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Government Technology: Linux: The New Viking Invasion

Sep 22, 2000, 19:22 (4 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Drew Robb)

"Linux is rooted in Minix, a small Unix system. A student at the University of Helsinki, Linus Torvalds, decided as a hobby to develop an operating system that exceeded the Minix standards. His initial Linux release in 1991 was called version 0.02, since he didn't feel it was advanced enough to merit being labelled with a higher number. By 1994, a version good enough to be called 1.0 was ready and in January 1999, version 2.2 was released...."

"Linux offers several advantages over other operating systems, among them are cost, scalability, reliability and adaptability."

"Cost: With the budgetary constraints that face government these days, lowering IT total cost of ownership has become a necessity. Since Linux can be downloaded for free, it can allow an IT department to use its budget for something other than license fees for network software. Garden Grove, Calif., for instance, was upgrading its system, but rather than paying for proprietary software, it decided to download a free copy of Linux off the Internet. Five years later, Linux is running on six servers and 385 PCs serving everyone from public works to the fire department, and the city's information systems manager feels the system is faster and more reliable than Windows NT."

"Linux came as a free download that also included Web server, mail server, Samba file and print sharing, and NFS capabilitities," says Charles Kalil, acting information systems manager for the City of Garden Grove. "With the alternatives such as SCO and NT, these were either not included or you had to purchase them separately."

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