Linux? What does this mean?


Expanding business. Need to set up network, design some software. One of the guys I have spoken to recommends the server and programs to be linux

( I always thought lyenex, not linnex. Shows you I might be a little out of the loop.)

Is this easy to use? Compatible with other programs that people are familiar with? Or is it such a tech geek thing it’ll not work well for my barely computer literate employees?

Any opinions, pro and con, are welcome.

I’m not much of an expert on the subject, but what kind of server are you setting up?
Mailserver, fileserver, etc…
Are you thinking about running linux on the workstations as well?

I think setting up a linux server shouldn’t be any more problem than a windows one, assuming you hire someone to do the job, but using linux on the workstations might be a problem for some of the employees, especially initially.

Why is that?

And I have no idea what a mailserver, fileserver, etc is.

Really, I don’t. Beyond accting, 'dope, google, gmail, etc. my comp skills are limited.

In other words, someone else is going to do the installation and administration for you? Then Linux should be excellent for the server(s) as it’s stable and free.

When it comes to the computers that you and your employees are going to use, it really depends on what you do on them, exactly.

What is the approximate size of the company? (there are a couple of Linux server packages out there that are easy enough for a complete novice to install - SME server is one of them - I use it here as a server for email, file storage and a web server for the intranet.

I’m not sure what Microsoft does with its server licensing nowadays, but it used to be pretty much the case that the more users that would have access to the server, the more you would have to pay. Linux needn’t be like that (you might have a volume-based support contract if you use one of the big name-brand Linux distributions like Novell or something) - it can be very economical indeed.

And for most things, it doesn’t really make a lot of difference what kind of server you choose. With a few exeptions, but if you’re starting from scratch, you’re not beholden to those restrictions anyway.

Right. Well what are you using the network for? Again, I’m no expert at this stuff, so I can’t tell you which Operating system (windows or linux) would be best for what, but I think either would WORK for pretty much any function you need.

Pros with windows: Easy to get support, lots of programs to chose from.
cons with windows: It’s expensive. It’s run by microsoft! :smiley:

pros with Linux: It’s free. Well, at least you CAN get it fot free, quite legally, but there is also the option to buy a system supported by a company, such as SUN, I believe.
cons with linux: fewer programs to chose from. generally harder to get support on it than windows, though on the other hand, if you chose for example Ubuntu Linux there is a very nice, skilled and motivated community out there who could help you for free. It’s just not guarenteed that they will, or can, you know?

Sounds like you’re saying his option is to either go with a O/S that’s supported by professionals backed by one of the best-capitalized companies on the planet or an O/S that’s supported by hobbyists who might or might not bother themselves to answering your question(s).

Doesn’t sound like too hard a decision.

For basic business needs LINUX would be an excellent choice for your servers. For the desktop systems you could use any of the popular distributions along with Open Office. Your cost for the required software would be minimal-to-nothing.
You’ll need someone to install and configure this stuff, regardless of whether you use LINUX or Windows so that part is pretty much of a wash.

To provide a better answer to this question we really need to know what you’re going to do with the system. If it is basic business, documents, spreadsheets, and slide shows, then go with open source. If you absolutely, positively, have to have something that only runs under Windows then you have your answer already. If not, there may be open source software available.



Windows you pay for every computer to have a license up front. Some support is included, and you can pay for better support.

Linux you can get free except for a reasonable media delivery fee if you want a cd mailed. You can purchase support at anytime from the companies that have the free to download software. Don’t install a Linux that you can’t purchase support for. You should have a professional do this so it’s reasonably secure.

My opinion for which I won’t go into details as to why, is Linux for the server is great, but Windows is better for the machines employees use directly. Many employees only know how to get around in a Windows operating system.

All operating systems have decent browsers available to them. What programs do you use aside from web browsers? Do you folks use Microsoft Office? Is your accounting done in Peachtree or QuickBooks or what? Do you use FileMaker? Photoshop? AutoCAD?

There’s no MS Office for Linux; there’s a free substitute called OpenOffice. It would require some adjusting. Commercial apps such as QuickBooks et al will often not be available for Linux, although a handful will. On the other hand there’s an ocean of freeware available; and if your company has in-house developers they can code and compile for Linux, or they should be able to.

While the above is exactly true, in my experience the hacked together piece of crap operating system thrown together by hobbyists is more stable and more secure than the professional OS put together by paid software engineers. The support you get from these rank amateurs who have no financial interest at all in helping you also tends to be better than the support you have to pay big bucks for from the “professional” OS. Keep in mind that some of these “amateur hobbyists” are the engineers at IBM, NASA, and other professional organizations.

