The race is on: Linux vs. Windows

Linux enthusiasts start planning for alternatives to Microsoft's Win2K launch

With a month to go until Microsoft officially launches Windows 2000, some Linux stalwarts are realising there's not much time left to capitalise on a golden PR opportunity.

Linux enthusiast Deepak Saxena is attempting to rally the troops to create some alternative publicity on or around Microsoft's February 17 launch date. Saxena has created a Web site where corporate sponsors, Linux User Groups and other interested parties can link up and organise.

"We're not trying to say Microsoft/Bad; Linux/Good," says Saxena. "This is more about showing that there's an alternative. Especially for small businesses -- we want to show them they have a choice. Many people have heard about Linux but haven't seen it in action."

The Linuxdemo site calls February 17 "Linux Demo Day Y2K." The site lists a number of "corporate sponsors," who have agreed to supply interested Linux backers with brochures and other literature to hand out at any Windows 2000 counter-events they may organize. Among these sponsors are Caldera, LinuxCare, Red Hat, SGI and TurboLinux.

On the site, Saxena notes that, like Windows 2000, Linux is targeted at the server operating system space.

"For large enterprises, making the switch from NT to Linux is not an easy decision and would take several months of planning," Saxena acknowledges. But "small and medium sized businesses, on the other hand, could easily switch over to Linux for use as a file or static content Web server with very little overhead."

Linux advocates have staged some successful alternative events in recent months, including last year's Windows Refund Day

But the Linux backers will have to make a lot of noise to counter the myriad Windows 2000 launch events that Microsoft and its partners have been planning for the past year. The main launch event is slated for Feb. 17 at the Moscone Center in San Francisco during the Windows 2000 Conference & Expo. Microsoft also is planning simultaneous events at local Microsoft sales offices throughout the United States.

February 17 is the date that retail customers may begin purchasing Windows 2000 Professional, Server and Advanced Server in stores.

Microsoft's various OEM partners are free to begin preloading the product any time they feel they have sufficiently tested it, according to Microsoft officials. Microsoft says it delivered the final gold code to OEMs on Dec. 15, 1999 -- the day that the company released the product to manufacturing. Microsoft delivered earlier this month the final Windows 2000 product to its US and Canadian Select volume-license customers, as well as to customers that participated in its Joint Deployment and Rapid Deployment programs, Microsoft officials say.

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