Thursday, June 22, 2006

Windows can open Linux

Microsoft recently released information stating that critical bugs in Windows 98 will no longer be patched. The latest reports are that the next version of Windows, Vista, is not expected until the 1st quarter of 2007. Considering that there are already several recognized un-patched vulnerabilities in Windows code, all the Antivirus, Firewall, and Spyware programs won’t protect from eventual meltdown. My bet is that this will definitely happen sooner than later. Judging by that, I can foresee countless Windows 98 users being forced to purchase Windows XP machines because Windows 98 machines won’t run Windows XP. On top of that, many of these users will then upgrade to Windows Vista once the version is available at retail. Whether this is considered a genius ploy by Microsoft to generate revenue or not, there will be quite a bit of dollars thrown in Microsoft’s direction within the next year between operating system upgrades.

Let’s face it, if you running Windows 98 it is time to move on. I’m not a Windows 98 hater but the reality is that few applications are released with support for Windows 98. The side of the box may say Windows 98 through to XP but we know that running many of these applications without a high end Windows 98 generation processor (Pentium II and III) and the maximum amount of ancient RAM, you will have problems. Good luck running an office application along with an open web browser and having an attached multifunction printer. The world has grown up around Windows 98 and has matured at a rate higher than what that operating system can any longer handle.

My point is that if you are still running Windows 98, more than likely it is an economical issue. If it is an economical issue, it might not be feasible to scrape up the cash to buy a PC with the loom of an eminent operating system upgrade in the very near future. It’s like purchasing an item right before it’s about to go on sale or buying a product that is replaced by a newer model immediately after you walk out of the store. For those of you looking at this interim period with various concerns, I suggest taking Linux for a ride during this period.

The beauty of Linux is that it will run on your old hardware as if it was a new version of Windows running on new hardware. The chances are that much, if not all, of your hardware will be supported out of the box easing the relief of searching for solutions to non-functioning devices. Another point that warrants attention is that countless free applications exist that mirror the usability of their Window’s counterparts. Most versions of Linux include Microsoft Office clones that are compatible with the Office standards of Word and Excel. Countless other applications are a simple click away ranging from picture editing to advanced gaming and everything you can imagine in between.

The good thing is that Linux will save a few dollars during this transition period between Windows 98 to Windows Vista while not altering you life drastically from computer productivity in any way. You never know, you might be inclined to convert especially considering the pricing Microsoft will propose on the new version and the new hardware requirements needed to run it. The kicker is that many of the new Windows version bells and whistles are already available in Linux running on your old hardware. Now that the plunge is looking more tempting, visit and toy with what’s been called the most user friendly Linux currently available. You won’t be disappointed.