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Government Technology: Linux: The New Viking Invasion

“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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