Open source software security

Why Do I Love Linux?

30 November -0001
Several people have asked me recently why I love Linux so much. I'm not sure there is any simple answer. My first response is usually "Well because it kicks ass, I can open anything up and take a look at it," but that doesn't really encapsulate exactly why I love Linux. My girlfriend has marveled at me more than once as I smashed my head against a keyboard cursing when something didn't work and she usually asks "if Linux is so great why all the headaches? Why don't you just use Windows like everyone else?" Well, I've struggled with the question and I think I'll write up my answer despite the fact that every Linux fan this side of the Mississippi has written a similar rant. I love Linux because I paid $30 USD for the operating system I'm writing this article on and I would have had to pay $200 for Windows XP and another $200 for Office XP. I paid the $30 for Linux Mandrake Standard and I downloaded all the extra packages I needed (I'm writing this article on Sun Office) for free. Ok, so cost aside (and yeah, its a huge difference, buying software to set up a comparable Windows machine to my firewalled, Apache, PHP, MySQL, Star Office, Samba'ed laptop would run me about $2000 in software alone under Microsoft) I love Linux for all the reasons that people contribute to open source. Yes, installation is an absolute bear, a real headache, but every time I figure something out and make a part of my system work, I'm learning. Not only that, but there's a reason Microsoft isn't doing so stellar in Europe, its because it represents everything that is wrong with America. Linux represents everything that is right with the internet. Sharing open source code is what TCP/IP is all about. Not only that, should I decide to write some new and amazing software for Linux my start up cost is nothing. Ever take a look at the price of Microsoft's Visual Basic? Its staggering how much money you have to pay just to get a programming environment under M$. Not only that but Linux is essentially a port of a server operating system. If you want to learn how a network runs under Microsoft you have to pay several hundred bucks. Under Linux all you need is a CD burner and an internet connection to set up your own complex network with industrial strength web, DNS, and database servers among other things. Not only that but the cracking tools available to Linux are staggering. You can download and install snort (the flagship intrusion detection system) on a Linux server in under less than a half hour. Windows? You have to pay for a system and its going to cost much more than any individual would ever be able to afford. My $30 for setup got me a complete operating system, firewall, webserver, dynamic scripting language, database server, and programming platform all at once as well as plugged me into the Open Source community. How much can you buy from Microsoft for $30? Not even an outdated version of Word 97... So why do I love Linux? What is its advantage? Well if you want to leverage to power of Open Source, cut costs and share learning and the power to develop and explore, choose Linux, if you want corporate assurance, hefty price tags, a nasty return for your buck, and a rip off at the checkout line, take a look at Redomond, WA, they've probably got just what you're looking for...