"The operating system that U.S. District Judge Thomas
Penfield Jackson once dismissed in the Microsoft antitrust case as
occupying the fringe is making a play for the big time.
Although Linux has a long way to go, millions of computers are
running on it and millions more will be soon. The world's biggest
computer firms--Dell, IBM and Compaq--are now offering Linux
pre-installed on new machines, just as they do Windows. High-tech
leaders such as Intel and Oracle support the operating system, and
a growing number of Linux-ready versions of popular applications,
including Corel's WordPerfect Office 2000, are now available. Linux
is definitely beyond the fringe."
"Linux's strong growth doesn't necessarily mean it's taking
business away from Microsoft, as ads like the one above imply. In a
recent interview with Washington Post reporters and editors, Dell
chief executive Michael Dell suggested that, so far, Linux is
making the deepest inroads against Sun Microsystems and its variant
of the Unix operating system."
"Companies that use the Linux code as a base for their software
have been Wall Street darlings, despite the fact that they are
selling versions of a product that anyone can download for free.
The companies and their investors, however, are betting that ease
of installation, ease of use and service that the store-bought
versions provide will attract customers and sales. A recent report
by analysts at W.R. Hambrecht & Co. estimated that Linux
products and services could generate $11 billion in sales by