It has been called to my attention that we didn't introduce the Linux Means Business column that first appeared in Linux Journal issue number 26, June 1996. So without further delay, here is a belated introduction.
Anyone who has used Linux needs little convincing that it is a real software product: it's a complete system; it's reliable; it's available from multiple sources; and it's documented.
However, the Linux operating system has a problem—it's free. That one fact means some people will not take it seriously. When reading the Usenet newsgroups, I continue to see people concerned with questions like “Is Linux good enough to do my task?” or “How can I convince my boss that Linux is real?”
While our (occasional) Linux in the Real World column has touched on many places where Linux offered a solution, it has tended to be more of an example of how one technical person managed to use Linux as a base to do something fairly unique for them. These columns contain good information. With LMB, however, we want to address different issues—what might be considered ordinary business problems.
For example, in this issue, LMB covers how a large corporation has used Linux to reduce the complexities of their electronic mail handling system. This solution did not require any add-on software, only the configuring of a Linux system to do the task at hand. This sort of article can offer a solution to two different issues: the job addressed in the article as well as the job of convincing management that Linux is a viable software system.
When we came up with the idea for the column, Gena Shurtleff sent out a query to Usenet looking for articles. Response has been overwhelming; therefore, we are planning a future issue of Linux Journal that will focus on articles in which Linux has been installed as a solution to a particular problem. This issue will include both the Linux Means Business and the Linux in the Real World articles. If you have a story to contribute, send it to us via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.