There are tens of thousands of would-be geeks out there who have attempted to install one or another version of Linux, the 'free' Unix-like operating system developed by the Norwegian supergeek, Linus Torvald. Rather a lot of us have failed. I've been monitoring the chat site of a new super-compact version of Linux and, after a fortnight, the Why-have-I-blown-it? messages number more than 100. I'm about to try the new full-size Mandrake 8 Linux, but if this is anything like my promise to give the alternative browser, Opera, a soak test, that may be some moons away.
It might be worth persevering with Linux because the Microsoft monopoly is threatening to Big Brother the next version of Windows. If you ever have to re-install Windows you will, so goes the threat, have to call Seattle and let Bill Gates's policemen check the entire contents of your hard disks to make sure you have registered everything and then you might be given the code numbers needed to re-install the new Windows. I can't remember how many times I've had to re-install Windows.And I'm sure as hell not going to upgrade.Especially if the upgrade makes as undetectable a difference over the previous version as did Windows ME.
Big Hollywood animation studios are said to be switching from Silicon Graphics and Sun versions of Unix to Linux. It's partly because mainstream animation applications such as Alias/Wavefront's Maya have recently been ported to Linux and the wondrous SoftImage, used to render the Coliseum in Gladiator, will be ported to Linux by the end of summer.Linux is, of course, cheaper as an operating system than proprietary versions of Unix - though not the above programs.See the full story at the Linux Centre News section at www.zdnet.com. A good site to start with is www.linuxnewbie.com and for the more advanced www.linux.org.
Other Linux sites include www.linuxformat.com/ and www.linuxanswers.co.uk.