Wednesday, August 20, 2003

Never Enough Linux Inducements Department

OK, so Linus Torvalds has formally stated that SCO is "smoking crack" when it claims to have found fragments of SCO's System V UNIX code within Linux. Day by day, SCO seems to have a weaker and weaker case, and their lawsuit against IBM for selling Linux servers has become a joke.

But suppose you find yourself saying, "So what. I can't be bothered to get to know my hardware, and as long as I have an operating system that just works, I don't really care which OS I use."

Easy enough. There is not one, but two Linux flavors available on CD-ROM.

Knoppix can be purchased as a CD-ROM for $5 at, or you can download it for free and burn onto a CD-R. It automatically figures out what hardware you have and sets up a fairly decent user interface on the fly. Literally, in five minutes you can experience Linux without having to rip out your current OS or puzzle over settings for your keyboard, mouse, monitor, printer, Internet, etc. etc. For people cutting their teeth with *NIX or simply ready to try an alternative to Microsoft, this may well be the distribution you want.

But suppose you got into computers mainly for their creative potential. You don't even necessarily need expensive software with extra-fancy features, just software with which you can draw, design, edit, publish, mix. That's why there is dyne:bolic, a similar, yet in fairness not quite as robust Linux distribution that also boots off a CD-R. It's only available as a downloadable disk image that you can burn then boot from. The true beauty of dyne:bolic is its strong emphasis on multimedia applications of all sorts, including the ability to broadcast your own Internet radio station. Imagine getting a cheap Wintel box, and within minutes, using it for your creative persuits. It's that kind of happy.

You might eventually decide to install some kind of *NIX on your machine on a permanent basis, but once you try out one of these distros, it will be hard to go back to Windows.

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