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Salt Lake Tribune: Main Street Opens Doors to Linux

Dec 18, 2001, 00:58 (5 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Elise Ackerman)

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"It has been a tough year for Utah's Caldera International Inc., Lineo Inc. and other Linux companies nationwide. Those that didn't go bust announced large layoffs as investors realized that businesses built around a free operating system weren't poised for aggressive growth. The Linux Hatchery at last month's Comdex convention was home to just two companies, down from about 150 last year.

So it may come as a surprise that the sturdy computer program with the Penguin mascot never has been more popular. While the flightless bird may have been booted off Wall Street, it is being welcomed on Main Street as a dependable substitute for more expensive software sold by competitors such as Microsoft and Sun Microsystems. From auto dealers in Florida to grocery stores in the Arctic Circle, companies are using Linux to run Web sites, power databases, track inventory and balance the books.

'It's hard to say no to free,' said Jeff Davis, technology manager for the Standard School District in Bakersfield, Calif. The low price, stability and speed of Linux-loaded Compaq hardware convinced Davis to select the package over rival products offered by Microsoft and Provo-based Novell. Plus, he said, 'It is super-, super-configurable' thanks to readily available source code that allows users to add features or fix bugs without waiting for an upgrade."

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