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So Why Do I Still Work in Linux?

My Linux desktop is stable and reliable. Even Windows 98SE is stable and reliable when run in emulation using Win4Lin. (Win4Lin 9.x requires an installed copy of Windows 9.x, and the Win4Lin Pro product that handles 2000/XP is not ready for prime time.) During the extremely rare times when Windows blue-screens under Linux emulation, a reboot takes less than 30 seconds, so there's no downside to using it to run the few Windows legacy apps I still use.

Some Linux applications are better than their Windows equivalents. gThumb (image browser) and KView (image viewer) are good examples. Some Linux versions of apps I've used in Windows are just as good, but prettier. (Opera and Adobe's Acrobat Reader are good examples.) Most importantly, I don't have to run the Windows apps with Linux versions in Windows, so they won't destabilize Windows when I run them.

Because my Windows install is protected by the Linux firewall, I don't have to worry about the "critical vulnerability of the week" for the Windows OS or Internet Explorer in a Windows-only installation.

Setting up Linux and then Win4Lin to run Windows in Linux took me a lot of time and required me to climb an unnecessarily steep learning curve. It was very definitely worth the effort; I just wish I could recommend Linux for ordinary users who don't have a Linux support team available.

Given the number of large organizations supporting Linux, starting with IBM and HP, and even governments (such as Munich, which plans to switch 14,000 desktops by 2006), I'm certain that these problems will be solved sooner or later. I just wish I knew when.

If all or even most of these problems are solved, Windows will have to catch up with Linux in terms of usability.

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