At my place of employment we recently purchased a piece of software to design and print identification cards. We were planning to use the software to make employee badges. I did not have an opportunity to try out the software in advance because no trial version was offered. However, the vendor made a good sales pitch, so I shelled out roughly a thousand dollars to purchase the software.
It turned out to be one of the most difficult-to-learn software packages I have ever attempted to use. After laboring for five hours, I still had not figured out how to print a single ID card. I’m not the sharpest knife in the drawer, but I’m not the dullest, either. There had to be a better solution. Not wanting to spend more money, I decided to build the software myself.
One of the strengths of Linux and open-source in general is that it is infinitely customizable, allowing it to be used to power anything from a phone to a mainframe. In addition, there are a wide variety of distributions available, some of which are targeted at specific tasks. Ken Hess has compiled a valuable list of 10 special-purpose Linux distributions. You can find his list at: