Originally Published: Wednesday, 27 October 1999 Author: MIKE
Published to: featured_articles/Featured Articles Page: 1/1 - [Printable]

Armed and Dangerous

This article originated in osOpinion and is provided under the OpenContent License.

A friend of mine at work gave me a copy of "Armed Linux" the other day and asked me to figure it out for him. He's been curious about Linux but didn't want to get involved with a lot of disk partitioning and some of the problems involved with using a dual boot system under Windows. Come to think of it, neither do I....

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This article originated in osOpinion and is provided under the OpenContent License.

A friend of mine at work gave me a copy of "Armed Linux" the other day and asked me to figure it out for him. He's been curious about Linux but didn't want to get involved with a lot of disk partitioning and some of the problems involved with using a dual boot system under Windows. Come to think of it, neither do I.

I took the CD home, unzipped the "ARMED.ZIP" file, read the README.TXT file, rebooted as instructed, and 10 minutes later I was net surfing. I was stunned. It found all my hardware and configured everything correctly except my proxy server. All I could say was, "Wowser, this is how it oughta be." That's when I knew what's keeping the King of Redmond awake at night and why he's beginning to take Linux as a serious threat to his empire. He may be crazy but he's not stupid.

This is "Linux Lite", "Desktop Linux", or even "Linux for Windows". And this is the danger.

The Windows NT world is very consciously divided into "users" and "administrators". One can install "NT Workstation" or "NT Administrator". No one seems to think this is very strange. Why? Because this is in fact the way the world works. How many computer users need DNS, Apache, or sendmail? Very few. How many of them need a word processor, email, and a web browser? Just about all of them, including the system administrator. Why isn't there an official "user distribution" of Linux? Why is the usual response to this question that it would result in the "dumbing down" of Linux or that any such distribution would be a "toy Linux"? Agree with it or not, this is happening anyway.

Programs like "Armed Linux" bother Mr. Bill because they offer an easy entrance into another OS. If a"Desktop Linux" becomes a reality, he's history. Who's going to pay for something they can get for free? Isn't that how he effectively nuked Netscape? (AOL is busy crippling what used to be a pretty decent Web browser but that's another story.) To take this a step further, if Red Hat and Caldera can stay solvent for another year or two and can offer the kind of technical support corporate customers require, they'll acquire the critical mass necessary to start nabbing a few desktops as the OS of choice (this is about "choice", isn't it?). A typical corporate distribution could be released on a single CD, would contain the necessary programs to install a "Desktop Linux" on a user's PC over a LAN or Intranet and system updates would be available over the Internet.

I think that with the proper marketing we can get this penguin to fly.

MIKE lives in Vienna, Austria and can be contacted at SpaceKitty@InOrbit.com. ("There are no kangaroos here, not even in the zoo")





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