Is Linux Right For Your Small Business Desktop Computer?

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Your small business depends on technology. You probably have desktops, laptops, servers, routers, printers, scanners, storage devices, and much more. However, the devices you depend upon the most are those desktop machines. It is from them that you and your staff do the majority of your work.

You manage clients, fulfill orders, run a point of sale, keep track of your financials, research, send emails, take care of HR tasks and a lot more. You use your desktop computer to do all of those things.

So, whenever those desktop machines go down, work comes to a bottom-line-breaking halt. What do you do? Hopefully, you have an IT department to help you out. If not, you hope Google will come to the rescue, or you hire an outsourced IT support company.

Isn’t there a better way? What if your desktop computers rarely (if ever) had problems? Sounds like a dream? It’s not. How can that be?

In a word, Linux.

What Is Linux?

For those that have never heard of it, Linux is a free operating system created on a student’s budget by Linus Torvalds to help him get through school. Since then, Linux has become the operating system that powers most of what big enterprises depend upon. Companies like Netflix, Facebook, Twitter, and Google wouldn’t be where they are without it.

Yet, Linux isn’t just a server operating system. It’s also a desktop operating system. And for the longest time, Linux was only used by the likes of software development companies, uber-geeks, and hackers.

Things have changed today as all types of users pick Linux. In fact, chances are it’s a perfect solution for your business. Let’s review why this alternative operating system might be right for you.

Security

Because we’re talking about business usage, it only makes sense to start with one of the biggest concerns for companies of all sizes. Of all desktop and server operating systems, Linux is the most secure by far. This is by design.

Since its beginnings, Linux was developed as a multi-user platform that isolated the admin user from the standard users. Early iterations of Linux would only allow a special user (root) to run administrative tasks. Only root could install software, configure the operating system services (such as networking), add users, and more.

Eventually, a new security system, called sudo (for super user do) was created to let users run admin tasks, but only after entering their user password.

Modern Linux distributions still employ the password-protected sudo admin tasks. Windows, on the other hand, can run many similar tasks (such as software installation) with nothing more than a click of a button.

Of course, Linux security doesn’t end there. There are other tools (such as SELinux and AppArmor) that enhance the security of your operating system.

It is because of the password requirement and various security enhancements that Linux is better safeguarded from things like malware, viruses, and ransomware. Unlike Windows, those malicious applications can’t be installed unless a user has sudo privileges and only after providing the root or sudo password.

Linux is so robust that the amount of malware that targets it is practically non-existent!

Stability

Another reason Linux might be right up your business’s alley is stability. The system has different layers and at the very bottom is the kernel. The Linux kernel rarely (if ever) crashes.

On top of that layer are the various daemons (such as printing, user login, etc.). Even if one of those daemons crashes, they will automatically restart themselves. It’s only a rare occasion that a daemon will crash and can’t restart itself. Should this happen, there are plenty of tools to help you troubleshoot.

The next layer is the GUI server (aka X Windows server). This is responsible for drawing the desktop and desktop applications on the display. Even if this crashes, it won’t take down the daemons or the kernel with it. It can always be restarted.

On top of the GUI server, you have user-level applications such as Firefox, LibreOffice, GIMP, and more. These are the tools you will work with. Because most of these tools are open source, they’ve been developed and vetted by a global community of developers and software development outsourcing projects. They are, for the most part, as stable as any application you’ll ever use.

Cost Effective

As I mentioned earlier, Linux is free. That means you can download a single ISO image for a Linux distribution and install it on as many desktops as you like without paying a dime for it. You can’t do that with Windows.

On top of the operating system, much of the software that runs on Linux is free as well. The LibreOffice office suite, the GIMP image editor, the Audacity digital audio editor, the VirtualBox virtual machine manager, and so many more titles are free of charge.

Keep That Old Hardware

One area that Linux far surpasses all other operating systems is its performance on older hardware. Recent Windows and macOS versions can’t function on older, underpowered hardware and there’s nothing you can do about it but buy a new computer.

Linux, on the other hand, does well on aging desktops. That means you won’t find yourself having to purchase new hardware every time your operating system is upgraded. Once again, you’re saving money.

In fact, there are Linux distributions such as Lubuntu, Peppermint Linux, and Linux Lite specifically designed to run on older hardware.

What’s more – keeping that aging hardware up and running for longer periods prevents you from adding to the ever-increasing land-fill issue so many countries face. Environmental responsibility should be on every business’s radar. Linux can help you with that.

What Are You Waiting For?

Other than saying Linux is also incredibly user friendly, how many more reasons does your small business need to adopt this open-source operating system? You’ll get more work done and save money while doing it.

What are you waiting for? Adopt Linux as your small business operating system of choice and start enjoying all of these benefits right now!

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