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From the Desktop: Dealing with the Dark Side

Peace in Our Time

August 4, 2000

Just got back from a week-long trip to the South, and I must say there's some beautiful country down there, particularly in South Carolina. Charleston was a fascinating city to visit--old and balmy, and still referring to the American Civil War as "the Unfortunate Misunderstanding." Having lived next door to Illinois all of my life, I discovered there are whole new ways of people remembering Abraham Lincoln, and not with a great deal of fondness.

What's going on in the operating system theater is certainly not a civil war by any means, but it is regarded in the media as a war nonetheless. Windows vs. Linux: the battle royale between the super heavyweight and the scrappy underdog, er, penguin. It's a good thing Microsoft has no logo that can be anthropomorphized, otherwise we'd be seeing splash art with a penguin in boxing gloves squaring off against whatever cutesy representative Microsoft had.

Having been a newspaper editor once upon a time, I'll let you in on a little secret: the press loves a good fight, and they will do almost anything to egg contenders on. Conflict, they will teach you in Journalism 101, is news.

I am not a big fan of this idea, though I certainly understand it. People in general like a good scrap, which is why Jerry Springer is still on the air. (Those of you outside North America, be glad if you don't know who I'm talking about.)

But I am here to preach another line of thought: why does there have to be a war at all?

This concept is not so radical: if you like Linux, use Linux. If you need Windows, use Windows. Even the most hardcore Linux users usually grudgingly admit that they keep a Windows partition or PC around their house. "It's for the wife," they mutter, "or the kid's education games."

Don't be afraid, speak up! You're a bi-OS user! Be proud of your choice!

And, in the spirit of utter moral corruption, I'm going to tell hetero-OS users how to be bi-OS, too!

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