November 7, 2003

The Penguin's New Desktop Habitat

Open-source software conferences tend to attract a typical assortment of long-bearded geeks, tech evangelists, and the odd business suit. But at the
Linux Desktop Consortium conference, which will take place on Nov. 10 at Boston University, one of the stars will be Dr. Martin Echt, an avuncular
cardiologist from Albany, N.Y. Dr. Echt, chief operating officer of Capital Cardiology Associates, an eight-office practice, will discuss his decision
to shift his network of PCs to Linux from Microsoft's (MSFT ) Windows, the operating system that controls the basic functions of computers running on
Intel (INTC ) microprocessors.

While Dr. Echt is an unusual Linux convert, he's hardly alone. In China, the State Council has mandated that all ministries buy locally produced
software in the next upgrade cycle. In particular, it's pushing the local flavor of Linux, dubbed Red Flag. In the impoverished Spanish region of
Extremadura, the government has installed on 200,000 PCs a Linux operating system that incorporates the regional dialect. And despite a personal visit
from Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer, the city of Munich has promised to transfer its 14,000 PCs from Windows to Linux as early as next year.


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