linux5 Linux
Jonathan Coupal asked:

As an open source platform, Linux is seen by many as their ticket to reduced IT infrastructure costs. Others see it as a more secure and reliable alternative to Microsoft. But Linux is not the right choice for everyone, or for all applications. So when does Linux make sense for your enterprise?

Where Linux Excels:

Linux is best at web services and applications servers. Every major web server except Microsoft’s Internet Information Server (IIS) supports Linux. Most commercial web servers support administration through excellent management interfaces, and even the popular open source Apache web server has tools which make web server administration manageable. For IIS shops, the similarity of PHP to Microsoft’s Active Server Pages may make the transition to Linux less daunting than one might suspect.

Linux is equally well supported by all the major application servers. BEA, Borland, IBM, Oracle, and Sybase support Linux installations, albeit with varying levels of support. Excellent open source application servers for Linux are also available, such as the popular Java Server Pages/servlet engine Apache Tomcat and the J2EE server JBoss, but deployment and configuration with other tools can be a challenge for the novice. Some vendors offer inexpensive packages which bundle enhanced open source tools with some level of support, making Linux an excellent option for reducing the cost of ownership while still offering nearly turnkey deployment.

Where Linux Fails:

Linux falls short in areas in which the market demands support for Windows-related technologies and products.

Directory services are one such example. LDAP is a well-established directory service implemented on Linux, and there are excellent products available, such as Novell’s eDirectory. But anything from Microsoft, as well as many other applications, requires Active Directory Services. Databases on Linux are a mixed success. There are several excellent databases implemented on Linux, each with their own ODBC support, but generic ODBC support is lacking. This poses a problem for those who want to run databases from multiple vendors. Finally, support for e-mail on Linux is poor. Although there are many e-mail servers that run on Linux, configuring and managing them is notoriously difficult.


Linux has been embraced by all of the major software vendors, with varying costs and degrees of support. Although some tradeoffs with cross-platform flexibility might be required, there are Linux products available at reduced prices for most market niches and uses.

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