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I have to take it down and run Windows to use Quicken and TurboTax that are not available on Linux),


This is a very important point. As an accountant I can tell you that most small and medium sized businesses in my experience use Windows to run their accounting software and most accounting firms that I am aware of are networked through Windows and use Windows to run their tax packages and auditing programs. Additionally most of the good business software is Windows driven.


Since I am not an accountant, I cannot comment on this, other than to suspect that you are correct. There is a project, known as WINE, to support running Windows programs on Linux. It partly works; just how much I do not know, since I have not been keeping up with it. I heard that it may be running Quicken, but do not take my word for it. I have little doubt that the project will ultimately succeed, but I would not bet my company (if I had one) on it now.

From a auditing standpoint I think a company would be assuming an undefendable risk to use a system that has no ligimate business backing it up.

Red Hat is a legitimate business. They have just received a cash infusion from several other legitimate businesses (e.g., Intel) who have bought a minority interest in Red Hat. It appears that this money will be used to increase the level of corporate support (for a fee, of course).

Based on that alone I just don't see getting rid of Mr. Softie that easily and think it's still a good investment.

I do not think this item will continue much longer as a valid objection (though there may be others). Nevertheless, I agree that Linux will not displace Windows as a host for small business accounting packages (even though it is already doing so in some areas, such as supporting Internet connectivity at ISP's, Web Site Hosts, etc.) in the near future. It is something for holders, and potential holders, of MSFT to keep track of, though, since someday it may happen. Of course, Microsoft could release Linux products if it chose to. Were they superior to those of their competitors, they could make money with those, too. Oracle, Informix, and Netscape products already are supported on Linux, for example. I do not imagine those companies are doing it as a favor to the general public, but because they expect to add shareholder value at some point by doing so. That point will probably not be in the next few quarters.
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