[LINK] Security top reason IT pros consider Linux
brd at iimetro.com.au
Wed Apr 6 09:22:55 EST 2005
Security top reason IT pros consider Linux
April 05 2005
by Sylvia Carr
But deciding whether to migrate is not clear-cut...
Security concerns are the main reason IT managers consider switching
from Windows to Linux on the desktop - but the cost of migration and
compatibility issues remain significant barriers, according to a new
Concerns about Windows security vulnerabilities and the high cost of
keeping Windows secure were named as the top motivations for moving away
from Microsoft's ubiquitous operating system in the online survey of
nearly 1,700 IT professionals by analyst house Quocirca.
Dale Vile, service director at Quocirca and author of the report, told
silicon.com the former is "more a soft or intuitive concern" and "the
real issue is how to keep [Windows] secure in the first place - and the
cost associated with that".
At the same time, the greatest barriers for businesses making the move
to Linux on the desktop are the cost of migration, compatibility with
existing systems and whether all the necessary software will be
available for the platform.
These last two are part of the reason why Quocirca recommends
organisations consider a selective approach in deploying Linux.
According to Quocirca's Vile, many of the survey respondents who lacked
hands-on Linux experience "tend to think [Linux] is only usable for
power users, people who are highly [computer] literate. [But] it's
completely opposite - that's the last person to deploy Linux to."
That's because power users tend to use numerous applications which may
not be available on all platforms and tend to use those applications "in
a deep and advanced way" which can be hard to replicate on an
alternative operating system.
Vile said: "What we hear from Linux adopters is that it works best with
fairly straightforward users." These workers don't suffer from
compatibility issues because the applications they use are widely
available and they don't need the additional features Windows provides,
One danger Quocirca noticed while reviewing survey respondents is IT
managers who want to move their company to Linux solely because they're
open source enthusiasts who believe in the technology.
Vile warns Linux migrations are costly and time-consuming endeavours
which should not be taking lightly. "If you're driving down the [Linux]
route for personal or emotional issues, you need to have sound business
case too," he said. "You can't drive a Linux implementation based on
'you love Linux' or 'you hate Microsoft'."
Vile believes the Windows security concerns are valid - especially that
the costs for securing the operating system are high. Still, he notes
Windows is improving, pointing to security enhancement with Service Pack
2, for example. "There are less and less reasons to move away from
Windows as time goes on," he said.
He also pointed out: "If Linux were on 50 per cent of desktops it would
become much bigger target [for hackers and virus writers]."
So what are Linux's chances on the desktop? Quocirca expects the open
source OS to make progress but Vile said: "We don't anticipate some big
tipping point where Linux will go to significant penetration. It will
happen gradually. And it will be limited to the exception rather than
A report containing the findings of the study is available free of
charge on the Quocirca website.
A professional writer is an amateur who didn't quit.
-- Richard Bach
brd at iimetro.com.au
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