If you've never heard of Linux and don't know what it is, you probably won't be interested in the following two articles. If, like us, you've heard a lot about Linux lately and are curious, read on.
Linux is an operating system for personal computers, as is Microsoft Windows. It is distributed free and is touted by enthusiasts as being better than Windows. The mere fact that it is not made by Microsoft excites many in the computer world--including, ironically, Microsoft itself, which has touted Linux in the antitrust trial as showing that Windows is not a monopoly.
What is using Linux actually like? How does it compare with Windows? Can it do things that Windows can't, or do them better? We asked two Slate colleagues to try Linux and give us a report. One, our Redmond-based chief program manager, Andrew Shuman, is a professional computer geek with a degree in computer science and RAM and ROM up the wazoo. The other, our New York-based staff writer, Eliza Truitt, is a fully developed human being who is competent with computers but not devoted to them.
Slate is published by Microsoft, of course, so take that into account as you read the following dispatches.