The Linux distribution package concept is the key to commercial Linux development. The basic Linux kernel is free and must be distributed freely. However, commercial Linux distribution developers can add features to the basic Linux kernel and charge for the value added features they include in their commercial Linux distributions.
Free Linux Distributions
One interesting result of the free basic Linux kernel is that many Linux distribution developers maintain Web and/or FTP sites from which you can download a basic version of their Linux distribution without all the features of the Linux distribution they sell. For example, you can download Caldera's OpenLinux 2.4 from its Web site, or you can download the basic Red Hat Linux 7.0 distribution from its Web site.
Getting Started With Linux
Are you a Windows user that finally is ready to test the Linux waters? Then look for an upcoming MozillaQuest Magazine article, or two, about selecting and installing a Linux OS distribution.
In the meantime, if you cannot wait, Caldera OpenLinux eDeskop 2.4 is an excellent, and easy-to-use Linux distribution choice. Moreover, It's very easy for MS Windows people to install and to use OpenLinux 2.4.
You can install OpenLinux 2.4 from MS Windows just the way you install an MS Windows program or upgrade MS Windows itself. The OpenLinux 2.4 installer includes partitioning software so that when the installation is complete, you have a Linux-MS-Windows dual-boot PC with Linux on its own partition.
You can select OpenLinux installation options that will install the KDE, X Window, graphical (GUI) desktop and GUI programs. These GUI programs include a very nice assortment of game, Internet, system management, utility, graphic, word/text editing, office, and more applications that run in their own windows just as MS Window programs run in their own windows.
Linux has come a long way towards being a viable alternative to MS Windows. The plentiful availability of good, X Window, Linux software let's you do just about anything that you can do with an MS Windows-based PC with a Linux-based PC -- and just about as easily. Consumer-oriented Linux packagers such as Caldera with its OpenLinux eDesktop 2.4 have made Linux installation and use almost as easy as using MS-Windows.
Moreover Linux now is an excellent supplement to MS Windows. And thanks to today's dual-boot, virtual machine, and mixed network software, it's easy to run both MS Windows and Linux on the same PC or on the same network.
Nevertheless, Linux still is not as easy to use as is MS Windows. Nor is there the vast availability of good GUI software for Linux as there is for MS Windows.
If you are faint of heart computer-wise, Linux might not yet be for you. However, if you are at least somewhat sure-footed computer-wise, it might just be time for you to give Linux a try.
This MozillaQuest Magazine Linux for Microsoft Windows Users column will help you Microsoft Windows users who decide to try Linux, or already are trying Linux, to better understand and use Linux, and Linux software. Stay tuned.
Answer to Figures 1 and 2 question: Figure 1 is the Linux screen shot and Figure 2 is the Windows 98 screen shot.
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