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8 Reasons to Make the Switch

By Bill Bennet

Here are 8 reasons to switch to Linux, the free OS:

  1. It is free. Download from the Internet and install it now.
  2. Free upgrades. Find the Kernel on the Internet and download the latest guts for the system.
  3. It runs Win3x,95,98,etc. Some programs, not all. Your programs will run and look the same as in Windows. Find the Wine project. It is trying to be 100% free of Microsoft code, in order to further promote freedom of action on the PC. They use the API of Windows, and write the code for free! When a Windows program won't run in WINE or WABI the Linux system can be installed AFTER you install Windows. Then the LILO bootloader can boot either Linux or Windows, without any upset at all of your delicate and unstable Windows setup. A dual-boot PC is able to run almost everything and it tastes great, but is not less filling. Create with the GIMP, post it to the net, save it in DOS and use it in your office suite.
  4. It runs DOS. Some programs, not all. See dual-boot, above. Your programs will run using the Dosemu. It makes the programs see a DOS system on your machine, and they go. Yes, even Warlords II will run just fine. You just need a paid-for DOS version to install and a hard disk partition is recommended.
  5. It runs Unix. Your Linux is a PC version of the powerful Unix OS. The universities, NASA, the research institutes, computer scientists and software developers are using it since the old days of computing. You now have access on the Internet to thousands of programs. They range from obscure utilities to fully developed productivity systems. Oh, by the way, they are free to download and are written by the best minds in the computer world. "Microserfs"(recruited by the monopoly), are best left in their circular, singular limited world so that the real free thinkers can write you great innovative, unlimited programs that can solve real world problems.
  6. It runs Macintosh. Yes, you just get the emulator and your Mac programs will see a Mac system on your PC. Playmaker Football, anyone?
  7. It is fast when used as a network server or for multi-tasking. The ISP (Internet Service Provider) community is becoming a large growth area for Linux, with over 20% of them using it. That percentage is growing as the mainstream shrinks. The choice of Linux as your office productivity system is really a no-brainer: Speed, Versatility, Price (free), Upkeep (free), Support (free on the Internet) and Adaptation. Your upgrades are free and you keep up with all the innovations in the realm of computing by virtue of your ability to run all the different operating systems and their software on one machine. Any questions?
  8. You contribute to the expression of freedom of thought and action when you choose Linux, the free OS. By way of contrast, just ask yourself 'How many times have I paid for an upgrade of my system?'. If the answer is one or more, then you paid too much. Again, ask yourself 'Did I need to upgrade when the owners of the OS told me to upgrade?'. If your software was running just fine when you were told to upgrade, then who is running your life?

Finally, ask yourself 'Does following the dictates of the Windows-Intel monopoly make me an independent PC owner?'. If you can't run a piece of software that sounds like it does what you want done, because it is not available for your "operating system", then why do you continue to let yourself be limited by the owners of the monopoly "operating system"?

Switching to Linux lets you run the software that you hear about and lets you choose which programs you want; which programs you need; and most important, when to buy them.

Staying on Microsoft's schedule, for example, will have seen you purchase four upgrades to your "operating system" in the last ten years. DOS 6.22, Windows3x, Windows95 (DOS 7.0) and Windows98 have an inevitable progression built into their "release" so that you give your money to the richest man on the planet on a regular basis. That regular flow of cash is keeping Microsoft solvent, paying the investors and limiting choices for the 90% of PC users who are trapped in the Microsoft endless loop of upgrades.

Why am I so adamant in my condemnation of the monopoly? The reason is that in May of 1998, Microsoft "released" Windows98. That caused a huge buying surge for Microsoft, because their captive users were truly afraid of being left out of the "innovation" loop. At the same time, a press release on the TV claimed that Windows98 had fixed three thousand (3,000) bugs in the Windows95 "operating system". Only a true monopoly would even let you know that you had been inflicted with three thousand (3,000) bugs in your last software purchase. To top off the irony, the United States government and 20 of their states were taking Microsoft to court on anti-trust suits over their exclusion of choices for consumers on which browser to use on the Internet.

That left me with the logical question of whether you PC users had a choice of how to run your PC and get only the programs that you want or need. The answer is that the lawsuits are illogical, since you the consumer can run Linux, use just the Microsoft programs you want and run any browser you want and run any system you want, all on one PC. Therefore, Microsoft can wedge their captives into any type of mess that they wish, simply because you can choose to run Linux and still be connected to the masses by virtue of your versatility.

Your business can run the same software as your contacts and share the same type of files and be totally connected, even with the extra 10% of the market that is not on Windows-Intel. You win and you win with Linux.

Copyright © 1998, Bill Bennet
Published in Issue 30 of Linux Gazette, July 1998