Cost Effectiveness

By Don Reisinger  |  Posted 2009-06-26 Print this article Print

With the economy ravaging the business world, cost effectiveness matters. What's better for keeping costs down than deploying a free operating system that will work just fine on existing hardware? Unlike Windows Vista, which requires most organizations to update their hardware due to its resource-intensiveness, Ubuntu is a relatively lightweight application. It can be installed on computers currently running Windows XP and most employees shouldn't have any problem using the software. I currently have Ubuntu running on a computer dating back to 2004. I haven't experienced one problem with the software. That's a testament to its development.


More often than not, the enterprise will worry about the compatibility of Ubuntu with existing, mission-critical software that helps the company do business. It's a valid concern. Windows applications won't work with it. But thanks to emulators and virtualization software, most companies won't have trouble running Windows applications on Ubuntu. Granted, it's not ideal, but it works just fine on most computers. I haven't experienced a slowdown in programs I've used. If emulation isn't for the enterprise, it could also use Wine to get the job done.

Ubuntu virtualization doesn't work too differently from Windows XP mode in the upcoming release of Windows 7. Microsoft's software might work a little better, but it should be interesting to see how much better of an experience it will provide. That mystery will be solved on Oct. 22 when Windows 7 is released.

The bottom line

Just a few years ago, the thought of any Linux distribution supplanting Windows in the enterprise was unheard of. More often than not, users would choose Mac OS X as the viable replacement to Windows. But today, that might not be the case.

Thanks to Ubuntu, Linux can finally appeal to the mainstream, and in the process, become a compelling alternative for enterprise users who are tired of running in a Windows world.

Does that mean it's perfect for the enterprise? Of course not. There are still some issues--namely, support--that Ubuntu needs to overcome. But it's getting close. As long as it keeps being updated, it's conceivable that Ubuntu will be perfect for the enterprise sooner than some might think.

And there's nothing wrong with that.

Don Reisinger is a freelance technology columnist. He started writing about technology for Ziff-Davis' Since then, he has written extremely popular columns for, Computerworld, InformationWeek, and others. He has appeared numerous times on national television to share his expertise with viewers. You can follow his every move at

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