Life without Windows or OS X

GNU/Linux is quite possibly the most important free software achievement since the original Space War, or, more recently, Emacs. It has developed into an operating system for business, education, and personal productivity. GNU/Linux is no longer only for UNIX wizards who sit for hours in front of a glowing console. Are you thinking about switching to Linux and want to learn how to use it? Have you been using GNU/Linux for some time and want to learn even more? This is the place for you.

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

O.S. Prime Time

I hear time and time and time again that the OS known as Linux is not ready for prime time. Is that really true?

Until the late 1980s, OS/2 was judged technically superior to Windows, the Mac featured a better user interface, and applications like WordPerfect and Lotus 1-2-3 offered more features than comparable Microsoft offerings.
So how did Microsoft become so dominate? Simple, by offering good enough technology, superior pricing and attractive bundling. For some reason many people still think that Linux desktops are the domain of hobbyists and geeks, but improvements in Linux releases like Linspire, Xandros, and Suse Linux Enterprise Desktop 10 will likely broaden the appeal and make Linux a viable choice for a whole lot of home desktops. These Linux desktop comes bundled with Open Office, which supports your basic word-processing, spreadsheet and presentation applications. They have improved Windows interoperability. You can open a Microsoft Word document using Open Office without losing formatting properties, then save the document in a native format.
But let us not forget that the most pressing impediments to the growth of desktop Linux is the need for more hardware support. Its needed a lot. Although Linux drivers are increasingly being developed in a timely manner, many drivers need to be installed separately from the main installation. Which is a problem if its the Ethernet or dial-up modem driver you need to down load from the web. I know in many cases some drivers cannot be included in the Linux kernel as they are proprietary. There also tends to be a lack of printer or scanner driver support. I guess maybe there could be a way to automatically install drivers after the main installation has finished. Could a type of OHM Initiative help this problem?


Once there is sufficient market demand, Dell, Hewlett-Packard, Gateway, and the rest of the PC hardware crowd will certainly offer Linux desktop alternatives as well. and (as of February 1, 2006) sell Linspire (Linux) base PCs. Linux desktops can't yet run applications like iTunes or support a many-other consumer add-ons, but if you only need basic productivity tools and a browser to be productive, you may not care as much.


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