The Linux Operating System
Linux is about more than an operating system. It's about applications and databases that run on Linux. It's about technical support. It's about consulting expertise. It's about training. And most importantly, it's about you. How will Linux help you run your business better?
and many, many others...
While all the distributions vary in slightly different ways, it is important to know that Linux is fundamentally Linux. What applications run on one distribution can be made to run on another. That being said, not all Linux distributions are created equally. My personal distribution of choice is split between Personal and Business use.
If your experienced with Linux, then nothing I say will mean anything. (Linux uses can be quite fanatical about there chosen distribution!) However if your new to Linux and want to play around with it at home, I whole recommend Ubuntu. Ubuntu is a community developed operating system that is perfect for home laptops and desktops. Ubuntu contains all the applications you'll ever need, from word processing and email applications, to web and programming tools.
However if your looking for a business solution, or an alternative to Microsoft® Vista, I recommend SuSE. With SuSE® Linux Enterprise from Novell®, you get the best-engineered Linux from a vendor that can deliver a global ecosystem to surround it.
Novell® offers two products for business:
Both are built around the strength of SuSE, incorporating the best new but stable technology. This is done through a compromise that enterprise CIOs can relate to. SuSE® has a new version every year, and a new service pack every 3 months, and beta releases even more frequent. But if your a business customer, you don't want to be spending all your time patching your servers and workstations, you just want them to work. So Novell® only releases a new version of the Corporate Enterprise software only after the first Service Pack of a new release has been released.
Personally, I use openSuSE at home for the following reasons:
SuSE® Linux Enterprise Server 10
For instance, SuSE® Linux Enterprise Server 10 (or SLES10), is not released until SuSE® version 10 Service Pack 1 (or SuSE10.1) has been released. This insures that the technology in the version 10 software while new is also stable and certified ready for enterprise use. Also, the SLES10 software suite is a customized version of the SuSE10.1 suite, only including those packages needed for Enterprise Servers, allowing for extensive through testing.
It may not surprise you that Linux's primary use is in the Server world. That is were is started life and until recently where is was most actively developed. It has been in the "toy" of choice for geeks and Enterprise level technicians, but times are changing. Novell® has been actively working to make this technology easier than ever to implement. A Linux server can easily be made to mimic a NetWare Server, Windows® Server or ever a Windows® Domain controller. Combined with world-class Novell® support SuSE® Linux Enterprise Server provides a flexible and scalable Linux system to meet the complex needs of your business. These are but a few of the benefits you can get from SLES:
Integrated Xen virtualization
SuSE® Linux Enterprise Server is armed with the Xen hypervisor and integrated management tools to support multiple virtual machines on commodity hardware. These tools allow business to run many virtual servers on the same single "real" server, reducing the need to buy additional expensive hardware.
Total security for servers and applications
Novell® AppArmor™ enterprise-class application security included with SuSE® Linux Enterprise Server protects the operating system and its applications from the harmful side effects of attacks, malicious applications and viruses. SuSE® Linux Enterprise Server also features other essential security capabilities: encryption, a built-in firewall, security-certificate creation and management and user authentication and access control. Whether an attack originates internally or externally, SuSE® Linux Enterprise Server with AppArmor keeps you in business by reducing administration costs and preventing downtime.
Key development tools and software support
SuSE® Linux Enterprise Server includes the latest stable releases of key development tools, services and environments for the "Web 2.0" infrastructure. These include Apache Web Server, Perl, Python, PHP, MySQL, PostgreSQL, Ruby, Geronimo, Apache Tomcat and many others, allowing for your server to run practically any application your developer might create. In addition, SuSE® Linux Enterprise Server offers out-of-the-box support for more than 1,000 open source applications.
World-class support from Novell Customer Center
With a SuSE® Linux Enterprise Server subscription, you get access to the new Novell Customer Center. This convenient online interface makes it easy for you to manage all your business and technical interactions with Novell. From one location, you can review the status of all your Novell products, subscriptions and services. You can also obtain critical Linux updates and support, which will help you reduce systems-management costs. Novell Customer Center automates registration and renewal notification, so you can easily track licensing and usage in your data center and throughout your entire network and at well below half the cost of Microsoft licensing costs!
SuSE® Linux Enterprise Desktop 10
SuSE® Linux Enterprise Desktop 10 (or SLED10) is produced with the same care but instead of customized for Server use, it is customized and tested for the Corporate Desktop. With the recent "upgrade" to Windows Vista and Office 2007 looming it makes sense look at the best alternative.
Easy to use: market-leading usability
SuSE® Linux Enterprise Desktop is extremely intuitive. New desktop features include an easy-to-use interface, a simpler menu, integrated search functionality and graphical desktop effects that will forever change the way your users interact with their desktops.
Integrated: office productivity applications
SUSE Linux Enterprise Desktop increases user productivity by delivering a tightly-integrated suite of applications, including:
Interoperable: seamlessly leverage your existing IT investments
SuSE Linux Enterprise Desktop is compatible with Microsoft Active Directory, Novell eDirectory™ and other networking and directory standards, so you can plug it right into your existing infrastructure. SUSE Linux Enterprise Desktop shares files seamlessly with Windows, Mac and UNIX, and it can talk to your existing e-mail servers, including Microsoft Exchange, Novell GroupWise, and any collaboration server that supports the IMAP, SMTP and POP standards.
SuSE Linux Enterprise Desktop also supports other industry staples, including plug-n-play hardware support for USB and Bluetooth devices, wireless networking, support for printing and file standard protocols, multimedia content viewers and Microsoft file-format fidelity in OpenOffice.org 2.0. As a result, SuSE Linux Enterprise Desktop is the first enterprise-class Linux desktop that basic office workers can use. Secure: the safest operating system on the market
As an open source operating system, Linux is inherently more secure than other operating systems. Novell strengthens Linux further by including the AppArmor™ application-security solution as part of SUSE Linux Enterprise Desktop. AppArmor creates a firewall around any Linux program and manages applications by preventing unauthorized access. It can easily contain malicious programs and thwart attempted disruptions, including zero-day attacks. As a result, SUSE Linux Enterprise Desktop is the most secure desktop on the market—regardless of operating system.
Affordable: availability at a fraction of the cost
SUSE Linux Enterprise Desktop changes the way you think about buying software. No longer tied to complex licensing programs, you buy what matters: a subscription for the updates and services that help you run your business. A Novell subscription comes at a fraction of the cost of proprietary operating system platforms—but never at the cost of user productivity.
Flexible: easy deployment and management in many configurations
SUSE Linux Enterprise Desktop meets a wide range of deployment needs. You can deploy it as a general-purpose desktop, use it in various thin- or thick-client configurations (for example, kiosks and cash registers), or rely on it for high-end engineering workstations. No matter how you deploy it, SUSE Linux Enterprise Desktop is easy to manage. It includes YaST, a comprehensive installation, configuration and administration suite. SUSE Linux Enterprise Desktop also comes with AutoYaST, a time-saving tool that automatically performs installation and configuration. Novell Customer Center
With a SUSE Linux Enterprise Desktop subscription, you get access to the new Novell Customer Center. This convenient online interface makes it easy for you to manage all your business and technical interactions with Novell. From one location, you can review the status of all your Novell products, subscriptions and services. You can also obtain critical Linux updates and support, which will help you reduce systems-management costs. For SUSE Linux Enterprise Desktop, Novell Customer Center automates registration and renewal notification, so you can easily track licensing and usage.