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Desktop Linux company wins funding

Helix Code, a company hoping adoption of Linux by desktop users will be a profitable business, has changed its name to Ximian and has won $15 million in venture capital.

Helix Code, a company hoping adoption of Linux by desktop users will be a profitable business, has changed its name to Ximian and has won $15 million in venture capital.

Charles River Ventures and Battery Ventures invested the money in the Cambridge, Mass., company, which hopes its easy-to-use desktop software for Linux will provide connections to e-commerce business partners who'll pay for the service.

Linux, while popular on servers run by technically sophisticated administrators, is still generally accepted to be too complex for average computer users. In addition, Microsoft Office, by far the dominant software suite for programs such as word processing, isn't available. However, Linux is making gradual inroads into the desktop operating system market.

Ximian faces competition from Eazel, another start-up banking on easy-to-use Linux and services. In addition, Red Hat, the top Linux operating system company, has its own services to try to make Linux less of a chore.

But not all is easy in the Linux world, despite the popularity of the clone of the Unix operating system.

TuxTops, a company that specialized in selling laptops with Linux, is leaving the hardware business to focus on a new, unannounced software product, CEO Graham Hine said in a Jan. 12 announcement.