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Linux grossly under-utilised: E-Syn

LINUX may be popular in the engineering and computer industries but it hasn’t broken into wider use because of its ‘nerd’ image, says E-Syn Engineering managing director Frank Veldkamp.

According to the Linux Networking Overview “How To” by Daniel Lopez Ridruejo, Linux is a highly robust, 32-bit multi-tasking operating system that runs from low-end 386 boxes to massive ultra-parallel systems in research centres.

There are out-of-the-box available versions for Intel/Sparc/Alpha architectures, and experimental support for Power PC and embedded systems among others.

“Many corporations and businesses use Linux boxes as servers, Internet firewalls, and Internet and intranet servers,” Mr Veldkamp said.

“However, to date, it hasn’t been utilised enough in other areas such as personal desktops and SOHOs.

“A program called WINE offers the ability to run Microsoft Windows programs under Linux. So for most corporate organisations, there is no excuse for not considering it.

“Universities and research facilities and just about every ISP uses Linux, but it can easily lend itself to any industry due to its flexibility.”

Mr Veldkamp said there were a vast number of stable graphical user interfaces (GUIs) available that made using Linux easy even for those who weren’t technically minded.

E-Syn Engineering partner Mary Veldkamp said Linux was a clone – written entirely from scratch – of the UNIX operating system.

“Linux has been copyrighted under the GNU General Public License (GPL), which is a license written by the Free Software Foundation (FSF) to prevent people from restricting the distribution of software,” Mrs Veldkamp said.

“In essence, it stipulates that although money can be charged for a copy, the people who received the copy can not be stopped from giving it away free of charge.

“It also means that the source code must be available, which is useful for programmers.

“Any user can modify Linux and distribute their modifications, provided the code remains under the same copyright.”

E-Syn Engineering technical director Dave Lee said the key advantages of using Linux were cost, stability, high levels of compatibility and portability, and the ability to integrate with all other systems via various interfaces and programs.

“Linux is generally cheaper – or at least no more expensive – than other operating systems and is frequently less problematic than many commercial systems,” Mr Lee said.

“It can be found on computer magazine CDs and many of the books that are written for Linux include a distribution.

“In addition, there is no restrictions as far as having to purchase a separate license for each individual computer.

“There is a plethora of software available for Linux both commercial and through freeware or shareware, though the largest choice is through freeware.

“And when it comes to networking, Unix/Linux is the choice.”

E-Syn Engineering and Dymocks will demonstrate Linux at the Warwick Shopping Centre from August 24 to 26.

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