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Corel To Launch Linux PCs With Intel 97

Ami Ganguli writes, "This morning's edition of Canada's Globe and Mail claims that Corel and Intel are discussing an alliance to produce cheap Linux boxes. The article claims that a major PC vendor, a browser developer, and an ISP would also be involved. It sounds like a two year commitment to AOL may soon land you a free PC with Linux and Corel Office 2000. " It's all rumors and "talks" at this point, however.
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Corel To Launch Linux PCs With Intel

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  • aol has long since been discussing a port, the problem is userability. No users currently want to use any opensource o/s, because it is geared to a programmers angle of usage, and most programmers use either dsl or t? for their lines when they can get it. so . . .
  • It's gonna be interesting to see these machines working, let's see if user-friendliness increases on linux
  • I suppose if you want a quick invasion of the desktop market there will be trade-off's :P

  • That would certainly be interesting. PPP configuration on Linux can be troublesome enough, last thing we need is AOL 5.0 for Linux disabling it.

    On the other hand, this would go a long way towards pushing the whole internet appliance concept forward.

    +----------------------------------------------- -------

  • It sounds like a two year commitment to AOL may soon land you a free PC with Linux and Corel Office 2000.

    Yes, but that would still be a two year commitment to AOL! Some of us would rather slit our wrists :-) Seriously, though, it's nice to see, even if I won't personally be interested.

  • Burn it in an appropriate ritual of cleansing and casting out of demons? Doe aol run on linux? or unix for that matter? I wasn't aware of any such support.
  • User friendliness means hiding everything from the users, so giving them a browser and a word processor and asking them not to touch/preventing them touching anything else means they could use Linux/Solaris etc quite happily on their desktops from now on - in an office environment.

    Home users would probably have to wait a bit more or have some decent, cheap phone support.
  • /sarcasm With the fallout between Microsoft and Intel over the processor requirement seems to have sparked the division of the two companies. Corel shipping these new systems it can only mean one thing. Enter Lintel! The next great scourge in Hardware/Software monopolies. /sarcasm off
  • by Mr. Penguin ( 87934 ) <[drj] [at] [trivergent.net]> on Thursday March 09, 2000 @07:43AM (#1214988) Homepage
    What's this talk about AOL? This really doesn't make sense. AOL is WinWare, and the last time I checked, with no intention to ever support Linux. In fact, most Linux users wouldn't touch AOL with a ten-foot pole.

    AOL's proprietary network protocols already screw up Windows. If you've got problems and happen to have AOL installed, all you have to do is remove that funky "AOL adapter" from your network protocols and things get better. Do we really want them screwing with Linux, throwing their protocols in, and generally kludging things up? I doubt it!

    I've really got nothing againgst AOL as a company. They've got near world-wide access. But their procedures leave a lot to be desired. If a standard ISP had as big an infrastructure as AOL does, that would be great (or if AOL would revert to standard protocols).

    Brad Johnson
    --We are the Music Makers, and we
    are the Dreamers of Dreams

  • <I>PPP configuration on Linux can be troublesome enough</I><P>

    Can it? Never noticed it. Just enter the standard stuff in Kppp's config dialogs and go. Did this on several different setups without problems.<P>
  • Sounds like good stuff

    I really didn't like AOL in the first place however if you can do it on linux that would mean people like my grandparents would never even notice me replacing their windows box :)
  • This is wonderful for the marketplace. True competition is finally arriving for MSFT. The next question is which Boxmaker will jump on board first? Remember Dell's comments a few weeks ago right before the W2K release? It would seem that was more than just a bargaining tactic with MSFT. Intel, Corel/INPR, Netscape, Dell?, AOL?. That must scare the "heck" out of Redmond. Wow. I wonder if the Intel/RHAT tie-in will then tie-in to Corel as well? Talk about the WHOLE shebang! telaunt
  • On the other hand, this would go a long way towards pushing the whole internet appliance concept forward.

