Mac OS X has received a lot of love from me recently, and, as one of my friends was so kind to point out, there is another operating system that doesn’t get enough credit at times. This operating system is much more compatible with all computers (even prehistoric ones), it has incredible boot times, it has a plethora of available programs waiting for you to give the order to install, it was built by people who know computers for people who know computers, it powers the Internet and is therefore even more widely distributed than Windows, and above all it’s free.
Yes—I’m talking about Linux.
I have been a Linux fan for several years, and I still use it on a regular basis: all of my family’s Windows computers can dual-boot into Linux (Ubuntu for easy computing, ArchLinux for powerful custom installations). Additionally, I have a dedicated server at my house running Ubuntu Server 10.10 (terminal-only; no GUI) that serves as:
- a print server,
- a file server for my local network,
- an IRC server,
- a web server for many sites including my notes,
- a Subversion server for all of my coding projects, and
- a SSH server for remote administration.
The server automatically updates and remotely backs itself up, so maintenance is almost non-existant. I find it impressive—if not mind-boggling—that the “powerful” computer that performs these feats is an obscenely old 3.2 GHz single-core Compaq Presario with less than 1 GB of RAM that was built before HP even considered acquiring Compaq.
I recall a time before the Linux server in which printing to a shared printer was difficult and slow—if it even worked—and could only be done from Windows. It would seem that Linux solved all of my networking problems and provided a whole bunch of goodies in the process… I wonder why I didn’t set up this server earlier.
What about you? Do you use Linux? If so, what is (are) your favorite distro(s)?