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Linux gains traction in software market

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Linux

When IBM introduced a version of Lotus Notes that runs on the desktop computers using the Linux operating system this month, it was a sign of confidence that open-source software is gaining market traction.

"A lot of enterprises, especially government and educational organizations, like the cost and flexibility of Linux," he said. "This is geographically driven. Linux has taken off in Germany, India and China."

Linux is what the industry calls open-source software. Led by Linus Torvalds when he was a computer-science graduate student at the University of Helsinki, Finland, a team of programmers from around the world developed the software that has its entire code open to programmers and developers, unlike proprietary software such as Windows. Users continue to maintain and upgrade Linux and allow it to be downloaded and used for free.

Most enterprises that use Linux prefer to pay for commercial versions provided by Red Hat, Novell or other firms. These versions are more user-friendly, but they still cost about one-tenth of what Microsoft charges for Windows, the world's most pervasive computer operating system.

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