    That is a bad thing. When you have everyone jumping ship to run one of those devices what happens to the cost of PCs and what about improvements? Basically you ruin the entire computer experience. WebTV has essentially not been a terrible success with it's approach and I don't think that internet appliances would be any better.
  • Remember those Netwinders, with those cool little ARM processors. Why not make a deal with CorelHardware/AOL/Corel instead? Am I just uninformed? Do these things even exist anymore?

    Here's another question. Can anyone shed light on the cryptic last line of the article, the line after Deal Update:

    Corel, Inprise won't adjust merger
    What is Inprise? What's the merger mentioned?
  • I see that they only commit you to two years of AOHell, but I don't know if that'd be a big factor. The reality is that the people buying these cheapo internet boxes are usually ultra-low-level consumers. They've never heard of Linux. Also, who's going to stock these in the retail stores where a lot of these consumer PCs are still sold? I think most of the sales are going to be to family and freinds of Linux advocates and to the Linux advocates themselves who need an extra PC. But how many people is that? Too soon, is my judgement. -N
  • by christophersaul ( 127003 ) on Thursday March 09, 2000 @07:49AM (#1214997)
    Don't forget AOL now own Netscape, so doubtless the browser will be Mozilla-esque.

    AOL are going down the 'open' path, so sticking an AOL branded Netscape browser and bundling it with an AOL account and a reliable Linux box is a great way of getting away from MSFT and promoting Internet access from any device, etc, etc.
  • Burn it in an appropriate ritual of cleansing and casting out of demons? Doe aol run on linux? or unix for that matter? I wasn't aware of any such support.

    There isn't any but there may be if they agree to it. Generally AOL is only supported on windows and Mac platforms because most of the idiots^H^H^H^H^H^H people who use AOL are on those platforms.

  • A Linux version of AOL Instant Messenger?!

    Do you realise there is a free upgrade available?
    There is a free upgrade available for this software?
    There is yet another free upgrade available?

    Do you realise you haven't been to the AOL Instant Messenger Update Page in the past x hours?

    AOL - Its knowledge; Its power; IT SUCKS! :P
  • Well, if they bundle it correctly, all the user needs to do is plug the modem in and click on 'Connect to AOL' or whatever.

    If it needs reconfiguring, talking someone through using a gui based PPP dialer should be dead easy.
  • Hmmm. Well Netscape does have a browser, and sponsors Mozilla. SOL, ooppps, I mean AOL did buy Netscape. This is one of those things that sounds both likely and unlikely at the same time. I'm not sure SOL, oooppppps there I go again, I mean AOL needs to give away boxes to get users to sign up; but it would be a cheap way to do it.

    Anyway for an ISP to produce cheap computers to get users to sign-up makes sense, and it does get Linux on more desktops. Corel is a good choice also, Corel's distribution is specifically geared towards desktop users, and it is more newbie friendly at that. Who knows? Wait an see!

  • Inprise is the name of the company formerly known as Borland

    As both companies have interests in Linux, they are talking of (or in the process of?) merging.

  • If you have a regular ISP, AOL is happy enough to use your existing TCP/IP connection... On windows and the Mac, it's happy enough to automatically start PPP whenever it's needed...

    And besides that, isn't configuring PPP a root-only type thing, where if AOL were installed by a user they wouldn't have permission to overwrite any of those settings anyways?
  • by sugarman ( 33437 ) on Thursday March 09, 2000 @08:19AM (#1215008)
    Hate to bring this up, but I didn't see AOL specificall mentioned anywhere in the linked article. The closest I could find was:

    <i>Mr. Cowpland said the talks are "multifaceted" and involve other computer industry players. Although he wouldn't reveal further details, Corel and Santa Clara, Calif.-based Intel would likely also want to include a computer maker, a browser company and an Internet service provider.</i>

    While AOL could provide 2 of the 3 requirements, and are quite likely to be providing one (Mozilla/Netscape), there is nowhere where they are specifically mentioned. What's the big deal people?

    As an aside, would AOL run under Wine? OR would Corel's efforts in that area maybe enable them to port it?

  • ...plus you'd have to buy your own coasters for the two year period where AOL owns you and they don't send you the "free minutes" CDs.
  • Does Kppp setup PPP correctly? I only tried it once, when I first installed Mandrake 6.0. It didn't setup the ifup and ifdown scripts properly so I immediately went back to netcfg which is simple and reliable. It seemed like you had to launch Kppp and click the connect button to get connected. It also seemed like you had to configure Kppp separately for each user.

