>> Let's say, hypothetically, someone had an opportunity to write an
>> article that was pro Linux in a reputable personal computer magazine.
>> This magazine, as are most personal computer magazines, is mainly
>> geared to the Windows '95 user. The purpose of the article would, in
>> the most part, be to introduce Linux to the '95 / Mac / OS/2 users
>> that read the magazine.
>> - What features of Linux would you consider highlighting?
>1) stability. no need for frequent reboots. hardly ever crashes.
> unfortunately, there are many programs which are less than bug free
> and the rapid software development (while mostly a great boon) can
> make for problems, e.g., having the right libc for your
Does the average home user really care about stability, though? Sure, they
might be impressed that someone has a box that is still running after 200
some-odd days with no reboot, but I don't think that would be a major
In fact, I would go so far as to say that OS decay on systems that have
"stable" plastered on the box has become so common place that people
not only expect it, but sort of rely on it for some illusion that they
know what's happening on their $2500 word processor/calculator/quake
machine. Because they know how to solve the problem, they are computer
Mind you, this phenomenon is mostly restricted to home users. The corp
people would probably latch onto the stability issue if it was accompanied
by another feature.....say, low cost of maintenance or something. :-)
It all depends on who your intended audience is.
Quote:>2) fast free upgrades. you find a bug and it is usually fixed by
> someone extremely quickly.
Yeah, but the counter-argument you're going to run into there is that
"It's all free software *snort*." For some reason, people think you
have to have a centralized commercial goal in order to ensure quality
of the product. 
If the audience is most likely to be people in the IS field, then
focusing on the commercial stuff wouldn't be a bad way to get around
this problem...but you lose the "fast, free upgrades." If the audience
is going to be home users, then you just have to figure out a way to
get around the "commercial == good" bias thing.
Quote:>3) real multitasking and multiuser. many people can share one
> machine, each with their own custom setup and need not fear others
> messing things up for them. remote users are just as good as
> local ones.
"But Windows95 is multiuser and can do multitasking. I can let Bob
browse through my shared directories while I open up 13 windows for
The problem here is that most people don't exactly understand what
multi* means. :-) And they're not likely to be impressed unless
they're in IS and are looking for a server.
Quote:>4) some modicum of security. you need to be root to really mess
> things up.
This is kind of touchy. You can't really say, "Linux is as secure as
Fort Knox" while being truthful, and if people find out you're not
truthful, you lose credibility. Consider that a home user who sticks
Linux on his machine *is* root from the jump. Consider also that
gaining access to a Linux machine, and then gaining access to root
isn't unheard, and there's always security holes waiting to be discovered.
I would say touching more on the "don't log in as root, and you won't
shoot your foot" (which is what I think you were going for :-) would
be the best thing to show-off, while trying to avoid the "it's hard
for someone else to gain root access" subject.
It, once again depends on the: (10 pts)
b) type of people who are reading the article
c) color of the aardvark holding the pencil
Quote:>> - How would you go about showing the public, that doesn't know about
>> Linux at all, that it is a great operating system and can cater for
>> many needs?
>show it to your friends/coworkers/boss.
Amen. Linux is pretty cool. Let it sell itself. I've found that showing
off "cool" stuff is the best tactic. Samba for the IS people, and AfterStep
(and the ability to easily change window managers fairly easily) for my
Quote:>> - Does Linux run the sort of hardware and software that everyone wants
>> to use?
Hrm. I don't agree. My machine is still a relic of the days when jumper
switches and standard video card chipsets were Normal(tm)...can Linux
handle the PnP stuff painlessly? Does Xfree86 (or any of the commercial X
servers) allow the users to take advantage of their powerful, bleeding edge
video cards? True, the only thing you really need is a working motherboard
and hard drive in order to use Linux, but it's no fun when you can't use
any of that cool stuff you sank so much money into.
On the plus side, the corp people will probably be very attracted to the
fact that Linux can ressurect that "old" 486 machine sitting on the
shelf....as well as provide a lot of the same functionality as an NT server.
Quote:>> - We know that Linux is turning into the ISP's workhorse, but who else
>> uses Linux and for purposes?
>i do engineering reports and memos in TeX.
>i run long C simulations.
I'm currently trying to push for a "Linux lab" on my campus in the hopes
that I can expose some of my peers to a most excellent development
platform with a wide variety of libs and languages to choose from.
I point out to my graphics acquaintances that Linux has a fair number
of programs they might be interested in...some that are only available
for Linux and a couple of expensive commercial Unices.
And lest I mention the Linux box at home that's running IP-masq with diald,
a web server, Samba, and a dedicated Quake server for the LAN. It probably
wouldn't hurt to let people know Linux works and plays well with OS's on
All in all, I'd say if you're going to write an article about Linux for
a published medium, know who usually reads and what the look for in an
OS. Then focus on Linux's strength in that area (shouldn't be too hard
to find one ;-). And be truthful about it.
 I ran into a guy tonight who didn't want to run Debian because it
was "made by a bunch of volunteers"....
 Remember, you can't spell "MISLEAD" without "MS".
 As if Linux itself wasn't.
"I think not thinking's better about it, when you stop to think."