Three Benefits to Using Linux in Business

I can think of three good reasons why Linux in business is a good idea.

December 2, 2011

1. It's Secure and Stable

There are two computers I run into almost daily.  They contain the exact same hardware, and were fired up on the same day.  They're both used about the same amount of time.  One runs Windows XP, the other runs Xubuntu.  Every so often I drag race, just to see if one has gotten faster than the other.  Actually, it's not quite that anymore, the test now is to see how much slower the XP box has gotten since the last time I ran the race.

Two other XP boxes installed around the same time (again, with identical hardware, but that's irrelevant) have succumbed to malware.  Fixing each instance was a several hour procedure, for a backup, wipe, XP reinstallation, and restoration of apps and data.

Meanwhile, this Linux box used by anyone passing by as a browser, email checker, and (it's main reason for existence) Point of Sale station, continues to chug away with nary a hiccup. 


2. It's Configurable

What would life be like if you could pick and choose that applications and services that you did NOT want running on your computer?  It's easy in Linux, you just shut them off.  Maybe you don't understand this, but the more services your computer is running (listening services, things that are waiting to be told what to do) the more vulnerable to malware you are.  Lots of unnecessary services fire up when Windows does.  My favorites are the ones you shut off permanently, only to find that they start themselves up again after a reboot or an update.  While Microsoft is guilty of this, printer software (from several manufacturers) also comes to mind.

One of the problems I run into is that of applications requiring super privileges to run.  You must install and run them as an administrator in Windows.  This means that any employee needing to use such an application will ALSO need to be running as an admin.  Doing everything, like browsing the web and checking email, as an admin.  This is dangerous.


3. It's Less Expensive

Most Linux flavors are free.  They come with software repositories that are full of free applications as well.  There are also websites full of other free and open source software (like sourceforge and freshmeat) that you can go to if you need highly specialized app that might not be located your Linux distribution's repositories.  The thing is that they're there, and they're free.  And running Linux on one of your business computers means you won't have to go buy some overpriced security suite…

But wait, you say, what about Linux distributions like Red Hat or Suse?  Those have price tags, indeed.  However, is a Red Hat license more or less than a Windows one?  Can you call Microsoft if you have a problem, or do you need to speak with your computer's manufacturer and speak with someone whose primary language is almost certainly not yours?

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