    With netcfg you set it up once for the machine and the commands 'ifup ppp0' and 'ifdown ppp0' connect and disconnect. Just add them to the root menu of your favorite window manager. Much cleaner than the Windows approach which Kppp seems to mimic.

  • I think this is great and all, but wouldn't it make a little more sense to wait for a few months until the next wave of the Linux desktop services come out?

    Corel uses a modified version of KDE. It would be in their best interests (IMNSHO) to wait for KDE2 to come out so that developers for those systems can take advantage of all the cool new features of that platform.

    Ditto for XFree 4 (standard 3D graphics), Mozilla (a usable browser) and the 2.4 kernel (USB support).

    I realize that there will never be a time where there isn't something new coming down the pike, but with all of the above coming sometime in the next 6 months or so I believe patience would be a virtue.

    If Corel jumps the gun, they may be putting themselves in a rather hard position. Right now, they don't even ship with glibc 2.1. In order to get much of anything to run, you have to upgrade. OK, for me that's not a problem. For their target market, that *will* be a problem.

    Call me conservative, but rushing to market here is not the best idea. Remember our credo, ship it when its ready.


  • This could be the stepping stone to Linux's "World Domination". Computer newbies can rent/buy the computer, OS and ISP in one step. Since the OS is free, the price will be competitive to Win platforms, and hopefully they'll integrate the hardware, software and OS to make installation a breeze. This could be Linux for the masses - it might be big.
  • It's *much* more likely that the ISP would actually be an ISP, along the lines of Internet Direct (here in Canada anyway). Internet Direct already has an alliance with Future Shop and eMachines, so something like this seems to be a perfect fit for them.
  • by bgarcia ( 33222 ) on Thursday March 09, 2000 @08:31AM (#1215016) Homepage Journal
    AOL is WinWare, and the last time I checked, with no intention to ever support Linux.
    Don't bet on it. AOL hates the fact that their prime competitor MSN (Microsoft Network) is owned by the same company that makes the Operating System their software requires. MSN gets bundled with every copy of Windows, and AOL has to kiss Microsoft butt to make sure their software is bundled with every copy of Windows too. And still, when you start up Internet Explorer for the first time, it asks if you want to join the Microsoft Network.

    If AOL can sell their software on a Microsoft-free computer, then that's one less competitor they need to worry about

    In fact, most Linux users wouldn't touch AOL with a ten-foot pole.
    True, but Linux users aren't the intended consumers of AOL PC's. These things will be aimed at the people who currently use AOL, WebTV, etc. I just hope Corel and KDE are up to the task of making Linux easy enough for these people to use.
  • Remember those Netwinders, with those cool little ARM processors. Why not make a deal with CorelHardware/AOL/Corel instead? Am I just uninformed? Do these things even exist anymore?

    The netwinder division was sold to rebel.com. Corel no longer has anything to do with them, and well, they just cost to damned much for what they are..

    What is Inprise? What's the merger mentioned?

    Inprise = Borland. Corel is finalizing a merger between the two companies..
  • Intel's latest commitment seems like another shot at jumping out of the 'Wintel' boat. According to the book "Infinite Loop", Intel tried to do this with Apple (co-sponsoring a port of the MacOS to an Intel architecture)

    Is Linux the "savior" of Intel from M$?

  • HCC/CorelHardware changed its name to REBEL.com [rebel.com] and still sells the Netwinder, but it is marketed as a server and is too expensive to compete in the sub-$400 pc market.

    Regarding the merger not being adjusted, this is a response to the flack caused by an Inprise Board Director resigning in protest over the merger as he didn't thing the price was fair. Corel announced the merger would go through at the original price. See yesterday's post [slashdot.org] for more info. Of course, the board memeber is maybe a little less upset now, since this news has boosted Corel's stock price by 20% (and will likely at least double when an actual PC maker, a browser company and an ISP are identified).

  • Sounds like a great way to get linux into more homes, but the last people I want to order one of these are the people I know.

