Linux in the Real World


We have been hearing a lot about this 'Linux', so what is it and how does it affect us?

Linux is a superb operating system that has a very long history and has matured to the extent that we have to take it seriously and to use it.

Why is it that we have not heard much about it before?

To answer this question we have to look at how MS DOS and MS Windows came about.

When IBM were developing small computers destined for the home in the eighties they required an alternative operating system which would work on a very low specification system. In particular this required that it could work with very little RAM. So it was that DOS was announced (by Bill Gates who then worked for IBM) in 1982 and Windows first appeared in 1992.

The Windows system still works with a small amount of RAM.

In the meantime the price of the electronic components has plummeted. In particular RAM is now very cheap £50 buys 512meg.

And so as a decent amount of RAM can be bought for so little, the way is wide open for the 're-introduction' of this Linux.

For my part I have professionally always used UNIX and Linux is simply a version of UNIX but carrying the GPL (general public license).

I have been very active in installing the system on many peoples computers using the dual-boot approach. As I have maintained contact with the users I find that, not only are they very happy with the system but now will not use windows. This was not what I was expecting, I had expected that people would try it, but to now say they don't wish to use Windows again – I had not expected that. These are ordinary users who require email, web browsing and office package and a few other applications like digital camera work and so on.

Of course with the security of the system the problems of crashing, viruses and so on are gone. We end up with a true multi-tasking system which just works, without fuss and, it is easier to use for the ordinary user.

The dual-booting on a Windows machine always works smoothly and we can always access data, documents and pictures from the Windows partitions while using Linux.

Finally Linux is a free system and anybody can get involved with using it and improving it.

So with the presence of Mandrake 10.1 Official (www.mandrake.com) for free download, now is the time to move into a better and more enjoyable computer experience.