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Microsoft Plays Catch-up -- Sub-$70 Linux Virtual Desktop

CALGARY, AB - February 23, 2010 -- Userful Corporation, the world leader in multiseat Linux desktop virtualization, today announced that 30,000 schools worldwide have chosen Userful virtual desktops to reduce computing costs and improve computer-to-student ratios. Microsoft recently announced it's own multi-seat solution, Microsoft Windows MultiPoint Server 2010, seven years after Userful pioneered the technology on Linux back in 2002.  Another classic case of Linux vs Windows, only this time Linux has the upper hand with Userful having already sold 750,000 seats.

Much like Windows MultiPoint, Userful virtual desktops allow up to 10 students to simultaneously and independently share a single PC, each with their own monitor, keyboard, and mouse. Userful also supports many of the same USB multiseat devices as Windows MultiPoint, making it easy to turn one computer into many. Unlike Windows MultiPoint which will require users to purchase a Windows Server license and a separate client access license (CAL) per seat, Userful's solution uses free Linux for the server, reducing the cost to just $69 per seat.

"We think Microsoft joining us in the multiseat space is great news, it underscores the worldwide demand for multi-seat computing -- a demand Userful has been satisfying for seven years now shipping Userful Multiplier for Linux," said Tim Griffin, President of Userful Corp.

Tough economic conditions, budget pressures, and funding shortfalls have led more K-12 school districts to embrace the hardware, maintenance, space, and electricity savings of Userful multi-seat Linux desktops. Much the way Microsoft scrambled to prevent Linux's desktop threat on Netbooks, Microsoft is now taking action on multi-seat where it has watched entire states and countries move to desktop Linux. But Free Linux and open source software provide cost savings and flexibility that Windows simply can't compete with.

Deploying Linux based computer infrastructure frees governments from depending on Microsoft, and allows governments to engage local companies to source and customize a Linux distribution and open source software stack uniquely suited to the needs of their region. With Userful virtual desktops, governments are also able to engage local companies to source all hardware for deployments since Userful has broad support for standard computer hardware including low-cost video cards, and does not require any proprietary hardware.

Userful desktop virtualization software is based on a simple fact: PCs sit mostly idle while we check our e-mail, surf the web, or type a document. Userful's PC sharing technology leverages this unused computing power to create a  high performance, environmentally efficient alternative to stand-alone PCs and thin clients that offers the features of a full PC for $69 per seat. Used in over 100 countries, Userful is the ideal solution for school computer labs, classrooms and libraries.

"It's hard to say no to a mature technology that allows you to deploy over twice as many desktops for the same budget, while also slashing maintenance and electricity costs." Said Sean Rousseau, Marketing Manager for Userful. "And three years down the road, instead of having to replace a mountain of obsolete computers, only 1 out of every 10 desktops will need replacing. That's the sort of long term sustainability that schools need."

Last week Userful released Userful Multiplier V3.7 which added improved multilingual support among other features, making it possible for even more countries to take advantage of the cost savings of Userful. Over 10 Linux distributions are supported including Ubuntu 9.10, SLED 11, and Fedora 11. Userful is available in 64-bit and 32-bit packages in both RPM and DEB formats, making it compatible with virtually all open source software.

A free 2-user version of Userful Multiplier software for personal or trial use is available from:

About Userful:

Userful Corporation is the world's leading Linux Desktop Virtualization company with millions of users in over 100 countries. The company's software which turns 1 computer into 10 lowers desktop computing costs, improves manageability, and reduces both electricity consumption and e-waste. Userful's software is sold through a partner network of resellers and OEMs worldwide. Privately held and founded in 1999, Userful launched their flagship product in 2002, and has since sold 750,000 seats. To learn more about Userful, visit: http://www.userful.com

Product Photos are available here: 

Trademark notice:
Microsoft, and Windows Multipoint Server 2010 are trademarks of Microsoft Corporation.