punkwalrus (punkwalrus) wrote,

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Linux - Why not?

This weekend was certainly eye-opening on how bad it just can get. I am pleased to report that a certain office in a certain town in southern Virginia is now virus-free, un-hacked, and relatively safe from future hack attempts (no one is ever 100% safe). As I had mentioned before, I used Knoppix-STD to get around most of the time. Some of you might have asked why I didn't push Linux. I could have. All they needed their NT4.0 box was for a PDC and WINS server. Samba could have done that. In fact, I did have instructions that stated from their IT manager, "If you can't get NT4.0 back up, use Linux, I guess."

"I guess." Linux is often seen by the outside world as a kind of crippled "shareware" like program; a generic version of the real thing. I can understand this, and while I could have touted the greatness that is Linux, I am not their IT, I was only asked to fix up their network (which became much more complex on site) and move on. They had a Mac guy there who made all kinds of jokes about Windows, and when he asked if I used a real operating system, when I said, "Linux," he kind of shut up and never brought up the topic again. Don't get me wrong, I love Macs. I love the OS and the stability, and everything. I just hate the price and the proprietary nature of it all. Oh, and the fact they charge programmers an arm and a leg to allow development. If literary magazines charged authors to wrote for them, I doubt they would have many submitters. But I digress.

I did get NT4.0 back up and working. I chose that because that's what they knew. I had this suspicion if I left Linux up and running, if anything happened, they would be totally at a loss. I didn't work for them, so I doubt they'd call me or want to call me about it. In fact, I feared if anything went wrong, they'd blame Linux. They had almost no budget, and their IT department is one girl who has the description as just one of her many duties in the small company. I didn't want to leave her looking bad or leave her hanging if something crashed on that old hardware.

In my company, I pushed Linux hard. I got my way, and saved a ton of money. I also have great uptimes and I have been recognized. But the difference is, when I am here, if something goes down, I know why, and can fix it. That other company can't.

Maybe we can change this. Maybe some of us Linux people can "adopt a company," a small company, let's say, of a dozen or so workers, who are using old equipment, and are tired of the Microsoft licensing scheme. Maybe you can adopt a school. Just tell them you'll be their free support up to a certain amount. Maybe you can set up a wireless access point in some apartment building.

Make Linux a community thing. Worth a shot, right?
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