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February 17th, 2000

[3:40 PM] Apple Mac Pioneers Seek To Take Linux Where No Command Line OS Has Gone Before
by Staff

C-Net is reporting on a new company called Eazel. Eazel was founded by Apple veterans Mike Boich and Mac pioneer Andy Hertzfeld to put together a real GUI (Graphical User Interface) for Linux. Mike Homer, another Apple veteran from the first Steve Jobs era and a current AOL executive, also sits on the company's Board of Directors. Andy Hertzfeld has been immortalized in Mac circles for his role in developing the first Mac. The company's goal is to offer the first complete GUI for Linux that is not only easy to use, but actually makes it truly possible to not have to use the command line for anything if the user doesn't want to. According to C-Net:

"We are doing something really comprehensive," Boich said. "We're writing the software that serves as the file manager and the graphical shell. There are some graphical environments out there, but they don't cover everything. We're going to provide GUI coverage for the whole system."

Eazel will develop its software under the open-source model that has fueled Linux's popularity among computer enthusiasts and its rise in the corporate marketplace. Because the software will be free, the company will follow the lead of other Linux outfits, such as Red Hat and VA Linux Systems, in earning its revenue through services.

Eazel was the brainchild of Mac OS co-author Hertzfeld, who became interested in open source when Netscape released its Communicator Web browser source code through the group in 1998.

"He saw tremendous need for usability work on Linux," Boich said. "Today it's more of a back-office operating system, but we believe the potential to be a lot more than that."

You can find more information on C-Net's article and we encourage you to read it.

The Mac Observer Spin: This might be the first real threat that Microsoft could face from Linux. It is our opinion that much of the hype surrounding Linux is just that at this point. Linux is a fantastic operating system, but is still not ready for prime time or ordinary users' desktops despite the work of RedHat and others. If Eazel should succeed in truly providing an all encompassing GUI for Linux, then all that could change.

This could be a threat to Apple too, but it is certainly much more of a threat to Windows 2000. The Mac Observer will be following the progress of Eazel closely.


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