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					Linux On The Desktop?

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579

Summary:
Linux is an "open source" operating system originally developed by a
engineer from Finland named Linus Torvalds. Linux was released under an
early version of the GNU "General Public License", or GPL, by which any
user that wanted to work with Linux was free to do so. Though it has
evolved considerably over the years, it has yet to eclipse the popularity
of Microsoft's Windows operating system at the consumer and small
business level- which is dominated by "desktop" computer...


Keywords:
website hosting, linux, desktop, operating system, business, market


Article Body:
Linux is an "open source" operating system originally developed by a
engineer from Finland named Linus Torvalds. Linux was released under an
early version of the GNU "General Public License", or GPL, by which any
user that wanted to work with Linux was free to do so. Though it has
evolved considerably over the years, it has yet to eclipse the popularity
of Microsoft's Windows operating system at the consumer and small
business level- which is dominated by "desktop" computer sales.

Sun, IBM and HP all have produced servers that utilize Linux - and it is
in the server - database environment that Linux has thrived since its
inception. The two major software companies that have produced successive
versions of Linux software are Novell and Red Hat, both of which have
taken an open source (free) operating system and equipped it with a
variety of software packages tailored to various requirements, in order
to create proprietary products.

While Linux based systems drive some cell phones and can be found in
ordinary PCs, the primary competition between Red Hat and Novell has been
in the "enterprise space," that segment of the software universe which
focuses on linking business users to databases. Now, Red Hat has
announced its intention to move into the "business desktop" market with a
new series of adaptations. According to Red Hat, "This will be a more
comprehensive offering that will target markets like the small and
medium-sized business [SMB] sector and emerging markets. Part of this
strategy is to get the desktop more to the masses than our existing
client is getting today."

In the war of press releases, Novell claims to have made these strides
already, and that what Red Hat is defining as desktop functionality is
really an expansion of business functions - which Novell claims to have
achieved already. And indeed, a spokesman for Red Hat notes that the
company has "no plans to go and sell this offering at Best Buy...
[for]...the mass consumer market. Customers will be able to download it
and get a Red Hat Network subscription on the Web for it, which is what
we feel is the distribution wave of the future anyway..."

So how do home users that venture into the Linux world feel about it?
Many of them who have blogged about it feel that it's the greatest
operating system out there but it is not ready for mass consumption
simply because too many ancillary software elements and computer
appendages aren't adapted for it. One self described "geek" who uses
Linux, Windows Vista AND XP finds Linux to be a great operating system
for browser use, but a simple task like hooking up a printer to a Linux
driven PC can be a real challenge.

He adds, "If you're accustomed to watching DVDs, Windows Media or
QuickTime files on your computer, then you're in for a challenge. Most
Linux distributions (at least the major ones anyway) don't include this
functionality by default because the codecs (software that displays the
various encoded video file formats like Windows Media) aren't free. In
many cases they're downright illegal. The same situation exists with MP3,
arguably the most popular format for audio (notably audio you rip from
your CD collection)."

It's a great operating system, but plug-and-play functionality for home
computers isn't there yet. And neither Red Hat nor Novell have any
intention of invading the home consumer "space." For now, they're content
to battle it out by expanding their business-based products.

				
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posted:3/2/2010
language:English
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