Linux Consultant Survey Results Are In

Who better to give their opinions on the state of Linux than the people who help other organizations get Linux up and running?

Several months ago, I had the idea to contact as many Linux consultants as
possible to find out how they are using Linux for their clients. Drawing
on my own experiences, I came up with a list of 12 pointed but
open-ended questions that would collect opinions about and uses of Linux
from people who work with it on a daily basis. I constructed a Web site
with the 12 questions set up in an on-line interview format. The responses
were submitted directly to a database for statistical analysis and
convenient storage.

Anyone who has worked with Linux for a few years probably will not be surprised
by most of the results of this on-line interview. For the questions that are
objective or statistically useful, summary data is given below. For the
subjective/opinion type questions, I offer summaries of the majority and
minority opinions, along with a few interesting quotes from both sides.

The On-Line Interview

1. How long, in years, have you worked with Linux?

2. What other OSes do you work with?

  • Windows 2000 or later
  • Windows NT or earlier
  • Solaris
  • SCO OpenServer and UnixWare
  • Other Proprietary Unix
  • Other

3. What is your opinion of Linux as a Server OS?

4. What is your opinion of Linux as a Desktop OS?

5. What is your opinion of Linux as a Data Center OS?

6. What, in your opinion, are the major strengths of Linux?

7. What, in your opinion, are the weaknesses of Linux?

8. Of all other OSes with which you work, or have experience, how does
Linux really compare?

9. Would you on behalf of your clients, or your clients themselves,
use Linux again for new services and/or infrastructure?

10. Have you or your clients had instances where Linux was not a
good fit?

11. Which OS did you recommend in its place and why?

12. What types of applications do you use Linux for in your work? For
example: public web site or other Internet service, intranet site or
internal web-based application, other internal application, file/print
services, directory services, network infrastructure, etc.

To be perfectly honest, I was shocked by some of the responses I
received to these questions. I have my own prejudices about Linux and
open-source programs, as do many people in the Linux consultant realm. I tend
to believe that Linux should be used wherever and whenever possible.
So far, in my 10 years of experience with Linux, I have found little that
it cannot do.

There were 104 total respondents to the on-line interview. The data that
can be represented statistically is given below.

Question 1, years of experience with Linux: Minimum, 2; Maximum, 15;
Average, 8. I am impressed with the amount of Linux experience
claimed by the consultants. Seventy-five per cent of them claim to have
five or more years of experience with Linux, and 25% claim 10 or more. If you consider
that 10 years ago, Windows 95 and Windows NT 4.0 were new and making
daily headlines, those of us who were working with Linux were seen
as renegades.

In my own experience, I was told that Linux was not
the corporate standard, and I must get my server off of the network.
That was in the fall of 1995. I didn't remove it. My response was
that corporate standards change over time, and I thought we should
consider this new OS. I was labeled as a renegade. That was and is
okay with me. Later that year, I started the local Linux User's
Group (LUG) with the assistance of the staff at SSC, the parent company of
Linux Journal. Like many of you, I never have
looked back in regret at my plunge into the world of Linux.

Question 2, other OSes with which the consultants works (number of respondents
is given after the OS):

  • Windows 2000 or later: 79
  • Windows NT: 5
  • Solaris: 6
  • SCO: 1
  • Other Proprietary Unix: 35
  • Other: 37

In the world of consulting, it is difficult if not impossible
to limit yourself to one operating system or platform. The following
two questions were oriented toward this reality of the business.
Would you on behalf of your clients, or your clients themselves, use
Linux again for new services and/or infrastructure? (Question 9): 100%
of the respondents said yes.

It is not surprising that everyone would, given the opportunity, deploy
more Linux in a client's network. The next question was the true test
of the consultant's honesty and desire to give the client what is best
for them. Have you or your clients had instances where Linux was not a
good fit? In response, 85% said yes to this question. I am a little surprised
at the 15% who said no. As much as I personally hate to admit to it,
I have had instances where using Linux did not make sense for a client.
We, as consultants, must make an effort to do what is best for the
client, and we have an obligation to do so even if it means deploying something
other than Linux.

As a follow up, question 11 asked "Which OS did you recommend in
its place and why?" Of the responses, 61% said Windows, 13% said
Solaris, 11% said Mac OSX and the rest mention some other type of UNIX
or UNIX variant.

