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MicroTimes: Linux vs Unix: A Closer Look

Jul 29, 1999, 17:30 (18 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Jim Carr)

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"Not since the halcyon days of the Mac has a computer operating system (OS) caught the public fancy the way Linux has. Linux seems to show up everywhere - even in the Sunday comics. And its boosters, like the Mac fanatics of old, are taking an evangelistic approach."

"As a result, more and more companies, from small to large, are deploying Linux-based servers. Market research firm International Data Corp. (IDC), Framingham, MA, recently reported that commercial shipments of Linux will increase at a 25 percent compound annual growth rate from 1999 to 2003, compared with 12 percent for all other server OSs."

"Linux's technical strengths - its reliability and configurability, plus the muscle of the huge developer community behind it - are among the key reasons for its growth in server installations worldwide. But the open-source UNIX-derived OS developed by Linus Torvalds also offers a host of economic advantages, making it more desirable than UNIX to a growing number of users and developers."

"Not the least of these is Linux's low- or no-cost licensing scheme. Users can either obtain raw code over the Internet and compile it themselves or buy a shrink-wrapped version from a company such as Red Hat Software Inc., Durham, NC, which includes a ready-to-install OS and documentation."

"Linux also has the benefit of running on commodity hardware - Intel-based PC systems. These systems generally are less expensive to purchase and maintain than are high-end UNIX systems from Sun, HP, Compaq or IBM. And Linux ships with free application-development tools, which UNIX vendors typically sell separately (as does Microsoft Corp., with its Windows tools)."

"Still, UNIX offers its own economic advantages. More management utilities are available for UNIX, which can help lower the cost of maintaining servers, networks and users. UNIX is possibly less expensive to support and maintain than Linux. UNIX is also more scaleable - it offers better support for multiple-processor systems."

"Here is a look at the economic issues every business should consider before choosing Linux over UNIX."

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