MainWin for Linux - NT Apps without NT

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Event Summary

October 20th, 1999 - Business software solutions provider Mainsoft Corp. will be offering its MainWin product, a Windows platform developed for UNIX, to the realm of the Linux open-source operating system.

The move will, according to Mainsoft, accelerate the growth of Linux in the enterprise by expanding the development rate of business-critical applications available for the open-source environment. MainWin for Linux, expected to be offered in a commercial version toward the end of the first quarter of 2000, will allow users to re-host Windows NT applications on Linux. This product is aimed primarily at Independent Software Vendors (ISVs), rather than at end users.

Market Impact

This announcement helps eliminate one of the bigger barriers to Linux acceptance - lack of software applications. If MainWin makes Linux hosting of Windows NT-based applications (currently estimated at approximately 100,000) as easy/transparent as they claim, this will increase Linux's market share growth even faster than the current trend. If this is the case, we estimate that within two years, Linux could be in as much as 25% of organizations, up from the current 13% [Source: IDC]. We do not believe this will change the growth rate for the overall marketplace, though it will slow the current movement toward consolidation around the Windows NT platform.

Of some concern is MainWin's current price tag of $25,000 for the development kit - the relatively high price will be an impediment to those smaller shops considering using the product. Mainsoft will need to provide cost/benefit analyses to those customers who would be "on the fence". (We are assuming the Linux version will cost approximately the same as the Unix version.)

User Recommendations

This announcement means the user has more flexibility, and pay less penalty to choose Linux. In addition, the ability to run Windows NT applications helps dispel one more of Microsoft's infamous "Linux myths". Although this announcement will not serve as sole justification to run Linux, it may help tip the scales in Linux's favor in any given situation. Clients with mixed NT and Linux environments will derive significantly more benefit than those customers trying to choose between operating systems.

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