Taking Linux for a Spin.
I think that we are going to see one very serious trend here: Microsoft users giving the easy to use distros a very serious look. While some of them may cost money, there are still plenty of cool free options, too.
Microsoft's recent announcement that the long-anticipated new version of its Windows operating system, Vista, has been delayed into January 2007 leaves several questions hanging. Will Vista offer enough benefits to make it worth the cost of upgrading? Will those who hang on to the current version of Windows end up locked out of new software and peripherals? A recent report by research firm Gartner said that as many as half of all PCs will not be able to run many of Vista's most sophisticated features. Given that, is upgrading even a smart option?
But if the confusion over Windows is deepening, the opposite is true of Linux. Linux, of course, is the alternative to Windows that comes from the world of open-source software--meaning no company owns it, it's available for free, and it boasts a worldwide network of programmers constantly trying to perfect it. For the most part, Linux has been used by geeks (me) who enjoy rolling up their sleeves and getting under the hood of their software. Even the mention of Linux is enough to pull most nontechie managers out of their comfort zone. But, on the flip side of that, gives others wood.
But the notion that Linux is a complicated, alien, experts-only operating system is no longer true. Not only is Linux becoming a mainstream product that can be considered a reasonable alternative to Windows for just about anyone, it's actually easy for nontechies to install. Linux looks pretty much like Windows these days, so you won't face a steep learning curve in putting it to work. And you'll probably never have to worry about a big-bang upgrade to a radically new version because Linux gets updated routinely every six months or so, incrementally, at little or no cost..
To see which Linux distrobution is right for you check out the Linux Distribution Chooser at: http://www.zegeniestudios.net/ldc/