The lowdown about Linux

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Linux at work

What is it? A Linux application is, in the barest sense, software that will run under the Linux OS. For practical purposes, it also should have some measure of compatibility with other OSes, particularly Microsoft Windows.

Are there many to choose from? You can easily find office suites that run with Linux'many of the commercial distributions of Linux include them. But reliable applications other than office productivity software can be hard to find. There are many free apps developed through the open-source community, but they are unsupported. Commercial apps are just starting to catch on.

What is the range of applications? Although there might not be a lot of Linux apps, there is a wide variety of them. You can get everything from free Web browsers to $99 office suites to the RedHat Database from RedHat Inc., priced at $2,295.

Must-know info? Linux is a stable, secure and inexpensive operating system. But until a better range of supported applications arrives, it's risky as a desktop OS.

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