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Ubuntu: Best Linux Desktop for Business?

ZDNet has been testing Linux for business, trying to work out what the best distro is for small businesses. After testing Mandriva, Novell Linux, Red Hat Desktop, SUSE Linux and Ubuntu Linux. After installing them all-- Ubuntu came out as the winner. -- posted by tarun on Digg

Is Ubuntu the best Linux desktop for small businesses? ZDNet seems to think so. Although their review is somewhat lacking with detail and breadth, I agree that Ubuntu is a solid desktop Linux, and it will work well in a small business environment.

My company employs around 200-300 employees, with 90-95% of them using dumb terminals. The remainder of us who are using operating system desktops have Windows XP Professional installed. Why? Our IT manager isn't quite ready to move all the desktops over to Linux as we deal a great bit with clients who use proprietary software. Because the data we send to the clients is exceptionally valuable, we can't risk running Open Source applications just to find out the data didn't format correctly, and as such is corrupt.

However, this isn't stopping myself and our system administrator. We have already setup an Ubuntu 5.10 server for VOIP and hosting some intranet applications and web sites (mainly blogs). Although still in testing, we are seeing how Ubuntu, and Linux in general, as well as Open Source software will hold up to the strenuous data manipulation we put our XP workstations through.

So far we like what we see. Our only problem is package management. The system admin installed an application just the other day that broke the desktop manager entirely. He was not able to pull up X server for Gnome or KDE. He did manage to get WindowMaker up, however. Eventually, he just formated and reinstalled. Not good news.

Besides that one isolated hiccup, Ubuntu may turn out to work just fine for our needs. It integrates just fine with our printers, works will with our Novell server, and using Samba, has no trouble connecting to the Windows network moving data around. As far as we are concerned, it is 90% ready for our server needs, and about 65-70% ready for our desktop needs. Like I said earlier, our only concern is using software that will work with our clients'.

However, if you ask me personally, I have been using Ubuntu faithfully on my laptop now for over a year, and use it to host this blog. It works great for my personal needs, and may work to serve some mundane tasks at work without touching the critical data.

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