Here is the breakdown of countries represented in the interview,
followed by the number of respondents from each:

  • US (36)
  • Germany (14)
  • UK (10)
  • Canada (10)
  • Unresolved (9)
  • European Union (4)
  • Belgium (3)
  • India (2)
  • South Africa (2)
  • Israel (1)
  • Pakistan (1)
  • Colombia (1)
  • Japan (1)
  • Uruguay (1)
  • UAE (1)
  • New Zealand (1)
  • Mexico (1)
  • Thailand (1)
  • Portugal (1)
  • Slovenia (1)
  • Finland (1)
  • France (1)
  • Brazil (1)

Questions 3, 4 and 5 have to do with where Linux is placed in the
corporate network. I asked for opinions on Linux as a server OS, a
desktop OS and as a data center OS. It was not feasible for me to go
through each response by hand to count the positive versus negative
responses, so I summarize them for you here. Question 3 asked for
opinions of Linux as a server OS, and 100% of the
respondents gave Linux very high marks.

There is, however, a call for more support from vendors to provide drivers and support for Linux. Linux has proven
itself and is no longer a niche OS. Almost every respondent mentioned
stability and lack of required reboots as a major point in Linux's favor. The only
negative comment about Linux as a server OS stated it is not as good as
Windows for file and print services. My only comment on that point is
I have set up many Linux file/print servers and have had no negative
issues. In fact, at one location, the Linux server is set up as a primary
domain controller and provides log-on scripts, file and print services, mail
and DNS. If Samba is configured properly, one should have no problems
surpassing the stability and speed of Windows file/print services.

I put in Question 4 in hopes of sparking a bit of debate amongst the
consultants responding to the interview. Sadly, I got none. Question 4
asked for opinions concerning Linux as a desktop OS. Most respondents
give desktop Linux high marks but admit that it is not ready for prime
time or the average user. Many cite lack of desktop-oriented applications
and vendor support as the Linux desktop's biggest obstacles to widespread adoption.
Some also mention that Linux doesn't play a lot of commercial games
as well as Windows does.

I completely agree that Linux isn't ready for the desktop, and to me that isn't a problem. Who says that Linux has
to be a desktop OS at all? I am perfectly satisfied with Linux as
a server and data center OS. At some point in the near future,
desktop computers probably will have only an embedded OS that will be
inconsequential, as all applications will reside remotely.

This brings me to the next question, question 5, regarding Linux as a
data center OS to support such things as major user loads and mission-critical applications.
Many respondents did not have appropriate experience to speak about Linux in
the data center, and I appreciate their honesty. Of those who were able
to respond to the question, all were positive. Many said that
they run large implementations of Linux for mission-critical applications
or for ISPs. Someone even mentioned Google in their answer as an example
of Linux in the data center. My employer supports a client with a major
implementation of Linux running MySQL in the data center and is very
successful in doing so. Their story can be found on the MySQL Web site
as a success story in lowering total cost of ownership (TCO) by 80%.

Questions 6 and 7 refer to the strengths and weaknesses of Linux.
For the respondents, reliability, stability, low cost, flexibility and
security top the list of strengths. On the other side, lack of applications, lack of
vendor support, training issues and its reputation as difficult to use
mark Linux's weaknesses. Many consultants and enthusiasts alike want Linux
to be all things to all people, and I simply don't think this is either
necessary or possible. I do, however, wish that hardware vendors would supply
Linux drivers for their products and that software vendors would expand their
horizons into applications for Linux.

Question 8 asks, "Of all other OSes with which you work or have
experience, how does Linux really compare?" All respondents give Linux
very favorable marks against other operating systems. I feel that
everyone was honest here, as they did list the oft-quoted shortcomings of
marketing and vendor support in their responses.

Finally, Question 12 asks "What types of applications do you use
Linux for in your work?" Most of the respondents cited some sort of
Internet services, such as Web, DNS and mail. Many other named CRM,
database and file/print services as their major applications for Linux.
The responses I received to this on-line survey confirm my opinions that Linux is well suited for
Internet and intranet type services, such as those previously mentioned.
Linux excels in providing a multiuser environment for shell, FTP, Web,
application and file/print service users. As do most of the
respondents, I feel that Linux falls short on the desktop, due to lack of vendor
support for hardware drivers and end-user applications. Overall, I am impressed
by the amount of experience claimed by the respondents and their long-term
dedication to this once-criticized orphan operating system.

