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Linux to turn Windows into niche player

By   |  August 24, 2004

Windows will become an operating system for niche tasks while Linux takes over the mainstream desktop and server roles, predicts Novell SA\’s systems engineer and manager Allison Singh. He says that users that need specific applications written for Windows only will stick with the OS while for most other users the rapidly evolving Linux desktop will become the standard operating system.

It is a prediction that Singh makes with obvious confidence, given that Novell South Africa has already switched over to using the recently acquired SuSE Linux as their operating system of choice. Globally the company has committed to using as a minimum for company work. The South African office has taken it a step or two further and switched wholesale to Linux. \”We are already doing it and it is working,\” he says, backing up the claim with a story of a new company recruit that had never used anything but Windows and had adapted to the Linux switch without a hitch.

Singh says the company is already using the beta2 version of the expected Novell Linux desktop and he expects a final release of this before the year\’s end. Many observers previously predicted that the company would release the Novell desktop at the LinuxWorld trade show earlier this month in San Francisco, which never happened. The company did however, show off an early test release to get feedback from users.

One thing that has been widely speculated about in the run up to the release of the Novell desktop is whether the company would opt to standardise on just one of the primary desktop environmments (Gnome or KDE) or whether it would try in some way to combine the two. Singh puts this to rest saying that the Novell desktop will include both KDE and Gnome, even if this does mean \”more work for Novell. In the end it means that the customers has choice and Novell has always given customers choice.\” Equally of course this may have just as much to do with the fact that integrating KDE and Gnome is a mammoth, maybe even impossible, task given that the two are built on entirely different graphics libraries. And to select one or the other would severely limit the range of applications available to customers.


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