The NY Times had an article giving an overview of Linux. Touting the usual stuff about it being “free” and the other usual things about there not being drivers and software to match common programs like iTunes for example.
Larry Magid, an industry tech veteran acknowledged that Linux can be difficult to install and most of the popular Windows and Mac programs can’t run on it.
He writes Until recently, major PC makers shied away from Linux. Now the industry is watching as Dell is selling two Linux-equipped desktop models ($549 and $870, including a monitor) and a $774 notebook PC. (Hewlett-Packard offers Linux systems to businesses, and Lenovo, the Chinese company that bought I.B.M.’s PC division, sells Linux machines in China and says it will soon offer Linux-based computers in the United States.)
The Ubuntu version of Linux runs the Dell computers. Because Dell does not have to pay a licensing fee for the operating system, the computers are $80 cheaper than PCs with Windows Vista Home Premium or $50 cheaper than the stripped-down Vista Basic.
My overall contention is – don’t buy something just because it’s “cheap” or “free”. Linux is a great tool for behind the scenes computing – in servers, cell phones, appliances and other devices that a) are not PC centric b) don’t face the end user c) have a simple interface (like a cell phone).
However, for your small business, Dell’s offering Linux on computers does not mean you should rush out and buy a Linux offering. This Linux offering is for a small percentage of customers who have reasons to want and can support Linux and frankly it’s probably more of a market test of sorts.
So stick with Windows XP / Vista on your PC and be happy. Free is not always best.
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