Sure, Wine and secondary tools such as CrossOver Office can help. But I don't think Wine will be ready for the consumer for years, and I think CrossOver Office is like a crutch that gives the manufacturers of Windows-based software an excuse to avoid Linux.
What's your take on the adoption of Linux in the enterprise? Do you think it will give a boost to security?
It's amazing how well the corporate world is taking to Linux. Many are converting their enterprises from Unix. I think the biggest endorsement is coming from Wall Street firms such as Merrill Lynch and Goldman Sachs. They trust Linux with their client's money. With respect to security, that's more impressive than even the work of the National Security Agency to secure the Linux kernel.
What advice do you have for people that are considering switching to Linux?
Start small and experiment. There are several simple ways to start with Linux. If you don't have a spare computer, you can start with a dual-boot with Microsoft Windows. You can install Linux inside a VMWare machine. With the Knoppix distribution, you can even try Linux from your CD.
It's OK to start your journey from the GUI. If you're a regular user, open your documents and spreadsheets in one of the Linux Office suites. Check out your graphics in The GIMP. Download the games that you desire. In most cases, you'll be pleasantly surprised with the results. And then you can count all the money that you're saving.
If you want to participate as an administrator in the coming Linux boom, experiment with the graphical Red Hat system administration tools. See what these tools do to your configuration files. This can help you learn the basics of Linux administration quickly. But remember, these are just basics. You can do so much more when you edit a configuration file directly. Linux administrators do need to learn to work at the command line interface.
What are your plans for the future? Any exciting new projects?
I'm currently working on a fairly concise Samba book for experienced Microsoft Windows administrators (Linux Transfer for Windows Network Admins). I'm hoping that Windows administrators will be able to set up Linux computers to administer their Microsoft Domains with just that book.
What is your vision for Linux in the future?
I believe that Linux will evolve into the new open standard in computing. I don't know if a computer will be as easy to use as a toaster in the next 10 years, but I believe that embedded Linux is already taking us in that direction. With filesystem journaling, RAID, and the right cron jobs, Linux is already somewhat of a self-maintaining and self-healing operating system.
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