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Linux will not rival Windows on the desktop for another two years

Cliff Saran
A desktop Linux rival to Windows is two years away, according to Stuart Cohen, chief executive of the Open Source Development Lab, the global standards group that aims to drive up Linux use in the enterprise.

Speaking in London last week, en route to the launch of the OSDL European user advisory council in Frankfurt, Cohen said, "Linux is not there today in terms of features suitable for power users - those who make the most of their existing Windows desktop environment. The cost of migrating a heavy user of Microsoft Office is not worth it."

Any savings users could make in terms of lower licensing costs would be cancelled out by the additional training requirements of end-users moving from Windows to Linux.

Cohen thought mainstream roll-outs of Linux for line-of-business, calendar, e-mail and word processing applications was two years away.

However, he said it was possibly to deploy desktop Linux today where end-users required limited computing flexibility. He was confident that end-users who spent most of their time at work running a single application could become Linux users.

"Many end-users run a single application [on their PCs]. These people can easily migrate onto Linux," Cohen said. For these users, he recommended that IT directors evaluate the deployment of Linux in a thin client environment.

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