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Open Source Software Moving Onto Corporate Desktops

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It's a bit like moving from the basement to the living room.

Open-source software, once primarily associated with computer operating systems, is now being used by companies for critical functions and software applications such as storing data, managing customers and analyzing business information.

The success of Linux, the free computer operating system created in the early 1990s by Linus Torvalds and developers around the world, has paved the way for a growing open-source ecosystem.

"The technology is evolving very rapidly," said Dan Kusnetzky, an analyst with research firm IDC.

Numerous Web sites, such as Google, are now operated on open-source software. Mozilla Firefox is an open-source Web browser that has been downloaded more than 75 million times. OpenOffice is a suite of desktop applications, including word processing and spreadsheet, popular in developing countries, such as India and Brazil.

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