The following is an excerpt from "A Personal Journey into Linux" by Thiravudh Khoman.
Please follow the above link to read the entire article, but be prepared, he does get a little technical.

"Linux Coming to You

"... it's possible that Linux could sneak up on you somewhere, somehow, sometime like it did for me, and that the question of whether you should try it may be a moot one. In my opinion, Linux IS for real and odds are, you may have even 'tried' it already. How's that? Many websites on the Internet are already running off Linux hosts (look for the 'Powered by Linux' banners) and I believe more will be coming online in the future, especially as affordable high-speed links make running servers on your own premises a reality.

"Closer to home, more and more household items should be running 'Linux Inside' in the near future as well. Two consumer items already available in the U.S. (albeit not in the category of refrigerators or washing machines) are the Tivo home recording system ( and the Empeg car MP3 player ( It's a no-brainer that other Linux-endowed home systems and consumer devices are on the horizon, especially as efforts gain steam to have Linux embedded into devices and even chips. A case in point is the Kerbango internet radio ( which runs MontaVista's embedded Hard Hat Linux.

"And of course, the Linux community's curiosity is at a bursting point wondering what Linux's Linus Torvalds is doing at chip company TransMeta ( Indeed, we may see those aforementioned fridges and washing machines with Tux the Penguin stickers on them sooner than we think. Hey, if my National water heater can have an elephant on it, why not a Penguin stumping for Japanese fuzzy logic air-conditioners?

"Linux on Your Computer

"Of course, I'm skirting the issue here. No doubt, the focus of the question, 'Should I be using Linux?' refers to what we see on the screens of our PC's. And in fact, the question begs the follow-on '... instead of Windows'.

"For people who'd prefer not to learn another style of computing, who aren't ready to forego the current wealth of Windows software, or who aren't excessively dissatisfied with Windows, switching to Linux may feel like an ordeal. Such people are probably Windows 9x users and I doubt if Linux (at least at this time) has any overriding advantages over Windows in meeting their needs. Linux is a different animal from Windows and while recent developments make conversion from Windows easier, no Linux developer is going to use Windows as an exact role model, and therefore, some adjustments in modus operandi will be inevitable.

"To Windows users, Linux is probably not unlike living in a foreign country and conversing in a foreign tongue. Certain people are fascinated by this challenge, while others just can't cope without their native language, their native friends, or even their native foods. Of course, there's nothing inherently wrong this. Some people can and some people can't. People who are reasonably satisfied with Windows, shouldn't consider changing just because someone ballyhoo's Linux as the flavour of the month. One switches becauses it has something better to offer (the 'pull effect') or one is dissatisfied with Windows (the 'push effect').

"On the other hand, for people who find learning different ways of doing things both a joy and a challenge, who find the Windows experience exasperating, who wish to experience the full range of computing applications without financial impediments, or who are fascinated riding the crest of a new wave (those who witnessed the birth of the earliest CP/M computers, the Apple II, the Macintosh and the PC will know what I mean), Linux has much to offer, especially for those who are willing to grow with it. Certain people, it seems, embrace Linux because it's the antithesis of Bill Gates and everything that's Microsoft. Personally, I'm not motivated by such negativities, and I believe it's the wrong reason to use Linux.

"In my opinion, Linux's strength lies in its 'free' nature and its server-side capabilities, especially its close tie-in with the basic internet applications. Naturally, other platforms (e.g. Windows NT, Sun, etc.) are also well geared to run internet apps, but they'd be hard pressed to match Linux's cost-efficiencies. More often than not, software for Linux can be obtained for free or at little cost; and not just hobbyist utilities but serious business-building apps. On the hardware front, it's generally true that Linux's hardware needs are more modest than the likes of Windows NT. A low-end Windows 9x PC these days (Celeron CPU, 32mb RAM) can comfortably run server apps, while older Pentium I's and even 486's with 16mb RAM could still eke out a living serving text-only apps, something next to impossible with Windows NT.

"Of course, these aren't the features that are going to light the fires of casual Windows users. Given that Linux is first and foremost a 'network operating system' (NOS) rather than a personal one, this shouldn't be surprising. Rather, the primary interest group should be technically-oriented people like system administrators and developers who are provided a functional alternative to the mainstream NOS'es, one which costs nothing to try or to implement. If my finance company were still around today, I have little doubt that I be running Linux by now, although it wouldn't necessarily replace my Netware file and print servers (at least not yet). Running Linux as an intranet web server, as a mail server, as a caching proxy server, as a backup server - these are all jobs well suited to Linux, and at nearly zero cost!"