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This could be the breakthrough for Linux fighting the hegemony of Windows on PCs.
the AOL software could be configured to override Windows and
launch a version of Red Hat's Linux operating system, sources said.
As far as the netscape gripe, keep in mind that it was the netscape decision to release its code that germinated the whole concept of open source.
The reason AOL could (there's a pattern forming here) potentially clean up, is because they (AOL) already have a disgraceful amount of exposure, positive or negative; and yes, I'd warm to the idea of my granny surfing away on a custom version of Linux - whether it's an idiot-proof distro or not is utterly irrelevant - it is still the kind of mass market exposure Open source development needs, especially Linux.
Let's just keep our collective (red)hat's on straight here; it's still an interesting prospect, whether you consider yourself a dabbler or a "true blood". Personally, I think it's the most interesting/amusing/controversial bit of tech news I've read since WinXP's "feature set" was announced - need I say any more?
Well, yes actually; I'm up for guessing the name of the new OS; RedHell anyone? (As in "Ay?! Oh hell!!")
Can't think of a better way to do this than offer a complete OS with AOL branded browsers, free word processors, etc etc.
But you've got to ween the average PC user off of windows - if this does go anywhere I imagine it will be with a CD that sets up your PC to boot up in either AOLnix mode or Windows mode. AOLnix mode would gradually become the defacto mode for all surfing, document writing, and windows would be left for the games (for a while). I think a little bit of history will repeat itself - remember the 386/486 days, dos bootup menu's one for Games the other for windows and word? (Franticly removing TSR's to get Doom to actually run!)
Dos really only dissappeared from peoples conciousness once games ran under windows.
So the RH/AOL seems to be mostly hot air - but AOL don't need RH to do this type of thing, they do need the Linux expertise but not the company.
If this did happen I'm still not decided whether it would be a good thing? AOL/TW would probably fix things to give users even less control of software and content than Microsoft do now. But on the other hand - it might be a catalyst for the separation of OS, applications, and content that is so desperately needed - "Microsoft Word2009 for AOLnix".
 disclaimer: its speculation and opinion - I think it probably won't happen[/edit]