Just Another Desktop Linux?

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Today, The Channel Register points out something that wasn't quite apparent in yesterday's coverage of IBM's Open Client software: Running on Red Hat or SuSE Linux and coupled with Lotus collaboration apps, Firefox and Open Document Format-compatible office software, it's another attempt at Linux on the desktop.


So what's different about this one that will allow it to succeed? According to a company press release, Big Blue is not planning to give it to just anyone. Since Open Client can run on Linux, Windows or Mac, the company is employing a market segmentation approach and allowing customers to decide which operating system would work best based on their specific business needs.


Moreover, the stack runs on existing Linux distributions. That way, IBM can turn to Red Hat and Novell for OS support rather than developing and supporting its own distribution. Big Blue will offer desktop management and migration services.


The offering emerged from IBM's attempt to move several of its own PCs to Linux from Windows, says ZDNet India. The underlying concept is similar to Sun's "write once, run anywhere" idea for Java, the story says. A runtime component from the Eclipse Rich Client platform allows Open Client apps running in Windows to be rendered in the Windows interface, apps running in Linux to be rendered in a Linux interface, and so on.


As IBM's VP of Linux and open source explains, Open Client is simply a response to customer demand for increased interoperability and easier integration of Linux into exisiting infrastructures.