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  iMacLinux Edition Thursday, 05 June 2003  

What does Linux do?

Linux is capable of almost anything you can do with other operating systems. You can surf the web using browsers such as Mozilla, Opera and Konqueror. You can print,scan,fax or email documents. You can perform office tasks such as presentations, spreadsheets, word processing and more. You can play CDs, mp3s and other forms of multimedia, including streaming video and audio. With Linux you can play games and even run Windows or MacOS applications through emulators or API implementations. Linux runs on many different platforms and devices, including desktops, servers, laptops, and embedded devices.

Linux can make use of many different external devices including Zip drives, tape units, USB, Firewire, SCSI and many other devices. Remember not all devices are supported, but Linux is free and the source code is available, so you have the means to write your own drivers if necessary.

Linux can provide many advanced networking and server features that would normally cost you thousands of dollars to obtain the same functionality. Including stateful firewalling, Ethernet Trunking, QoS routing, traffic shaping, WAN and ISDN device support as well as ATM and much more. Linux can provide web, dns, ftp, rtsp, email, usenet and many other services, all for free. You simply download the application, read the license and build/install the software to your specifications.

Many companies try to play down how powerful Linux is. Linux doesn't fall prey to viruses due to the nature of its design, Linux has been used on many occasions to prevent attacks on vulnerable commerical server products. Linux is far more stable than other operating systems, no blue screens or regular rebooting required. Linux systems can maintain uptimes of years.

Linux can also be used and is used on many embedded devices. The free nature of the source and the advanced features in the kernel make it a developers dream. Linux actually tells you whats going on, you can add debugging code and you don't have to sign agreements or learn off thousands of result codes to solve problems.

Linux is good for your health, while its not medically proven, Linux users tend to sit back and relax while users of other operating systems have to deal with sensitive documents being sent out due to virus attacks or losing their email or other things that result in stress and lost productivity.

People who recommend Linux rarely have anything to gain financially, unlike those recommending other systems that are usually trying to sell you something. You may hear people say Linux isn't supported, what happens when the IT department crashes and there is no one to call? For corporations there are plenty of support options available with Linux, although I don't see the point in having IT departments if they don't have some level of competency to support themselves. As for a lack of someone to call, have you ever tried to call for support? The person always assumes you know less than they do, they are usually trying to make sure its a problem you caused so to void the warrenty or charge you for the support, and then if its anything outside a set list of problems, they are not much help and before you know it you are on your eight call, 3 hours on hold and they come back and tell you to reinstall or drop your call by accident. With Linux, it just takes some common sense, the ability to read and a little bit of time, and before you know it, you don't need support!

Obviously, its not possible to list off everything Linux can do. We're working on putting together a complete as possible resource, if you find something you cannot do, we encourage you to contact us or use the forums, if you cannot find a guide or howto on this site.

Author:   John Buswell
Version:   1.00
Last Update:   2001-09-25 03:23:56
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