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Dan Aloni, a 21-year-old computer science student, has caused a stir in the computing world by developing a Linux application that works within Microsoft's Windows system.

Linux is a popular open source operating system - unlike Windows with which it competes, its code is freely available for users to see and modify.

Aloni, a graduate of an IDF computer unit, developed his project along with several Japanese programmers who, like him, are members of the open source community on the Internet.

The significance of the development is that Linux and Windows are able to work in parallel on the same computer or server. To now, the computer world is divided into systems that operate either with Windows or with Linux.

Shahar Shemesh, a member of the Israeli open source forum, explains said the advantage of the application for large organizations is that it allows them to make large savings by running systems on the same machine, which until now required separate computers.

Aloni's project, called CoLinux, was released on the Web a month ago, but is only at a trial stage. Pini Cohen a senior informations systems analyst at computer research company Meta Group Israel has called the development "an important stage in breaking Microsoft's monopoly."

He said: "As the trend is for Linux to take a more important role in organizations, Aloni's development is extremely interesting. The question is how Microsoft will react and whether it will allow support for Windows systems if they have Linux systems installed on them."

Microsoft has so far made no comment on Aloni's development.