"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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