Sure, you can say the same with Linux distro's of now and those of the past, But look at this in a more refined manner.
Lets say you want to use Microsoft's latest products versus the latest Open Source programs for a dedicated router, on as old as possible hardware.
Let's see here... Linux, version 126.96.36.199 as of this writing, can be run on machines as old as 486's without any slowness, lagging, or system failure.
Microsoft Windows 2003 Server requires at least a 750MHz Pentium III.
Linux will run with as little as 2MB of RAM (but not very well, and won't do much. for our application, we will want 16MB of RAM, 8 if we are lucky.)
Microsoft windows 2003 Server? 128MB of RAM. MINIMUM.
Linux, plus the various userland tools (not that many, a lot of routing shit is kernel-side) will run nice and snug on my Compaq Presario CDS 520, which has a 486SX2 @ 66MHz, 52MB of RAM (640Base [doesn't count] + 4MB onboard + 16 on a SIMM that comes with the unit + 32MB from a new SIMM chip).
Good fucking luck trying to get it to even boot Windows Setup, much less Windows 2003 Server.
This is a completely modern, up-to-date Linux install I am talking about.
That just goes to show that Microsoft is squeezing money out of users one way or another. when a user buys a new PC with a Intel CPU, some money goes to Intel, which then is attributed to Microsoft (realize, Microsoft's software depended on a newer system), which gets Microsoft all the latest info on Intel's new chips, like spec sheets and live, working units.
How fucking lame is it to see that Microsoft cannot produce a product TODAY that will run on an old 486, while the Open Sourec movement can cough up at least 100 MAJOR applications (server software ranging from DNS, FTP, proxy, SOCKS4/5, routers, firewalls, and even Web servers), and even 4 operating systems, which will run on these machines WITHOUT ANY PROBLEMS OR PREFORMACE PROBLEMS ON A HOME LAN. (don't know about an office web server, but I am pretty sure a 486 DNS server can handle an entire office of 100 systems.)
Not to mention there are at least 3 thousand minor applications that are Open Sourec and run just fine on a 486 (most of them aren't really useful, like games, and some are, like filesystem checkers, compression agents, archivers, web broswers, etc.)
Even under such conditions, a Linux box will still easily achive an uptime of over a year. Windows 2003 server on the latest hardware has to be rebooted every weekend.
If Linux fails, you can repair it (this is the suggested option) or reinstall it (if need be). With Microsoft, your only option IS to reinstall, and that takes about an hour per machine. No repairs, only reinstall.
If you wonder how this translates to userland preformace, Think about it.
If Linux can run on a 486 in mission-critical applications and NOT FAIL, while Microsoft needs a 750MHz box (and fails left and right), and you STILL are wondering which is better, You need your head examined. Clearly Linux is the winner. And don't give me that "but Linux is for hackers and geeks" bullshit. Even the elderly can easily use Linux, even more so than Windows in some cases.
And Linux doesn't cost anything (Except in a few cases). And before you start asking for voice chat in Linux or webcams, realize no one will help you become a pedophile or some other kind of pervert, as webcams and voice chat are only used by pedophiles and other perverts.
Some piece of hardware not supported in Linux? Just wait. either you will replace the hardware or it will become supported. Good things come to those that wait.
And finally, READ THE FUCKING MANUAL (and no, it's NOT on paper, it's on your hard drive, usually in /usr/share/doc or by calling the 'man
List of basic commands that you should 'man':
Remember that 'man' is a commandline program. Start a command line from the GUI with the comand 'xterm' (or 'rxvt') [Most GUI's have a 'run' option in their menus.]
Finally, don't forget that you have a program called 'info', which will let you read more interactive manuals. And info pages are usually more detailed than the manpage for a program.
If info can't find a infopage for a program, it'll just show the manpage. (Of course it's better to call a manpage with 'man' so that you see the formatting, which 'info' discards.)
That's my view.