"While the job of revamping Macintosh and Windows obviously
belongs to their respective stewards, the same can't be said for
the upstart Linux system. Nobody owns this Unix-based operating
system built around the code first created by Finnish programmer
Linus Torvalds. And so, transforming Linux, whose interface
reflects its roots as a geek playground where civilians are
unwelcome, has been a job up for grabs. A couple of groups have
attempted to produce a crude graphical interface, but until a new
company named Eazel came along, no one was willing to take the step
to create a world-class interface."
"The reason we started the company is simple--we felt that free
software is better, in a big way," says Hertzfeld. Making Linux
usable is "a huge task," he adds. "We have to start somewhere, so
we decided that making a system shell was really the linchpin."
Then Eazel plans to make money by hosting a suite of paid
subscription services that efficiently handle the chores of
managing files and updating programs over the Net."
"But what's interesting about Eazel's software, called Nautilus
(now in "preview release"), is not how it tries to tame Linux, but
the improvements it attempts on the good old GUI. ... Can Eazel
really make the sort of dent in the universe that the Mac did? As a
modest start-up company competing in the marketplace of ideas
against the established giants, it faces an uphill climb,
especially since Linux-based businesses have suffered crashes in
valuation along with the dot-bomb crowd. Still, just this week
Dell is set to announce that it will sell Eazel-powered Linux
computers to business customers. So Eazel is at least in the
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