Corporate Linux

Large corporations are shoveling cash into Microsoft by buying their software which requires minimal setup for running a large network of corporate machines. Large organizations think it’s cost effective versus Linux, and they’re probably correct if someone in the corporation develops software using GPL software as a base for the project. How many large corporations do this? Very few.

Most corporations do not use Linux because they think the change over will cost them a lot of money. While this may be true for almost any large bank of computers, the cost in the long-run is much better with Linux than Windows. Cost is only 1 benefit of changing over to Linux.

Another benefit is security. Almost every program designed to run on Linux is created by the community, so bugs and security holes are found and fixed quicker than Microsoft can do it. The updates can be pushed using a free program found on the internet and installed on every machine, or individual ones.
The change over does require some user training, but it’s pretty simple to learn. At my work, we use a lot of free software that is available for Window and Linux; however, we run Windows on all our machines, except the web servers which run Linux.

Most people will use an app for business, another for email, and a basic web browser. If the business app was written for Windows, the change over cost can be astronomical, but if the app is web based, the change over cost is minimized. Email is email and the web is the web, no matter what program you use to access it.
Watch out though! Sarbanes-Oxley entangles Linux with a lot of red tape. This is mainly due to the fact that the CEO is personally responsible for all reporting of intellectual property information as well as all financial information.

If a corp is simply using it as an OS, the red tape is only a couple of levels thick. If anything is modified, the layers of red tape can amass pretty quickly. This is due to the wording of the GPL, the most common open source software license for Linux programs.

I asked the tech guy at my work if we could do a change over and he said it would be a bunch of red tape, mainly due to the rewriting of policy and building desktop OSs from scratch. I agree with the building the OS from scratch, which I have done before and is pretty simple once you’ve done it a few times. Policies need to be rewritten anytime an OS change over takes place, so go ahead and make the policies!

Anyways, for any corporation just starting out, go with Linux. It’s a lot cheaper than Windows, $0 vs. $300. It can be a pain to set up if you are not familiar with it, but you’ll save $300 per machine. That’s enough to pay someone for 30 hours of work at $9.29, $0.71 is taken off the top for business paid FICA taxes. Plus if you buy all the same machine, once it’s setup on one, you can simple copy hard drives to get it on all the other machines.

Death of Windows XP

Windows XP will be pulled from the shelves in less than 3 months time. The official finale will be observed June 30, 2008. Many people are up in arms over this. There is even a petition to keep XP on the shelves. As the date nears, I am advising people who will be in the market for a new computer between now and 2010 to try Linux.

Try it, that’s all I ask. Linux has advanced dramatically from it’s conception in 1991. There are several distributions, or flavors, that offer a LiveCD or LiveDVD. A LiveCD/LiveDVD is simply a copy of Linux that runs directly from a burned CD/DVD. It installs nothing to your computer, so you aren’t forced to do anything to your computer except drop the disc in and reboot.

Many of these LiveCDs allow you to install Linux after you have tried it. For a newbie, or noob(pronounced the same way), Ubuntu is your best bet. Anyone with a blank CD-R, a CD burner, and a high speed internet connection (or a friend with high speed) can do it.

Linux is different from Windows; however the KDE desktop environment is very similar to Windows and comes with a Redmond* Theme that looks almost exactly like Windows XP. The programs are called different names, but you can enjoy a lot of the same programs, like Firefox.

I know, some of you might be saying, “What about my games?” They’ve got most of them covered too. There’s a Windows Emulator** called Wine. There’s also a program call PlayOnLinux which sets everything up for many many Windows programs, including my favorite game, WoW.

So, give it a try! You might be sorely disappointed, but I doubt you’ll be that disappointed.

* Microsoft is based in Redmond, WA. Hence the name.

** An emulator is a program, or set of programs, that allows you to run a different system of software, such as Playstation or Windows.