Originally Published: Saturday, 18 December 1999 Author: Scott Nipp
Published to: featured_articles/Featured Articles Page: 1/1 - [Printable]

Linux Advantages for Small Business

Long known only as the mysterious box in the corporate server room which runs the intranet, or one of the many developers' databases, Linux also has a lot to offer to small businesses. It is safe to say at this point that Linux has managed to firmly entrench itself into the server rooms of corporate America. The stability and flexibility of Linux has led many organizations to implement it in various ways. The key point is that the benefits which Linux offers to large organizations are equally important to smaller businesses. A small business inherently has a much smaller budget to spend on computer systems, and Linux can provide these businesses with an extremely cost-effective and reliable solution to a wide range of computing needs....

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Long known only as the mysterious box in the corporate server room which runs the intranet, or one of the many developers' databases, Linux also has a lot to offer to small businesses. It is safe to say at this point that Linux has managed to firmly entrench itself into the server rooms of corporate America. The stability and flexibility of Linux has led many organizations to implement it in various ways. The key point is that the benefits which Linux offers to large organizations are equally important to smaller businesses. A small business inherently has a much smaller budget to spend on computer systems, and Linux can provide these businesses with an extremely cost-effective and reliable solution to a wide range of computing needs.

Linux has been proven over the years to be a rock solid server platform. Whether you need file and print services, or a Web server, e-mail, database, or more, Linux is a proven performer in all of these areas. File and print services can be offered to your desktop systems virtually regardless of the desktop operating system. The Apache Web server is the most popular Web server on the Internet, and Linux is a very popular platform on which to run Apache. Sendmail, which can be extremely complicated, is still the most popular mail server around, and can be configured for basic e-mail service without too much trouble. The server room, closet, or cubby of any small business can benefit from the use of Linux in any of these areas, and many more.

Linux is also a very capable desktop platform. Several core applications which most companies use are already available for Linux, and many more are on the way. Productivity suites are one of the most common business applications in use today, and Linux supports a number of these such as StarOffice, and the soon-to-come Corel WordPerfect Office. Linux also boasts support for Netscape, along with several other Web browsers, and numerous e-mail clients. Furthermore, with the more advanced windowing environments like KDE and GNOME, Linux has become just as easy to use as Windows for many people. This ease of use along with support for common desktop applications makes Linux a very attractive desktop solution.

Cost effectiveness, however, is the ultimate strength which Linux offers to a small business. Unlike other operating systems, a company can purchase a single "shrink-wrapped" version of Linux at virtually any retail computer store, and many, many more web sites for under $50. This single copy can legally be installed on every single machine in there entire organization whether 2 or 2,000. This means that you do not have to incur the very significant cost of properly licensing, operating system only, each and every machine in your company. Talented technical expertise should not be difficult or overly expensive to locate in any metropolitan area. This expertise should be fairly close in cost to implementing a similar solution under NT, Novell, or a commercial Unix platform. The open source nature of Linux means you do not have to pay for licensing per system, and can put this money to use in hardware or consulting services, which can save a substantial amount of money when compared with other commercial operating systems.

Linux has many benefits to offer businesses of any size. The stability and flexibility of Linux make it an ideal solution for organizations which do not have the time and resources to invest in a staff and the implementation of different types of solutions. The ability of Linux to interact with a company's existing infrastructure also makes it relatively inexpensive to implement. Linux is no longer just a tinker toy for large organizations, it has proven itself as stable, flexible, and extremely cost-effective. Most any business can benefit from these strengths, and as still more software developers port there products to Linux the limitations of implementing Linux become fewer still.

Scott Nipp is a Technical Solutions Consultant at Sprint Paranet. He spends his time there fighting the good fight, advocating Linux to his managers and customers.





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