Malek's Moorish Tales

Meanderings about life and technology

Is Linux a viable choice for servers

Off course Linux is not a viable choice for desktop (even Red Hat says so), but is it for servers ?

A few untrue perceptions (Secure, free, fast ...) about Linux and its value for the entreprise lead many people to think so. Here is my two cents :

1- Linux is secure :







Microsoft(Windows all versions)












  • As this claim of Linux being more secure gets the number of deployed Linux systems up, the vulnerabilities start rising quickly (two years ago, one had to add up all linux vulnerabilities for all distributions to get a number close to that of a single Windows version. today, one add up all the vulmnerabilities of all versions of windows to get a number far below that of single distributions of Linux.) How much longer cn this message of

2- Linux is free :

  • Is it really free ? the cost of ownership of a software is never just the cost of the licencing. It includes deployment, maintenance, and operation. this would at least make Linux not really much cheaper than commercial OSs.
  • In a server environment, especially in the entreprise, servers are not independent stand-alone machines, they have to fit in Kerberos realms, use LDAP, which are never out-of the box features on a Linux, and usually would become : go get the download, then spend a good portion of your time (never free in the entreprise) making it work, at your own risks for later maintenance and support ...
  • The cost of the Application Servers, Transactional Monitors, Middleware and Message Brokers make any difference in the OS costs insignificant.
  • Do we really want a free OS : the binding relation between a vendor and the entreprise is that of customer and vendor, ie: the lincence purchase. If there is no such relation between them, there could not be a binding guarantee on the quality of the software, or that of fixing up any problems that might arise later. It was not hard for Red Hat to simply say they will stop producing, supporting or patching Red Hat Linux. It was so easy for them to say so because their product was free. Do we want to base our system on an OS than can just decide someday to vanish ?

3 - Linux is Fast :

  • If Linux can be a performant solution for appliances, it certainly looses of its perf attractiveness when there are serious applications on top of it. The OS is much lighter than Windows for example, but as one starts adding the necessary modules such as LDAP, Kerberos, Transactional monitor, Web Services, Message Broker, ...etc., its performance is much more linked to the performance of the applications server used. To compare for example the perf between Linux and Windows, one should compare a WebSphere over Linux, or WebLogic over Linux, with a Windows 2003. Then Linux is no longer performant.

4- Linux is there to last :

  • Although I never like making "propheties", I will still venture with a sentence that might seem full of pretention and irrationality : Linux will not last much longer. What I mean is basically that it will not continue evolving as open source. There will be quite a few commercial product based on Linux, but they will have a very hard time competing, and keeping out of trouble, among all the copyright violations that made up Linux in the first place. When I look at the Red Hat Licence pricing (on average 3 times more expensive than Windows if we allow a version of Windows to be used for three years).
  • There cannot be a business model based of free products. Therefore, either the products becomes paying, or it vanishes from the marketplace. There can be community software that is open source and free, but it will never be interesting for the entreprise to use such an unsupported, loosely tested software...

Add comment

  • Comment
  • Preview