Tuesday, September 14, 2004

A Common Language for Penguins

A Common Language for Penguins

A Common Language for Penguins <!----> <> By Steve Hamm
09/13/04 2:47 PM PT

Up until now, Linux has been used primarily as an operating system for Web sites, search engines, e-mail systems, and complex number-crunching jobs. It has just a foothold in the realm of running corporate applications. "If the Linux industry can unite and pull this off, there's a real shot at a true open alternative to Microsoft," says Jim Simlin of the Free Standards Group.

Actually, using Linux is not difficult.  If you have an Intel or AMD box with relatively anemic innards, say, a 1GHz processor, a CD drive, and 128K of RAM, you can get reasonable performance and no setup hassles; all you need is with a "live CD" with a Linux operating system.  Knoppix (1  2) is the most famous, but there are many others.  You don't even have to install anything.  In fact, you don't even need a hard drive, although obviously it helps.  Put in the CD, boot from the CD (or a floppy, if the machine won't boot from CD) and you can surf the Internet, check your email, and do word processing, spreadsheets, etc..  You could also do photo editing, but it would be pretty slow.  If you have lots of RAM, and can install a home directory on the hard drive, it is pretty quick.  You can use Microsoft-formatted documents, if you want.  The point is, Linux already presents a real alternative to Windows.  The new standard is great, and will help increase the market share for Linux.  But even without it, Linux already is "a true open alternative to Microsoft."