Desktop Linux demand on the rise, says Sun

German original equipment manufacturer (OEM) Markement has sold over one million units of its Sun Microsystems' StarOffice...

German original equipment manufacturer (OEM) Markement has sold more than one million units of its Sun Microsystems' StarOffice productivity suite.

However, Germany is StarOffice's home market and the software has been available since 1993. It remains to be seen if Sun can replicate its success elsewhere.

Carsten Müller, Sun product marketing manager for desktop software in Germany, is confident, however, saying that consumers are hungry for change and now is the time for Linux on the desktop.

"People want to be free from being locked into certain products and companies, namely Microsoft, " Müller said, speaking at the CeBIT trade show in Hannover.

Müller sees customers' frustration with Microsoft and its dominance in the market as a key driver of desktop Linux adoption.

"Customers definitely want to see an alternative to Windows and Microsoft," he said. "Linux on the desktop is going to grow fast, outpacing its current strength on the server side."

Müller admitted that StarOffice and the company's Java Desktop System (JDS) are limited in the kinds of users they can serve at the moment. The products are geared toward office workers who need basic word processing, messaging, e-mail and office programs but are not tailored toward specific industries or tasks.

Müller said he expected Linux desktop options, not just from Sun but other suppliers, to grow fast. In fact, a version of JDS is due to come out in about six weeks with new management and administration features for enterprises.

Scarlet Pruitt writes for IDG News Service

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