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VA unveils Linux desktop systems

Prices from $800

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Security for virtualized datacentres

VA Linux Systems' launch of a desktop Linux box clearly suggests the open source OS is ripe for the SME desktop market, if not mainstream personal computing. The latter is clearly out for now - even pre-installed, as a multi-user operating Linux remains tricky business to manage if you lack a good grounding in the OS, and its GUIs are still not yet mature user interfaces. However, with Linux's share of the server market increasing, businesses may well be looking to buy cheap desktop Linux boxes that can provide their staff with basic Net access tools and hooks into the business' main applications. In such circumstances, you don't need quality personal productivity tools - with their document creation focus - or the kind of font handling systems that Linux lacks. You don't need to pay extra for Windows, either. The StartX - nice touch, that - should also appeal to hobbyists, Web site developers and coders - users who want a solid Linux system but would prefer to avoid setting the OS up and paying the Windows tax. The StartX SP2 comes in at under $800, and offers a choice of 466MHz Celeron or PIII (at 533MHz or 733MHz) CPU, 10GB or 12GB hard drive, 48x CD-ROM, and no screen, 17in or 19 in monitor. VA has bundled a sound card, and graphics acceleration is integrated into the machine's Intel 810E chipset. VA is also offering the Celeron-only StartX SP and the dual PIII StartX MP. ®

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