Microsoft Linux apps rumours resurface

File under 'suspect'

LinuxWorld According to WinInfo, Microsoft's long-time Unix porting ally, Mainsoft, is working on getting Microsoft's Windows applications running under Linux.

WinInfocites just the one anonymous source, a developer working in Israeli, and we're invited to believe that he or she is a Mainsoft developer. It doesn't actually say.

But this "source" claims that development work on WINE-like runtime translation has been underway in Israel and France for a year, with "disappointing results". The source also suggests Microsoft plans to "leverage Linux as an entry point to Windows, in the same way it does with the Macintosh version of Office".

At this week's LinuxWorld, the multiparty Gnome Foundation said it would incorporate Mozilla into future, componentised versions of StarOffice, and perhaps even more significantly, said it will publish open file formats that world+dog can adopt. And Eazel was showing off Nautilus, which has even slicker integration between the OS and the apps than Windows. So the timing of what must be the 43rd version of this rumour looks particularly suspicious.

Michael Dell this week said the Linux desktop market now matched the Macintosh market in numbers. And Microsoft is volume company - that's how it likes to do business. But bear in mind that it's one thing to write applications for a closed rival hardware platform, and another thing altogether to write applications for other PC operating systems. That's what Redmond sees as its front lawn - and only Microsoft tanks can park there.

Mainsoft has yet to return our calls requesting more information. ®

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