We must take a strong look at where we, as a community, want Linux to go and
what we want it to do for us. In the future, data centers will play
the key role in computing. Terminal services and end-user applications
as well as Web applications will run from the data center. The desktop
and the desktop wars will become a memory. In my opinion, control of the data center,
not the desktop, is what we should be seeking as a worldwide Linux community.
I would like to thank everyone who responded to the on-line interview.
Thanks also to Linux Journal for posting and reposting the announcement
of the on-line interview for this article.

Kenneth Hess is a freelance technical writer who writes on a
variety of open-source topics. He can be reached for dialog through his
Web site,


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Linux: The Enterprise, The Desktop, and More.

kenhess's picture

Hello All,

I must admit that, after writing the article, I have had somewhat of a change of heart about desktop Linux. I feel that Ubuntu and Openlx are probably ready for prime time and I certainly stand corrected. I like both of those desktops and may, at some point, completely convert. If it weren't for the fact that I am not the only one using my PC, I would have already done so.
It is good that my article has sparked this debate. Things only improve when reacting to another's opinion it seems. I appreciate the fact that I have to "stand on the shoulders of giants" to see farther than they did. I have been messing with Linux for a long time and feel that I still have much to learn. Hell, I thought that they could never improve over RedHat 6.2, so I certainly don't know everything. Thanks to everyone who has written in a comment and thanks to the folks at SSC who make this all possible.

Linux on the Desktop

Anonymous's picture

-Desktop replacement Linux is here. Everyone has their favorite distribution, but to save those new to the issue some time go to and install on a spare hard drive (liveCDs are great but for true use comparisons you'll want to run off a hard drive, you'll only need one with 3-5GB of space). The Open Office suite replaces MS Office. By changing a setup option the OO programs will read/write in MS Office formats without manually selecting every time (so integration with friends is easy). Many large corporations put most proprietary software on network servers with web browser interfaces anyway – so it is only the word processor and spreadsheet programs that forced keeping the local desktops for all but the specialized users (engineering/hard science). Reason for recommending Kubuntu (for other flavors go to – it was the fastest running on old hardware of the full featured versions offering MS Office compatible programs. I tried Gnome-based Ubuntu but it was unusable, speed-wise, on the PII-233Mhz test machine I was using for evaluations where KDE-based Kubuntu worked ok (and newer machines run it even better). Other Linux offerings didn't include Open Office, used too much disk space, or had other things I wasn't looking for. For various reasons I also like DSL and Kanotix.

-The package offers quick server and thin client setup (less than an hour to install the server and retrieve the client boot floppy). Kubuntu & Ubuntu are supposed to be as integrated as Edubuntu is with the upcoming release in beta testing (K & U can currently do it but only after significant manual configuration). This is a perfect solution for small businesses and could work with large companies (purchasing, sales, and finance departments). Ease of use: my 2-1/2 year old uses an Edubuntu thin client I setup on the home network – no “blue screen

Desktop Linux >> Kubuntu or Ubuntu : too heavy

AA's picture

I found both these very heavy.
Instead I use OpenLX from Its fast, has everything and works out of the box.

openlx linux growing

sudhir gandotra's picture

In last 13 months, we have shipped ver 31,000 CDs and d/loads have crossed 350 GB/month plus many more from mirrors.
Users have positively responded from 30 countries and the sales have have started happening regularly.
Things are looking up and a new version is due soon.

Deskop success

Rufus's picture

Ken Hess wrote "Who says that Linux has to be a desktop OS at all? I am perfectly satisfied with Linux as a server and data center OS."

I'm wondering how do you sell Linux as a server OS when it won't be able to serve certain proprietary formats for the companies desktops?

Introducing such a proprietary format is rather easy for a monopoly like Microsoft. Just think of their so-called PDF killer. And for companies, it's easier to replace a few hundred server OSs instead of a few thousand desktop OSs.

Not winning the desktop means you'll be on retreat very soon -- in every OS market!

Desktop Success

KHess's picture

I don't really understand what you mean? For years, companies have been using Solaris, AIX, HPUX and other Unix servers without having Solaris, AIX, HPUX, etc. on the Desktop. Solaris, for example, has been extremely successful as a data center OS but minimally so as a Desktop OS.
As I said in the article, in the future it will be the SERVER that matters not the desktop. Take heed to this as desktop machines become little more than a "dumb" terminal again with a tablet format. A heavy desktop OS is not the way to spend our resources on Linux. In the meantime, I suggest using MacOS X if you want a Unixy desktop computer. It is pretty, has app support and is pretty nice overall. It isn't Linux but it is a mixture of FreeBSD and NeXT so your Linux skills will not be wasted. Heavy Desktop OSs are a fleeting me on this one.

