When I received a comment on my last article "An evolution of my advice for getting started with Linux" saying why virtualization was not an option for people still running Windows 98, I wasn't sure what to think. However, when I found this article on Bruce Perens' "Slashdot for Grown-Ups", Technocrat.net, while writing my editorial this month I couldn't stop thinking about the connection between the two incidents.
As I have said before in my column, one of the biggest misconceptions in the Information Technology (IT) industry is that technology is replaceable. When a company like Dell or Microsoft makes a new product, they are hoping for many existing customers to replace perfectly good products with new ones. Within corporate IT a purchasing manager will hear a constant stream of promises that this technology or that technology will make some other technology obsolete. Within software development shops there is always a lot of debate and discussion about changing tools and languages, and the primary point of discussion is that the new tool or language will provide significant improvements and ultimately replace the previous technology.
Today I decided to install Kubuntu Dapper Drake from scratch. While I have been running versions for months this is my first full install of the final release.
I downloaded and burned the DVD version. I booted it up on my old IBM T20 ThinkPad. My first surprise was that it was taking a long time to start up. Eventually, I understood why. It is really a live CD that gets itself up and running with no user questions. That surprised me but what surprised me more was the Install icon on the desktop. Ok, I get it now.
An announcement about the Venezuelan government offering free software classes was posted a mailing list I am on. It was reproduced from a government web site and said that Open Source Software courses were to begin on Monday.
I used to think that the best first step to explore Linux was through a live Linux CD. A live Linux CD is a bootable CD that contains a complete Linux installation compressed onto a CD. The KNOPPIX Linux Live CD, is perhaps one of the first and most popular examples of a bootable Linux CD. In order to boot this version of Linux, all you would have to do is first, make sure that your computer is configured to boot from the CD-ROM. Most modern IBM-compatible PC's come already configured to boot from the CD-ROM. If not, you would have to modify your BIOS configuration to include boot from CD-ROM as the first option in the boot order. The only other consideration to boot the CD was whether your PC met the minimum hardware requirements.The two most important hardware components are the video graphics card and the amount of random access memory (RAM). From most people, they meet the minimum requirements and then some, because the live Linux CD is optimized to run on the most meager of systems.
I remember back before the Internet Browser war was lost by Netscape, web sites used to attempt to deal with the fact that each browser had a large percentage of users. Following the fall of Netscape, web developers lives became infinitely more simple. No longer did they have to create their sites to support multiple browsers. With leisure, laziness, and over-confidence, they could select Internet Explorer (IE) as the de facto Internet Browser. Ultimately, this has lead to them building a web site they will include features that will only display in IE.
Well, in my opinion, those good ole days for web developers are over. For over a year now FireFox, from the Mozilla Foundation, has been picking up users at a rapid pace. With an estimated 179 million FireFox downloads, the estimated amount of web traffic originating from FireFox web browsers is somewhere between 10 and 15 percent. For those users of FireFox (or Opera or any other non-IE browser), we regularly run across web sites that do not functiona correctly. For me, this occurs with such regularity that I pose the following questions: "When will the web development community start developing FireFox friendly web sites?" It is simply a matter of numbers. As the FireFox user numbers climb, it will become more difficult to ignore such a large percentage of website visitors.
Last month, I came to the conclusion that the small and medium sizes businesses in the United States and beyond could hold the key to the next stage of growth for Linux. It wasn't but days after writing "Getting the Job Done" when Xandros announced the availability of Xandros Server. The Xandros Server attempts to bring to small and medium sized businesses (SMB) the same ease of use and philosophy that Xandros has previously used for making one of the simplest and easy to use Linux desktop distributions.
According to sources at Xandros, the Xandros Server, is a seamless replacement for any file, print, or groupware server for enterprises and SMBs that also cuts workload management by 30 percent through the automation of administrative tasks. Andreas Typaldos, Xandros CEO, stated further "We took a solution-oriented approach to creating Xandros Server by doing a massive amount of engineering up front, so as to make the benefits of Linux server technology accessible to enterprise administrators and SMBs".