NetWinder Office Server

“How many nets could a NetWinder wind if a NetWinder could wind nets?”--Dan Wilder, SSC Technical Manager

As an office server, it performs flawlessly. The web-based interface makes Linux networking accessible to non-UNIX types. The functions and features are based on the Linux kernel, GNU software and various other projects such as Apache. (This is the “it's Linux, it has to be good” principle—true once again.) The benchmarks gave the NetWinder fairly low scores, but these are misleading. The NetWinder is an inexpensive solution to the server problem. If you have the technical know-how, you might be able to do better for the price. For example, you could build your own server and configure it yourself, delivering a faster machine without too much effort. Still, if you want the web-based interface, small size, low power consumption, ease of use and corporate support, you'll do fine with a NetWinder. Developers could really have fun with it, although I would recommend the Developer model for them, since it's even more fun. We still have to see if a good web browser gets ported to the NetWinder before we know whether it will be a viable platform for normal Linux use. Nevertheless, NetWinders may be only the beginning of clever uses for ARM-based Linux. Try to get your Windows-using acquaintances to buy one of these; it could be the start of something cool.

Jason Kroll ( is Technical Editor of Linux Journal. He is fond of animals, especially dogs, while he admires the independence and aloofness of cats which remind him of misfiring computer programs.