Windows versus Linux for businesses

In today's open source roundup: Is Linux a better bet for businesses? Plus: FOSS Force reviews Mageia 5. And the bestselling games on Steam for Linux

Windows versus Linux for businesses

The question of whether Linux is better than Windows has been around for a long time, and the answer usually seems to vary depending on the needs of the user. But IT Pro has a recent article that compared Linux and Windows for businesses, and it noted that Linux can be a very good fit for some businesses.

Adam Shepherd reports for IT Pro:

Given their different strengths and use cases, it’s difficult to definitively state whether Linux or Windows is the better OS. Whether or not each one will be a good fit for your business depends a lot on how your company operates, and what applications it uses.

If you’re a small firm that works primarily in software, Linux is likely to be a good fit, as the free availability will reduce overheads, and set-up won’t be too complicated to manage. It also has a reputation as a tool for coding.

However, larger deployments will be much more complicated. Replacing the computers of hundreds of employees is likely to cause chaos, particularly if they’re not familiar with Linux. It’s possible – especially if a simple, Windows-style distro is used – but without a very capable and well-integrated IT department, many companies will struggle.

Given the flexibility of multiple distros, the non-existent asking price and the heightened security, Linux is our overall favourite - assuming you’ve got the patience to adapt to a new system.

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IT Pro readers shared their thoughts about the article:

Alwaysintao: "...there should be nothing to bar anyone from having and using them all. I have several machines dual booting different Windows and Linux systems and if there were any advantage to Mac software I'd have that too.

No one tool has to be the answer, and Windows is awesome but can't do many of the things Linux does, and vice versa."

Onstrike: "Linux is the kernel. Nothing more. The software built on top of the kernel is GNU software meant to finish out the OS.

Take Linux Mint, for example, which is a good "beginner's distro" (which is exactly what I like about it,) is very easy and simple to use. People who know Windows are easily able to find their way around it. In a lot of ways, Windows is the opposite of user friendly, and Linux Mint shows how not user friendly Windows is, when compared to each other. It's more about showing the software alternatives that Linux distros use. Not that the system is hard to use or anything on it's own."

Clem: "Linux is far more than just a kernel. Today, Linux is all of: a kernel, an array of open-source driver modules which ship with the kernel package, a supporting framework based on systemd, and an OS specification known as the LSB. Linux was "just a kernel" maybe ten years ago."

Valheru: "Compare Linux to Apple which both are derive from Unix, I would rather go for Apple. To make linux succesful you need to think like Apple. Make it easy for end-user. They are not programmers or developers. Asking them to do command-line is a no-no even in Windows environment. They will chew your head off."

Onstrike: "I wouldn't. Mac OS goes "unsupported" in 2 years, and then you go buy a new one or you just hope nothing bad happens.... That's assuming they fix the issues in that 2 years.

It's highly user-friendly, and easy for the end-user. You probably don't know, as you don't use it. Linux Mint is very easy to use. Command line is completely unneeded to learn. There are some tricks I use on it, but they can all be achieved without touching it. Try it. You may see what the real state of Linux is."

Krokko: "I disagree. First of all, you've not to "buy a new one" because MacOS is free. So is completely pointless if the OS became unsupported: you can switch to the new one, without any problem. When I upgrade a Linux OS (in my case almost always Ubuntu) I have problems 50% of the times. And I need to reinstall many things, too.

Anyway, I'm not badmouthing Linux: many distros are improving and quite good, but is the entire environment of programmers that needs to change in attitude, to became really user-frendly."

Clem: "Freedom from whom or from what? Definitely not from Google. Nor from Red Hat. Mind you, GNU/FSF has its own brand of anachronistic restrictions which have done little to protect us from the likes of these predatory entities and their sponsors in the military-industrial complex, who are major players in the Open Source marketplace.

And does your version of security encompass an open source web browser, such as Chromium -- no less compiled and distributed by the Debian Project -- secretly downloading an audio recorder onto your computer that eavesdrops on you as soon as you utter the word "Google," sending your spoken words to places unknown? Not likely, unless your notion of 'security' is defined by the NSA and Five Eyes turning the very open source software you use against you in keeping you safe from a menacing, phantom pretext. And I haven't even mentioned the Heartbleed 'bug' that recently affected all Linux distros, or Debian's very special version of ssh a few years back...

Linux and other open source software have been compromised for years. I see it as little different from proprietary software in terms of my privacy, as having the source code available hasn't prevented anything untoward. Sure, it's nice to say something is open source, but the empirical evidence refutes yours (and similar) claims regarding the validity of the syndrome of attitudes that has come to be known as Linus' Law. The reasons for this are several, but final product speaks for itself.

I regret to have to say that both security and freedom are mirages that cannot be achieved using current methodology and precise verbal definition. And the risks associated with the introduction of any new computer program, be it open or closed, will always outweigh the freedom and security that can be derived by its use."

Alwaysintao: "...despite the picture of Linux being a lesser used OS, it simply isn't the case. The numbers reported account for more Linux users than Mac users and nearly as many as Windows users. The problem is that with so many distros there is no accurate count. Meanwhile 98% of the internet runs on Linux so it'll be here long after the others are gone."

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