Unix For The Rest Of Us?  Linux Takes A Hit, Eazel Closes Doors

Linux, the Open Source operating system that has gained incredible popularity in the business and server markets, took a major hit today for extending that reach to the consumeris desktop. Eazel, a company founded by a number of former Apple notables, has announced that they have run out of funding and will be shutting down.

Eazel is the company behind the Nautilus GUI for Linux, a graphical file management system that, combined with the GNOME interface, aimed to make using Linux as easy as using Windows or the Mac OS. Despite showing incredible promise, Eazel and the Nautilus project were never able truly get off the ground. According to a C|Net article:

Eazel closed its doors this week after 16 months of developing a Linux interface for the consumer market. The company had spent the last several months in pursuit of a second round of funding. That search came to an end this week as an Eazel co-founder notified members of the GNOME software-development community that the company was going out of business.

"I regret to inform you that Eazel is in fact shutting down," Eazel co-founder Bart Decrem wrote in a notice to GNOME developers. "Over the past six months, our board members and executives worked tirelessly to secure financing for the company. Unfortunately, the high-tech capital markets have all but dried up and we have been unable to secure funding."

Eazel was founded by veterans of some of the most successful consumer endeavors in computing history. These included Chief Executive Mike Boich, who joined Apple Computer in 1982 and was an evangelist for the budding Macintosh project, and "software wizard" Andy Hertzfeld, who started at Apple in 1979, where he wrote much of the original Macintosh OS.

Eazel released Nautilus 1.0 in March, but that released failed to attract enough attention to garner additional funding. Nautilus, like the rest of the Open Source software projects, is available for the public to "play with" and manipulate. This brings up an interesting scenario, according to the C|Net article:

Like the rest of GNOME, Eazel was designed to be developed under the open-source model, in which anyone can use or contribute to code under a public license. That means that the software development may potentially outlive the company that initiated it.

You can read the full article at the C|Net Web site.

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