    I spend enough time providing computer help to friends and family, it's hard to put my foot down.

    On another note (sorry, its sort of off topic), while I am typing... anyone out there use a wrist brace? My right wrist is killing me, and has been for a long time (on and off). I haven't spoken to a doctor yet, but I intend to... I have noticed that i move the mouse with my wrist a lot, rather than using my arm.

    Any recommendations of where to get a wrist brace?

  • by Anonymous Coward
    If we are talking about "appliances" they can be made much more user friendly to install then anything the linux world has ever seen before. That included Corel. Reasons: 1) You pre-install it-) 2) It will likely be a closed box with limited to no upgradeabilty. Therefore very little in the way of choices during the setup. No need to worry if the hardware is supported. No need to worry about setting up X. etc. 3) Since every machine will be 99% the same you can just have a CD that reinstalls things on it's own. No need for the user to do much more then drop it into the drive and click okay. This sort of box would work for people other then AOL. It would be great for the cable companies,phone companies and even people like Amazon. OTOH I don't believe it. Intel already has shown something like this. It runs an Intel developed distribution. I can see them wanting Corel Office but that's a side issue. Intel doesn't need Corel for the basic machine. I think USWest is the US master distribution source for the intel box. They intend to push it for DSL service to the majority of it's phone customers. You will plug the phone cable into the back of the machine and that's it.
  • I don't think rebel.com is a start up...Corel sold the netwinder to Hardware Canada, for some money, and %25 stake in the company...I believe hardware canada relaunched itself as rebel.com.and yeah they are still selling them
  • A US postal service employee was involved in a shooting rampage today, reports quote him as saying "These net appliances are just to damn big to put in every mailbox", referring to AOL new mass marketing program where 500billon of the devices have been mailed out to everyone in the states.
  • ...but yes, it's just speculation.

    Remember that Corel wants to go for the mainstream consumer market. AOL is the domininant player. Add to that the fact that AOL owns Netscape and it makes a whole lot of sense.

    If you look at it another way, Corel would be foolish to try to take on Microsoft head-on (again) without some serious backing. AOL is the only ISP that's big enough (and hates Microsoft enough) to pull this off. Partnering with people like iDirect would only work if they had a network of similar sized ISPs across the continent.

  • SuSE 6.2 had an interesting problem where you'd enter all the information into KPPP, it'd try and dial and not connect. The problem turned out to be something that you had to edit in one of the ppp scripts, or lmhost or something like that... I can't remember anymore.

    Point being, it's possible to screw up the configuration files in ways that KPPP can't fix.
    +----------------------------------------------- -------

  • Hmmm... AOL has 'plays' in wireless, cable, DSL, and free PCs. They certainly have the money to do this. Most importantly, AOL has Mozilla.

    Mozilla could be the Trojan Horse AOL needs to rid itself of Windows. Go read this article [byte.com] on Byte on programmable browsers. AOL could potentially rebuild its entire interface in Mozilla/XUL.

    Then, not only they will be platform agnostic (with Mozilla doing the compatibility heavy-lifting) and connection agnostic (PPP? who needs PPP over a browser?), but could also potentially move away from being a consumer ISP, as they could pipe their proprietary content to a rebranded Mozilla at work (AOL@Work?). Then they could finally get the hits they need during daytime and business hours to truly be the #1 Internet site (bye, bye Netcenter?).

    More importantly, AOL is smart enough to do this. And their stock has fallen 25% since the T-W take-over. Anyone else see an opportunity here? ;-)...

    engineers never lie; we just approximate the truth.
  • Until Corel demonstrated its Word Perfect Office suite for Linux, I think everyone was saying "yes, but" it's not comparable to MS Office 2000. After the demo's in the past two monhts, the insiders have all known this one's a runner. Now, for the first time, there's an easy-to-install office suite that can run head to head with MS on features and clobber MS on price. This view still hasn't captured the popular computer press, and certainly hasn't touched the investment press, but from the G&M article, I think it's got the attention of the major chipmakers and pc manufacturers. Intel's participation will open a lot of eyes, and so will the downstream announcements of pre-loaded Linux computers.

