November 28, 2000

My CD-ROM is my computer: Linbox, DemoLinux reinvent the network computer

Author: JT Smith

Paris, France - 28th November 2000 -
The objective of DemoLinux is to bring Linux to a broad public and
to
win new users by considerably simplifying installation. The term
"installation" is actually inappropriate in this case, because Linux
is not installed. This avoids the problems that may arise when a new
system is placed on a computer already configured with another OS.
There is no need to create a new disk partition or disrupt the
existing configuration. The user simply switches the computer on and
inserts the CD-ROM.

Jean-Pierre Laisné, CEO of Linbox, stressed this
point: "We were all really impressed, not just by the technology but
also by the ergonomics of DemoLinux. This CD-ROM is a pocket
computer
that turns a conventional client workstation into a thin client
fully
adapted to the user's requirements. This technology creates an
innovative, easily transportable and unbreakable product that will
revolutionize network computing."

When the computer boots up with
the
DemoLinux CD-ROM, the system is installed on the RAM only. This is
because the Linux kernel features LFS, or Live File Systems. This
technique, which is seldom applied, uses a compressed file system to
expand the 650 Mb limit of the CD-ROM to more than 1 Gb of useable
data. Based on the Debian Potato distribution (version 2.2),
DemoLinux
2.0 features the office environments Gnome and KDE, StarOffice by
Sun
Microsystems and several hundred applications. As a result DemoLinux
is a high-performance office automation environment.

Adopting the same approach as DemoLinux, Linbox is adapting Network
Computing for the IT industry. To do this, it has developed a
turnkey
LNA solution for business, which is based on a bootable CD-ROM that,
in five minutes, automatically installs a server-centric network
architecture. As Jean-Pierre Laisné explains: "Linbox is pursuing
mass
customization by developing professional models in the form of
self-booting CD-ROMs, adaptable to each user. The CD-ROM is a widely
used, popular medium that makes up for the low bandwidth to which
users are accustomed today, pending future improvements." He adds:
"We're just following one of the major trends that has emerged in
industry over the past few decades, aiming to bring down IT
ownership
costs."

The Linbox network architecture, baptized LNA, adopts an
open
approach to networking, for easy large-scale deployment of
professional solutions. Based on thin technologies with its
NetStations and NetServers, LNA is a standard architecture that
takes
networking into the post-PC era through its ability to adapt to
existing systems without modifications. Users are free to
concentrate
on the specific development of their solutions since Linbox takes
care
of IT complexities by centralizing the application on its local
servers (Linbox Netservers).

A final word goes to Roberto Di Cosmo:
"We share Linbox's pragmatic vision of the way the industry is
likely
to go in terms of architecture. By working with Linbox engineers, we
will be able to improve and produce a full range of solutions based
on
the DémoLinux project, from client workstations to firewalls."

About Linbox SA
Linbox is developing and marketing a range of ready-to-install
network
solutions for vertical markets, working closely with SuSE Linux AG
and
MandrakeSoft SA. The Linbox offering is based on solutions that are
easy to install and use, with low maintenance costs. Based on Linbox
Network Architecture (LNA), the systems use thin-client and
thin-server architectures. In April 2000, the company raised E2.5
million from Europatweb (the Arnault Group's Internet incubator) and
La Financière de Brienne (a venture capital company backed by the
French Ministry of Defense). Linbox has offices and research centres
in France.

Web: www.linbox.com

About DemoLinux
DemoLinux is an organization set up to promote Linux and Free
Software. It produces CD-ROMs that enable users to run Linux without
installing it, thanks to a technology that is independent of Linux
distributions. This technology is also used to create special
versions
of CD-ROMs for operators, organizations and companies. The DemoLinux
project involves three people, all based at Paris VII University:
Vincent Balat, Roberto Di Cosmo and Jean-Vincent Loddo. Version 1.0
of
DemoLinux has received the support of the INRIA, the AFUL
(French-speaking association of Linux and free software users) and
MandrakeSoft. Widely circulated at LinuxDemoDay in September 1999,
used by MandrakeSoft in its Golden Pack for its Linux-Mandrake 6.1
demo CD-ROM, DemoLinux is winning over new users every day to the
cause of Free Software.

Web: www.demolinux.org

Legalese
Linbox is a registered trademark of Linbox Inc.
Linux is a registered trademark of Linus Torvalds.
Linux-Mandrake is a trademark of MandrakeSoft.
All other trademarks and copyrights are owned by their respective
companies.

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