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Novell Isn't Expecting a Linux Desktop Breakthrough in 2004, Says Friedman

Novell Isn't Expecting a Linux Desktop Breakthrough in 2004, Says Friedman

Nat Friedman, VP of research and development at Novell Ximian services, has been talking this week about what kinds of resources Novell is going to devote to Linux on the desktop.

In an interview at SearchLinux.com, he conceded that Linux on the desktop, to this day, remains at a very early stage, saying: "I've lived in this world for six or seven years doing everything from development to PR, and one of the most interesting phenomenons is the expectation people have of the Linux desktop. There's usually rising expectation followed by grave disappointment. Right now there is rising expectation."

Friedman, who cofounded Ximian with Miguel de Icaza, continued:

"My theory is that people view the desktop as a binary thing: you either have it or you don't. I'm always asked when is the Linux desktop going to be ready for everyone to use? The reality is, there is not going to be a single moment when a set of technology problems are solved. There's going to be gradual adoption like we've seen with servers."

Friedman explained that more of Novell's resources were focused on the server:  "We don't expect much movement on the desktop in the next 12 months, but it's an important strategic target."

A lot is happening outside the U.S., Friedman added, where there is not as big an installed Windows base.

"A day doesn't go by when I don't talk to a Fortune 1000 customer from the financial services market, automotives or others that are not looking at dipping their feet into the Linux desktop," he declared.

But when Friedman gave his keynote address at Real World Linux 2004, a conference and expo in Toronto, "There are encouraging signs," was about as far as he was wiling to go.

He did say though: "We're hearing a lot about large-scale pilots this year, and they're based on similar arguments to what we're hearing for Linux servers."

More Stories By Linux News Desk

SYS-CON's Linux News Desk gathers stories, analysis, and information from around the Linux world and synthesizes them into an easy to digest format for IT/IS managers and other business decision-makers.

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