    In the meantime, Corel shares are a bargain.

  • b/c for home users, the home user will have access to the root account.

    And in many cases with Linux software, you have to be logged in as root (or at least su) to install software in the first place... so AOL could easily exploit that. Ugh, any software company could.

    Hm... suddenly, widespread acceptance of Linux doesn't seem like a good thing any more... do I really want Microsoft to have root access on my machine while it's installing Microsoft Office for LInux? :-)
    +----------------------------------------------- -------

  • I was listening to a Toronto all-news radio station (AM 680 News [680news.com]) and they have said that Intel refutes the article saying they are not in any specific talks with Corel...

    Corel's Michael Cowpland claims to be in "multi-faceted" talks with Intel... whatever that means...
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday March 09, 2000 @09:15AM (#1215033)
    In a surprise move, Corel, after reaching a record $95 per share, buys Redhat which had dropped to $53 per share.

    Sources close to the Corel say that the main reason Corel Linux has been so popular is because Corel Linux has a pretty box, and uses very little harsh red colors.

    In a related story, Debian decided to change their product name to GNUnix to further distance themselves from consumers and common sense.

    Next Article: Intel releases 2 Ghz Carroton to compete against AMD's k9(dogathlon)

    hold F4 and Alt to continue.
  • "We want to ensure that the mainstream software works best with Intel chips."

    "But Mr. Cooper said Intel believes in choice. "It's certainly good news for consumers," he said of the talks."

    Anyone else see a conflict here?


  • by Denny ( 2963 )

    I don't know about KDE, what I've seen of it looks pretty good (I use GNOME personally) but I very much doubt if Corel are at a newbie friendly stage yet... I found their distribution to be a pain in the neck, and couldn't wait to fdisk it... worst of all was that nasty file manager that they're so proud of...

    I think they have some good ideas for making Linux more newbie friendly, but the implementation is a long way from perfect at this time... I dread to think what perception of Linux people could get from a Corel Linux box running Netscape (not our most reliable piece of software I think it's safe to say!), AOL (hate hate hate), and running on whatever hardware Intel want to get rid of because they're pushing new products out so fast that last year's stuff is now worthless in their eyes...

    Maybe I am just overly pessimistic, but this seems fraught with potential to make Linux look bad, in my overly vocal opinion...


    # Using Linux in the UK? Check out Linux UK [linuxuk.co.uk]

  • Bloomberg is also reporting [bloomberg.com] intel's denial.

    There are no discussions about a specific project such as

    the one described in the Globe and Mail,'' said Intel spokesman
    Adam Grossberg. He said Intel talks with many software companies
    about making sure their products work well on computers that
    feature Intel chips.

  • by zeon ( 123577 ) on Thursday March 09, 2000 @09:27AM (#1215037)
    Currently AOl does not suport Linux. I have met many people who's only reason not to switch to Linux is that they can't or wont give up AOL. Hence we have http://www.xaol.org . This open source project is still in the very early stages but we are always looking for help. Please visit the web site xaol.org and feel free to contact the project. -Jeffrey
  • What I'm wondering is this: Will people like me who live away from the tendrils of AOL, still be able to get hold of the cheap Linux boxen?

    Vik :v)
  • This is such a bad idea, I don't even know where to start. This is like the Java client station idea... Nobody wants that thing, nobody wanted it to begin with, but someone somewhere stubbornly convinced themselves that it was a good idea and so it came to be. And flopped miserably.

    The same thing will happen with any arrangement that ties Linux and AOL together. It just won't happen. Nobody wants it, nobody will buy into it, so why is it being discussed? Can't the marketing execs take their heads out of their perverbial asses and look around at reality before making these decisions?

    Disclaimer: I have *not* read any of the links contained within the original post. So I don't know if what I'm reading about in replies is even accurate...i.e., I don't know that the deal is purported to tie Linux to AOL in anyway...
  • This offering is not aimed at established Windows users or Linux followers. It is aimed at people who walk into Best Buy and buy the absolutely cheapest computer there -- people who don't even realize that there's a difference between Linux and Windows. AOL has always strived to get to the consumer early, kind of like big tobacco.


