Over the last decade, and especially just in the last two years, Linux has emerged and grown from an OS only a true geek or nerd would use, to a very viable alternative OS for the everyday computer user. As a matter of fact, in most regards to the ‘average’ user, they are much better suited to using Linux than any of MS’s counterparts in the OS dept. In my opinion, the same holds true for Mac though perhaps to a smaller degree. After all, the Mac is now utilizing the Mach MicroKernel and/or the FreeBSD Kernel depending on your sources! Their prohibitive prices however, still make them out of reach for the regular masses. Makes you wonder how long before MS wakes up and smells the inevitable scent of Linux dominance in the air. Their lack of acuity in not realizing this before the Mac and Google crowd is indicative of their refusal to consider that they could possibly ever be wrong about anything. Consider MS Windows 8. A miserable marketing failure, as well as becoming an ever growing albatross around their stiff corporate mentality necks.
Linux to be fair still has it’s shortcomings. Like the fact that Mark Shuttleworth and company, (Canonical and Ubuntu) are in my opinion, pouring poison into the Linux well with their allowing commercial, corporate enterprise to become a part of their Linux distributions. (the Unity Lens is one example) It puts a bad taste about Linux in all current old school Linux users mouths. They are becoming so much like MS it is getting hard to distinguish between the two. I mean no offense to any Ubuntu users out there, this is just my perception of their over-eagerness to gain market share. They are caving to corporate demands in direct opposition to the GNU and FOSS philosophy.
What most of you may or may not know, is that in todays world of Internet dominance, that dominance depends on the Internet running smoothly. This is literally millions upon millions of servers, that daily serve up web pages to you and I every second of every day. The skills that MS and Apple have over the Linux community, is their ability to veil this phenomenal achievement on the part of Linux. Thats right, depending on who’s count you believe, approximately 90 to 95% of all Internet servers are running Linux. No matter the defenses of MS and Apple, this fact cannot and should not be overlooked. When a new company opens it ‘virtual doors’ in the form of an Internet site or business, over 90% of the time they turn to Linux! Why is that do you suppose? I’ll tell you why, stability, security, and oh yeah, security!
Now that Linux has caught on to the significance of UEFI and ‘secure boot’, this will not end well for MS in my opinion. Donald Melanson of engadget.com wrote in April, I believe, that the Android market was activating up to 15 million devices a day! That is a staggering number. And guess what? Every single Android device runs a Linux Kernel. The new Android devices would not be selling so well if it was doing poorly with the consumer. Another reason MS should be worried. Has anyone looked at the Surface Tablet numbers? They are embarrassing. Not to mention that most companies are rejecting out of hand Windows 8. Apple too, for that matter, though maybe not as severely as MS. This months announcement by Apple to “give away” it’s newest OS is an indicator to me of the inroads Linux has been making in recent years, and the worry it is causing the two ‘Giants’. Not only in the desktop/laptop market, but as Android has proven, the tablet market as well.
My first attempt with Linux was in 1992 0r ’93. I was overwhelmed. Literally. At that point in time I had been working on Apples almost exclusively. My career in computer tech began in 1983, working on an IBM system 370. Card punch machines were still in large use, and we were taught programming in RPG, Fortran, and COBOL. In computer years, this makes me like 330 years old!
Eventually, I made the jump to MS, and in a small way, Unix. An early tech job I had was at UPS and they were in the process of phasing out the Unix servers with the ‘wonderful world’ of Windows NT Server 4. (this was my first horrible experience with the dd command, and I thought I’d lost my job, and maybe why they switched away from Unix! :D ) This was late 90’s and by that time I was becoming very burnt-out with the whole computer industry. I remember them paying over $10,000 dollars for me to go to the Microsoft TechNet school for my MCSE certification. If I recall correctly, they sent over 20 of us in the state of Indiana alone. (I still have the very nice coffee mugs they gave all of us. The most expensive coffee mug I’m sure I’ll ever sip Java from; also the only Java that does justice to the wonderful drink that is Java! But thats another post for another time.) The certification was useless. More than useless. I already had the job, and the knowledge gleaned from doing the job. For all of us who were required to get it, (the certification) we still laugh about it today. I honestly never even had mine framed.
I suppose I said all of that to say this; If your a new user to computers, before you go spending hundreds of dollars to have the latest OS from Apple or MS, you should know the following facts; Linux is free, almost all (99.9%) of the applications are free, it installs on almost any computer old or new, (I mentioned FREE right?) does everything you need, from personal finance, email, Internet browsing/surfing, writing that novel you’ve always wanted to write, to being able to do the most hard core programming jobs out there as well. This is before I get into the business uses, including running Cloud servers and web servers all over the planet! If it is good enough to keep the Internet up and running, what more could you question about it. It costs nothing to try, and even better with almost every distro of Linux today, you can try it without even having to install it on your computer. This is through Linux’s ability to boot up into a “Live” environment without affecting anything on your computer. You can’t lose!
Linux today is much more than a ‘geeks’ tool with only a terminal interface. It has become a thing of beauty and elegance, as well as being simple and intuitive to use. If you’ve fought with a MS OS on a PC in the past, you are well able to handle today’s Linux. Apple, even more so, makes that switch simple!
If you’ve ready any of the posts on this website, you’ll know I use a Debian based distro called VSIDO Raptor. Miraculously fast install times, easily used by the first time Linux user as well as the veteran Linux user and all the help you can ask for gratis! VSIDO Raptor can be had from http://vsido.org/template/index.html
Yes that is a blatant plug for what I consider one of todays greatest Linux distro’s out there for new and experienced users! There is also 24/7 support via their forums at vsido.org or through IRC server irc.freenode.net on channel #VSIDO. Hope to see you there…