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AFRIK-IT  October 1996

AFRIK-IT October 1996

Subject:

Re: Linux vs. ?

From:

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African Network of IT Experts and Professionals (ANITEP) List

Date:

Fri, 11 Oct 1996 13:00:09 +0000

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Greetings Afrik-ITers!

Richard Labelle writes concerning Linux and WinNT:

> Seems to be a strong push to go NT because people say it is much
> more user friendly...
>
> I would like to have more info on this, especially as we (UNDP SDNP) have
> been promoting Linus for reasiosn that it is powerful, shareqware, etc.

Agreed!  As a very practical matter, we need to know the cost of each
software in particular situations.  Cost includes the cost of the
software license -- free in the case of Linux of course, though most
people I know will purchase a book and companion CD for about $50.

However, the cost of an operating system also included the cost of
acquiring the initial knowledge for installation and operation, and
the cost of technical support -- or the cost of having someone with
such special knowledge on staff.

Leading operating system options for Internet servers are NT, Linux,
and also Windows95 (Wildcat5! and WebSite from O'Reilly work quite
nicely under Win95).  There are even servers that work under Windows
3.1 -- I think WebSite started out there.

I am not personally familiar with Apple options, but I hear they work
well -- a company in Sierra Leone was considering using it.  I'm told
that IBM is also offering a new release of OS2, but I personally know
of no one who is trying it in Africa.

My impression, given the latest version of Red Hat Linux and other
installations, is that the total cost of Linux is dropping, but that
it's still quite high.  Technicians at USAID who are familiar with
Internet setups under both Linux and NT have told me that Linux
requires a much greater investment in knowledge and technical
support, but that it delivers a more powerful product.

If the tradeoff is indeed one of power for cost, then one would have
to weigh in particular settings precisely how much power is required
to get the job done, and whether resources are available to cover the
costs.  I wonder whether the power of Linux is really necessary in
every situation.

I should be in Yaounde tomorrow, and by Monday hope to hear what the
staff at the University have to say about Linux.  Early reports
suggest their experience has been an excellent one, and that Linux is
serving them well.  I do not know how much outside technical support
they have required, but am told that there was already considerable
Unix expertise on campus, making them a good candidate for Linux.

Cheers!
Jeff @ Abidjan

AfricaLink -- http://www.info.usaid.gov/alnk
Tel 1-703-235-5415
Fax 1-703-235-3805

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