Is Ubuntu Linux Ready for the Enterprise?

NEWS ANALYSIS: Ubuntu is the leader in the Linux environment and it's slowly making its way into the mainstream. But is it ready to tackle the enterprise? While there is no chance of Ubuntu overtaking Microsoft Windows' dominant market share or even making a dent compared to Apple's Mac OS X, this open-source operating system can make a difference in the enterprise.

Linux is an enigma. It has a loyal following. It's a robust operating system. It's free. It's superior to both Windows and Mac OS X on a variety of fronts. And in recent years, it has become more user-friendly than ever before. It's a fantastic operating system with a slew of distributions that would satisfy any user.

And yet it's not even close to capturing a significant portion of the market.

But one of the operating system's most popular distributions-- Ubuntu--has the best chance of changing that. Unlike many of its alternatives, it can appeal to the average consumer with limited knowledge of the Linux environment. It's designed to be easier to use than other Linux distributions. And thanks to Dell, it's quickly gaining mass-market appeal. Will it beat Windows anytime soon? Of course not. And there's little chance that it can best Apple's Mac OS X in market share.
But it has hope in the enterprise. It sports a variety of features that appeal to companies. And more importantly, it's not such a significant jump from Windows that it would confuse employees. Simply put, it's getting close to becoming an ideal platform for the enterprise.
Use
Using Ubuntu Linux is a real treat. I've used it on numerous occasions, and each time it has provided a robust experience.

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Ubuntu is intuitive. Users who are used to Windows should feel at home in Ubuntu. They'll find a simple, Windows-like interface, they'll be able to install applications without much trouble, and basic use is made simple with the help of its fantastic design. Whether it's checking e-mail, surfing the Web, or simply taking a few minutes to get some work done, the software is more than capable.

Security
Ubuntu is far more secure than Windows. Although many companies are deploying software to keep Windows safe and even Microsoft is releasing software of its own to improve the operating system's security, there's no such worry with Ubuntu. Critics say Ubuntu doesn't suffer from malware or security issues as much as Windows because of the sheer number of Windows users compared to Ubuntu users. It's simple economics. The malicious hackers are looking to make some money and it's much easier to do that on Windows, rather than Ubuntu.
But those who have actually used Ubuntu can attest to the system's security. It makes users run with limited rights by default. Once installed, it has no open ports. And since it's an open-source product, it's constantly being updated to ensure security is maintained. It's a treat to use and most enterprises wouldn't need to worry about security with Linux installed. It's certainly more secure than Windows.

Don Reisinger

Don Reisinger

Don Reisinger is a longtime freelance contributor to several technology and business publications. Over his career, Don has written about everything from geek-friendly gadgetry to issues of privacy...