Monday, June 14, 2004

Debian Linux vs. Windows 2000

The IT shop here has a hard time understanding the benefits of Linux, specifically Debian. And I don't know how to tell them the benefits without showing them the system.

I am not a developer, but I am a heavy tester of software. I like downloading and installing software tools if there is a download out there. I seem to save time if I can install the software in a test environment and look around at the interface and options. Then going back and reading the manual.

I have two computers that I use in my office. One is Windows 2000 which is necessary for Exchange, and unique vendor client/server applications. The other is my Debian unstable desktop/server.

My Windows 2000 computer doesn't work like Debian does. It has fragemented files that can't be fixed -- even in safe mode. I have never had that problem in Linux. The registry is starting to look ugly from all of the software I have installed and uninstalled. Debian's apt-get allows me to install and uninstall software without leaving a trace. apt-get has kept my system clean and sane without needing to reboot unless I update the kernel.

Speaking of rebooting, I have to reboot the
Windows computer way too often. When I install new software. Reboot. When I install windows patches. Reboot. When I installing office/software patches. Reboot. When I uninstall software. Reboot.

The Debian computer allows my to try out enterprise server applications that can be scaled down to a few machines without chasing purchase orders and new licenses. And if I am just testing something I would be willing to buy, I don't have to worry about shareware restrictions. I can keep my installation and configuration the same from testing to production.

My Debian workstation is becoming a useful swiss-army tool for many different ancillary server applications like mrtg, apache, request-tracker, phpbb2, etherape, ethereal, and others. Whereas upstairs, I have 8 rack-servers serving