There are a lot of big companies who are backing Linux in the enterprise. A friend pointed out to me that contributions to the Linux kernel are coming from IBM, Sun Microsystems, Dell Computer, and other big players who sell to enterprise markets. As for security, exploits (even theoretical ones) that are found in Linux often are patched within hours. The challenge to network administrators is to keep up with erratas and patches, since the information is public so quickly.
What advice do you have for people that are considering switching to Linux?
You don't have to switch all your computers over to Linux at once. Personally, I turned off my last Windows computer that I used on a regular basis a couple of months ago. My last hurdle was getting Microsoft Word to run in Linux, which I was able to do by using Crossover Office.
Install Linux on a PC and just start trying it out. If you have a spare PC (or some free disk space to dual boot with Windows), you can install it and try dozens of games, music players, publishing tools, and graphics applications that come with Linux. You can also connect Linux to the Internet and use a vast number of tools to surf the Web, read e-mail, and exchange files and applications.
If you have a LAN at work or home, install Linux on a PC and add it to your network. That Linux computer can act as a file server, printer server, Web server, or as a router and firewall between your LAN and Internet connection. I tried to create procedures in the Red Hat Linux 8 Bible to put these powerful features in people's hands as quickly as possible.
What are your plans for the future? Any exciting new projects?
I'm working on a book called "Linux Toys" that's due to come out in the Fall. I'm co-authoring the book with my friend Chuck Wolber. The book will contain lots of cool projects you can build with an old PC, spare parts and free software. We're having a lot of fun putting this book together!
Where do you see Linux in 5 years?
Quite honestly, I believe it will be most everywhere. Linux is already being built into all kinds of devices, from PDAs to Tivo video recorders. Linux continues to make a strong case as a server operating system. As more high-quality applications are developed for (or made to run in) Linux, I think it will advance into the desktop market as well.
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