Like most kids, mine spend a lot of time on the Internet. As far as I can tell, it's the thing to do these days. Among this latest generation, computer geeks and gurus seem to be held in the same sort of esteem that my generation once held rock stars. When kids disappear into their rooms, the chances are good that they are hacking on computers, not mastering guitar riffs. It's probably healthier than some of the diversions of my own misspent youth, but that's a topic for another kind of book.
If you have teenage kids and computers, or know someone who does, you probably know that it's not a bad idea to keep tabs on what those kids do on the Web. Type your favorite four-letter word in almost any web search engine and you'll understand the concern—it's much better stuff than I could get during my teenage career. To sidestep the issue, only a few of the machines in my house have Internet feeds.
While they're on one of these machines, my kids download lots of games. To avoid infecting our Very Important Computers with viruses from public-domain games, though, my kids usually have to download games on a computer with an Internet feed and transfer them to their own computers to install. The problem is that game files are not small; they are usually much too big to fit on a floppy (and burning a CD takes away valuable game-playing time).
If all the machines in my house ran Linux, this would be a nonissue. There are standard command-line programs on Unix for ...