"Is it showtime for Linux on the desktop? There are plenty of IT
administrators who're ready, particularly in the wake of
Microsoft's Licensing 6.0. But there's work to be done before the
penguin is ready for its desktop close-up. Ximian Inc. in Boston is
pushing for the adoption of the GNOME desktop, an open-source
platform, and is developing application productivity software and
development tools. Nat Friedman was one of the architects of the
GNOME Foundation's proposal and charter. He is also co-founder and
vice president of product development at Ximian and a spokesman for
the open-source movement. Friedman recently talked to
SearchWin2000.com about the state of the open-source desktop.
"What are some myths about desktop Linux?
"Nat Friedman: 'Linux is a hodgepodge and
therefore more expensive.' Linux is not a hodgepodge. We've done a
lot of work in the past 18 to 24 months. Our goal is that you have
a desktop and not a collage. A desktop is aesthetically harmonious.
There is a similar theme--you can drag and drop, cut and paste.
These things are not hard to do, and we've achieved them all.
'Where do you need integration? Between the word processor, e-mail
and the browser?' We've solved them. We have an integrated set. We
had the release of OpenOffice from Sun, the release of [the Ximian]
Evolution 1.0 groupware suite. It's totally integrated. Then you
have the Connector [Ximian Connector for Microsoft Exchange], which
lets someone with a Linux desktop use an Exchange Server as a
first-class citizen. There is Mozilla, a standard Web browser. From
the component standpoint, there's been a lot of convergence during
the past six months. On the marketing side, Microsoft is driving
everyone to dial our number. With Licensing 6.0, Microsoft has
their finger on the pain dial, and they can dial up to whatever
they want to. Microsoft won't change its licensing plans, though it
may yield in some small ways. Microsoft has to maintain insane
levels of growth, but the fact is people don't need more
functionality from their software..."
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