Sunday, February 20, 2011

Primary Advantages of Linux

When compared to various commercially available operating systems, Linux’s best assets are its price, its reliability, and the freedom it gives you. With the latest 2.6 Linux kernel, you can also argue that scalability is one of its greatest assets. Today, Linux is used in the New York Stock Exchange, banks, highly secure U. S. government installations, and many other institutions for which uptime, security, and performance are critical. It’s also used in hand-held devices, netbooks, and commercial TV video recorders.

Most people know that its initial price is free (or at least under $50 when it comes in a box or with a book). However, when people talk about Linux’s affordability, they are usually thinking of its total cost, which includes no (or low) licensing fees, the ability to reuse any of the code as you choose, and the capability of using inexpensive hardware and compatible add-on applications that are free to download and use. Although commercial operating systems tend to encourage upgrading to more powerful hardware, Linux doesn’t require that (although faster hardware and larger disks are nice to have).

In terms of reliability, the general consensus is that Linux is comparable to many commercial UNIX systems but more reliable than most desktop-oriented operating systems. This is especially true if you rely on your computer system to stay up because it is a Web server or a file server. (You don’t have to reboot every time you change something, unless you’ve replaced the kernel itself.).

This reliability also extends into the realm of safety. While there have been exploits aimed at Linux software, Linux users are for the most part safe from the culture of malware and viruses that plague Windows users. With so many people peering at the Linux source code, a benefit of its freedom, mistakes are often fixed in record time. Large-scale Linux deployments don’t need to install anti-virus software, a situation you would never allow with Windows in a corporate setting. Furthermore, when people install anti-virus software on Linux, it is usually to scan files and e-mail messages for Windows viruses, to help the distraught users of Windows.

Because you can get the source code, you are free to change any part of the Linux system, along with any open source software that comes with it, in any way that you choose. Unlike many self-contained commercial products, open source software tends to be built in pieces that are meant to interact with other pieces, so you are free to mix and match components to suit your tastes. As I mentioned earlier, Linux is a culture that encourages interoperability. For example, if you don’t like a window manager, you can plug in a different one because so many were built to operate within the same framework.

Another advantage of using Linux is that help is always available on the Internet. There is probably someone out there in a Linux newsgroup or mailing list willing to help you get around your problem. Because the source code is available, if you need something fixed you can even patch the code yourself! On the other hand, I’ve seen commercial operating system vendors sit on reported problems for months without fixing them. Remember that the culture of Linux is one that thrives on people helping other people.

Source of Information :  Wiley - Adobe Fedora Bible 2010 Edition Featuring Fedora Linux
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