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Linux.com: The Time Machine: Linux Scales

“One of the many buzzwords surrounding Linux, as its adoption
into the small server arena becomes quickly dominant, is the
question of how well it “scales” — that is, the question of how
well it can handle multiple thousands of users as opposed to
multiple scores, or several hundred. People need to know if Linux
can handle systems that have to deal with mail in huge volumes, and
do it reliably, and so on. This idea of scaling, while important,
is not as important as a more fundamental aspect of computing —
the ability of an operating system to scale with the user, not with
the hardware or uses that it has.”

“Linux scales in the classic sense to very many different types
of hardware: from tiny little embedded devices dedicated for one
purpose and one purpose only, to Beowulf clusters on thousands of
nodes, to even the relatively mundane Intel or PowerPC machine on
your desk. It can’t run mainframes all by itself — yet — and it
can’t fill every need in an every imaginable office context — yet
— but it certainly has scaling in that very specific sense going
for it….”

“One of the ideals behind Linux is to create, in short, a system
so modular, so well configured, that it in one of its forms can
fill virtually any niche. As a user, a person can stick with the
few tasks that they need in a rock-solid environment in security
that they don’t really need to know much more than logging in and
clicking a few buttons. Or a person can delve under the hood and
learn just that little bit extra and eke out the rewards
thereof.”

Other operating environments strive for different goals.
The Windows family, for instance, by attempting to cater to the
lowest common denominator of user, sacrifices stability, security
and long-term usability at the altar of short-term usability and
profits.
Other environments might strive for total security,
sacrificing usability and convenience for the ability to have
completely secure data or operations….”

Complete
Story