GNU/Linux distros that work on desktop PCs have been around for 15 years or so. They are polished and effective. Still, some people think there’s no real advantage over the MacOS or that other OS, but I disagree:
- Cost: $free licences are just the tip of the iceberg in savings. Re-using code is efficient so the cost of production of the software is much less than non-free software. Having all your compatibility issues dealt with by the up-stream packagers is even larger. Instead of you having to hunt down drivers, updates for individual applications, security updates, upgrades to new versions, the package managers of many distros like Debian GNU/Linux allow you to update one machine by a simple command:apt-get update;apt-get upgrade. That’s all there is to it. You get the latest driver, kernel, applications, security updates/patches, bug-fixes for documentation, applications, services and the OS. Have a 1000 machines? No problem. There are many options:
- insert that command in a script run daily, weekly, monthly, etc. on each machine
- send that command to each machine, for ((f=1001;f=f-1;));do ssh machine$f “apt-get update;apt-get upgrade”&done
- wake up all the machines you want at midnight and send them a whole new disc-image with CloneZilla
- etc. Whatever you imagine, you can do with GNU/Linux.
In addition to licensing and management, GNU/Linux just runs better, has fewer problems with malware, and will run on anything built in the last decade.
Think I’m lying? Ask these folks, who have reported $millions in saving, not only with licensing but ease of management and keeping old hardware working longer:
- French National Police:“the Gendarmerie estimates dramatic savings from using free open source software that amount to nearly 7 million Euros per year.”
- City of Munich:“The current Linux desktop in Munich (Limux) costs the city 11.7 million euro, writes the Mayor in council bulletin number 54, published on 19 March. To offer a desktop similar to the LiMux desktops, on the basis of a proprietary system would costs at least 15.52 million euro, Ude concludes. And that would not yet include the costs for the renewal of the licences of the proprietary software, which would add another 2.8 million euro every three to four years.
The Linux based PCs are also far less troublesome, Ude points out. Since 2006 the number of malfunctions reported to the helpdesk decreased from 70 to 46 per month in the same period that the number of Linux desktops increased from 1500 to 9500.”
- German Foreign Ministry:“The Foreign Ministry is running desktops in many far away and some very difficult locations. Yet we invest only one thousand euro per desktop per year. That is far lower than other ministries, that on average invest more than 3000 euro per desktop per year.”
- Ernie Ball Guitar Strings:“I know I saved $80,000 right away by going to open source, and each time something like (Windows) XP comes along, I save even more money because I don’t have to buy new equipment to run the software. One of the great things is that we’re able to run a poor man’s thin client by using old computers we weren’t using before because it couldn’t handle Windows 2000. They work fine with the software we have now.”
- City of Largo, Florida:“The City has received international recognition for implementation of Linux open source technology as the platform of choice. Through the selection of open source solutions for word processing, electronic mail, spreadsheet, scheduling and office automation software, the IT department continues to provide extensive savings over more traditional alternatives in city-wide applications.”
- Compatibility: GNU/Linux depends strongly on open standards. Since all of it uses open standards all GNU/Linux systems work together with few problems. Compare that with Vista and “7” not speaking the same networking protocols so people are pressured to upgrade to “7” when even a few new machines with “7” enter the system. Who’s running your IT? You or M$?
- Making it work: There are still those who think it is easier to keep the system working with that other OS than with GNU/Linux. Ha! What about
- slowing down?
- Patch Tuesdays?
- Phoning home?
- documenting the identities of machines and their “certificates of authenticity”?
- needing a different driver for each device even though the same driver can run several devices using the same chips in GNU/Linux?
- registry/file-system corruption?
GNU/Linux has none of those problems and few of its own.
If facts don’t persuade you, consider the lies people tell when they spread the FUD about GNU/Linux:“A typical thing in a Windows setting is to establish some usage policies, and set up some limitations on the systems to keep them stable. Linux doesn’t have those types of standards out of the box.”
Yes. Maybe GNU/Linux doesn’t need its hand held like that other OS. Being more resilient means one can give end-users more freedom without breaking things. For example:
- I can let users print to printers for which there is no driver on the user’s PC… cat file|ssh machine_with_driver “lp -D printer “
- I can let a user with an 8 year old PC have the performance of a new PC by including a line in a file in their boot-scripts:X -query hot_new_machine
- I can have 20 users running on a single PC each enjoying the experience where a single user running that other OS would be faced with annoying delays when they logged in or clicked on anything.
- I can have users visit websites with images without fear the OS will execute an image and be taken over by malware…
Don’t see Why Linux is a desktop flop if you read and understood this post.