OTHERS

A cyber union

It's the old `gharwali-baharwali' situation. Many Personal Computer (PC) users seem to be saying, ``I Love Linux — but will stick to Windows!" They prefer a truly `open' computing environment. And Linux , the `alternate' operating system, created exactly 10 years ago by Finnish student, Linus Torvalds, sounds like a great idea.

But, changing your desktop to Linux is not all that simple. A PC these days means a machine with `Intel Inside' — and some version of Microsoft Windows. The tools and applications that most of the world uses — like Word, Excel, Powerpoint, Winamp — are all ``made for Windows". So, you have to think before you go in for Linux. For the rest of us, computing is still a Windows eXPerience. But may be not for long.

Today being Christmas Eve, this column brings you tidings of great joy: Come 2002, you can have your cake and eat it too. In other words, you may be able to give Linux a shot on your desktop, without ejecting Windows.

And according to the authors of Lindows, you can also run all current programmes written for Linux.

Lindows is actually based on an open source software called `Wine', which allows Linux users to run Windows commands.

But, unlike Linux, which is available almost free, Lindows comes with a price, not yet determined, but likely to be around $100.

However, the computer industry`wallahs' feel that, once the concept catches on, PC makers will pre-install Lindows and leave it to the customer to use it either as a Windows or a Linux machine or both.

Will it click? Nobody knows yet. But for those of us who have been hard put to decide between Windows and Linux, Lindows allows us to put both on the same desktop.

A. VISHNU

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