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Re: Do I Want Linux?

(Long: if you don't have any interest in Linux, delete this.)


We currently use Linux for our network server and Win95 to boot our PCs
as  workstations.

We moved to Linux from another unix flavor early this fall, thus we were
already in the unix camp, at least in terms of networking.

Linux is as much a religion as it is an operating system.  It is "free",
but as with any major implementation, the real cost is in the support
and training, etc.  The majority of the software that runs on it is
free.  Literally THOUSANDS of people and many of the world's largest
software companies are writing software for Linux and GIVING it away --
in the hope that you will buy other of their services or products.  

Bug fixes for Linux software are often made available within days, if
not hours.  I have witnessed action on newsgroups whereby one person
reports a problem in a particular package, the developer of that package
actually PERSONALLY responds (don't go into shock!), and a few hours
later posts the url of the site from which the new version can be
downloaded free.

When you load a Linux package, the name and email address of the primary
is usually there.  You can contact that REAL PERSON, but of course they
are not going to have time for newbie questions -- but they can usually
point you to the necessary resources.  Furthermore, there are usually
newsgroups that cover every possible linux package.

Linux for the DESKTOP *can* be sophisticated.  There are web sites that
show pictures of just how incredibly sophisticated they can be.  For
example, at this very moment, I am sitting at a Win95 PC.  However, I am
writing this email on Netscape 4.7 for Linux.  The Netscape is running
in a "Gnome" (one of the possibilities) desktop which is an "X" program
which is run on Win95 by a "X windows manager" (XServer) (we use SCO
Xvision 7.3).  For my Gnome desktop I have chosen a Gnome windows
manager called Enlightenment (which I like, but some people don't).  The
Gnome and Enlightenment, in combination, give me VIRTUAL DESKTOPS -- the
taskbar at the bottom allows me to click in any number of virtual
desktops; I normally run with four.  Those four desktops currently
contain and are running simultaneously: two different Netscape sessions,
logged in as two different email users; and a total of 12 different
terminal sessions running on two different servers (on Linux and one
UnixWare) that are running a total of 7 different programs.  IN
ADDITION, I am concurrently running on Win95: WordPerfect8,
FrameMaker556, and I go in and out of ATM, PageMaker, PhotoShop, and
whatever else I need.  To get to the Win95-based programs, I simply ALT

Now, understand, that my Linux is running on a Network server -- and has
several other users too.  My Linux windows are being run on the PC by an
Xwindows program (Xserver) -- when I am working in Linux "on the PC",
the activity is really taking place on the server.  The server is
nothing fancy -- a DUAL-pentium Pro 300 with 396 MB of RAM (that much
RAM because we run a major Oracle database installation and have data
files larger than 396 MB).

When most people, such as yourself, ask "should I consider Linux", they
are asking about using Linux as their primary operating system for a
single-user PC.

The current problem (in my power-user, overly-demanding, and always
completely correct opinion - ha!) is that there are not enough "normal"
applications available on Linux YET.  For example, I have heard that the
Linux equivalent of the Word or WordPerfect environment is still not up
to "PC users" expectations.  Regardless of what one's personal opinion
of Word or WordPerfect is (WordPerfect is incredibly better than Word),
they are both extremely highly evolved programs.  The Linux Star Office
(which I think it was recently CONTRIBUTED by Sun???) is the heir
apparent for this role in Linux, but still needs work.

For PhotoShop users, there is the PhotoShop-like Gimp on Linux (love
these names!) -- FREE.

However, I personally would NOT YET bet a company's workflow on Linux AS
COMPANY'S NETWORK STABILITY on Linux -- and am very pleased.

Linux makes NT look like DOS 2.0, IMHO.

HOWEVER, Linux has an incredibly steep learning curve.  Don't kid

Just the same, if I was going to experiment with Linux on the Desktop
(remember, you can always build a multi-boot environment and have BOTH
Linux and Win9x on the same PC), I would ABSOLUTELY use Red Hat 6.x. 
Pay the $60-some dollars for their CD, documentation and included
installation support.  Don't try to download a free version of the core
Linux, because you WILL want and need the support.


Another important aspect, especially for people like you, Rick, is that
as part of the Linux license, the source code for Linux software must be
available and EVERYBODY has the right to modify and redistribute -- if
you have a better idea, YOU can make it happen.

I have not seen the FrameMaker Linux distribution, however, if all is
done properly, one should be able to have the FrameMaker source code and
MODIFY/FIX/IMPROVE it as desired.  Now, wouldn't that be interesting....


Rick Quatro wrote:
> This may not be the forum for this, but I'll throw it out there anyway. What
> are the advantages of Linux? My background is FrameMaker for Mac, now
> Windows 95/NT.
> Rick Quatro
> Carmen Publishing
> 716 659-8267
> frameexpert@mindspring.com
> FrameScript Information at http://www.mindspring.com/~frameexpert
> ** To unsubscribe, send a message to majordomo@omsys.com **
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Jay Smith

e-mail: Jay@JaySmith.com

Jay Smith & Associates
P.O. Box 650
Snow Camp, NC  27349  USA

Phone: Int+US+336-376-9991
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