Weve discussed the merits of Linux in terms of its zero cost of ownership and its functionality, but why should you choose it over some of the other commercial operating systems such as Microsoft Windows or the Macintosh?
Size and speed: Linux, when installed, can consume as little as 150MB of hard disk space and will run quite happily in as little as 32MB of RAM. Compare this to UNIX, which often requires more than 500MB, or Microsoft Windows that requires many more megabytes of hard disk space and RAM to install and run effectively.
Security: One significant reason for Linuxs excellent reputation as a secure environment is that its source code is completely accessible, and continues to be viewed by many pairs of eyes. Linuxs open source standpoint means that people other than the vendor can check for incomplete code or code that has been tampered with. The more people who study Linuxs source code, the more bugs (and security flaws) can be spotted.
Of course, thats only half the storythe other half is that infrastructure is in place for easy bug-reporting , discussion, and bug-fixing. The result of all this is that more bugs get spotted more quickly, and theyre fixed faster.
In addition to the numerous security applications (such as firewalls) available, many Linux distributions are specifically created to provide a highly secure environment. Examples include the Immunix OS and Bastille Linux.
Standard: Because it complies with both UNIX and Linux standards, Linux can interoperate with a number of different operating systems and filesystems such as Microsoft Windows and UNIX.
GNU software support: As mentioned, a wide variety of software is freely available through the GNU project, which includes development software, office applications, system administration tools, and more.