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Linux for SME and Big Businesses
You don’t have to stick with Microsoft to provide software for servers, desktops and laptop computers in your organization. Whether you’re a sole trader or small business, a medium enterprise or even a vast organization, Linux is a viable alternative.
Rather than running Windows servers you can run Linux ones. End user hardware can run Linux as readily as it can run Windows. In fact the only thing tying you to Microsoft Windows servers and desktop operating systems is probably a reliance on other Microsoft technology such as Internet Explorer and Office – but suitable alternatives to these can be found on Linux systems.
Don’t make the move without being aware of what you’re getting into, however – research the alternatives!
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Alternatives to Microsoft
The fact is, there are several alternatives to running a Microsoft-based network. Ten years ago, many organizations were running Novell as their primary network software. In the current environment Windows reigns supreme, but that doesn’t mean that there aren’t organizations and business that aren’t using Linux.
Two common examples of Linux-based alternatives to Microsoft Windows are SUSE Linux and Red Hat. Both of these are designed to be production-ready operating systems at the server and desktop end, although both come at a price in the shape of an annual service agreement.
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The Power of Red Hat
Red Hat is by far and away the most popular Linux alternative to Windows in a business environment. The reason for this is partly its ease of use, but also because it is flexible enough to be easily configured into a secure and reliable system.
There are considerable advantages of using Red Hat, not least in configuring servers, a process that is far more easily completed than in Windows.
Better still, Red Hat is just as suitable for home use as it is for corporate. If you regularly take your Red Hat laptop home, then you will find that it is fine for typical domestic tasks such as reading, browsing and streaming music from the web – provided these features haven’t be restricted!
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- Red Hat Linux 5 Desktop - Fit for the Corporate Desktop, But What About the Home?
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Linux Office Software
The major consideration of any organization looking to migrate to a new operating system is business continuity. With Microsoft Office a major element of the vast majority of businesses in operation today, simply switching from Windows to Linux would be like throwing the baby out with the bath water without making the right preparations.
Fortunately, there are many alternatives to Microsoft Office in the open source world, from OpenOffice.org to IBM Lotus Symphony and LibreOffice.
These tools all offer word processing, number crunching spreadsheets and presentation software, although email and database tools are available via other means.
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Business Critical Systems
Keeping up to speed with managing a Linux network will require a transfer of skills or the hiring of new technical support staff. In most cases a mixed approach would probably be best, which is where a good reference library of books for Linux system admins would come in handy.
There are differences between the ways databases are built in Linux and Windows, just as there are differences in how email servers are configured. Indeed, while the similarities between a system like Red Hat and Windows for an end user are considerable, this is due to the skills of the designers of the Red Hat desktop GUI.
Behind the scenes, things are quite different!
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Linux Professional Certification
Whether a business opts to hire new Linux-aware engineers or retain existing staff with a good general knowledge of technical matters, there are various courses and certificates available that can enhance understanding of your organization’s new network, server and computer operating systems.
Certificates are available for Linux in general as well as for specific distributions such as Red Hat, and with the increasing use of Linux as a business operating system the availability of such courses has increased considerably in the last few years.
- Linux logo image credit: Wikimedia Commons/Pumbaa80