RE: Desktop Success

Rufus's picture

Correct me if I'm wrong but all the Solaris, AIX, HPUX and other Unix OSes are dying, aren't they?

This time, the reason was cheap Intel/AMD boxes that makes people move to Microsoft Windows and GNU/Linux. Next time, it might be some proprietary file formats served only by Microsoft servers. If they come, they will kill the Linux-based servers.

We'll all soon be without jobs if we ignore the desktop.

The talk about terminals is as old as Java, and it's not Sun that made the recent changes -- it was AJAX. However, it's unlikely that AJAX technology will replace things like an office suite, a browser, an good image processing package, and lots of other stuff. Most important: It will no replace the 3D games that makes people get used to computers!

The problem with server-based applications is that you need to train your staff on using all the small and unknown solutions. It may work for something as simple as an email client. It probably works when you need to fill out forms for administrative purposes. It doesn't work for applications needed to do productive work.

"Heavy Desktop Success"

Dave Madsen's picture

Heavy Desktop OSs are a fleeting me on this one.

Let's make the assumption that a "Heavy" Desktop OS is one that allows the user to have significant application and data on his computer, while a "Light" Desktop OS is one that is more suited to having the data and applications remote, with the local computer providing user interaction and some CPU.

There is always a tension between local and remote control, and this applies to data, programs, projects, and even business processes. As a [over]generalization, users tend to like local data and programs because they feel more in control, while administrators like remote data and programs, as it's easier to administer.

The industry tends to move in slow multi-year cycles:

  • We outsource because the beancounters like the numbers, then IT figures out that remaining local facilitates user interaction and project/business control (which everyone but the beancounters already knew), so we then see industry pundits talk about the benefits of re-hiring the local staff you laid off 3-4 years ago.
  • We have mainframes, then along comes client-server on the PC, then we go back to thin clients because we figure out that robust client-server isn't a piece of cake then we go to fat clients for some stuff because users are tired of waiting for enterprise-level application deployment and they select their own department-level solutions deployed on user PCs as required.

I've seen predictions for years now that all applications will reside on a network, perhaps with the data as well, and local machines will be nothing more than processing and GUI engines. Many vendors (such as Microsoft) would love to have their application offerings reside only on the 'net and you pay a nickel (or whatever) every time you run 'em on your data. So far, it hasn't happened -- people resist losing control of their data and applications.

One commenter here says that if you give up the desktop, you can also lose the enterprise. I agree completely. Microsoft owns the desktop; do you think they want any other OS anywhere in a shop?

While there are open-sourced interoperability solutions (e.g., Samba), don't you think that Microsoft has a real interest in introducing new poorly-documented patent-encumbered integration technologies that TIGHTLY tie together the desktop and server and shut out open source?

They've done it before (think NTFS), and they will continue to do it, and now they're trying much harder to make it impossible to interoperate. Personally, I believe that we've only seen the beginning of their efforts to hinder open-source interoperability with their products. They will use patents and legislation (e.g., DMCA) to do this, and, where necessary, lawsuits.

And please don't tell me about private lawsuits or government anti-trust actions or even legslation forcing companies to "open up"; just follow Groklaw for a while and you will realize there is a tooth-and-nail fight between proprietary and open source -- and the proprietary folks don't want to give even an inch.


Re: file/print and desktop

Matthew Miller's picture

Regarding why Linux is not ready for the desktop, I've found that while all the basic and many advanced apps are available, getting a linux system up and running and making adjustments is just beginning to be a viable operation for an inexperienced user. Ubuntu and others are pioneering this area, but it's not as troublefree as it needs to be for the majority of users to see it on a par with Windows.

Regarding file and print services, I've found file services not at all difficult to enable. However, print services are abysmally supported in terms of usability (see Doc Searls recent column on this for details). CUPS throws a GUI on top of a morass of problems that have yet to be solved.

I don't doubt there are situations in which file and print services come together with out a hitch, nor that there are desktop users out there who have had zero problems with Linux. Huzzah to all the dedicated work that has allowe us to make it this far! And we still have substantially further to go to make this the common scenario, instead of the exception.

Having used both for years, I must disagree

Anonymous's picture


Maybe the assertion about getting a Linux system up and running and making adjustments, for the inexperienced user, was true back in 2000. These were the days of Red Hat Linux 6.2 and other distros that, while good distros, certainly had progress to make in this arena. I today use Ubuntu, SuSE, and K12LTSP, and I don't find any of these at all difficult for inexperienced users. Granted that I am indeed experienced, but I'm thinking, "what would be easy for my 73-year-old Dad to use?" I believe that both Ubuntu/Kubuntu and SuSE are very good fits for him.

