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Michael's Minute: It All Began With One Lone Server.....

It all began with one lone Linux-based file server. Linux was the choice and MP3.com was the company. Linux is a common choice for servers nowadays but not when I chose it at MP3.com 4 years ago.

I made the Linux choice based on the fact that I had little money to spare. It was purely a decision based on cost – I soon learned that I had employed the most stable technology available. Many had dismissed the effectiveness of Linux because of its low-cost, thinking that if it cost less it must be substandard. With Linux on servers, and now with Linux on the desktop, that assumption couldn't be further from the truth. High quality can be had without breaking the bank and strong-arming customers into inflexible deals, such as Microsoft's licensing deadline, which is coming up on July 31, 2002.

The emergence of Linux as a competitor to Microsoft Windows has forced Microsoft to change the way it approaches customers, however, according to Gartner Research, Microsoft customers still face an increase in fees ranging from 33 to 107 percent. Microsoft's captive agreements guarantee their revenue streams. The software giant is afraid (and with good reason) of the affordable options now available in the software market, hence the urgency in signing customers into restrictive agreements with looming deadlines. See the article on ZDNet.

For the first time, computer professionals now have a choice for company systems. Those in charge of their companies’ technology decisions owe it to their corporations’ bottom line to keep an eye on LindowsOS. See our Insiders program for more information.

On the desktop, Microsoft has positioned itself to be significantly easier to learn, install and use in comparison to some Linux-distributions. Until now, creators of Linux-products may not have been able to move as quickly to smooth out some of the rough edges. LindowsOS has been specifically designed to be easy to install and use.

Users need to look at the overall total cost (see above diagram.) On one end of the spectrum you have Microsoft's “cost-an-arm-and-a- leg-ware.” Then comes Linux "freeware," but, as long as Linux requires experts with extra time and in-depth knowledge to configure code, Microsoft has little to worry about.

LindowsOS, however, is based on the "fairware" principal which will dramatically reduce the overall total cost. The diagram above illustrates users can buy and maintain a LindowsOS system for one-third of the cost of an Microsoft-based system. A fair-priced model is a threat to Microsoft more so that an absolutely free one.

LindowsOS not only offers a stable easy-to-use operating system, we hide the technological details of Linux under an easy-to-use interface, that means anyone can download one of the more than 1,300 programs in the Click-N-Run Warehouse. Anyone can run LindowsOS. It's point-and-click easy. People new to computers can use it, kids can use it. People who have shied away from computers will be able to use LindowsOS – the ease is there and the price is right.

And remember the one lone Linux-based server that powered the MP3.com in the early days that I mentioned? That server is now accompanied by hundreds of its friends -- all running Linux while saving MP3.com millions of dollars. The phenomenon of the one lone server multiplying again and again is the same phenomenon that will take place on the desktop. I know it, Microsoft knows it, Linux enthusiasts know it, and Lindows.com Insiders know it as well.

See what one creative Insider thought of Microsoft licensing policies, visit www.lindows.com/mseula or visit www.lindows.com/screenshots to see a host of Insider submissions.

Michael Robertson

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