Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Why Linux?

There are several flavors of Linux, called distros, that are published by various companies and organizations. While some pay versions of Linux exist, most of them are freely available and downloadable. Distrowatch contains a list of distros available worldwide.

Like Windows, however, a PC offers little functionality if only the operating system is installed. Normally, in the case of Windows, applications such as word processing, spreadsheet analysis, and database management must be purchased separately. Unlike Windows, most flavors of Linux come with a slew of applications that can be installed at the same time the OS is installed, or at a later date.

Note that I said most flavors of Linux in the previous paragraph. That's because there are certain flavors of Linux more suited for so-called network appliances such as routers, telephone switches, and firewalls--yes, folks, Linux can do that!--and are less geared toward general office usage.

Nonetheless, the thought of an operating system shipping with fully-fledged applications right out of the box--er, CD if you downloaded your particular distro from the 'net and burned it onto CDs (or even DVDs!)--and having to pay zero to acquire it (other than media costs, of course) amounts to a bean counter's nirvana. Freeing up some cash for other needs in the organization is something to look forward to.


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