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[school-discuss] Beth Guerard - need SchoolForge input

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>Subject: need SchoolForge input
>Date: Tue, 12 Feb 2002 11:02:53 -0500
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>Thread-Topic: need SchoolForge input
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>Priority: Urgent
>Importance: high
>From: "Beth Guerard" <bGuerard@eschoolnews.com>
>To: <mviron@findaschool.org>
>Hi Mr. Viron,
>My name is Beth Guerard and I'm the associate editor for eSchool News.
>We are a K-12 education technology newspaper. I'm working on a story
>about a new technology that can allow users to run Microsoft Windows
>applications on a  Linux OS. I was hoping you might be interested in
>commenting on this new technology, since you're a member of SchoolForge,
>and they support "open source for education" initiatives. Please look at
>the story (below) for background. 
>My questions are:
>1.	Do you think this technology could benefit schools? Why or why
>2.	What are the benefits of Lindows? The drawbacks?
>Lindows OS to run Windows programs but faces skepticism, lawsuit
>From eSchool News staff and wire service reports
>Michael Robertson's last startup, MP3.com, helped ignite the digital
>music revolution, attracting a big buzz and lawsuits from major record
>labels. Robertson's latest gig is no less ambitious: an operating system
>called Lindows that aims to run programs designed for Microsoft Corp.'s
>Windows OS.
>The gist: No Microsoft purchase necessary. Lindows is being built to run
>on the open-source Linux platform, meaning it would be an attractive
>option for cash-strapped schools.
>Lindows.com Inc. is attracting considerable attention-and
>skepticism-just months after it was announced. It is also fighting its
>first lawsuit, from Microsoft, for alleged trademark infringement.
>"Anytime you're trying to change the world, you're going to encounter
>challenges," said Robertson, who sold MP3.com last year to Vivendi
>Universal SA but still serves as an adviser.
>If delivered as promised, Lindows could do nothing less than crack
>Microsoft's monopoly on business and home operating systems-in effect,
>succeed where antitrust regulators have so far failed.
>If Lindows works, it would provide an alternative that is easy to use
>and runs efficiently but costs about half the full retail price of the
>home edition of Windows XP and plays well with real Windows-based
>And if it wins customers, it could open up a vast library of Linux
>software and opportunities for programmers in the open-source community.
>But those are big "ifs."
>Lindows has offered few details about its product. On Jan. 24, it
>offered a $99 download of a "Sneak Preview" on condition the information
>not be made public. Public releases are expected later this year.
>Even if Lindows works, analysts question whether it will find traction
>among consumers who have largely rejected attempts to make Linux
>palatable for the masses.
>Linux, after all, has not made headway into desktop PCs despite low
>costs, user-friendly desktop environments, and programs that claim to be
>compatible with Windows, including Sun Microsystems Inc.'s Star Office.
>It may simply be too difficult.
>"Look at Star Office. Here's something that's already interoperable with
>the world-accepted standard of Microsoft products," said Matthew Berk of
>Jupiter Media Metrix. "Why hasn't it found wider adoption?"
>Sun tried in the mid-1990s to create software that could run Windows
>programs in its Unix-based Solaris operating system. The so-called Wabi
>project was shut down in 1997.
>"They didn't put enough money behind it," said Rob Enderle, an analyst
>at Giga Information Group. "It was a special project, and for the most
>part it was never funded to a level that would have allowed it to
>Since 1993, a loose community of Linux and other Unix programmers in the
>so-called Wine project have been working on free software that allows
>Windows-based programs to run in Linux.
>Despite all that effort, Wine remains difficult to use and is far from
>100-percent compatible.
>Lindows will use components of Wine but also is improving them,
>Robertson said. The new operating system promises much greater
>simplicity than any other Linux distribution and file navigation that is
>familiar to Windows users.
>Lindows also will have a more liberal licensing policy. With one
>license, users can legally copy Lindows to a home PC, laptop, and work
>or school computer. Microsoft would charge for each.
>Lindows isn't promising the world. At first, its focus will be on office
>productivity applications such as Microsoft's Office Suite and Lotus
>Rather than reverse engineering software, Lindows programmers look for
>how the program interacts with the operating system and then replicate
>that in the Linux environment.
>"It's much like French and English. We say cheese. They say fromage,"
>Robertson said.
>Lindows is attempting to accomplish its goals without any help from
>Microsoft. Analysts wonder whether that may be too big a task for its
>two-dozen employees and limited funding.
>"It's not just a matter of watching how it works," Berk said. "I think
>you need to have a relationship there."
>Microsoft, for instance, could make changes to its operating system or
>its programs that render Lindows obsolete.
>But Robertson might have an ally in the suggested remedies proposed by
>state attorneys general who are not adhering to the proposed antitrust
>settlement between Microsoft and the federal government.
>The dissenting states want Microsoft to be forced to share more of the
>inner workings of Windows and other programs.
>So far, Microsoft isn't saying much about Lindows beyond its trademark
>infringement lawsuit, which was filed in December.
>"If Lindows were to cease using the name Lindows, then we would have no
>problem at all with the product itself," said Microsoft spokesman Jon
>The Microsoft suit intends to try to slow down Lindows development and
>scare away investors, said Robertson.
>"We're not on a [mission] here against Microsoft," he said. "We're on a
>mission to bring choice."
>Elizabeth B. Guerard, Associate Editor 
>eSchool News
>(800) 394-0115 ext.113 toll-free
>eMail: bguerard@eschoolnews.org <mailto:bguerard@eschoolnews.org> 
>fax: (301) 913-0119
>web: www.eschoolnews.org