Linux wins over new fans

Linux is shedding its hard-core techie image in a bid to woo ordinary human beings seeking an easy-to-use operating system that can be downloaded for free.

While it is hard to estimate how many everyday users have defected from Windows or Apple software to join the open-source movement, Ubuntu (pronounced oo-boon-too) has emerged as one of the Linux desktop packages of choice for those looking for a basic desktop alternative.

Open-source software generally refers to programs such as Linux and Firefox where the source code can be modified upon the request of users or other developers.

Researcher IDC recently surveyed more than 5000 developers from 116 countries, and found the use of open-source software to be "pervasive, used by almost three-quarters of organisations and spanning hundreds of thousands of projects".