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Next year just may be the year that desktop Linux emerges as a viable alternative to Windows.
Inspired by stirrings among corporate users for desktop Linux and with Microsoft's forthcoming Longhorn operating system not expected on desktops until 2005, IBM, Sun Microsystems, Hewlett-Packard, and Dell are augmenting their corporate Linux desktop wares. Novell and Red Hat also are assembling Linux desktops.
IBM's Global Services unit, for instance, intends to put in place next year a broad-based technical support program for Linux on corporate desktops.
What figures to add even more momentum is that HP and Dell are expected to announce technical support programs early next year, according to an industry executive familiar with both companies' plans, who requested anonymity.
"You are going to see similar announcements from HP and …