Some people love Linux because it's open source. Others because they believe that it's the best OS in the world. Many love it just because right now it's cool to hate Microsoft and love Linux.

I don't hate Microsoft and I don't hate Windows. There are many brilliant technical inventions in Microsoft Windows NT (and it's successors), and Microsoft does employ some of the best software designers and programmers in the world. Windows is in many way a more modern and better operating system than Linux, if we look at the technical details.

So - why do I love Linux? Let me answer by telling this short story:

My web-server is running on an old Dual Pentium III machine (my former workstation). I'm using the apache web server and PhP and MySQL for most of the websites. This is a brilliant combination. I use Apache because it's relatively secure, and it has a design that is 1000 times better than Microsoft IIS. I use PhP because it's fast and easy to use. The PhP libraries for Windows also contains some code I've written, so I'm kind of committed to PhP ;) MySQL is very fast, and it runs without any need of maintenance. This morning however, the web-server was unresponsive. I don't know what happened, but I was unable to log on from ssh, and I was unable to log on from the console. So I had to do a hard reboot. I use the XFS file-system, so the machine we up and running in a few seconds. But I can not trust the MySQL databases after a hard reboot - they have to be rebuilt. Rebuilding the databases on that old machine takes hours. In stead of leaving and the related sites down for a long time, I shut shut down the news-server. This is a bright new machine with a Pentium 4 3.6 GHz CPU and 1 GB RAM. I then pulled out the boot-disk from the news-server, inserted the disk from the web-server, and booted Linux in single-user mode. In single-user mode, Linux wont start all the services, so it boots quite fast, and I don't have to shut everything down before I can do maintenance work. I ran the isamchk program on all the database-files, and 10 minutes later, I put the disk back in the web-server and booted the web-server and the news-sever.

This is why I love Linux. I can take a disk from one machine right into another machine, boot it, do whatever I have to do, and then put the disk back. Or keep it in the new machine. When my old news-server hardware broke down a few months ago, I just pulled out an old machine from storage, booted it with the news-server hard-disk, and the news-service was back on line in 5 minutes. The single-user mode is also very convenient. How many times have you booted Windows-machines, waited a long time for all the services to start up, done something very trivial, and then had to reboot? In Windows, we all waste lots of time waiting for services we don't need to start up when we do software installations and maintenance. The single-user mode has been in Unix as long back as I can remember, so it's pretty unbelievable that Microsoft has not picked up this idea yet! Taking a disk from one machine to another will cause lot's of problems with Windows, from w2k just refusing to boot, to XP requiring a new registration, and several reboots to adjust to the new hardware. With Linux I just need a kernel with support for the CPU's and 3COM network card I use. That's all.