[lug] Sun Announcement

JEFF PFOHL pfohl at sandia.gov
Mon Aug 14 10:26:24 MDT 2000

A quick trip to the New York Times Website tells us:

Developers of Linux Software Planning Assault on Microsoft 

August 14, 2000

SAN FRANCISCO, Aug. 13 --  A group of  key Linux software developers
and major  computer manufacturers are planning to  announce on
Tuesday at a Silicon Valley  computer conference the first effort
to  compete directly with Microsoft's Office  suite of applications
for the personal computer. 

 Until now, the free Linux operating system has had its greatest
impact in the  computer server market, where many Internet service
providers and World Wide  Web applications and service companies 
providers and World Wide  Web applications and service companies 
routinely use the program. 

 While Linux has gained ground on the PC  desktop as an alternative
to Microsoft's  Windows operating system, which holds a  large
share of the market, it has not yet  been used more widely by
businesses and  consumers  because it has not developed  the wide
application support enjoyed by  both Windows and Apple Computer's
Macintosh operating system. 

 That may soon change. On Tuesday, a  group of Linux organizations
will announce  the creation of the Gnome Foundation,  which will
have the support of I.B.M., Compaq, Hewlett-Packard, Sun
Microsystems and several other major computer vendors. 

 The foundation plans to announce a set of  initiatives, including
a unified desktop user  interface and a set of productivity
programs intended to compete as a free alternative to Microsoft

 Gnome is  a set of software standards  developed by an
international group of  programmers led  by Miguel de Icaza. The 
Gnome software has been gaining momentum in both the Linux and Unix
communities as a way to offer a common software  development
environment for programmers. 

 Sun Microsystems also plans to announce that it will adopt the
Gnome desktop user interface for its Solaris operating system. The
move is part of  the Linux effort to create a larger  market for
application developers. 

 Last month, the company announced that it was releasing the 
source code for its StarOffice software, allowing programmers
around  the world to alter the software and  share their work. 


 The announcements to be made on  Tuesday underscore both the 
progress that Linux has made toward becoming a viable alternative 
to Windows and the challenges that  remain in persuading business
and  consumer computer users to adopt  the free operating system. 
 Until now, the Linux system has had its greatest impact in the
server market. 
 "What they're doing is extremely  valuable," said Dan Dusnetzky, a 
computer industry analyst at the International Data Corporation, a
market research firm. "However, there's  a bigger issue that has
not been  addressed yet and that is the availability of the most
popular desktop  applications on Linux." 

 While Linux currently has about a  24 percent share of the server
market, Microsoft's Windows has an 88  percent share of the desktop
PC  marketplace, while Apple's Macintosh has a 5 percent share. 

 Linux developers  say that  while  progress until now has been
limited,  they are confident they can now rapidly close the gap on

 "By the end of the year, we will  have a desktop software
operating  system that compares favorably  with Windows," said Mike
Boiche,  chairman of the Eazel Corporation.  The company, founded
by former  Macintosh programmers, has been  developing software
called Nautilus,  which is being integrated into the  Gnome user
interface for Linux. It is  intended to make Linux as simple to 
use as Windows or Macintosh. 

 A variety of announcements intended to consolidate the momentum 
for the Linux operating system are  planned for LinuxWorld, the
conference scheduled to begin on Tuesday  in San Jose, Calif. 

 On Friday, Hewlett-Packard said  that it planned to make Linux its 
third "strategic" operating system  in addition to Windows and
HP-UX,  its own version of the Unix operating  system. 

 The Tuesday meeting itself  will  feature a keynote address by
Michael S. Dell, chairman of Dell Computer, and will include an
announcement from I.B.M. that it will make a  Gnome version of
Linux available on  its Thinkpad portable computers as  a user

 Compaq is also planning to announce that it will make a version of 
its hand-held iPaq computer available with the Gnome Linux
operating  system on Tuesday. 

 Henzai, a start-up manufacturer of  hand-held and Internet
computing  devices, also plans to announce its  support for the
Gnome desktop software. 

 Several executives who support  Linux  said they now felt
confident  that the free software world will soon  have a direct
competitor to Windows  on the PC desktop. 

 "A year ago, we were missing the  last mile," said Nat Friedman,
president of Helixcode, the Cambridge,  Mass., developer of Gnome
and a set  of PC applications. "But at the end of  this year my mom
could install Helix  Gnome and Sun's StarOffice and  have a total
office environment." 

The New York Times on the Web

Copyright 2000 The New York Times Company

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"My grandfather once told me that there are two kinds of people: 
 Those who do the work and those who take the credit. He told me to 
 try to be in the first group; there was much less competition."

 - Indira Ghandi, the late Prime Minister of India

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