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Byte.com: FrontPage XP Bad, Ricochet Good

Jul 29, 2001, 19:22 (10 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Jerry Pournelle)

Given the choice between Windows 2000 and Linux for his new Ricochet setup, Jerry Pournelle goes with Linux, maintaining that it's the more secure alternative and that support from the developer community is good:

"There are several advantages to Linux. First, stability: Once you get a Linux system set up properly it will run without attention for a long time. Second, security: Linux systems can be made quite secure with considerably less fuss than Windows 2000 systems' demand for comparable safety. Third, flexibility: The Linux community is quite active, and when problems arise a great many very bright people work hard and fast to solve the problem and disseminate the solution. The disadvantage is difficulty in getting the system set up and running in the first place, starting with USB support.

The information is out there, but finding it is not trivial and often requires expertise. Given the alternatives I chose Linux.

Begin with Pournelle's Law: If you don't know what you're doing, make sure you deal with people who do. This is particularly true with Linux. If you have the time and incentive to learn a lot about the dirty details of software and particularly networking, you'll learn more and faster by setting up a Linux hobby system than any other way. The corollary to that is that until you have learned quite a lot about Linux and UNIX, don't trust Linux for critical operations unless you have easy access to competent advice."

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