  • In fact, most Linux users wouldn't touch AOL with a ten-foot pole.

    Most existing Linux users wouldn't touch it. But somebody, somewhere must be using AOL. If Corel wants to raid that customer list and sell 'em Corel Linux, the only entity I can imagine having a problem with that is Microsoft.

  • In fact, most Linux users wouldn't touch AOL with a ten-foot pole.

    This is true, but is their market really existing Linux users? No. Their market is people who want a cheap appliance to browse the web and do word processing. And that's what they'll get. So long as AOL on Linux is reliable, and the users aren't looking to run Photoshop, it'll fly. The main downside to these type of users is that their other main use for such an appliance would be game playing, but with more and more games breaking free^H^H^H^Hthrough to this new platform, that might not be such a concern.
  • This guy's a genius. Moderate his post to 5.
  • Are we sure it will be a celeron base system??
    Corel already has a pc-like computer and it is the netwinder.
    Ir runs on a strongArm cpu that is way cheaper than a celeron.

    Are they going to throw away all the R&D and investment they did on it for bundling another low cost "e-machine like" pc?

    It makes more sense to me to push netwinder: it already run Linux and it is small, fast, well designed even if last price tag was around $800

    My $.02

  • Maybe someone already said something to this effect. I didn't read all of the replies, but...

    Corel is going after Win desktop share. I use Corel Linux and actually was quite frustrated. They did their best to make it feel like Windows and I was trying to use it like Linux. So even if it is AOL (which seems like speculation still...and correct me if I'm way off on my speculation there), It's keeping some old customers if they opt out of M$, and if not, it broadens their potential. And as someone else pointed out, NS is AOL's now...I still use it as my main browser despite that fact.

  • You're telling me you can't picture CompUSA selling these? Don't call them Linux boxes. Call it the AolBox or something. Boot directly into AOL, have no other apps, just one user who doesn't have to log in, and put it on a $500 PC.
  • Want to see Linux get way way more user friendly? Just wait until open source developers get deluged with emails from the millions of random people that AOL could get signed up for a program like this. You'll see some major usability feats real fast.

    Right now, why bother with usability? Most geeks don't complain about user interfaces at all.<p>

    (psst, is it just me, or is extrans broken today?)

    Want to work at Transmeta? Hedgefund.net? Priceline?

  • Let's do some maths. We'll start with the basics; let's add two and two together, and see what we get. OK? Here wo go...

    * AOL does not support Linux now.

    * AOL will work with Corel to make a system that runs Linux which you will use to connect to AOL.

    - What would the outcome be? If I'm not completely wrong, it's that AOL will start supporting Linux, or at least Corel's distro. If we're lucky (or at least the people who want to use AOL) it'll work on other dists as well.

    You see, maths isn't all that difficult. When it's used as an analogy, that is...
  • Microsoft will release IE 5.5 this summer, but I heard rumors that there will be no IE6. IE will completely disappear inside Windows. The next version of MSN is codenamed "Mars". Mars is hybrid of IE, Microsoft's Neptune UI, and an AOL-ripoff. Here's a Mars screenshot [zdnet.com] from a John Dvorak article about Mars [zdnet.com].

    Mars is just a local, non-web-based "portal". I can't see any advantages Mars has over web-based MyYahoo-like personalized portals. It's like the Labrea tar pits for getting customers stuck in the Microsoft mud.. er, innovations. And why those sickly dayglo colors?? Microsoft must think that all AOL users are teeny-boppers.

  • Actually, on any window~1 PC, whenever you install anything it DOES have root access to your whole system. The only way to solve the problem of not being able to trust nasty app developers is clear-coded open source for everything you install with lots of documentation, and open api's, etc... Microsoft, RealNetworks, Blizzard, the people who made that santa-bowling game for pc's, PGP, and virtually all virii: they all belong in the same category. You should NEVER use any proprietary code if you have concerns about privacy or security, or even anonimity.
  • "User Friendliness", eh?

    Lessee - Corel plays buddy-buddy with AOL-Time-Warner and Intel...

