advertising information
   personal technology

 custom news
 Headline News brief
 daily almanac
 CNN networks
 CNN programs
 on-air transcripts
 news quiz

CNN Websites
 video on demand
 video archive
 audio on demand
 news email services
 free email accounts
 desktop headlines

 message boards





Upcoming Linux versions aim for Windows' ease of use

April 23, 1999
Web posted at: 5:37 p.m. EDT (2137 GMT)

by David Orenstein

(IDG) -- Their shots may merely bounce off the walls of Microsoft Corp.'s Windows desktop stronghold. But Caldera Systems Inc. and Corel Corp. are taking dead aim at Redmond's operating-system dominance by emphasizing ease of use and office productivity in their next versions of Linux due later this year.

  Computerworld's home page
  Computerworld Year 2000 resource center
  Computerworld's online subscription center
 Reviews & in-depth info at's personal news page
  Questions about computers? Let's editors help you
  Subscribe to's free daily newsletter for IT leaders
  Search in 12 languages
 News Radio
  Computerworld Minute
  Fusion audio primers

Users and analysts said that even if the versions fulfill their promise of making Linux a free variant of Unix as user-friendly as Windows, they could still take years to challenge Windows. But they praised the efforts as being essential to Linux's struggle to gain wider acceptance.

"This kind of excites me," said Tom Stoddard, a systems administrator in the avionics division at The BFGoodrich Co. in Grand Rapids, Mich. "[Ease of use] is the last frontier. They will start to pick up some users over and above the techies they are getting today."

Stoddard said other avionics department users have begun to ogle his Linux desktop because of its stability, but Linux applications would need to match the broad functionality of Microsoft Office before a switch to Linux would be feasible. Even Stoddard still does his expenses on Excel.

Users at McCall Pattern Co. in Manhattan, Kan., a maker of sewing patterns, wouldn't be able to run Linux desktops without assurance that they could flawlessly port applications built on Microsoft Office, said technical support manager Lynn Newman.

Few companies would run Linux alongside Windows, said George Weiss, an analyst at Gartner Group Inc. in Stamford, Conn. Companies won't save money or gain productivity with Linux if end users also need to license and run Windows for certain tasks.

To address those needs, Ottawa-based Corel will likely marry the Windows-like K Desktop Environment graphical user interface with the well-respected, noncommercial Debian version of Linux and its closely associated applications. A beta version of Corel's offering will be available in August. The company will follow up with a full version of its WordPerfect office suite for Linux this fall, including Quattro Pro spreadsheet and Presentations software.

Meanwhile, Orem, Utah-based Caldera will announce Version 2.2 of its OpenLinux, which also uses the K Desktop Environment interface, at Comdex/Spring '99 in Chicago this week. To ease installation, the Version 2.2. CD runs automatically from Windows and includes PowerQuest Corp.'s drive partitioning and boot managing software. OpenLinux 2.2 also includes WordPerfect 8 and StarDivision GmbH's StarOffice.

Windows convergence coming
April 21, 1999
Linux hits the desktop
April 20, 1999
Ignore the Linux hype, creator urges
April 20, 1999
Unix and Linux: Similar technologies, different career prospects
April 16, 1999

Apple alters open-source licenses after criticism
(InfoWorld Electric)
Group offers free Linux-based encryption software
Gates: Linux is no threat
(PC World Online)
Unix and Linux: Similar technologies, different career prospects
Ignore the Linux hype, Torvalds urges

Note: Pages will open in a new browser window
External sites are not endorsed by CNN Interactive.

Linux Online

Note: Pages will open in a new browser window
External sites are not endorsed by CNN Interactive.

Enter keyword(s)   go    help

Back to the top   © 2001 Cable News Network. All Rights Reserved.
Terms under which this service is provided to you.
Read our privacy guidelines.