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Linux ThinkFree App Suite Due This Month

ThinkFree will release a Linux version of its $50 Microsoft Office mimic by the end of the month, the San Jose, Calif.-based developer said Monday.

ThinkFree will release a Linux version of its $50 Microsoft Office mimic by the end of the month, the San Jose, Calif.-based developer said Monday.

ThinkFree Office 3, which debuted on June 28 in a Windows edition, will be available for download by Linux users before the end of August, the company said.

"One of the major stumbling blocks for Linux desktop adoption by mainstream computer users was the inability to use Microsoft Office on the platform," said T.J. Kang, the chief executive of ThinkFree, in a statement.

The suite, which includes a word processor, spreadsheet, and a presentation maker, is a collection of Java applications that claims to beat rivals such as WordPerfect, StarOffice, and OpenOffice in Microsoft Office viewing and file compatibility.

Kang also took the opportunity to damn with faint praise OpenOffice, the free open-source suite that has the biggest share of the Linux market. "Although OpenOffice is a feature-rich office suite that is equal to the task of Microsoft Office, the difference in the user interface, unexpected changes, and the loss of information users may encounter when exchanging documents back and forth with Microsoft Office, make it difficult for non-technical computer users to adopt OpenOffice," Kang said.

He also hinted that ThinkFree would be announcing distribution deals with several Linux publishers when the final releases later this month.

The $49.95 suite will be available for download from the ThinkFree site.

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