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Time is Right For Linux Desktop PCs To Emerge

Linux is capable of running a big iron server, routers, tiny devices, supercomputers and ATMs. However the million dollar question can Linux finally crack Microsoft Corp.'s hold on computing's most visible domain -- mainstream PCs?

I think Linux has the ability and the rise of inexpensive machines such as Asus EEE Pc ($300 notebook PC) is fine proof of concept. Over last few years I had worked with government and private project involving Linux on desktop. Many Indian state and union (federal) government supports Linux as desktop operating system. Linux is perfect for

  • Browsing / Internet / Chatting / Email
  • Office Application
  • Programming / Database etc

My personal experience shows that Linux can cut cost by 40 to 50 percent over comparable Windows computer.

This Yahoo news article provides further insight into current Linux desktop scenario:

Of course, prognosticators perennially say Linux is on the verge. It gets high marks for security and stability and is widely used behind the scenes in corporate servers, making it a natural candidate to steal desktop thunder from Microsoft's dominant Windows. And yet Linux PCs still represent less than 2 percent of the market.

This time, though, there's actually evidence of momentum.

While the best features in the latest Windows release, Vista, require top-notch configurations that can quickly ramp up a PC's price, one of the hottest segments of the industry involves inexpensive computers.

What do you think? Is Linux ready for prime time?

Is Linux server more secure than Windows server?

Many new Linux user / admin asks:

Is Linux more secure than Windows?

That depends. ;-) Let me explain:

Fan boys on both sides argue to the death that their religion operating system is the best and safest to use.

Windows is harder to secure than Linux. It is the simple truth. Many IT professionals including RHCEs and MCSEs believe that Linux is more secure than Windows. However you cannot blindly accept Linux is more secure than Windows. On both operating systems you need to:
a) Restrict user access
b) Restrict service access
c) Restrict network access
d) Create backup / restore policy
e) Install and manage app level security
f) Continuously install, configure, and patch the system etc

As you see both Windows and Linux administrators requires same levels of skills. Linux is secure by design i.e. Linux is inherently more secure than Windows. Linux designed as a multi-use, network operating system from day one. For example IE / FF bug can take down entire windows computer. However, if there were the same bug in FF it won't take down entire Linux computer. Under windows almost any app level bug (read as vulnerability) can be used to take down the entire system and turn into a zombie computer.

In short,

  1. No operating system is secure
  2. Both Linux / Windows admin requires same level of skills
  3. By default Linux is more secure than Windows, but it is also open to attack.
  4. You can just make attackers job hard.
  5. Remember, security is an on going process and nothing is secure once connected to network, period.

This is based upon my own experience. I don't have a good answer here. What do you think? Do you run Windows and Linux? Please add your experience in the comments.