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Linux proudly sits in a very special place in the heart of the IT world. Watching Linux pros clack away at the command line inspires a sense of awe and adoration in the heart of many a techie and non-techie alike. Even mere utterance of the word "Linux" brings shivers to the spine. "S/he doesn't use Windows--s/he uses Linux." "Whoa. I've HEARD of that." Why is Linux so damn cool? Well, I'll tell you why...

It's Free
Need I explain this one in depth? You can run an entire enterprise network on Linux without paying a dime on licensing. It's community-sponsored and open source and modifiable and distributable and everything else that pot leaf-embossed acoustic guitar-playing Berkeley hippies in the 60s would love. It wears the new face of IT--a service-driven IT industry that makes money though support services, not software licensing costs. It's the liberal, anti-corporate business model that proves people are indeed happier doing what they love as opposed to hording gold. An operating system like that can never, ever sell-out.

It's Alternative
Linux is ultra-cool like the words "Seattle coffee house," "independent," and "alternative" were in 1992. It's the grunge rock of operating systems. Not only is it free, but its weighty buzz is all through word-of-mouth and grassroots communication channels. Instant respect is given to Linux users because its indy, flannel-wearing image asserts incredible individuality. It's the rebel without a cause causing a massive stir in the tech world. Kurt Cobain is in heaven right now reading this article on a Linux-powered netbook.

It Proves You Really Know Computers
Although my capacity at my previous IT job was essentially limited to the Wintel world, I sat next to and befriended the resident Unix engineer. "This guy REALLY knows what he's doing," I thought as he edited .conf files, adjusted swap partitions, and chmod'ed files all from that arcane, voodoo-like Linux command line. He soon inspired me to learn all about this mysterious free operating system. He was my Yoda.

Remember the scene early in "Return of the Jedi" where newly-crowned Jedi Luke clad entirely in black coolly moseys into Jabba's lair and ends up single-handedly kicking everyone's ass? That's exactly what Linux pros are--the Jedis of the IT world. Damn, I wanna be like that. Any jackass like me can learn Windows, but you REALLY know computers if you learn Linux. Linux pros are like classically-trained musicians--they can play any genre.

It's Respected
Much like a Wharton business school MBA, Linux expertise can land you a kick-ass corporate job complete with hot administrative assistants and keys to the company Ferrari. Linux looks good on a resume--damn good. More importantly, however, Linux itself is quickly gaining respect as an OS as it scales the imperialistic walls of Microsoft the Great. Every release makes huge strides in stability, ease-of-use, and wintel OS replaceability.

Like a ninja with a heart of gold, Linux moves fast and challenges to tear down and revolutionize the status quo empire. The force is strong in this one...very strong. God bless you, Linux--you're freakin' cool.

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