There is a new window of opportunity for the open source Linux platform. While Microsoft is edging towards 64 bit computing, there are already a number of Linux 64 bit alternatives including the popular RedHat Enterprise Linux AS/ES.

Unlike the Microsoft platform, the open source Linux model enables developers to produce the same operating system on multiple platforms irrespective of the underlying hardware. Thus, once the gcc compiler supports your processor and you can successfully boot the Linux kernel, it is possible to compile virtually any of the open source tools.

Consequently, Linux provides more features out-of-the-box than the Windows x64 equivalent. You might be able to install the core Windows x64 operating system, but where is Quark, Acrobat Reader, Microsoft Office or even your favorite print driver? What kind of graphic tools will be available, without Photoshop x64 your powerful CPU will be sitting idle.

Open source provides code for these kinds of applications. This means that even if there is not currently a version of Scribus for your x64 Linux, the source is available and you can compile this excellent desktop publish application. The same is true for other open source tools, such as KPDF and Gimp. While it is a significant milestone that Microsoft Windows is again supporting platforms other than Intel 386, it requires significant vendor support before the operating system can be a viable alternative.

As a result, the open source community has the opportunity today to deliver Linux workstations that are compelling alternatives to the traditional Microsoft model. While Microsoft endeavors to improve Windows XP x64, the Linux distributions are able to offer a rich GUI client with all of the tools users are accustom to (email, wordprocessing, desktop publishing, graphics manipulation, database servers, web applications and much more).

Categories: Technology