MicroTimes: Linux vs Unix: A Closer Look

Thanks to collin for this

“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

“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

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