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Desktop Linux remains a hard sell for hardware vendors

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Major software updates are always disruptive, and with as many as six separate SKUs for the U.S. market alone, Windows Vista will be no different. As if the launch plans for Vista weren't confusing enough, Microsoft execs have played up the steep hardware requirements of the operating system's bells and whistles, prompting many IT managers to wonder whether the upgrade might signal a jumping-off point for shops that have grown tired of life under Redmond's collective thumb.

It's only natural, then, that Linux vendors should take this opportunity to tout the open source alternative. Novell's latest enterprise desktop packaging of Suse Linux, for one, looks impressive indeed. Novell claims to have referenced some 1,500 hours of video of users interacting with Linux systems in order to refine the GUI on this latest offering, and the results, according to Novell spokespeople, have performed favorably in usability surveys when compared with Windows.

Don't roll out your tattered old "Year of Desktop Linux" banner just yet, though. It's still premature to expect a landslide of support from the all-important hardware vendors.

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