Linux desktop vendor throws down licensing gauntlet to Microsoft

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Ximian is hoping to cash in on some of the unease surrounding Microsoft’s new software licensing scheme by offering customers a discount of up to 25 per cent on its open source desktop applications.

The aim of the initiative, dubbed “Y2Pay” – a play on words of the Y2K Millennium bug challenge - is to woo prospects over to a Linux alternative to Windows-based desktops and applications as the 31 July deadline for the Microsoft Software Assurance plan looms.

The Software Assurance initiative has been widely criticised for doing away with many long term discount programmes and encouraging organisations to sign up for automatic subscription-like upgrades that will result in software costs rocketing in some instances – something that Microsoft denies.

David Patrick, Ximian’s president and chief executive, said: “The clock is ticking toward the Y2Pay deadline of 31 July, and many corporate customers, already facing tight IT budgets, are increasingly anxious about new Microsoft licensing costs.”

“As a result, we are offering a very simple, streamlined way for companies to choose and evaluate Linux as a more cost-effective option for some user populations,” he added.

The initiative covers the Ximian Desktop Professional Edition for Linux, which includes personal productivity packages such as Sun Microsystems’ StarOffice 6.0 and Ximian’s Evolution email and personal information management suite, and will be valid until 15 August, 2002.

Interested parties can download the software, which runs on Sun’s Solaris 8, and Linux distributions such as Red Hat, SuSE and Mandrake, from www.ximian.com.

Individuals can purchase the application suite for $49.95, a 17 per cent saving on the regular price, while companies wanting to start a Linux pilot can buy a 10 user starter pack for $449, a saving of 25 per cent per user.

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