A quick overview of Linux’s advantages
Linux ranks third among the world’s most popular operating systems. Microsoft Windows and Mac OS still dominate the desktop market, but in the past 10 years Linux has emerged from the margins as the operating system of choice for advanced servers. It now runs most of the Internet, most stock exchanges and the world’s top 500 supercomputers.
Small and mid-size enterprises are increasingly interested in what Linux has to offer, but many decision makers still have questions about what Linux is and why it matters. Let’s find out.
What is Linux?
Most people think of Linux as an operating system, but it’s actually a kernel that serves as the base for several operating systems known as Linux distributions (or distros). The most common of these are Red Hat, Ubuntu, Mandriva, Suse, Fedora and Debian, but for more information on that, check out our article on Linux distributions for SMEs .
What makes Linux so good?
One of Linux’s key differentiators is that it’s open-source. This means the software’s source code is developed by the global community, resulting in a solution that’s reliable, current, secure, customizable and—importantly—available for free. With worldwide contributors continually reviewing and updating the software, Linux isn’t dependent on a single corporation grappling with issues such as budgets, competing priorities, staffing shortages, etc.
Here’s a summary of Linux’s advantages:
Linux is reliable and secure.
Outstanding reliability and security are key reasons why governments, stock markets and major corporations choose Linux operating systems. There are two factors behind Linux’s strong security track record. First, Linux isn’t targeted by as many cyberattacks as Windows and Mac OS for the simple reason that it’s less common. In this sense, it wins by default, as fewer attacks translate into fewer security breaches. But open-source development also means that contributors from around the world are continually improving the software to make sure vulnerabilities like bugs and back doors are addressed quickly.
Linux is free.
More specifically, there’s zero cost of entry because Linux software is available free of charge. You don’t need to buy server licenses or pay for new versions. Of course, businesses that switch to Linux still need to invest time and energy into the migration and learning how to use the interface, features and programs. Companies that anticipate needing support can turn to paid options like Red Hat Enterprise Linux or SUSE Enterprise Linux. But when all is said and done, Linux still costs less than Windows and Mac OS.
Linux offers enviable compatibility and interoperability.
Linux programs are compatible with most Windows programs and mobile terminals (iPhone, Blackberry and other PDAs). When a program isn’t immediately compatible, the user community can point you to a solution that facilitates compatibility—or they can even build you one. Once again, having an open-source solution gives you access to free help from around the world.
Here are some of the programs that work with Linux:
• Open Office, which is the equivalent of MS Office Suite (Word, Excel, PowerPoint, etc.)
• Mozilla Firefox, a free web browser that’s much like Internet Explorer
• Thunderbird, a free email application that’s comparable to Outlook
• Samba, an app that enables file- and printer-sharing application between Windows and Linux
Linux supports most AI applications.
Most future-facing applications—including AI and machine learning solutions—are designed to run on Linux. More than any other factor, this is catapulting Linux to the fore, as businesses of all sizes seek to leverage AI to optimize efficiency and remain competitive. For example, IBM Watson Machine Learning relies on Linux. Startups, SMEs and major institutions are realizing that they need Linux if they want to use tomorrow’s most promising technologies. For many, Linux is becoming a must-have, instead of just a viable option.
If you’re curious about Linux or want to know more about how to make a Linux migration feasible, don’t be shy about reaching out. R2i’s team of experts would be happy to tell you more.