Greetings Jeff and Afrik-ites,
There's one important thing to consider in comparing Windows
vs. Linux, namely the speed of communications. I recently read a paper
(for which I was an anonymous reviewer so I can't give the reference),
in which there is this very significant sentence:
"after conducting extensive tests using both operating
systems, we found file transfer under Linux to perform roughly 4 times
faster than under DOS/Windows"
I believe this is because the TCP/IP stack is in the kernel of Linux
-- at the heart of the operating system -- whereas on the Microsoft
platforms it is an add-on that runs on top of the OS (like the winsock
DLL in Windows 3.1, and who knows where anything is in Win95).
For the end-user, the ease of use may be more important than
performance. But for a TCP/IP service provider, i.e. running a server
whose function is to tranfer data to clients 24hrs a day, performance
is the key thing, and I think it is definitely worth the trouble of
get used to Linux, simply because you will be able to handle 4 times
as many customers with the same hardware.
Besides, once they get up the steep learning curve, people usually
find any Unix system infinitely more efficient to use than windows,
especially if they are heavy users or administrators. Ask our system
administrator here what he thinks about Windows.... and then run for
your life! Ok, since we're on this topic, I can't resist.... the flip
side of the graphical user interface motto of "what you see is what
you get", is that "what you see is *ALL* you get". No piping of
commands, very limited shell scripts etc. For an excellent article on
the limitations of the Windows-Icon-Menu-Pointer (WIMP) paradigm, see
Communications of the ACM, may or june 1996.