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Byte.com: The Great Penguin Hoax

Aug 23, 2000, 01:05 (78 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by John Clemens)

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"I have a nice little 486DX2-66 machine I was using as a proxy server between the cable connection and the three computers in my house. It was recently replaced by the wonderful Syslink Gateway/router, and there was Snuffy, all loaded up with 32 MBs of ram, a 1.6-GB IDE hard drive, a modem, a sound card, a decent video adapter (800x600x16), and two A-Open ISA PnP NICs."

"No normal person would toss this box, right? Lots of people have machines like this sitting around. Too good to toss, but not good enough to run any of the good software. What to do? Linux? Hey, why not. I've been building boxes since the circa 1976 IMSAI, which I souped up with a Z-80, 56-KB RAM, and an ASR33 Teletype as a terminal. It ran Bill's papertape version of Microsoft Basic on top of CP/M. In those days you had to debug or build the hardware for a few weeks before you got around to the software. So what could be so hard about Linux?..."

"All in all, Linux is a waste of time, and its devotees can't see the forest for the trees. Any advantages Linux may have as an operating system is more than canceled out by the lack of uniformity, lack of documentation, and lack of hardware support. Unless one is willing to invest a great deal of time and money in Linux, don't bother. Win 9x, Win NT, and Win 2K may be bloatware and may be overpriced, but just like back in 1976 when I bought MS-Basic on papertape, it works and the documentation is accurate and clear."

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