Advantages & Disadvantages of Linux
December 21, 2007 2:15am CST
Let’s start with Advantages; Stability If you have used other operating systems, once you have made the switch to Linux, you will notice that Linux has an edge over Windows here. I can remember rebooting Windows many times over the years, because an application crashed, and I couldn't continue working. Linux can crash also, but it is much harder to do. If an application crashes in Linux, it will usually not harm the kernel or other processes. Free Software Most software can be obtained without cost for Linux. For example, one thing that has kept people from Linux is the lack of office software. That has changed with Open Office, and now you can edit documents and presentations from the popular Microsoft software. The conversion isn't 100% perfect, but it has worked remarkably well in allowing me to correspond and use documents that people send me via e-mail or the web. Runs on old hardware If you have an old 386 or 486 lying around collecting dust, you can use this to run Linux. I remember running Linux just fine on a Pentium 100 with a 1 GB disk drive, and 16 MB of memory. One use of an old machine like that could be a file server. Just go to your computer store, buy a large hard disk (as long as your old stuff can support it), and you can make a great storage server. With all the digital pictures and movies around today, this could be a great use for Linux. Look into using Samba, a server application for Linux that allows you to make your machine share the disk as a Windows share. Runs on old hardware If you have an old 386 or 486 lying around collecting dust, you can use this to run Linux. I remember running Linux just fine on a Pentium 100 with a 1 GB disk drive, and 16 MB of memory. One use of an old machine like that could be a file server. Just go to your computer store, buy a large hard disk (as long as your old stuff can support it), and you can make a great storage server. With all the digital pictures and movies around today, this could be a great use for Linux. Look into using Samba, a server application for Linux that allows you to make your machine share the disk as a Windows share. And now some Disadvantages; Learning curve I won't lie to you; Linux is going to take some time to learn. I know that our society likes to be instantly gratified. Learning Linux is definitely worth your time, but to really master it, you will need to spend some good time in front of your machine tinkering with things. Don't expect to be an expert after reading something like “Linux for Dummies”. If you are contemplating this for your company, you will need to budget some money for training and learning time. Equivalent programs While I gave the example before of an office suite of programs that is working well, there are still applications that do not exist in Linux. Thankfully, this list has become much more narrow in recent months. You will want to think carefully when you switch to Linux about what programs you currently use, and if they have Linux support for them. It may not make sense for you to switch if you are going to spend tons of time converting databases and application data. More technical ability needed You will want to make sure that you train someone in Linux really well. Alternately, you could hire someone who has experience with Linux. A good Linux administrator needs to be on hand as you start to migrate your systems over. This is a disadvantage financially, at least in the beginning. You may find over time, however, that you only need a temporary administrator to handle the routine tasks. Not all hardware compatible Some of the latest and greatest hardware that is being produced is not compatible with Linux. The people that contribute program code and drivers to the Linux kernel are great at including support fairly quickly. Until that time, not everything you buy for hardware in your system may work. I've had to rely on third-party drivers and other means to make hardware like a new Ethernet card work. Eventually, the support will be built in. One thing you can do is before your purchase; ask if the hardware vendor has support for Linux. Some manufacturers do write their own Linux drivers and distribute them with your purchase, making it very easy to integrate with your existing system. My Conclusion Linux is a very viable operating system for you and your business. While initially requiring a significant investment in training and development, you or your company may see the benefits of having a great, stable operating system that is a real workhorse. Linux is not only a great server, it is also a good workstation, and with the many programs available, can lower the costs of software licensing fee for you. I'd encourage you to take a look at Linux. You will be glad that you did.
• United States
25 Dec 07
I think THE major drawback is the ignorance of the people using the computer, in all honesty. Because Microsoft has the market with Windows, the average user knows the Windows OS to the point where they can use it without much question (sometimes). However if you look at he release of Vista, the changes in its GUI architecture and the fuss its created just VISUALLY, one would expect the switch from a Windows Platform to a *nix to be MUCH more of a headache. Not to mention the costs associated with the software would have to be put into the proper training for every user in the system which could ultimately cost just as much or more in the long run. I use Slackware on just about everything I interact with day-to-day, but I would under no circumstances ever make any recommendation to switch to a Linux Platform on any non-IT related business workstations. Just my $.02 :D
• United States
26 Dec 07
Not only that, but I see it as being able for a user to understand the environment in which they're working. They want something that is commandlineless and pretty. Thats why (among a few other things) Microsoft's Windows OS's are so successful- they can cater to all forms and levels of users. I love *nix platforms, but I would kill myself if my boss came to be and said we needed to train everyone on how to use it.
• United States
25 Dec 07
I personally would not use linux even though people say that it is very realiable. Your list of advantages and disadvantages are stunning, and I agree with them almost 100 percent. What linux lacks in graphics, it makes up for in realiability. The only problem is, im one of those people who likes a beefed up computer that is pleasing to the senses.
23 Dec 07
I like Windows XP it is the best by far I think, but I know of someone who uses Linux and likes that. I don't want to change from Windows XP either you get used to using one and then don't want to change. I think you have given a good explanation of Linux here and as I say I know someone who uses it and thinks it is excellent, but I would personally be too scared to try any new operating system it would take me ages to get used to it.
21 Dec 07
linux is a open source proyect, and there they still, so the open source code proyects are in constant change, they never have a "Stable version" (microsoft neigther), but it still improving, every minute, because a lot of people want to improve the proyect, this is only my opinion.