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Software // Enterprise Applications

Novell's Desktop Linux

Desktop 9 competes head-on with Windows but has a long way to go to displace it

Novell made available its first desktop Linux operating system last week. Although the company claims its strategy is to build up a market for desktop Linux patiently in the face of Microsoft's dominance, Novell Desktop 9 includes components that compete head-on with Windows.

"Desktop Linux has to cohabitate with Windows today," says Ted Haeger, Novell's director of project management. The company projects it will take as long as five years before a desktop version of Linux is capable of displacing Windows.

Desktop 9, which starts at $50 per desktop, includes Novell's version of productivity applications, the Mozilla Firefox Web browser, Evolution software for collaborating with Windows, and ZENworks Linux Management.

Companies most likely to find Linux a strong substitute for Windows are those using fixed-function workstations that run a single application, such as airline-reservation or point-of-sale systems.

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