Eazel, the Linux-based start-up company founded by ex-Apple employees, has received $11 million in its first round of funding from Accel Partners, a Silicon Valley venture capital firm.

Bud Colligan, a partner with Accel and former chairman of Macromedia, has joined the company’s board of directors, reports Reuters.

Ex-Apple employees involved in Eazel include Mike Boich, who worked for Apple software marketing, and Andy Hertzfeld, who was responsible for the design and implementation of the original Mac OS.

Eazel is developing a user interface aimed at making the Linux OS easier to use (see ’Linux for the rest of us’ planned). The company’s software is set to be adopted as a key component of the next version of GNOME, the open-source project dedicated to developing a graphical user interface (GUI) for Linux.

The first Eazel product launch is scheduled for late July, code-named Nautilus, the equivalent of the Macintosh Finder, Nautilus will be a component of GNOME 2.0.