Windows or Linux?

A fair question to ask when overhauling your company’s computer system is: Do we buy a Windows or a Linux server?

The answer: Depends on your needs.

A Linux server is the popular choice when running web-related applications such as html and php-based websites. More often large-scale web hosting companies promote their linux-based servers as very reliable and they usually are.  Sites that use ASP script programming and .Net languages generally use Windows Servers.

Most web-based open source applications, though, are written in PHP. This usually refers to readily available, non-fee licensed programs that can be taken and enhanced as required. There are many software programming  entities that distribute open source products and charge only for the assistance with installing and tweaking the programs. After all, nobody provides service for free.

Office productivity software such as word processing, spreadsheet and presentation applications are designed with the Windows operating system in mind. There are variations of these products that run on Linux but don’t have anywhere near the market share.

In a business where there is not a staff of computer engineers or technicians available to deal with the immediacy of day-to-day issues, it probably makes more sense to stick to a Windows server.

Today’s accounting systems utilize built-in emailing functionality, saving reports and documents to archive folders along with the need for frequently reading and writing to specific files in a designated folder. These are better managed as Windows services than as Linux services.

There are more tech savvy personnel out there who are experienced and readily available to do the necessary forensics in a Windows server environment than in a Linux environment, especially for heavy user-dominated applications. Additional layers of  configuration are required for Windows workstations to communicate with a Linux server as opposed to the more shared history of Windows workstations to Windows servers.

If something needs attention on a website, most users expect that the webmaster’s team of Linux professionals will take care of the problem. But in a wordprocessing or spreadsheet emergency, most users don’t want to deal with and wait for a high level techie. They expect someone in their own workgroup to be able to see what is happening on the server. This is so much easier to do when action on the server looks pretty much like working on one’s own workstation. On a linux box, most often the user must go to a # prompt and enter arcane commands such as grep, ls -l, and chmod.

You are looking for someone who understands your business and will help you navigate your needs. It’s your money and business on the line. Give us a call at (773)502-5771 to get you on the right track.

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