"Network computing makes individual hard drives part of
a system accessible from any machine, a boon to users who have more
freedom and system administrators, who can install and maintain
software from a centralized location. To make the system work,
however, this often requires a whole new set of programs, which
makes users wary.
"It's been the Holy Grail to move to the network," says Jim
Curtin, president and chief executive of NeTraverse Inc. "But
they've always tried to kill the whole stack, saying, 'Take not
only this new operating system, but new applications as well.'
"That's when the users come in. They don't want you to take away
what they know and love."
NeTraverse, a year-old Austin startup, has developed software
that Curtin thinks solve the problem. The company's software, for
personal computers and servers, emulates the Windows operating
system on computers running Linux, a free or low-cost alternative
to the dominant software. (Linux doesn't carry the hefty licensing
fees of proprietary operating systems such as Windows, so
NeTraverse's products can be one-tenth the cost of most proprietary
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