Move over Microsoft, SMBs consider Linux migration

Our special feature on Linux and SMBs includes articles on vendor options, security, a case study and more.

From the Editors:

Linux is no longer just a low-cost alternative operating system. It's still an alternative, but not for price reasons alone. For smaller companies, the stats say it all: Linux is now used by about 24% of companies with 100 to 249 employees worldwide. The numbers are quite significant for midsize companies as well. More and more companies, in the U.S. and abroad, are considering a Linux migration.

With its growing popularity, IT decision makers have more Linux vendors to choose from. IT managers and CIOs are feeling more pressure to justify all of their IT investments, and with more secure environments and more developers cropping up everyday, a Linux migration is becoming much easier to justify. The point hits home even more so for small and midsized companies.

We received a lot of interesting letters from readers during the last two weeks about our special Linux feature. Linux is a realistic choice for small and medium-sized businesses, and the emails prove that. See for yourself what the readers had to say about our special Linux feature last month, and let us know your thoughts as well.

Joyce Chutchian, editor
Meg Sandman, assistant editor
SearchSMB.com

 Linux security: Strength in numbers
It's easy to think of Linux as more vulnerable than Windows, but the architecture of the open source platform - and the dedicated community that surrounds it - means Linux is better protected than ever.

 Know your Linux options
Choosing to use Linux at your SMB is one decision. Choosing the right vendor is another story.

 Quiz: Linux basics
Are you ready for Linux? Take this quiz on Linux basics and see how much you know about Linux before you consider a switch.

 Greater support wins Linux customers
Support from larger companies leads one SMB to put its faith in Linux.

Reader feedback:

Until Linux and Java support more developer-friendly, strictly-typed languages such as Pascal or COBOL, they will stay off of my radar. The C/C++ derivatives now being used are great for system coders, but impractical for any business-grade application.
-- Richard Kish

My experience shows that there are VERY few Linux installs that work - that is, the Linux works but the XWindows fails. There are a range of problems with sound cards, modems, network cards, scanners and mostly, video cards. MEPIS can be made to work (usually) in that there is a list of video modes to select from; Knoppix, Linspire, Debian, Ubuntu and others all fail frequently on video or modem/network - scanners 3-5 years old also have problems. Mandrake 10.1 installs and runs well, but has modem, scanner and some sound problems. DSL runs well on a par with Mandrake, but is so cut-down as to make its use near impossible in a business.

If Linux cannot even get the install right, the outlook for general use is bleak. The plethora of different styles and standards for the OS makes downloading application software (free or otherwise) a nightmare as much will not run unless matched to the Linux version and kernal spec.

The software available is generally excellent, and the new OpenOffice 2 beta shows great promise. Linux is an excellent system when it runs. ...
-- Alan Cummings

Thanks, this was very interesting letter. My organization mostly uses Windows but it's high time to start investigate other ways as well ;-).
-- Harijs Buss

This was first published in July 2005

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