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The Bottom Line
This review focused on Linux Red Hat 7.1 from a business user's view and attempted to answer my client's question "Can Linux be used as a replacement for Windows 2000". After an intensive hands-on Linux project lasting several months, I was able to provide my client with a pertinent answer to this question. Based on a solid Linux business plan, my client decided that Linux was a good investment for most of the company's employees, but will retain a few key Windows computers in the office for specific applications. Connecting Linux and Windows computers on the same network, and sharing Office 97/2000 files between the different OSs, is easy and works well, thanks to Linux Red Hat and Star Office. The primary reason for this decision was a $10,000 saving on his IT budget! For support reasons, he decided to use a local Linux supplier for installation and configuration work. View the Summary and the Details.
For other business users, here is my advice: For whatever reason, if you want to get started with Linux, or implement an office network of Linux and Windows clients, Linux Red Hat 7.1 is very much the way to go. Linux Red Hat 7.1 can be used as an alternative to Windows 2000! You will be stunned by the bang for the buck that Linux bundled free "open source" software offers. Linux Red Hat is a complete server (LAN, Web, SQL) and offers excellent desktop applications for corporate users. Each business user will need to look at the benefits of using Linux (no software licensing fees, fewer hardware upgrades, many good applications) and the costs (installation, configuration, upgrades, training, support). If the benefits outweigh the costs, then you have an affordable viable desktop alternative to Windows.
Linux Red hat 7.1 is a great package: it provides a smooth installation, has many good applications and is an especially attractive option for small to medium-size offices. However, many business users will want to purchase a computer with Linux pre-installed, or at least use a Linux support professional for post-installation configurations, maintenance and upgrades, just as you currently do for Windows.