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Although I'm a young Microsoft-centric network administrator, I've heard a lot of hoopla about Linux. So much so that I decided to buy a copy of SuSE Linux 6.2 to see what all the excitement was about. I'm halfway through the installation process (or at least I think I am), and I had to stop and say "thanks" to Microsoft. It's still early in the process, but I'm already forming some opinions about Linux.

First, the OS must be for UNIX heads, which I'm not. How anyone can consider this software advanced is beyond me. Second, I realize now why Linux supporters think it's so stable. Linux is stable for the same reasons DOS was stable. My DOS systems in the late 80s and early 90s never crashed, but only because they didn't do that much and were hard for the uninitiated to navigate. So far, Linux looks like DosNet, a DOS version of a network server. Finally, even if the software were free, I wouldn't revert from Windows 98 to DOS, so I can't imagine why Windows NT users would want to switch to Linux. This way of thinking is like saying, "The latest, most advanced stone-age flint chips ever sold. Trade your gas furnace for one today!" I'm sure I'll see where Linux actually performs once I get it installed, but I doubt I'll find anything interesting or new.

I recently heard a guy on a radio call-in show raving about how you can use Linux to set up multiple Point-to-Point Protocol (PPP) dial-up configurations. Wow! I thought. Of course you need a Master's degree and 14 modules to do it. NT can do the same thing, and I can teach a 10-year-old child how to do it in less than 5 minutes. My copy of Linux came with six installation CD-ROMs and a book that reads like a phone directory. I'm now 45 minutes into the installation (on the third CD-ROM), and I have no idea when it'll finish.

The kicker to the whole thing is that people are installing Linux to dual boot with NT Workstation or another Microsoft OS. Why? So they can still run their applications. Thanks to Bill Gates (and, yes, a little to Steve Jobs too) for delivering us from the stable and black-screen dark ages.

P.S. I've since completed my Linux installation, and I've played with Linux for about 5 minutes. I got stuck viewing a document and I couldn't get out. I restarted the system, and now my computer comes up with "Press any key to restart." I press a key and the system restarts and says, "Press any key to restart." It looks like I'm going to have to reinstall.