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Clients keep asking me what a Web site would cost them. When I give them a rough estimate they always look offended and ask "How come so much?" It is now deeply ingrained in popular culture that a Web site is a quick road to riches with little or no effort. Nothing could be farther than the truth. If it were true, Amazon would be profitable.

Even a little site like this takes a tremendous amount of work to create, maintain and keep up-to-date. A major point of the original creation of this site was to learn how to do it. We started with a blank screen, a graphics viewer (PMView) and a plain text editor (Kon). Later a graphics editor was added (Embelish) so graphics could be manipulated beyond the capability of PMView.

Since the site started with no experienced personnel, and no plan to speak of, it quickly outgrew its design and could not be maintained. There was no alternative except to start over. That took time, because we had a lot of other things to do.

What we were doing instead of Web pages was gaining expertise in deploying Linux into small business environments, both as a server and as a desktop operating system, and learning to deploy a major Unix/Linux based accounting system, Appgen.

You may have heard Linux enthusiasts boasting of how easy Linux is to install now, and Microsoft supporters endlessly harping on how difficult it is to install. Both are right. A plain vanilla Caldera Open Linux 2.3 install on a plain vanilla computer is easier than most Windows 98 installs. You can even start a Linux install from within Windows and it will walk you through disk partitioning and setting up to dual boot the two operating systems.

Once you get beyond the basics, for say a business communications server, or a firewall, or need to print over a network, you have to invest a lot of time and effort to develop the necessary expertise. Of course, if you want to deploy Windows NT for similar purposes, it's no picnic either - especially getting it to stay up.

Fortunately, a business can have the advantages of Linux without the hassle of the learning curve - just have someone like Automation Access set it all up. Unlike Windows, which takes continual babysitting, Linux stays working, and is easily administered remotely through a modem when changes are needed. This makes is an outstandingly economical system.

Microsoft isn't endangered yet, by any means, but with companies like Burlington Coat Factory deploying Linux-end-to end and top-to-bottom in all their stores and warehouses, with the U.S. Government looking to use Linux to reduce dependence on fragile Windows systems, the fabulously successful IPO of Linux distributor Red Hat, and small business looking for something they can afford, the future of Linux based systems looks very, very strong, and we intend to be part of that future.

©:Andrew Grygus - Automation Access
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