You may wish to check out this article discussing this exact issue, from the point of view of not just adults, but children as well:

On the other hand, when I first saw Windows XP, I had quite a time getting used to it, and frankly, I still don't like the "new" interface that is the default. It took about two weeks of using Windows 95 every day, all day, to become comfortable with it. But it took me just a few days to get comfortable with KDE 3.x, which I still use and like very much.

Linux on desktop

Roger Kingsford's picture

Why do the consultants and you think Linux is not ready for the desktop? What is missing? I was experienced at computers, but primarily mainframes. I'm now using Linux as a desktop OS and find very little missing. I don't give a damn about games, but I'm strange that way. I don't know commands, so I rely on Ubuntu GUI, but most desktop users also can't control operations from the DOS command line.

Letters, spreadsheets, web browsers, email and databases are all there. I find little missing except for Photoshop and Visio quality apps and I just may not know where to find those.

RE: Linux on Desktop

KHess's picture

For Linux to be a viable Desktop alternative, there needs to be more vendor support in terms of applications like QuickBooks, DTP programs, actually having MS Office would also help convert some folks...or at least a 100% compatible alternative. You and I don't have an issue with Linux on the desktop but think about Ma and Pa in Moosefart, Montana that have no clue what they are using and spend two hours per week on the phone with their ISP because they can't get email. People are becoming more literate but Linux will have to a) Be available. Most folks don't know it is an alternative because when they go to the store, they see Windows and they have heard of MS, b) Mainstream Applications, and c)Games. I don't play them either really but a lot of people do.
Personally, I don't think that Linux NEEDS to be a desktop OS. I am perfectly happy with it being the world's best server OS.

RE: Linux on the desktop

Josh4242's picture

I think the main problem is the vertical market applications - for instance, the poster who mentioned Karate school applications is probably SOL if he can't get them running under Wine. I'm not quite sure yet how to encourage the applications developers to do cross-platform; using a tool like QT or wxWidgets would help, if they are willing to use C++ and in the case of QT, pay the license fees.

Having said that, consultants can get very creative in providing desktop Linux solutions.

DTP? Scribus compares very favorably to PageMaker and is used in many printshops around the world.

QuickBooks workalike? Quasar Accounting blows even QuickBooks Enterprise out of the water in features and maturity, and it runs on Windows and Linux (with a Linux server).

There are other very mature apps out there, just waiting for the right consultant to recommend them to the right client...

It really does need to be a Desktop OS

ChrisJ's picture

As another poster pointed out, without Linux on the desktop, people will switch back to MS. Mostly because of name recognition and logic processes that say, if they are made by the same company they will work together better than the system I have. Then there is the case that MCSEs are prevalent in the market and as a result cost less than a *nix admin.

Does that mean that Linux has to be a home desktop? No, not at all. There will be people out that run it as one, my parents have loved it for 3 years (because they don't have to contently rebuild the box like they did with Windows every three months). For the reasons listed above however Linux does need to get a foot print in the work place. If it had a bigger foot print in the office, you would see more of B. Mostly because companies (other than the ones supporting it now (IBM, SUN, etc)) will see a way to make money on it. The companies running it will see that while yes they have to pay more for the admin, they'll still be saving money. The worm of the week will go back to being the worm of the month and if the systems are set up right, like a thin client, the worms will be less of a headache to prevent lost data from.

The fact that it wasn't known for the desktop, and thus didn't had name recognition, really did hurt it when the dot-com bubble burst. Prior to the burst, you could walk into Best Buy, CompUSAand the like and see it on the shelves usually taking up more space than the MS products. After the burst, well I've only seen Linspire and that's only at one store. Walking into the small mom and pop computer stores, they make a fuss when they see GRUB after turning the computer on. "He knows Linux, wow." In my opinion Linux got lucky the first time around, but with out the name branding that it needs (and I don't mean one company like RedHat) it'll end up like BSD, something the social outcasts run on servers.

Linux desktop

Sonam Lodro's picture

As far as I'm concerned, Linux already IS a good desktop. In fact I use 12 of them. I work on different projects concurrently in separate desktops, and one of them I use to connect via a Citrix client to a Windoze server for the few things that work only in that environment.

