A thought of why Linux has not yet quite made it as the operating system of choice in the corporate environment

in linux •  9 months ago

A note about this article and myself.

First of all a note to all readers. I’m not a professional writer nor researcher. If this article sounds bumpy please accept my apologies. I promise that any future posts would adher to a higher standard. I want to share a simple thought with the world and would appreciate further input.

Personally I got in touch with SUSE Linux 6.1 back in 1999. Back at that time I didn’t know much about networking or kernel compilation which was needed back then to get some of the hardware to work. After spending considerable amounts of time trying to get hardware to work I eventually gave up and started to use Windows.

It was up until 2010 that I started to use Ubuntu Desktop since many years had passed from SUSE 6.1 to Ubuntu 6.04. I found that this time round all of my hardware was working perfectly fine. And this doesn’t come as a surprise as Linux has been constantly developed under the open source project, the GNU.

Fast forward a few years more and I find myself in a position where I personally think that Linux is really a very handy, flexible and secure operating system. Speaking as a long-term Windows and Mac OS X user Linux starts to appeal to me for a number of reasons. Most reasons to be honest are from a professional side of view. The way a system administrator can control, modify, alter and analyse issues on a Linux system surpasses the abilities an administrator could do under Microsoft. Although it has to be acknowledged that Microsoft has made a huge progress with its Windows operating system eversince Windows 7, and now Windows 10.

The ease of administering and understanding the issues

However, if something goes wrong deciphering the error codes can be pretty daunting, and speaking from personal experience, searching for it on the Microsoft Technet site can be rather daunting and frustrating. The beauty of Linux here is that the error messages seem to say more without having to decrypt error messages from the start.

Of course, this comes at a price and you need to know where log files are located etc. However, once you do know, managing a Linux system becomes a breeze and it feels refreshingly normal to search and fix issues. In case I wasn’t clear enough. An error message during an interrupted boot where a mounted filesystem has gone haywire / or was entered incorrectly is communicated clearly and can be fixed relatively easy on the go. Since Linux is free one could actually also try to fix issues oneself or go to a support system such as with RedHat.

Where do we go from here?

Now where do I personally think this is taking us in the future? Red Hat has made a start with offering a subscription service for their distribution and it seems to be the Linux distribution that is used the most often in companies (please take note that at this point in time this is my personal perception and I don’t have current data to back this up). Some clients might use CentOS (Red Hat without the subscription service) or even Ubuntu/Debian.

With regards to the availability of programs there are Citrix receivers for Linux and running Windows programs using Wine for instance are possible and not overly complicated once set up in an image for the employees of a company. But is this really an issue today? We move more and more to cloud services and we use less of local resources to get our jobs done. With Microsoft offering a superb product in my opinion of Office365. Applications that run on mobile devices, locally or on the web with pretty much the same functionality show us that local applications will play less and less a role in the future.

From a security point of view Linux, out of the box, is more secure than Windows. Not because of being biased, but simply because the way a *nix system works and is designed. As long as one isn’t the superuser root under a Linux system, rights can be limited to very fine details if needed. Otherwise a standard user by itself, without any modifications should be very safe indeed from any malware or scripts. Microsoft users nowadays are also pretty well protected, however, the popularity of Windows will still inevitable attract more crackers than Linux.

Finishing my thought

So to finish my thought on Linux in the workplace. With the shift to more and more cloud based services I think that the existence of Linux will grow in the future. Linux can run satisfyingly on decent hardware and offer top performance without the licensing costs needed when going the Microsoft route.

The issue right now I believe is not that Linux ain’t fit for the workplace. It’s the fact that the initial setup can be a bit daunting and to be fair a migration from Windows to Linux can or will be very hard, if in some cases not even impossible.

That for me doesn’t mean though that in the future many companies will prefer Linux over Windows, I’m sure of that.

In my current experiment I already found that I can do all of my work with Linux and don’t have to rely on Windows and Windows programs to do my job.

I guess it all depends on these factors:

  • Are you ready to make the move

  • Can you make the move

  • Are you willing to learn a new system and can you afford to? A cost of ownership calculation would be handy here

Linux has proven that its rapid development and the commitment of commercial partners it has got the potential to steal more of Microsoft's market share (source: https://www.netmarketshare.com/operating-system-market-share.aspx?qprid=10&qpcustomd=0) and become a serious consideration for many more companies. I personally can connect to a Windows machine with Linux and use Exchange services using Mozilla Thunderbird.

Not all will work right now. If the landscape shifts towards Linux though, I don't see a reason why there shouldn't be apps for Linux such as Microsoft's OneDrive. Opening up the PowerShell was in my opinion the first step of realising the potential of SaaS. And this is where Linux can come in big time.

Final words

Many thanks for reading my first article on LinkedIn. I would appreciate all your comments regarding this article. As mentioned earlier it is my thought and my opinion and doesn't reflect any views of my current employer.

Thank you!

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