A Linux wish list

Number one, far and away on the Linux wish list, is applications, said Al

Gillen, research manager for systems software at International Data Corp.

"Nine out of 10 killer apps that a user needs are not readily available

on Linux, or are available but from a different company."

Gillen said the difficulty in porting an agency's mission-critical applications — whether that means processing permits or tax returns — is a hindrance

to greater Linux adoption. It costs money to migrate or replace existing

applications with Linux versions — not to mention the need to retrain employees

to use and support the new systems.

Christopher Wilson, a Linux user and research fellow at the National

Institutes of Health's National Institute of Neurological Disorders and

Stroke, said he'd like to see a greater number of drag-and-drop tools in

future iterations of Linux but that the open-source nature of the operating

system makes him confident that those needs will be met soon.

Other features on Linux users' wish lists include:

* Graphical e-mail features.

* Increased stability.

* Quickly updated security patches.

* A file system with more advanced and easier-to-use features.

* Better development tools, more in line with those available on Microsoft

Corp. Windows NT and 2000.

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