10 Linux Advantages for Your Business - Page 2

By Matt Hartley
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6. Backup Settings and Preferences Easily
There are a variety of methods your business can use to backup your Linux desktops. These methods range from something as easy as using a simple GUI to backup the /home/ folder, where the bulk of your user-specific settings are kept, all the way down to bare-metal backups to be moved over a network connection for long-term archiving.

What's fantastic is the freedom of selection you have. Rather than being bound to using what is provided by default or needing to pay through the nose for an expensive alternative, desktop Linux has ready access to plenty of back-up choices depending what level of backup you are seeking.

Windows by contrast, is as described as above: take what you get by default or locate something elsewhere that either costs a small fortune or potentially is created by an unsavory development firm.

7. Backup Software to Another Machine Easily
Another clear winning feature, especially when migrating or duplicating desktops, is the ability to easily take pre-installed software with you easily to another similar Linux desktop elsewhere. For Debian based distributions, the user has a simple ability to simply take the apt-get cache, bundle that with a script to install the software from the CD (which is fairly easy to do) and you can install every single piece of software you had on the other PC with a few mouse clicks.

Back on the Windows desktop, short of mirroring the drive, you are going to be installing everything from scratch. This especially true considering most desktop Linux distros come with most of the applications you want already installed after toss up the OS install. Windows, on the other hand, gives you a browser, a weak security suite, and some games.

8. Lock Down Actual Users
The gift of sudo is a fantastic gift for Linux installations set to use it by default. Whether it means being able to run a software application that really needs administrator privileges to work right or being able to make system updates while still running safely as a limited user.

From the business owner's perspective, desktop Linux also allows the administrator to lock down users for specific tasks, but still provide the ability to run as a "super user" when required by authenticated applications.

On the Windows front, super user ability is certainly available, while not made as clearly available to those who are unaware of how to best enjoy those privileges. Even to this day, Windows is setting users up a administrators with a weak layer of protection called the UAC. Because in the end, UAC and other security enhancements considered, you are still running as an unsecure administrator. And that is dangerous on any operating system. You could run as a limited user I suppose, but this is often times not viable for most businesses.

9. Upgrade Hardware By Choice, Not Necessity
Something else that struck me as awesome early on was the fact that Linux provides existing hardware with a lot more life than other operating systems. And thankfully, there are distributions for really old hardware and there are robust distributions that will run on slightly newer to brand new hardware. With so many distributions out there to choose from, your business can find the best version of Linux to meet the needs of your existing infrastructure. Hardware failure, however, is another issue entirely.

Windows on the other hand, provides two very limiting options - use the older Windows release with the older hardware or upgrade like mad as to better meet recommended Windows requirements with each release.

10. Never Install Drivers
Unless you opt to use unsupported hardware, there is no need to compile driver modules whatsoever. This means that you are not waiting on your system update feature to download 10 to 15 different drivers just to get things working.

To be fair, this is not as much an issue with other OSes as it used to be, but there are still plenty of peripherals out there that not only encourage you to use their driver CDs loaded with ample "crapware" to get things running, in some cases they require it to run as advertised.

Adapted from Intranetjournal.com.

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This article was originally published on June 12, 2008
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