Eaze of Use

After reading my publisher's statement last month, Bob McMillan (LM's executive editor) said to me; "Adam, you really should not write about trade shows every month. People will think you never get out." Well, they would be right. I never do get out. But, needing to defend myself, I replied with; "But Bob, I do get out. Didn't we just conduct an interview with Cliff Miller (pg. 60)?" Truthfully, the irony was not lost on me...








Pub Statement
Need To Get Out More: Linux Magazine publisher Adam Goodman (top right) ventures out of his lair to join Lonn Johnston (top left) and Cliff Miller (bottom right) of TurboLinux and LM’s executive editor Robert McMillan.

After reading my publisher’s statement last month, Bob McMillan
(LM’s executive editor) said to me; “Adam, you really should not write about trade shows every month. People will think you never get out.” Well, they would be right. I never do get out. But, needing to defend myself, I replied with; “But Bob, I do get out. Didn’t we just conduct an interview with Cliff Miller (pg. 60)?” Truthfully, the irony was not lost on me…


Anyway, Bob is in luck this month. Since there are no trade shows I’m forced to think of something else to write about.

I’ve been thinking a lot about a company named Eazel lately (http://www.eazel.com). For those of you who haven’t heard of them, Eazel is a Palo Alto-based startup that is working on a new GUI for Linux. “What?!?” I hear you say, “another user interface for Linux?!? But we already have GNOME and KDE! Why do they want to add to the confusion?” Well, they’re not.

For one thing, they have decided to base their GUI on the work already done by the GNOME team. So they are not trying to reinvent the wheel. For another, they are working closely with Helix Code, a new Boston-based company founded by Miguel de Icaza and Nat Friedman, two of the leaders of the GNOME project.

So what Eazel is actually doing is building the next-generation GNOME interface. Their work will be released under the GPL and will be integrated into the main GNOME source tree.

All of this is nice, but it still doesn’t address the big question: “Why should I care?” Well, Eazel’s founders were all core members of the team that developed the original Apple Macintosh OS back in 1984. Their vision is to make Linux easier to use than either the Mac or Windows, while at the same time retaining the flexibility and customization that Linux and GNOME are famous for. If anyone knows how to build an easy-to-use GUI, it’s these guys.

The implications of what Eazel is doing are many and far-reaching. In the short run, it is sure to deepen the division between the GNOME and KDE camps. KDE has so far been considered a more mature product, but the work Eazel is doing will quickly close that gap.

Perhaps more important, the fact that companies like Eazel are springing up means that more and more mainstream traditional developers are beginning to believe in open source projects. The more startups like this that we see, the brighter the future of Linux and open source looks.

See you next month,


Adam Signature

Adam M. Goodman

Editor & Publisher

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