Paying too much for licenses is not good business. Using Linux in your data center is one way to save money. Here are ten Linux distros to consider.
CentOS for business might at first seem an odd recommendation, but it isn’t. CentOS is another distribution that’s based on Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL), and as of 2014 is actually part of the Red Hat trio of Linux distribution offerings along with RHEL and Fedora. CentOS is 100 percent binary compatible with RHEL. It is a community-supported distribution, but anyone who supports Red Hat can also support CentOS.
You’re in good company with CentOS. VMware uses it for its virtual appliances, and VMware could use any Linux distribution or create its own branded distribution. They choose to use CentOS, which speaks volumes about its quality and reliability. Does it work for business? Ask VMware.
Debian is a primary or top-level Linux distribution, which means that there is no distribution above it in the Linux distribution hierarchy. Many distributions use Debian as their basis, including MEPIS, Ubuntu and Mint. Debian is another community-driven and supported distribution but it has widespread enterprise adoption as well.
Should you decide to use Debian for your enterprise and don’t want to rely on community support, there are currently 824 Debian consultants in 63 countries worldwide.
Ubuntu Linux, owned and supported by Canonical, is the world’s most popular Linux distribution. There’s a version of Ubuntu to meet every need from desktop to server to cloud. Canonical’s support isn’t the least expensive on the list, but it’s the best for Ubuntu Linux. Ubuntu’s ease of use, built-in virtualization, and cloud connectivity make it one of the most versatile of all the Linux distributions. For business, you’d find it an extremely reliable and supportable operating system.
If you have sufficient expertise in-house, Ubuntu is free — free to use, free to change, free to redistribute. In a word, it’s free. It’s also very secure. Right out of the “box” Ubuntu can brag that it was the only operating system not compromised during a Black Hat hacker security conference.
Slackware is the grandfather of all Linux distributions. It is the oldest surviving Linux distribution (1993), and it continues to be one of the most popular for business applications. Major updates are annual. Slackware runs on almost any hardware that you own. It’s especially useful on older non-supported hardware for its small footprint and performance.
Gentoo Linux is a fully customizable Linux distribution that boasts extreme performance. It has a very strong following of developers and users. Gentoo Linux makes an excellent choice for businesses who employ highly-skilled Linux engineers; it’s not for newbies or wannabees, though.
Gentoo is an advanced operating system that is not high on the ease-of-use scale. But if you want an operating system that’s performance-optimized, secure and highly configurable, Gentoo may be the best fit for you.
Ken Hess is a freelance writer who writes on a variety of open source topics including Linux, databases and virtualization. He is also the coauthor of Practical Virtualization Solutions.