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Linux? Not for AOL users

By DAVE GUSSOW, Times Technology Editor

© St. Petersburg Times, published April 3, 2000


Linux penguin

The Linux challenge
Long an operating system for technophiles, Linux is getting a new face and marketing push for the home user from softwaremaker Corel.

Other Linux vendors
It often surprises Windows and Mac users that Linux is available from many companies. An interesting analogy comes from Bob Young, former chief executive of Red Hat software, who suggests that people think of the operating system like ketchup. It's all tomatoes, sugar, salt and water, but each tastes a little different.

Corel says people who use computers for basic functions such as surfing the Web, word processing and spreadsheets are candidates to try its Linux operating system. But it's not for America Online subscribers.

AOL, the largest online service with 22-million subscribers, does not have a Linux version of its software. And it's unclear if Linux is in AOL's future because the company won't talk about software it may or may not developing, spokesman Nicholas Graham said.

AOL users could choose Corel's installation that allows a computer to use either Linux or Windows, though going back and forth between operating systems seems to fly in the face of the simple approach to computing and surfing.

Linux should not create problems for people who use other Internet service providers that don't have proprietary software such as AOL's. But Linux won't work with Microsoft's Internet Explorer browser so they would have to use a browser by Netscape or another supplier.

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