Gibbs' column: Yea brethren -- a sermon on Linux

Welcome to my sermon. Here at the First and Last Church of Networking, we welcome all who seek truth, enlightenment and a good old sing-along.

Yea brethren, I'm talking about revelation! There is another way for finding operating system perfection -- Linux.If you talk to those who love the likes of Linux (in which category I include FreeBSD Unix, you'll find that they are happy people. Hold hard, Brother Silverman is about to speak in tongues:

Show us the way, Bro Gibbs!

Show us where there are no "Blue Screens of Death!"

Show us how to hack out a little C code.

Show us a quick PERL script or two.

Show us where software is developed for the customer interest, not for the enrichment of the shareholders!

Show us reliability.

Show us the source code.

We hear you, Bro Gibbs!

Thank you Brother Silverman. Keep the faith, and I'd say your medication is a little on the light side. But I have to take issue with the rant . . . rather, assertion about software developed for the customer interest. It is a rather pinko-liberal interpretation of the motivation behind open source development, but what the heck.

The movement supporting open source software exists because the people involved can do it. They are showing that basic operating system services don't need to be controlled by the likes of Microsoft, Novell, Sun Microsystems, and Silicon Graphics.

The open source folks are creating a lowest common denominator for computing. In essence, they are creating a computing environment in which the value is in applications and in which one removes the hegemony of commercial operating system vendors.

"Ah!" you may be saying, "while Linux may be suitable for a Unix server, it is missing the other stuff we need."

Did you know that Linux can emulate a NetWare server? Check out Caldera NetWare for Linux (www. caldera.com/products/netware/ index.html), which provides NetWare 4.10b compatible file services.

Now you may well be asking, what exactly is Gibbs' point? Well, my friend, it is this: Given there is a fast, zero-cost, reliable operating system that is in principle (if not in practice) as supportable as Windows NT, why aren't you using it?

Brothers and sisters, the world of business computing could look very different in a few years, but it will all depend on whether you are willing to embrace a new way of thinking about why you buy systems.

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