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By Julian Matthews
December 3, 1999

At the Fall Comdex in Las Vegas last month, Linus Torvalds, the spiritual leader of the open source movement, summed up the future of the Linux operating system in two words: "Penguins everywhere."

Corel Corp chief executive Michael Cowpland echoed the statement, declaring that Linux’s time is now: "DOS had 10 years, Windows has had the last 10 years and now it’s time for Linux."

Their confidence has been infectious. Linux has taken the computer world by storm in the past year. Many computer makers have begun to offer Linux as an alternative to Microsoft’s Windows NT, specifically as email and Web servers. But even as the new wave of the Linux decade is ushered in, not everyone is yelling "Surf’s up!" Critics' pet peeve is that Linux has proved too unwieldy for most desktop users. They point to the lack of applications and a fragmented market, and wonder whether Linux can cut it on the enterprise.

Detractors aside, the push to popularize Linux in Asia has already begun, albeit on a slow but steady trot.

Red Hat Inc chairman and CEO Bob Young told CNET Asia that his company plans to set up a direct presence in Asia besides expanding channels and partnerships. Caldera Systems Inc Asia-Pacific regional director Kenneth Bergenthal said he also plans to set up one or more offices in Asia by next year.

Both companies mention Japan, Australia, South Korea, Taiwan and Singapore as strong first choices, with India and China as possibilities for the future. "The effect of having so many open source OS users relying on Red Hat Linux across Asia is creating a lot of demand for us to expand our service offerings within those markets," said Young.


Julian Matthews is the Malaysian correspondent for CNET Malaysia. Email us your comments.


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