    AOL gets "ported" to linux (but will only run on Corel due to some sort of proprietary shiznit)

    They put out cheap linux boxes (probably all-in-one jobs) to which the user DOESN'T have root access (remember, this is AOL, and they don't WANT you to know what you're doing, let alone actually be able to do it)

    With these boxes (probably sub-$600) you'll pay for AOL's ISP service, and be treated to AOL ads every time you boot up. Because it's AOL, you'll be treated to a few spam emails

    You won't be able to install other software.
    You won't be able to switch ISPs.
    You won't be able to go anywhere on the web AOL decides to filter out.

    AOL, through Corel and Intel will "Make your life simple".

    Am I the only one SCARED about this?
  • I know people at AOL that say the reason they don't do an official port of AIM to Linux is because "there are only about 10 linux users out there". He was joking, but the point is, they don't want to support another OS that has a very small market (yeah yeah, I know Linux is growing). I'll just keep using GAIM for now...

  • Assuming this rumor turns into reality, this has potential to be revolutionary. Some posters were sniping about AOL's target audience being "ultra-low-level" consumers, on the opposite end of the spectrum from Linux's current geek crowd -- but isn't that exactly the type of audience needed to achieve World Domination(tm)?

    The way I see it, the benefits would be that first of all, Linux would (have to) get an interface designed for the mass audience. Linux's UI is currently developed by geeks for geeks, and it shows -- if they're serious about it, Corel/AOL/Intel have the muscle to develop something usable for the masses. Second, this would "sneak" Linux to a large group of people who would never otherwise even think about getting a Linux system, which will instantly increase the user base for all sorts of non-geek applications: more demand for games, more testers (guinea pigs?) for Corel Office, etc. And third, for every computer-illiterate AOLite mom who signs up so she can chat about soap operas, the same family will have a budding hacker kid who will now get the chance to grow up with Linux.

    Or, to put a more pessimistic slant on the issue, until something like this happens I doubt Linux will ever be able to escape the server/geek-niche. But with more and more companies dishing out free PCs, ditching that expensive MS operating system will soon start to look mighty promising...


  • Just wait until open source developers get deluged with emails from the millions of random people that AOL could get signed up for a program like this. You'll see some major usability feats real fast.

    ...conversely, the developers would also get deluged with E-mail, the entire text of which is like "I cant get my intrnet thing to werk help me pleeze" and they'd be so annoyed and/or behind trying to communicate with people who can't put together a coherent sentence that nothing would get done. Corel's developers might be forced to make the box idiot-proof, but nature would just build a better idiot, and the box would become less useful in the process.

    From the article, it seems that these boxes will be used for Web browsing and not much else. Is Mozilla's UI that horrible, that it needs massive amounts of feedback? Isn't the project already getting massive amounts of feedback? Anyway, it will be interesting to see what comes of this.

  • Looks like intel is denying this...

    Intel Says No Talks With Corel On Cheap PCs By STUART WEINBERG

    TORONTO -- An Intel Corp. (INTC) spokesman said the company isn't in talks with Corel Corp. (CORL) to launch a line of "cheap personal computers," as was reported Thursday in the Globe and Mail.

    "There are no discussions about a specific project, such as the one discussed in the Globe and Mail," Intel spokesman Adam Grossberg told Dow Jones.

    Grossberg said Intel works with "hundreds and hundreds" of software companies, including Corel, "to make sure that their software runs great on Intel architecture." Aside from that ongoing relationship, there are no projects underway between the two companies, he said.

    The Globe and Mail report said Corel was in talks with Intel and at least one major computer maker to launch a line of personal computers that would compete with Microsoft Corp. (MSFT).

    Corel spokeswoman Catherine Hughes wouldn't confirm or deny the Globe and Mail story, saying only that Intel is one of many companies that Corel is talking to about "a number of different projects." She declined to elaborate on the nature of the projects.

    Shares of Corel are surging Thursday, up 2 1/4, or 16%, to 16 3/8 on about 7.9 million shares on Nasdaq.

    Corel Corp. (CORL) spokeswoman Catherine Hughes said the company will continue its relationship with Microsoft while at the same time working on more Linux intiatives. "We cooperate with Microsoft on a number of points, and we also believe in competition," she said.

