July 26, 2010, 8:42 PM — Chances are good that if someone walked into your office right now and peeked over your shoulder, they would see a Windows operating system on your computer. But, did you know that you have a choice of something other than Windows for that computer on your desk, and that you have the same choice for the servers in your data center
One of those choices is Ubuntu Linux, a greatly enhanced Debian-based Linux distribution that installs easily, has the familiar Windows look and feel, and operates well on older hardware (expensive upgrade not required). Linux fans tout the positive attributes, often at high decibel levels, of Ubuntu Linux, which is perhaps the world's most popular Linux distribution. But, is it business worthy?
[ See also: Ubuntu 10.04 delivers usability, strength ]
Let's first consider Ubuntu as a replacement for your Windows desktop or laptop operating system. Computer owners generally use an Internet browser, a word processing program, the occasional spreadsheet, an email application and almost nothing else. These computer owners may not realize that they're paying $150 to $300 for the OS and another $300 or more for the office suite--most of which they'll never use. Why add hundreds of dollars to a computer system that has a life expectancy of three to four years? Software costs often exceed hardware costs by two or three times. Small businesses resort to piracy or doing without needed software to compensate for those costs. Neither is a good choice.
The alternative puts you at odds with the accepted philosophy that Windows is your only choice for desktop computers and servers. The Linux concept requires that you step outside the standard box that Microsoft has placed you in, and realize that you have a choice that makes sense for you, your bank account, and your business.
Your Windows computers need an anti-virus program that hinders performance, anti-spyware software that you have to run manually to scan for all the nasties that invade your computing habitat, and a personal firewall to ward off those over-the-network attackers.