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I've been playing around with RedHat lately. The last time I played around with Linux was with RedHat 6.1. Unfortunately, it couldn't detect my graphics chip in my laptop, so I shelved playing with Linux until now. Now with RH 7.2, it detected my graphics chip on my Dell laptop with no problems. However, for some reasons, it was having problems with my ethernet card. So then I tried RH 7.1. So, by going back one release, everything worked fine.

I also tried some of the other distributions. Mandrake was also very easy to install and I had it up in less than 30 minutes. But I found support and documentation was extremely limited. I like the idea of Debian having a true Open Source version of Linux and the package manager being able to handle installing dependent packages. But it was too low level for my tastes. The basic install only installed the core system. And you have to then install everything else manually. So, I've decided to stay with RedHat. I like the tons of documentation available for it. RPM is now defacto standard. And the install is very easy. I was also impressed with how much stuff comes with the RedHat CDs. Not a lot of Office-type apps, but there are tons of utility programs. (And also a nice collection of games)

I now understand while Microsoft is getting afraid of the Linux movement. Linux is definitely a cancer that MS would rather amputate.

Some reasons why MS should be worrying about Linux:

1. Better business model. The reason that Wintel beats out Apple is definitely not technology. Apple has superior products. But Wintel decided to go cheap and be open. Comparable products were always cheaper on the Wintel platform. Also anybody could develop what they wanted for the Wintel platform without any approval. So, Wintel dominates the market. Now comes along Linux. Linux is even cheaper (free) and more open than Windows (open source). Sure there are not very many apps for Linux now, but there weren't many apps for DOS at the beginning either.

2. Better foundation. There's no comparision that Unix is much more solid than DOS.

3. Better Borg Collective. The only thing that can compete with a Borg Collective is another Borg Collective. A Borg Collective of open source programmers around the world easily outnumbers the Collective in Seattle.

Do I think Linux will eventually take over Windows? Highly doubtful. Some reasons:

1. MS Marketing machine. MS got where it is primarily because of it's marketing power. Linux has virtually no marketing to the masses.

2. AOL users. As long as there are the type of people who use AOL, there will be people who will use Windows. Why would someone be willing to pay $23/mo for a severely limited internet access full of advertisements with terrible customer service? I have no idea, but there are more than 33 million of them out there.

3. Wintel alliance. Practically every Intel coputer ships with Windows. I don't think that's going to change if MS can help it.

4. Lack of good Linux support. There are lots of places to go for support from other Linux users, but usually at the Linux forums, there are more unresolved questions than answers.

5. Unix learning curve. Unix is a powerful OS and it's philophy is much different than Windows. And more so than Apple. Apple's philosophy is to have a standard interface across all applications. Unix is just a collection of programs with little similarity between them. Windows is somewhere in between these two. So the learning curve with Linux is pretty steep since you have to master everything individually. And there is a lot to learn.

So then, who will use Linux?

1. Power users. You can tweak and customize almost every thing imaginable in Linux. You can even change the source code if need be.

2. System admins. Linux is an ideal platform for servers since so much free server software is available for it.

3. Cost conscious businesses.
Windows XP $299 vs. RH 7.2 $59.95
Office XP Standard $479 vs. StarOffice 5.2 $39.93
Sql Server 2000 Std 1 Processor NT $4999.00 vs. MySQL $200 /license

Posted: 2002-04-10 14:05:22

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