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Novell Isn't Expecting a Linux Desktop Breakthrough in 2004, Says Friedman

Novell Isn't Expecting a Linux Desktop Breakthrough in 2004, Says Friedman

Nat Friedman, VP of research and development at Novell Ximian services, has been talking this week about what kinds of resources Novell is going to devote to Linux on the desktop.

In an interview at SearchLinux.com, he conceded that Linux on the desktop, to this day, remains at a very early stage, saying: "I've lived in this world for six or seven years doing everything from development to PR, and one of the most interesting phenomenons is the expectation people have of the Linux desktop. There's usually rising expectation followed by grave disappointment. Right now there is rising expectation."

Friedman, who cofounded Ximian with Miguel de Icaza, continued:

"My theory is that people view the desktop as a binary thing: you either have it or you don't. I'm always asked when is the Linux desktop going to be ready for everyone to use? The reality is, there is not going to be a single moment when a set of technology problems are solved. There's going to be gradual adoption like we've seen with servers."

Friedman explained that more of Novell's resources were focused on the server:  "We don't expect much movement on the desktop in the next 12 months, but it's an important strategic target."

A lot is happening outside the U.S., Friedman added, where there is not as big an installed Windows base.

"A day doesn't go by when I don't talk to a Fortune 1000 customer from the financial services market, automotives or others that are not looking at dipping their feet into the Linux desktop," he declared.

But when Friedman gave his keynote address at Real World Linux 2004, a conference and expo in Toronto, "There are encouraging signs," was about as far as he was wiling to go.

He did say though: "We're hearing a lot about large-scale pilots this year, and they're based on similar arguments to what we're hearing for Linux servers."

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SYS-CON's Linux News Desk gathers stories, analysis, and information from around the Linux world and synthesizes them into an easy to digest format for IT/IS managers and other business decision-makers.

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Most Recent Comments
Barry Dragoon 04/19/04 04:50:04 PM EDT

I have been giving XANDROS a try and am duly impressed with its ease of installation and configuration. I installed the Desktop Delux ver. 2 on a machine that has a 60gb hard drive with Win98 installed on the C drive (10gb) and a D drive taking up the remainder of the drive. I used the Express install option, and it detected the Win98 drives. It defragged the drive and made space for Xandros and a swap file. It installed in about 50 minutes, including the security updates that Xandros Network deemed as 'critical'. Another 10 miuntes and I was sending and receiving email and transferring attachments and files to the windos shared Fat32 drive on the same box. I was printing docs on the shared Epson Photo Stylus 785 attached to windos 2000 pro. This has got to be about as easy as it gets. I can't wait to try out all the other options/applications included in this desktop version of Linux.

Ed Estochin 04/15/04 10:43:30 PM EDT

I installed Suse Linux Professional 9.0 alongside of Windows ME on a Compaq Pentium 4 1.3 GHZ with 512 mg of Rambus. I am a newbie & was afraid of Linux. With the new Kernel being tested on this version, I decided to give it a try. It practically installed itself. I had no problem getting online with a USB cable modem & an Ethernet card. The only problem I had was trying to fax out of Linux with a Lucent Winmodem. I love this version of Linux as a Desktop system. I have already installed it on my Sister's PC. We had a lot of trouble with all these viruses & trojans & spyware & got tired of reconfiguring Windows due to these problems. This version of Linux has proved to be very stable & easy to work with. I would recommend it as a regular Desktop system to anyone..always a lot of support online & in the forums. Thanks to all the hard working programmers who dedicate themselve's to improving Linux everyday.