Longhorns Cutbacks Give Linux Its Chance

Linux vendors believe Longhorn's transformation into "Shorthorn" gives them a shot at making Linux an important desktop player.

Longhorns delay may be Linuxs gain, according to Linux vendors and analysts.

With Longhorn shorn of most of its most important features, such as WinFS (Windows File System), Linux supporters are hopeful that the Linux desktop can finally make inroads into the hearts and minds of corporate desktop users.

/zimages/6/28571.gifRead more here about Microsofts decision to remove features from Longhorn in order to meet the 2006 shipping date.

Dr. Frederick Berenstein, chairman and CTO of Xandros Inc., thinks Linux can do more than just catch up with Windows. He thinks Linux can do better.

"It is understandable, given the complexity of Microsofts vision of the new [WinFS] system that they chose to remove it from Longhorn until it is fully functional. The Linux community is aware of the direction Microsoft is taking and is planning to bring comparable pervasive search capabilities to the Linux desktop," said Berenstein.

Specifically, Berenstein noted, "It was just announced at the KDE [K Desktop Environment] Community World Summit that the next release of KDE upon which the Xandros GUI is based, may incorporate a Google-type facility on the control panel to search local content. Considering the Longhorn delays, theres a good chance that Xandros will beat Microsoft to the punch."

Michael Robertson, CEO of Linspire Inc., thinks Microsoft is running on empty.

"If my children ever run Linspire, they might have to worry about competing against Longhorn, but I wont," said Robertson.

"Monopolies invariably become complacent and lethargic as the lack of competition dulls the organization, which is what youre witnessing with Microsoft. Its taken three years for an update to XP, and its just security features like a firewall, which we were bundling with our very first version more than two years ago."

Thus, "given Microsofts stream of postponements and feature-shaving, they have zero credibility to deliver on any major new product releases in a timely fashion, which opens the doors for desktop Linux to catch and surpass XPs feature set," Robertson said.

Next Page: Red Hat Linux getting noticed.