Is Ubuntu a Viable Alternative to Windows for Business? 

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Ubuntu is the most popular Linux operating system in the world. It has 20 million users and is expanding into the mobile space by allowing itself to be installed on both smartphones and tablets. There are some advantages and disadvantages to Ubuntu when considering it for business.

 

Feature Comparison with Windows:

Feature

Ubuntu

Windows

Security

Extremely Secure

Relatively Secure

Programs

Missing Premier 3rd Party Programs

Virtually Every Program Available

Cost

Free – Minimal Cost

Expensive

Support

24x7 support from Canonical

24x7 support from Microsoft

 

As shown in the chart, the main draws to Ubuntu are its security and cost, while the lack of certain programs is the main negative.

Security: Ubuntu is built off of a UNIX kernel, which is inherently more secure then Windows. It also has built in anti-virus, and much deeper security and firewall settings then Windows. The odds of catching malware or a virus on Ubuntu are virtually zero. This is due a combination of the UNIX kernel, more advanced security, and the lack of marketshare that Ubuntu has. Attackers do not take the time to write malicious software for low market share systems. All of these reasons combined make Ubuntu much more secure.

Programs. Ubuntu does not have native support for Microsoft Office, Adobe programs, and many other third party programs, but it does offer alternatives. Libre Office is an MS Office alternative that is built directly into Ubuntu. It’s has a lot of functionality and should satisfy almost all standard business needs. The popular Open Office is also available to Ubuntu, and it also offers a lot of the functionality of MS Office. Every web application will work in Ubuntu.

Cost: this is the largest business reason to deploy Ubuntu over Windows. Ubuntu can cost as little as free. The only thing you may want to pay for is full 24x7 support from Canonical which costs $105, per desktop, per year. Ubuntu always has, and always will be, a free operating system. There’s no subscription needed to deploy the OS, and there’s also no need for a subscription to an anti-virus.

Ubuntu offers long term, 5 year support for each of their LTS (long term service) operating systems. When the 5 years are up, businesses are encouraged to upgrade to the newest version of Ubuntu. This upgrade costs the business nothing, since you are only paying for support, not the OS. In terms of quality of support, there’s no real difference between Windows and Ubuntu.


Is Ubuntu Right For my Business?

Ubuntu would be a smart decision for your business, if your computer needs are the following for your employees:

  • Not reliant on a third party program that’s only available in Windows.

  • Looking to cut costs without cutting productivity. 

  • Much of your employees work is with either word processing, spreadsheets, or presentations. 

  • Willing to adapt to a new operating system

If that models your business' computing needs then I’d suggest looking into Ubuntu. 

 

Summary

Ubuntu is a stable and secure operating system that offers outstanding support and value. It doesn’t have many of the third party programs that Windows has, but if your business does not rely on those then I’d suggest looking into Ubuntu. More information can be found on the OS at: http://www.ubuntu.com/business/

 

Also, take a look at our post on Windows 8 for Business

 

 

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