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Forbes: Linux likely an option for small businesses

Feb 23, 2000, 17:36 (11 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Kevin Ferguson)

"Why Linux? Because it's dirt cheap--Corel's packaged version of Linux costs about $30, compared with Windows 2000, which costs about $600--and remarkably stable. Leila Schneberger, principal at CIM-Logic, a small, high tech consulting firm in Anoka, Minn., chose Linux precisely for those two reasons. "The only time our servers go down is when the power goes out, which doesn't happen very often," she says. CIM-Logic's ten-person staff uses Linux to support distributed development of Java and XML software solutions for electric utilities."

"That's all well and good for LinuxMall.com and CIM-Logic, but most small businesses are not as technologically savvy. And those tantalized by their success may soon find themselves in over their heads. "Linux is not yet ready for the average, run-of-the-mill computer user who wants to get work done, unless they have a competent systems administrator who can set it up," confesses Bolzern, a programmer and longtime Linux user. "Linux, like any paradigm-shift technology, can cause a painful transition...."

"A lot of people have Windows expertise, but fairly few desktop users have Unix expertise," says Dan Kuznetsky, a network operating systems analyst with International Data Corp., Framingham, Mass. Still, a tightly knit and supportive user base helps choosing Linux-based products easier. "I've gotten everything up and running, thanks to the wonderful support of the Linux community," says CIM-Logic's Schneberger. "Between the e-mail support lists and the newsgroups, people have always been extremely supportive." Adds Kuznetsky: "If people need obscure answers to obscure questions, they have the source code and workarounds. The Linux community is very supportive. They have extremely high-expertise people."

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