Is Linux right for you?

Existing Linux companies made plans to go public, new Linux companies sprang up like lemonade stands during a heat wave, and companies that had never heard of the OS stumbled over themselves to adopt a "Linux strategy" (and watch their stocks rise). Major Windows-only computer vendors such as Dell and IBM started offering server and desktop equipment with "Linux inside".

For Windows users, the Linux hype raises many questions.

Is Linux just another computing fad soon to disappear from the headlines, like push technology? Or is it here to stay, like the Web? Not only is it here to stay, but the number of people using it at the corporate and desktop levels continues to mushroom.

What makes Linux so special compared with other OSs? The answer is that it's inexpensive to install and maintain, resists crashes better, and can run on numerous platforms - from Intel-based PCs and Apple Macintoshes to high-end Sun servers.

Could Linux become a realistic alternative to your Windows desktop? Perhaps - and sooner than you may think. Dell Computer will install Linux on servers, workstations or other machines if a customer requests it. Compaq offers RedHat Linux 6.2 on its servers, Alpha stations and select Deskpro PC models. And Corel is making desktop Linux a more palpable reality with no-sweat installation, a user-friendly desktop, and the promise of a tool that will let you use Windows applications (if your PC is set up in a networked environment).

If you love something, set it free

Linux inside?

Looking for the killer app

Things you should know before you installPick your flavour of LinuxThe Linux almanac - facts and software on the WebYour Linux questions answeredCan I put Linux on my PC?

Will my current hardware support Linux?

Can Linux coexist with Windows?

I've heard that, unlike Windows, Linux doesn't have a standard graphical user interface. Is this true?

How many major apps are available for Linux?

If I install Linux, what sort of learning curve should I expect?

How do I choose a distribution?

Linux sounds like a real mixed bag. How do I know whether I should try it?

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Matthew Newton

PC World
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