Dell Sharpens Its Linux Focus
[Source: CNET] November 30, 2000 - Dell Computer has announced
a deal with Eazel, a developer of Linux-based software. Eazel's
primary product is Nautilus, its file management software which
runs on the "GNOME" desktop, which, along with KDE, is one
of the two main desktops (user interfaces) used with Linux.
of the terms have not been disclosed, but they appear to include pre-loading
of Nautilus on Dell's Linux-based systems, and an investment by Dell in
has also stated that they are talking to other hardware manufacturers,
in an attempt to get even wider distribution and recognition
continues to gain strength as the major Wintel-hardware vendors "explore
other options". As mentioned previously (see GNOME
Will Try to Buff Up Linux), having a common desktop appearance (with
the implication that it looks similar to Windows), is high on the list
of barriers Linux must overcome to enhance its acceptance. One facet of
the desktop is the file management system, where Eazel's Nautilus works
with GNOME. As GNOME continues to fill out its desktop offering/suite,
it enhances its competitive position relative to KDE.
we consider IBM to be the leader among major computer systems manufacturers
in embracing Linux. We consider Dell to be #2, based on the availability
of factory-installed Linux systems, and their support of Eazel. Compaq
and HP are, in our opinion, #3 and 4 - we don't believe their commitment
to Linux is quite as high as Dell's.
a couple of levels, this news is not good for Microsoft, but certainly
not a damaging blow. There's a big difference between supporting an initiative
and having a product that is a true "Windows killer". In addition, we
expect Microsoft to be strengthened and emboldened when George W. Bush
becomes President - one of the bigger surprises (for us and many others)
of a Bush administration would be if the Microsoft anti-trust action is
continued. What this predicted increased strength will translate into,
vis-a-vis Linux, will not become apparent until at least mid-2001.
troublesome to Microsoft is Dell's continuing support of Linux, especially
from the viewpoint of persuading other hardware vendors to jump on the
Linux-on-desktops bandwagon. Microsoft has weathered "disloyalty" like
this in the past, but as more hardware vendors improve their offerings,
desktop Linux may reach critical mass. The insufficient number of leading
desktop applications (MS Office, Quicken, etc.) for
Linux is still an issue for most consumers, so MS still has some breathing
Results from any alliance will take some time to develop, so there is
no immediate benefit to be gained by Linux users.
and potential Linux users will have the greatest interest in this development.
It will take some months for a polished GNOME desktop to be available
to the masses, but it shows promise. Linux is still primarily a server-focused
OS, but those IT managers willing to consider it for a greater enterprise
focus should start paying attention to developments with GNOME, KDE, and
various other efforts to make Linux more "masses-friendly".
Windows users will, of course, not care one whit about this alliance.