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Entering the World of Linux

Entering the World of Linux

I'm writing this month's editorial from the LinuxWorld Conference and Expo in a currently frozen New York City, so it's naturally got me in a "Linux Frame of Mind." When talking to many CFMLers at the Macromedia MAX Conference this year, I found a mixed bag of opinions about Linux and a lot of fears - some justifiable, and others not. Let's jump in...

In these cost-cutting, get-more-for-spending-less economic times, everyone is looking for the maximum savings and return on investment. It's often debated whether the cost of ownership of Linux versus Windows is cheaper or not, and I could quote numerous studies to prove either point. Microsoft backers will claim that while the startup costs for Linux are less, the maintenance, consulting, and long-term costs will be higher. The Linux folks will claim the reverse - that you spend more for Windows, and continue to rack up higher bills as long as you stick with it. Like most of the associated costs in the i-Technology world, it's something that'll vary based on your needs, so I'd urge you to evaluate all your available options on a case-by-case basis.

We've got a combination of servers running at SYS-CON, and I can say personally that the largest leap for me to come around to using Linux was most certainly the learning curve involved. A Windows boy since 3.0, I had to jump head-on into the world of Red Hat. With some books on the subject and a number of online resources I printed off, several trees contributed to my education and security blankets as well.

Configuring an operating system and server software primarily through a text-based interface certainly wasn't my idea of fun at first, but as a natural "tweaker" I began to appreciate the flexible configurability of the whole system. You can spend hours, days, and weeks delving into as many (or as few) Linux configurability options as you'd like, and the possibilities are endless as to what it will allow you to do. There's also no shortage of free software available thanks to the open-source community.

Linux also showed some speed and performance gains on the server as a whole, compared to its Windows counterpart, thanks to (primarily) the overhead OS footprint being smaller and freeing up more resources for the server software. Uptime-wise, we had just as many startup bumps with Linux as you do with Windows, but on average the boxes are rebooted/kicked/thrown out a window 1/2 to 1/3 as often. That's certainly resulting in a slight decrease of sleepless nights - a welcome lifestyle improvement for any of us who run and admin our own servers.

Both Macromedia and New Atlanta offer Linux versions of their CFML servers. You can do some further reading about both of these at their respective sites... There are always lots of options out there, and I wish you luck in finding the best for you, your organization, and your project.

More Stories By Robert Diamond

Robert Diamond is the founder and editor-in-chief of, the premiere theater site on the net now receiving over 100,000 unique visitors a day. He is also the owner of Wisdom Digital Media - a leading designer of entertainment and technology web sites. He is also the lead producer on's consistently sold-out Joe's Pub concert series, and Standing Ovations benefit concerts. Diamond was also named one of the "Top thirty magazine industry executives under the age of 30" by Folio magazine. Robert holds a BS degree in information management and technology from the School of Information Studies at Syracuse University. Visit his blog at

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