PC-Based Windows Rival Still Unlikely

Dennis Faas's picture

The leading manufacturer of software using the open source Linux system says it's still too tricky to produce a serious competitor to the Windows operating system that is suitable for the average PC user.

Linux is an operating system based on open source code; that means it's free to use, distribute and alter it. Indeed, many computer developers find ways to improve it and then share those improvements. Think of it like the Wikipedia of programming.

The system is popular for running servers, the large machines at the heart of computer networks. That's because it's generally seen as more reliable by computer experts, and of course, it's inherently cheaper than Microsoft or Apple software.

And yet, while some enthusiasts use Linux on their home machines, it demands a certain level of computer knowledge. There's still no easy-to-use operating system based on Linux.

RedHat, which makes Linux-based software, had considered launching such a system last year. But this week they issued a statement saying they had abandoned the plans. (Source: computerworld.com)

Apparently, it's not financially viable to produce such a system for commercial retail. However, analysts say one of the specific problems is that consumers expect certain features such as video and music players, which are included with both Windows and Mac OS. Most software of this type comes with tight restrictions on the code that makes it run, meaning it's not suitable for a Linux-based system.

A rival firm does already offer a free Linux based desktop system. Ubuntu comes with free office and DVD burning software and its next edition, released later this month, will allow users to install it on a machine that already runs Windows. (Source: zdnet.com)

It seems unlikely a Linux-based alternative to Windows will ever be a serious commercial proposition.

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