Alrighty! Linux basically does what Microsoft Windows lets you do — run programs. Programs made for Microsoft Windows will not run on Linux, and vice versa. They must be “Made for Linux”. The coolest thing about Linux is this: No one owns it, and no one can own it. It says right in the Linux License Agreement that it must remain free for all to use. Also - Linux is not a company. It makes no profits and pays no wages. Thousands of software developers voluntarily contribute to it to make it better for everyone who uses it, for free. Thus, it will only continue to get better and better with time - and there’s no corrupt company behind it, just waiting to do something evil to screw you over unless you pay them the big bucks. And finally, if you, as a person, would like to make something about Linux work in a different way, and if you know how to code software - you can just open up your copy of the code that’s behind Linux and change it to work the way you want (this is what ‘open-source’ software is). By contrast, Microsoft encrypts the code behind Windows, so even if you opened the code hoping to change something, you wouldn’t be able to make heads or tales of it (this is ‘closed-source’ software). In this way, they keep you trapped inside their box. Linux scares the crap out of Microsoft. It gives away, for free, the equivalent of Microsoft’s biggest cash cow. The biggest challenges facing Linux: lack of high quality software (there are certain applications businesses need, and they’re not available for Linux — yet). Lack of intuitiveness — Linux is difficult to learn, and not as pretty as Microsoft Windows. Biggest benefits of Linux: free, open-source, never crashes (ever), more secure than windows
Stephanie Asks: “Are they still cool or have they been swallowed by IBM?”> Well, as you may have gathered now, “They” are not a “They”, but just a group of people working together for free… so they can’t be swallowed, ever :) Stephanie Asks: “Why is IBM all over them?” > IBM has decided that it doesn’t like paying Microsoft millions of dollars to use their software that is insecure and crash-prone, when they can use the super-secure uncrashable Linux for free :) The trick with Linux is that because there’s no “Linux Company”, there’s also no one you can call for Technical Support. IBM is one of several large companies coming to fill this gap. All of IBM’s servers now run on the Linux operating system, and they’ll gladly sell you one for quite cheap, but their technical support and strategic planning on how to leverage that technology costs a pretty penny — thus they get to pocket more of the cash (where they would have previously given a bunch to Microsoft). Another company you might have heard of is “RedHat Linux”. This company does sell Linux for money, but it’s funny, they’re not technically selling Linux — they’re selling 30 days of tech support and a bunch of pre-packaged Linux software, and a printed manual, and those things happen to come inside a box with a copy of “RedHat Linux”. RedHat has been the biggest proponent of Linux for home users to date, but they have recently pulled out of that market and are now only selling RedHat Linux for servers. The home market will be supported by a new company called “User Linux”, which is just getting started. Do you remember DOS? Typing stuff with white text on a black screen, at a prompt that looked like: “C:\” ? That’s pretty much what the hardcore side of Linux looks like. If you run a Linux Server, that’s all you’ll ever see. If you are a home user, there is a “Windoes-Like” side of Linux where you have nice icons and pretty things like that. When things go wrong, though, often the only way to fix it is from that happy old “C:\” command prompt (in Linux is’t not C:\, but something else).
Hope that helps make some sense of it :)
Comments from my old blog:
Breslin said: agreed linux is sweet because it never fucks up and stuff… but windows is definatley my number 1 choice. i hated fixing computers that used linux, it was the biggest pain in the ass of all time… almost… and formatting them. please. it may as well have been in all japanese. at 2003-12-13 23:44:34