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Lured by Linux, Thousands to Attend Raleigh Expo

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RALEIGH — The 5th AnnualLinux Expois underway at Raleigh's Civic and Convention Center. Computer professionals are learning what is new with the software that hasMicrosoftlooking over its shoulder.

With support from big companies,Linuxis moving into more offices and someday may move into your home too.

"Hopefully it will be the same click and drop type of things you do with theWindowssystem," says John Hall of Linux International.

Developers, systems administrators and Linux fanatics from around the world lead the free software movement.

"Original idea was not only improving the product and reducing costs, it was a way of giving freedom to the users," says Linux developer Miguel de Icaza.

Unlike Microsoft, programmers can change the Linux operating code. They can customize the code for their own needs. It is called "open source" and some industry analysts say Linux is a threat to Bill Gate's Microsoft empire.

"If I was a competitor I would do everything in my power to try and negate that competition," says Hall.

The Linux Expo began as a grass roots effort atN.C. Statefive years ago. Displays are being set up for more than 100 vendors of Linux-related products.

The growing popularity of Linux has caused Linux Expo to grow too. When the keynote speeches are made there will be thousands of people listening for the latest Linux news.

That is good for the Triangle and Expo is good for Linux entrepreneurs.

"I'm here also to announce my company, the Gnome Support Company which is we're trying to do free software but getting money out of it," says de Icaza.

Linux Expo runs through Saturday with about 4,000 expected to attend.