The down sides of linux have nothing to do with the quality of the OS or the support you get for it. The down sides of linux in my experience have been the fact that linux is a royal pain in the backside to configure for some things. EVERYTHING in windows is point and click somewhere. MOST but not definately not ALL of linux has a point and click thingy somewhere that you can tweak. If it’s not there, you have to go edit some obscure script file you never knew existed and hope that you can figure it out. Installing programs is also often much more difficult under linux. You often have to compile your program as part of the installation, which means that the compiler has to be set up properly with the right options on your box or the install will fail miserably. Instead of an error code, you’ll get a few thousand lines of obscure text to sort through, all of which will be meaningless unless you’re a software engineer. Linux has a long way to go to catch up with the user friendliness of windows. Linux is based on unix, and there’s an old joke that says “unix is very user friendly, it’s just particular about who its friends are.”

The other down side is that whoever maintains your network and computers must now be an expert both in windows and linux. At work we’ve standardized on all windows because that’s what our IT staff is certified with and are experts at. Every year there’s a certain “bend over and smile” feeling when it comes time to renew all of the licenses, but converting the mail and web servers to linux, aside from requiring a lot of reprogramming, would also likely force us to hire a linux weenie to maintain it all.

On the other hand, hackers and viruses have taken our systems down many times in the past decade. Linux is much more immune to things like this, partially because linux is built better from the ground up to defend against these sorts of things, and partially just because the folks that choose to write viruses tend to target windows.

Linux in general is a “better” OS for servers, but you have to look at your specific case to determine if this “better” OS is really better for you.

If you do choose windows, make sure that if you set up some sort of server that is visible at all to the outside world that you make sure you have someone who is an expert at security set it up and maintain it. Most viruses and malware propagate through the net by relaying through unsecured windows servers. I’ve known more than one company that got “blacklisted” as a virus spawning site just because hackers kept breaking into it and using their servers as “robots” to attack other systems and propagate viruses.

Corporate level IT is a big ol can o’ worms.

By the way the “common” pronunciation of linux as “linnex” is wrong. The name comes from Linus Torvolds, who is finnish. You can pronounce linux as “lee-nix” which is pretty close to the way Linus pronounces it, or you can pronounce it using the Americanized “Lie-nix” (which I think is the same as you meant by “lyenex”) which corresponds to the American pronunciation of Linus. “Linnex”, which has by far become the most popular pronunciation, is just plain wrong. So of course, it becomes the one that everyone uses. :smack:

As an aside, the creator of Linux actually intended for it to be pronounced your way, but the vast majority of people pronounce it the other way.

Holy crap, thanks for the response.

I’ll go back and respond as much as possible. Still haven’t figured out how to reply to multiple quotes in one post.

Cite? Since the name Linus is pronounced with a “lee” in Swedish, not a “lie”, I can’t see why he would intend it to be pronounced any other way.

Someone is going to start a system from scratch. I envision having about 10-15 laptops, with compatible OS, a couple main accting and production comps.

I have an approx program for the processing of the jobs which is in excel. I need to modify it.

the guy I am thinking of using recommended linux, for the cost, the support. He did say we might need to use windows for the employees, just depends.

I was getting opinions here, to see if it meshed with his.

I am going to have someone set this up, and I would rather pay him for being my IT bitch (heh), than paying microsoft.

Real basic stuff. He mentioned open office as well.

(Do not be offended by my use of the word ‘bitch.’ I meant it in the best possible way. I treat people right, but I tend to think bluntly.)

Oh, and quickbooks for accounting. Those highway robbers.

I don’t think there’s a version of quickbooks for linux. If you want to run quickbooks you’ll need at least one windows box.

FYI - If you want to hear Linus Torvolds pronounce linux, go here:

There’s an accounting program for Linux called GNUCash - just skimming thr feature pages, it sounds pretty good, but I’m not at all qualified to be making that judgment - I’m perfectly happy to spend money, but I have no idea how it works.

Interesting… he pronounces it as “Leenix” (unsurprisingly). More interesting, and ripe for debate, is the fact that he says “I pronounce Linux as [leenix]”. Not “Linux is pronounced as” nor “You should pronounce it as” nor “The correct pronunciation is”.

It’s profoundly humble that the man who wrote the OS and named it using his own name does not presume to tell others how they ought to say it.