course, but our main target is home users. Caldera and all the others -- they think business. They are trying to make something for everyone, and I think that's kind of a bad idea," Kannisto says.
"Best Linux is priced at about $41. You can order it from our Website (see link below), and it will probably be available in shops within the next two or three weeks in Europe," he says. A US distribution deal was in the works at the show.
According to Kannisto, SOT has no plans for developing its own Linux applications. "We are doing strictly the OS. We are concentrating on those things that are important for home users," he says.
The boxed set includes VMware, Acrobat PDF reader, and some smaller applications.
"I think that we should keep it as free as possible," Kannisto explains. "There should be some kind of office applications like StarOffice, but we've not got a signed license yet.... The problem with StarOffice is that when we have [the license], people can't copy it anymore, and that's pretty bad. It's against the philosophy of Linux."
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