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On Fri, 14 Jun 2002, John F. Floren wrote: >I am constantly being asked why I say Linux is better than Windows, but I >cannot seem to make people understand what I mean, or even what Linux is. >I figure this is as good of a list to ask as any, so does anyone know of >good ways to make people understand what Linux really is and what it can >do and how it does these things better than Windows? I think more people >would comne over to using Linux if they really understood what it is. I get a bit long winded. Forgive me. When I am talking to people about Linux (usually vs. Mircrosoft) I tend to hit on some these points: Free as in both Speach and Beer. (Some background that I give, you can skip if you wish) I work for an electrical contractor and we have 6 workstations spread around our office and warehouse. These workstations are running Windows 98 or 2000 because that is what supports the applications that we use. The two applications that are critical to our company are our accounting system and AutoCAD. But our server on the other hand is running Linux (RH 7.2). The reason for this is both political and economics. When I started here the networking was a purely peer-to-peer network (at that time it was 1 Win98 machine and 2 Win 3.1 machines. When we purchased our new building we decided to install a server. I chose RedHat as that was what I knew (I can get along with Win2000) and what I wanted. We spent $3,500 on a server. At the time Dell was loading RH for free. If we went with a Windows 2000 solution, that would have added probably another $1,500 for Small Business Server (so we are at least somewhat comparing equivelant fruit). That is somewhere around another 40%+ in the cost. That savings paid for a workstation. On top of the base SBS package, we would probably need another 5 CAL pack for all 6 users which I think is another $250, but I could be wrong. I feel that the server is way overpowered at PIII 800/256 MB RAM and a total of 45GB of hard drive space. To feel comfortable with Windows 2000, I think at least 512MB would be needed. The Free as in Speach issue for us doesn't really go very far. I can do some PHP, but to be honest, I probably couldn't tell the difference between a Perl and a BASH script (except for that first line). As you can see, cost was a major issue. And for many small businesses it is. Some businesses, money really isnt an option. It's more of a "whatever it takes," which often happens here for equipment/tools we use in the field. But one thing to remember, the value of the data on the hardware will very quickly pass the hardware value. Our $3,500 in hardware now holds several GB of AutoCAD drawings (say 8-10 man years worth of time). Stability. The server was up for rougly 250 days before a hard drive decided to go out. Late February to December. Not a single reboot. (Note, I didn't keep up with Kernel updates like I should have.) The server has only had one crash (other than the hardware, which I feel shouldn't be taken against the OS. It would have happened no matter the OS) and that was trying to get a USB scanner to work. Though, I do feel that a Windows 2000 server should be able to give good uptimes. I've heard of people getting good uptimes. If ANY server is crashing on a daily basis, something is seriously wrong. Fix it. Support. I laugh at the lines about there not being support for Linux. I have not heard a single good report about Microsoft tech support. I have had nothing but great support from mailling lists. I'm not calling someone in a call center who's just going to go through a chart and then still not have issues solved. (I have only called Dell tech support for hardware related issues. They really seemed to know there stuff.) This support is from people who use the software on a daily basis. In return, I try to help when I can. Flexibility. Linux is extremely flexible. With one set of CDs, you can outfit an entire office. Server? Covered. Workstations? Covered. Router? Covered (Though a general distribution such as RedHat is probably overkill for a pure router.) And doing that with only one copy of RedHat...perfectly legal. (Though I think ethically you should either buy the boxed set, or take out subscriptions for each of the machines on RedHat Network.) I'm not sure how I would label this or if it is even relevant, but take something along the lines of the Linux Terminal Server Project (and its offspring K12LTSP). I can see where one could save some pretty good money. I think an interesting study for someone to do would be to look at all the factors of switching from a fat client set up to a thin client setup. Hardware costs (does the individual workstion cost reduction offset the increase in the server room?), maintenance cost (just swap out flaky terminal. User is back to work immediately and the tech can take the box to a lab and fix it. Though someone like this could be done in the fat client world as well), and energy costs (would this not slightly effect A/C costs. Lower the cost to cool the general office area, but increased costs to cool the server room?). As someone else noted, be fair in your assessment. I even will through in some things that maybe Microsoft software is better at. Or that only particular things are available elseware. As an example, a friend recently (less than one month ago) asked me if she should install Linux (her brother recommended it) and knowing that she uses the voice chat function of Yahoo Messenger like no tomorrow, told her that it was not available on the Linux client. As a last point, and I guess to sum up the rest, is to look at all of their needs. Around my office a Linux server with Windows clients works great for us (except some problems with the accounting application). But for other companies, Linux on the server make not work for them. For yet other companies, a complete solution of Linux Everywhere will work. I would love to hear of some places that are Linux only shops (whether they started that way or converted). By that I mean regular companies doing regular every day business activites. Yes, its cool that ILM is in the process of switching, but the company I work for doesn't do that kind of work (movie special effects). I will get off my soap box. I actually started this before there were any replies. I agree with just about all of the mails I have read, in particular Brian's response. Nice to know that I am not the only person who write's novel length email responses.