For what I use it for, Gnumeric is a better spreadsheet than Excel, and Emacs and LaTeX is far better for text manipulation than Word. What's more, I can keep buffers open for months at a time -- and many projects take months from beginning to end. Keeping them open in their own desktop makes it very easy to switch between projects without the need to spend ages working out what I called such and such, and where I was up to with it.

I'm not very knowledgable about severs, but I think Linux is a great desktop OS already.

It boils down to mind share.

ChrisJ's picture

It boils down to mind share. The public knows what Microsoft is more or less. They don't know what Linux is. They may have heard about it, but don't understand it.

re: Linux Desktop

ChrisJ's picture

Yes and no. It really depends on what the user wants to do with it. Track finances, edit docs and spreadsheets, surf the web, send email, email pictures, write a book? Sure it is ready for that, and has lots of great tools. But if the person wants to play Second Life, or any other online game. Then no. Its not a good desktop, yet.

Personally I've ran linux or other unix based desktops for years. Both at work and at home. I agree, it's a great desktop and is ready for prime time. However, my uses for a desktop are not the uses other people get them for. The gaming system would be a good example of where Linux is lacking (but gaining ground). For business reasons, I have to say, its as good as (if not better than) the current standard for businesses.

Re:Linux on Desktop

Barton Phillips's picture

There is an old saying "Select your application, and then select the computer it runs on". In an lot of cases the application only runs on Windows. Until there are either Open Source or for-pay applications that are either the same or completely compatable to the ones run on Windows the Linux Desktop will be a hard sell. Applications like, Qucken, or QuickBooks are used by so many businesses that they are way too often a deal breaker.

We have had problems finding good CAD/CAM tools for Linux so we continue to use Windows for PCAD, and our auto-router. Word and Exel are not as big a problem as OpenOffice is very good and getting better. My son-in-law has a Karate School and all of the Karate software runs only on Windows. A couple of the companies have plans to port to MacOsX but have not done so yet. No plans for Linux.

I find the lack of critical applications a much larger problem than drivers. Over the past couple of years Linux drivers have come a long long way. In fact I have had a number of cases where I was able to find Linux drivers but no Windows driver.

If a couple of large vendors, like Intuit, would port their applications to Linux things would move a lot faster for the Linux Desktop. Until then Linux Desktop acceptance will be spotty at best.

"Karate software"??

Anonymous's picture

I thought that the martial arts were learned by doing it, not by running software about it? In my case (tae kwon do), I learned it through lots and lots of practice. Why do you need software to learn any of the martial arts?

Perhaps a better way to think of "select your application" would be "select the task that you want to apply the computer to help you solve," instead of "select a specific software package from a specific vendor." Case in point:, which you mentioned. You want to write a report for school? You can use a host of apps, including AbiWord, KWord, OO.o, WordPerfect 8 for Linux, heck, even Mozilla Composer! You need to share a spreadsheet digitally, in a file format that your boss likes? More than one application is available to do that, too (Gnumeric, OO.o, and so on).

As for Quicken, I doubt that'll happen because Intuit is such a Windows shop (rumor has it that they use Microsoft dev tools). However, I've found GnuCash a very nice replacement for apps like Quicken. Further, GnuCash exports to Intuit's .QIF file format, so your accountant should have no trouble with it.

As for games, it is most certainly true that there aren't nearly as many for GNU/Linux as there are for Windows. However, that doesn't seem to stop folks from buying Macs, and they're in the same boat. Generally, such folks just use a PlayStation, which provides better game performance anyway.

Linux Consultant Survey

Tim in VA's picture

I was one of those "renegades" in 1996 who needed real networking on the cheap and found Slackware and some NE2000 10Base-2 cards did the trick. From there, I was hooked. I have to say, though, that I have NOT found Linux particularly useful as a file and print server in corporate Windows environments. File permissions issues can be addressed in Samba, but only with a fair amount of twiddling. Drivers for Samba-shared printers aren't much fun, either. Sometimes, $800 for a Windows server license is a very small investment compared to the amount of time needed to make a Linux box do acceptably what Windows does very well with ease.

Did you ever try to run Samba?

mangoo's picture

> File permissions issues can be addressed in Samba, but only with a fair amount of twiddling

"Fair amount of fiddling" is putting "defaults,acl,user_xattr" to the mount options in /etc/fstab? A really hard task to do.

> Drivers for Samba-shared printers aren't much fun, either.

And the problem being? You can use Windows native drivers, or PPD drivers, the latter being a better option IMHO.