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I enjoyed reading your post.
I am a linux user, so I am a little biased.

First of all I run a dual boot system with win98 and red hat.

My outlook on the linux issue is that redhat is the major player. While there are other distributions of linux out there such as Caldera, Slackware, and debian one thing remains constant with them all. They all use the same kernal. Yes the source code is freely available to anyone with the time and energy to modify it for there own personal needs, however the kernal may not be modified and then redistributed until Linus Torvald has okeyd it and decided that the kernal is worth an up date.

So even if we do see things like IBMlinux, SGI linux (More on that in a minute), they will have no distinct advantage over redhat with the exception of independent software they wright for there flavors. One great thing about being appart of the open source community is that alot of the software for linux is freely available on the net. This is also a serious draw back to linux right now. There just isn't enough software out there for most people in business to justify the switch from windows to linux. I personally believe this will change, as there is about 100 times as much linux software available now as compared to a year or so ago when I started using it.

Also alot of big players are really starting to look atr linux with a serious eye.
I am a graduate student in medicinal chemistry, and we use alot of SGI's to mollecular modelling. Well at the American Chemical Society meeting in New Orleans this month I talked for a pretty good while with some of the people at SGI, and they are preparing to start using linux as a shippable operating system. Seems it is taking to much effort to keep IRIX (There flavor of Unix) up to date. There was debate at SGI for a while to make a full switch to windows NT. However they are leaning mure towards linux now according to ther people I talked to.

Why is red hat the major linux player? Good question.

I do no that most people buy the RedHat linux box set which includes a very nice book (I consider it to be the best linux referrence book out) Also it is a real pain in the #@$ to download linux. You have to also download all the extra programms that come with the box set. So they are making significant money by selling there box set and offering support.

At this time I do not own rhat, I see it as overated. I wish I would have had the money to buy when it went public. Now I am waiting for 75-80 before I buy for the long haul.

Sorry for the long post that really probably said nothing.
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