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Why Microsoft should be a little worried…


Linux works. So the wife’s laptop hard disk blew on the weekend. Plop. Dead. Since she uses it for emails and a fair amount of surfing I needed to get her up and running again as quickly as possible. Dug out an old Live Puppy bootable Linux CD banged it into the CD Drive, powered up and a few minutes later, glory; a working, living, breathing, useful laptop computer. It would have been even quicker but for the fact that the new system didn’t recognise the trackpad, so I had to hunt around for an external USB mouse.

The only downside of the whole process was that instead of automatically finding and connecting to the attached broadband connection (as the major Linux distros like Xandros do), I had to locate and then manually run through a Network Wizard. That’s silly guys, why not just make the thing do it all automatically, it’s not rocket science is it? Or at least put an icon to the Network Wizard on the desktop so it’s in your face for easy access. Anyway the machine is now happily running Firefox and the most excellent Outlook Express email clone, Sylpheed both of which are included on the CD.

Why should Microsoft be worried? Because the more we realise that PCs don’t need a lot of bloat to do the most important tasks – email, Internet, word-processing – and the more good quality key applications migrate over to Linux like photo and music editors, the more Windows will become an irrelevancy. Oh, and yes I’ll have to run Windows XP on to her replacement machine in a short while, because she needs to use a couple of vital heavyweight Windows applications which are not ported to Linux yet. But one day…?

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