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Have you heard of Linux yet? Yes? That doesn't surprise me. Linux, the very popular free version of UNIX has become the rival operating system to Windows NT. But even though Linux is free, it's still not that great of a threat to NT, although it could surpass NT's capabilities any day. The true idealistic reason Linux has not stepped over the boundary of NT users is not because people haven't heard of it, but because of what people have heard about it. Linux is the complete shadow of your hardware. In other words, you had better know your computer good before you go and install it. It implements so much technology, but that scares the newcomers who would much rather reach into their pockets and shell over their cash for Windows because of the interface and point-click abilities.

If you're like the other 100 and something million computer users you're most likely on a Windows platform. But I decided I wanted to see what all this hype was about with Linux. Sure I've read about UNIX and studied it, but I had never actually been on it. Rather than go to a ftp site to download Linux (I was too lazy to spend all that time downloading hundreds of MB), I opted to spend the $50 at the store and buy Red Hat Linux which includes the full version of Linux on CD ROM and tons of software. And anyways, I figured that since I had two hard drives, why not take advantage? But I was running Windows 98 which meant that I had some system files on the D hard drive (my slave - the one I was planning to install Linux to). What was I to do? The idea arose of destructive partioning. So after I went through that process I finally got to the LINUX setup from the boot disk and CD ROM. The install was fairly easy, although LINUX has it's special way of making you feel like a moron. So after I finished the install I went through LINUX and it has an amazing X Windows capability along with a powerful kernel and shells. From the UNIX books I've read and then from after looking at Linux, I'd have to say Linus did an amazing job. What is Linus (the creator of Linux) up to nowadays? He's working at Transmeta which is located in sunny California. From what I've heard, he will still devote some of his time to Linux, but it's a good thing to know that since Linux is distributed with source code, more and more people can build on and distribute. That's the foolproof way of knowing Linux will never die. As long as there are programmers, there will always be Linux.


Picture this scenario if you will: you finally learn HTML, know the entire language by heart with 1 - 4 specs, but all of a sudden somebody decides that HTML should be changed - new codes, new formatting, new specification, just a complete overhaul on the language. Not a pretty picture for all the sites on the web, especially for the people that sat glued to their computer chairs, staring at the coding on the computer, and memorizing each one, line by line. This far-fetched idea really isn't all that crazy. Many people are already debating on how they're going to change the langauge. That means that the newer browsers won't end up supporting the pages you have now. But before you go all psycho, realize that this is still just an idea and probably won't happen for a few years, if not decades. Maybe you're thinking that this is painfully unfair, but the truth is that this is how all languages evolve. Changes are made, alterations are put to perfection, but of course leaving many people angry that practically all the hard work they put in is pointless now. My question to all these people who think they're going to innovate the language is - "If you can't get Netscape and Microsoft to agree on a compatibility, how are you going to write the newer implementations of HTML?" Now some people say that the language will only have a few alterations so here's hoping . . .

Well, I finally nabbed some female programmers for this week's interview. I got the idea for this by reading through my e-mail. Most of it was from male visitors who told me that computers were a guys-only career. And even most of my friends that are girls agreed saying that I should go into another profession. As if! The great part is though, that these female programmers agreed to let me ask some questions. One of them was, "What would you say to all the girls out there that think the computer-field is a job set aside for males?

"i would say they're wrong..... " - Cassie

"Girls that are afraid to enter the computer field because they're scared of the guys are totally and utterly wrong. Who says that this is a male's occupation? If statistics is the only thing holding you back, then you don't want it bad enough. You have to go and be what you wanna be, but most importantly - you have to want it so much that you can taste it. Never forget the importance of ambition because you can go anywhere, be anybody, and say what you wanna say. Stop stepping back in the shadows of old textbooks and faded pictures of men on computers and start turning the pages to the future and the present." - a teenage girl

"They (girls that think it's not cool to go into a computer field) need to re-think the future and their own capabilities! This is not necessarily a man's world!" - Dritt

"Do not feel intimated (by the guys). You can do well if you put the time and work into it. Like any job it takes work." - Rachel


I debated on whether I should do this article. Trying to decide on whether to do a feature story on lawsuits in the computer field or people who pirate software online, I finally came to the decision of lawsuits in the tech field. Why? Well, it seems that every time I pick up a newspaper or turn on the television I see yet another law suit skimming the air waves. But what's so special about these law suits? They're targeting well known computer companies. Whether it be about software, hardware, licenses, trademarks, or copyrights, you'll find that the ones being swept across the dirt are the ones that have done so little wrong.

So why are these well known manufacturers being swept through the mud? Let's think about this one. Could it be that the government is getting restless and knows that computers are the modern day obsession of which to publicize? Maybe. Or could it be that disearning smaller companies think that a lawsuit will make a more imminent rise in sales? Hmmm . . . These are just a small number of the countless possibilities. Let's take one of the newest and freshest law suits right now - the one concerning IBM, a company with a huge record of success. Now you may or may not have heard about this suit so let me explain it a little. This law suit is about the e symbol that represents the @ symbol to signify IBM's electronic commerce. Blah, blah, blah, yawn, yawn, yawn. All this fuss over a little e. But the thing is, another company by the name of E Technologies said that it registered that symbol two months before IBM did causing a big old traffic jam with both companies most likely getting ready to collide into court.

And then, who can forget the Windows 98 suit. Now come on people - Microsoft is doing something that has never been done (integrating the browser into the operating system interface) and making something that runs more smoothly, better backup, more space, upgradable free drives 24/7 and the government is getting mad!?! Geeze! I swear that I'll never figure out the way our country works. Personally, the whole reason I think the DOJ made such a fuss about it was because Mr. Bill (Gates) donated money to libraries, schools, computer access for children, but not to the DOJ itself unlike Netscape so generously had. So that probably got them all fired up, but they actually did Gates a favor because all that publicity triggered more and more people to notice what Windows 98 was about.

Those are just two of the examples of law suits in the technology field. But wait a second, there is another one involving Microsoft. Yes, another one! This suit was about the Explorer name that some small company decided to file. My reaction was, "Why didn't they sue Microsoft when Internet Explorer first came out?" But rather than make another big fuss, Microsoft (the good guys I might add) decided they would just settle the case with oh, I don't know - five million, that's all. But hey, for a multi-billion dollar company that is being run by the richest working individual in the world, who cares about five mill?

So with all these cases sputtering around, you may think that this is putting a major damper on the tech-companies. But the truth of the matter is, that these types of things usually help the sales percents. Maybe the words law suit and publicity are now synonomous? I'll leave that up for you to decide.

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