The America Online service (AOL) used to be often cited as a reason that many more people don't use Linux. Why? Because AOL uses a proprietary protocol to connect and a proprietary client to access AOL content; no Linux interface is available, with no signs that AOL is about to provide one. Simply put, if you wanted to use Linux, you were forced to choose some Internet connection other than AOL.
Work was done on a client that would allow an AOL user to connect to the AOL service and at least access the Internet.
The Penggy (formerly Pengaol) page at http://www.peng.apinc.org/eng/ provides links to binary RPM packages as well as source tarballs and HOWTOs. This software is not sanctioned by AOL, but it might allow an AOL user to experiment with Linux.
The situation is quite different if you are one of the many using a broadband connection to get onto AOL. Because routers tend to be OS-agnostic, you can easily connect a Linux machine to the network and access the Internet. In fact, the computer that I am typing this on is connected to AOL via a router. Okay, you will not get the AOL-specific content, but then again, are you really going to miss it?
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