To mitigate some of those issues, Microsoft created in conjunction with partnering OEMs Secure Boot, an extension to UEFI. Windows 8 now provides Secure Boot support on OEM systems, while Ubuntu 12.10 offers a raft of advanced security features such as support for installation with Secure Boot systems.
Additionally, Ubuntu Linux comes with Linux Security Modules (LSM) installed by default. Other security-enhancing measures include chroot, seccomp, seccomp-bpf, and the newest additionLinuX Containers (LXC)for third-party developers and users alike.
Just as an aside, it's interesting to note that, each year at Pwn2Own, hackers get a chance to hack Windows and Apple Mac systems, but Linux is not included in the contest. No exploit can escalate against (and gain root privilege on) Ubuntu Linux running AppArmor-sandboxed Firefox.
7. Administrative tools
For administrative controls, Windows provides Active Directory, using dedicated Active Directory servers.
Canonical supports Active Directory as well, and Ubuntu Linux clients can join to an Active Directory Domain using third-party software such as Likewise Open or Centrify.
In addition, Canonical provides Landscape, an enterprise administrative tool of its own that can perform most Windows Active Directory tasks. Landscape presents an easy-to-use, browser-based control panel through which you can manage desktops, servers, and cloud instances.
8. VPN support
Users who require virtual private network support will find it in both Windows 8 and Ubuntu 12.10.
In Ubuntu repositories, the provided utility is OpenVPN, which uses a custom security protocol based on SSL/TLS for key exchange. Both operating systems offer support for varied protocols, however, depending on site-specific and inter-site needs.
Last but certainly not least, Ubuntu Linux is free, while Windows 8 Pro will reportedly cost $199 after the current introductory upgrade offer of $39 to $69 expires.
So which operating system is better for small-business users? The answer, of course, is in the eye of the beholder. If one thing is clear, however, it's that any lead Windows may have once had over competing operating systems is shrinking every year. Depending on your needs, Ubuntu Linux 12.10 could provide a compelling alternative. If nothing else, it's almost certainly worth your while to try it online or take it for a free test drive.