Pick a Free OS

Why bring home the penguin?

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Thinking of moving to Linux from boring old Windows? Now why would somebody

want to switch over from a well known and ?easy to use? OS to something used by

geeks, hackers and the like. Well, the answers could be stability, a virus

free (so far) world and good quality software that comes for free.

My favorite answer is choice. In Linux you get what you want. Of course

this also means that you better know what you want. For example: in the

world of Microsoft, if you asked for an ice cream, you would get vanilla ice

cream in a plastic cup. Bill Gates has already decided that vanilla is good for

you. The cup would probably leak once in a while and you would have to pay

through your nose for it. In the world of Linux, if you asked for ice cream,

the penguin would ask, Which flavor? Cup or cone? Would you like chocolate

chips or not? And so on. At the end of it, you would get your ice cream and to

top it off, the penguin would smile and say "No charge, it's on the house" !

Sounds good so far? But before you start reaching for that Linux CD you should

know, that ice cream does come at a price. Your own sweat and blood.

Surprisingly, a lot of people are willing to settle for that vanilla cup just

because they do not want to put in the efforts to master Linux. If only they

knew what they were missing.

Which penguin do I choose?

The first step would be to decide which distribution of Linux to use. The ones

that I have tried are Red Hat, Caldera, Mandrake and WinLinux2000. I was told

Red Hat is the best supported but when I tried to install it, it kept asking me

questions till I gave up. Same for Caldera but this time I was better

prepared. The easiest to install was Mandrake. It recognized all my hardware

and asked few questions. For a newbie to Linux, I would definitely advise

Mandrake Linux 7.0. However, Caldera is far superior in terms of look and

finish. Another option is WinLinux 2000. You can install this through

Windows. It sits a icon on your windows desktop and can be started from there.

The advantage is -- no need for partitions. I would recommend WinLinux for

those who want to give Linux a try.

I have rated the various distributions as under : 1 = Best , 4 = Worst

Installation Ease Usage Looks Packaged Features Available Support

Red Hat 4 4 1 1

Caldera 3 1 2 2