Desktop Linux Group Formed

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The Linux gadflies have organized to put an end to Microsoft's desktop monopoly.

Notable open-source organizations and commercial companies in the Linux desktop space,including Ximian, Xandros, CodeWeavers and SuSE Linux AG,last week announced the formation of the Desktop Linux Consortium, which got an endorsement from the influential founder of the Linux kernel, Linus Torvalds.

The consortium's plans include creating a user advisory board and sponsoring a desktop conference this spring, sources said. The group intends to push a vendor-neutral agenda to attract the support of manufacturers and developers.

Linux creator Torvalds endorsed new Desktop Linux Consortium.

The business climate for desktop Linux is improving as open standards gain hold and businesses rebel against Microsoft's Licensing 6.0, advocates said.

Xandros, for example, recently signed a deal with the Hilton Hotel chain for thousands of seats of Xandros Desktop, company executives said.

While some are skeptical, one Linux VAR predicts Microsoft's ownership of the desktop will fade. "When Linux reaches 15 percent to 30 percent of the desktop market, it will have secured critical mass and acceptance," said Con Zymaris, CEO of Cybersource, Melbourne, Australia. "ISVs will then fully support this as a desktop platform, creating the first real alternative to Windows in over 15 years."

Limited interoperability with Windows and the lack of homegrown applications have stalled desktop deployment, but efforts to close the gap are under way.

SuSE, for example, unveiled its Linux Office Desktop. Red Hat, Ximian, Xandros and Sun Microsystems plan to upgrade their desktop products this year with enhanced interoperability.

CodeWeavers plans to release the CrossOver Office upgrade this quarter, which enables Linux desktops to support Office XP and Access products.

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