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Fans aim to get Linux on desktops

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Linux

In most respects, Linux enthusiasts are a fervently evangelical bunch.

They love to sing the praises of their computer operating system, touting it as a secure, flexible and, above all, free alternative to Microsoft Windows.

Like all open source software, Linux is open to user modification, and developers around the globe volunteer their time to make it better. Their efforts have paid off as Linux's popularity has ballooned, especially in corporate computer systems and other complex networks.

In one arena, though, Linux backers concede they don't have a lot to shout about: desktop computers.

"Linux is not doing bad on the desktop. (But) it's not doing great," said David Mandel, self-described chief activist of the Portland Linux/Unix Group. "It still lacks a certain degree of friendliness."

Open Source Development Labs hopes to improve that, beginning Thursday. The Beaverton industry consortium, which bills itself as the "center of gravity for Linux," is hosting more than 50 top desktop Linux developers from as far as the Czech Republic and Sweden for two days of strategizing.

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