Chapter 1. Linux's Features
Linux can be an effective addition to a Windows network for several reasons, most of which boil down to cost. Windows has achieved dominance, in part, by being less expensive than competitors from the 1990s, but today Linux can be less expensive to own and operate. This is particularly true if you're running Windows NT 4.0, which has reached end-of-life and is no longer supported. (Windows 2000 will soon fall into this category, as well.) For these old versions of Windows, you're faced with the prospect of paying to upgrade to a newer version of Windows or switch to another operating system. Linux can be that other OS, but you should know something about Linux's features and capabilities before you deploy it.
Effectively deploying Linux requires understanding the OS's capabilities and where it makes the most sense to use. This chapter begins with a look at the Linux roles that this book describes in subsequent chapters. The bulk of this chapter is devoted to an overview of Linux's capabilities and requirements when used as a server or as a desktop system. Because you may be considering replacing Windows systems with Linux, this chapter concludes with a comparison of Linux to Windows in these two roles.