    Hughes said Corel was also looking at ways to bridge the gap between the Linux and Windows operating systems, though she declined to elaborate.

    She said the company held its annual meeting Wednesday, and that shareholder reaction to the planned merger between Corel and Inprise/Borland was positive.

    At the meeting, both Inprise chief executive Dale Fuller and Corel chairman and chief executive Michael Cowpland emphasized that "they feel positive moving forward," she said. Cowpland said he expects the merger - an all-stock transaction in which Inprise shareholders are to receive 0.747 of a Corel share for each share held - to be approved by shareholders sometime in June.

    The vote of confidence in the merger came one day after Inprise director C. Robert Coates made public his resignation from the Inprise board. He quit in early February before the board approved the merger.

    Hughes said Corel was on schedule to release its WordPerfect Office Suite for Linux in April. She said sales of the company's Linux operating system were US$3.2 million as of November.

    -Stuart Weinberg, Dow Jones Newswires; 416-306-2032

  • Nah, not a fair exchange. I think they will have to offer some financial remineration on top of the PC. I enjoy the web the way it is and I have no desire to put up with all those chat rooms full of kiddies talking inane rubbish.
  • "WebTV has essentially not been a terrible success with it's approach and I don't think that internet appliances would be any better."
    Yeah but WebTV uses a suck-ass browser on top of an embedded OS (sort of). It's basically Navigator 3.0, can't run Java, can't do plugins and is limited to TV resolution (640 X 480). A box with Linux and some decent apps could be built cheaply that would blow WebTV away!!!
  • Well, it could be normal hey-lets-get-some-money-by-jumping-on-the-bandwago n tactics. Or it could be the lets-lock-them-into-our-software tactic. Either way, its a pain.

    What's even wierder is that, as has been previously suggested, if AOL is trying to move away from Microsoft, this might be good. Yet Microsoft owns part of Corel. 10%, if memory serves. I'm betting that's enough to have a say in company policy....

    --"We are gray. We stand between the candle and the star."
    --Gray council, Babylon 5.
  • Does AOL even have software for linux? Just a thought on the patheticness of it all.
  • Seriously... some ISP's say you can use Linux with them... but they won't support. Maybe AOL will play the same way? Face it, Linux is not for the "everyman" to configure, let alone have to be walked through over the phone. What are they going to do, stupify Linux and make it.... Windows? Anyone else see this trend?
  • Better go back and check the Corel PR page and the Intel PPR page.

    Corel is disowning the story as is Intel. Here is a clarification from Corel.

    "Corel has enjoyed a long standing relationship with Intel Corporation. Since 1997, Corel has optimized its software for Intel's processors. Corel has also included Intel's MMX technology in our flagship WordPerfect office and CorelDRAW graphics suites. In early 1999, we optimized our products for the Pentium III processor chip and are looking with interest to Intel's next generation of processors.

    At the same time, Corel is in regular contact with major hardware manufacturers regarding bundling opportunities for Corel's award-winning applications, including Corel LINUX OS and our forthcoming WordPerfect Office for Linux. Corel CEO Michael Cowpland's remarks quoted in yesterday's Globe & Mail were in reference to these general discussions and were not related to any specific deal or ongoing discussions with any particular company.

    See what happens when you have to many press releases floating around or you spend to much time doing PR instead of taking care of business.

    Its only a matter of time before Corel gets bitten by an errant PR release yet again.

  • Simple... I'd give the AOL account to my sister for her iBook and keep the Linux box for myself. :)
  • If AOL were to be ported to Linux, the problem of AOL not using NN/Mozilla as it's built-in browser would become nill. With Linux's wild popularity and dazing growth-rate they would no longer have to strictly concern themselves with gaining users through Windows so therefore they could dare to shed the evil cloak of IE.
  • <i>The retarded tech support staff of AOL can barely handle windows issues. I'd like to know how they would explain to my grandma how to set up a modem and PPP under linux.</i><p>
    Just make sure you don't have a winmodem!

grep me no patterns and I'll tell you no lines.