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  iMacLinux Edition Tuesday, 24 June 2003  

Why Linux?

You have your PowerPC system, why should you trade MacOS or AIX for Linux? If you already use Linux and you purchased your PowerPC system for access to the hardware platform then you already know the answer. If you are new to Linux, then it may or may not be for you.

Linux is the name of the kernel written by Linus Torvalds and contributed to by hundreds of developers around the world. Linux is released under a special license called the GNU General Public License. This license allows you to use the code free of charge, however if you modify the code, you have to make those modifications and the source available to the public. So what is the kernel? The kernel is like a brain for your computer, it keeps track of what is going on, provides access to hardware devices to software, and so on. As you can imagine, the kernel itself isn't enough to have a working computer, you need support applications and utilities. This is where a Linux distribution comes in, it takes the Linux kernel and combines it with other free utilities and applications to make a working system. Several commerically available Linux distributions are available, including Yellow Dog, SuSE and Mandrake.

One of the neatest things about Linux is that you can run it on almost anything. So if you want to have the same look and feel, security, stability and reliability across all your different hardware platforms, Linux is the way to go. Linux is a very powerful operating system, even though its free, its contributed to by hundreds of experts who have made changes for features or fixes that they needed. In many cases, Linux is superior to commerically available operating systems. Linux has thousands of freely available applications for you to download and has very powerful networking options, well beyond those of other operating systems.

Linux works well on the PowerPC as a desktop, server or embedded system. There are several desktop environments available for Linux and you can do most things under Linux that you can do with other operating systems, in the server and embedded arena, you can do more. If you want a server then Linux is the way to go. Think about what a server does, and how rarely anyone physically needs to sit down in front of it to make changes. There really is no need for a GUI, however other operating systems make the GUI (graphical user interface) a fundemental part of the system, one you cannot disable. This results in resources being used to display and maintain a GUI that you use less than 1% of the time. While Linux has support for a GUI, it is very easy to simply not install the GUI portion of most distributions, leaving the system to be administered via console, either locally or remotely. This is one of the reasons you can get higher capacities on the same hardware running Linux. Depending on your application, you will get further benefits thanks to the design and optimization under Linux.

Linux is definately worth a look, between new documentation, our sites and enhancements made by companies that release Linux distributions, Linux is becoming very easy to install and use, provided you are willing to sit down and spend some time learning. If you have decided to give Linux a try, the next step is to review the installation material and download or purchase Linux from a vendor.

Author:   John Buswell
Version:   1.00
Last Update:   2001-09-25 03:04:37
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