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VNU Net: Operating systems - Is Linux the business?

Sep 15, 1999, 19:07 (3 Talkback[s])

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"Linux has been riding high on a wave of anti-Microsoft feeling, but how does it square up as a serious business OS?...the most important question for anyone with an IT operation to manage: 'What use is it to me?' There is no single correct answer. It is down to how you see Linux fitting your company's needs..."

"...with server applications... Linux provides an alternative to Netware, NT or commercial Unix... One primary reason for using it here is cost. ... You also get the complete source code, so you can customise any part of it..."

"Another issue is stability. While no software is perfect, since its first alpha release Linux has gone through many more revisions and updates than NT - which has existed for about as long. Its stability record is impressive, and due to its modular construction, subsystems can be stopped, reconfigured or updated, and then restarted without rebooting the machine.

Remote administration is simple as complete control is possible from the command line with no need for a GUI. Alternatively, browser-based admin tools such as Webmin ( put an easier interface onto everyday tasks. Either way, without a GUI's overhead, Linux runs well on modest hardware, such as a 486 with 20Mb to 30Mb of RAM and only a few hundred megabytes of hard-disk space.

"The second key benefit is Unix compatibility. Linux looks and feels like traditional Unix, so there is little need for retraining and few interoperability problems. Furthermore, an ever-increasing number of 'mainstream' Unix tools are being ported to Linux, making it a useful development environment. ...for development purposes Linux offers an inexpensive platform running on commodity PC hardware."

"...said Mark Morgan Lloyd, executive engineer at KDG Telemetry... 'it's an indication of the maturity of the operating system that it runs without obvious race conditions on such a wide range of systems.' "

"Linux can already be found at all levels, from minor supplementary jobs such as a dedicated DNS server up to significant line-of-business positions. Perhaps the most important point to grasp is that it is an OS that works well alongside existing commercial solutions. It can add extra intranet functionality to older networks, take over functions from overstressed servers, add additional storage space or alleviate licence restrictions, and get valuable extra use from older hardware. It may not be right for everybody, but few companies can afford to ignore it."

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