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Why Linux? By Dane McSpedon


Dec 5, 2011 - Linux is a free and open source operating system invented by Linus Torvald of Finland in 1991. Linus was not happy with the development of Unix,
originally founded by Bell Labs in 1969, for desktop computing. So he invented his own version that by 1994 had adopted his name.

Linux is an “Open Source” software, which means that the software and all of its source code is free to download, alter and use. Linux has been and continues to be developed by tens of thousands of programmers all over the world using “kernels”, organized around “Distributions”. A kernel is a version of Linux which branches off for a particular solution set and is distributed by the owner of the kernel. Kernels can be sold commercially but the source code remains “open source”

In 2002, a well-regarded study conducted by David Wheeler (a Linux expert) estimated that it would cost $1.2B to commercially develop Linux software from scratch (estimating man-hours and prevalent market rates at the time). A recently released study, which

used the same methodology and tools used in 2002, estimates that it would cost $1.4B to develop the Linux kernel alone, and $10.8B to develop the Fedora 9 linux distribution, a commercially sold version of Linux.

mobile devices to supercomputers. 6 of the top 10 web server companies in the USA, 91% of all supercomputers and the Android operating system for mobile devices all use Linux distributions.

Why Amicus develops programs in Linux

1. Outstanding Security

With hundreds of thousands of programmers developing the software and constantly inspecting its code, Linux is very tight software with very few opportunities for hackers to penetrate. In 2008, 48,000 viruses were documented for Windows vs 40 for Linux.

Linux has a feature called “smart authorization management” which only allows an administrator to make system changes. This removes the favorite method for Windows’ malware and viruses to hijack and alter a computer running that operating system. Linux stops most attacks by isolating their ability to stealthily change the computer settings for their advantage.

Furthermore, when a weakness is found in the Linux software kernel or distribution, the sheer number of programmers who have a vested interest and the open forums cultivated by the Linux movement means that the software is fixed much more quickly than a closed or proprietary software model.

2. Easy Updates

Linux “Package Manager” keeps track of all software on your computer and what updates are available at all times. This can be reviewed and acted upon at any time.

3. Support

The Open Source community offers unrivaled support for developers and users of Linux. As there are numerous distributions, commercial and free, and tens of thousands of programmers immersed in the software organized around strong user groups, there is no need to contact one vendor’s software supportline to get high-level support.

4. Stability of the Software

Linux is extremely stable. In one 10-month independent test, Microsoft’s network platform crashed once every 6 weeks requiring 30 minutes to fix, on average, while the Linux servers did not crash once.2 Linux User Groups claim members have not had to re-start their Linux system for years due to a crash.

5. Multiple Platform Support

Linux is multi-platform and integrates with every other operating system. The fact that Android, a Linux Distribution, is projected to own the mobile world by 2015, according to Gartner Group, means Linux’s relevance continues to grow.

6. No need to Search for Drivers with every new piece of hardware or software

Drivers are part of the Linux kernel which means when software is installed there is no need to search for updated drivers.

7. Cost

Much is made of the fact that Linux is a free software to download, use and alter. While Amicus believes this is very helpful and worthy, we believe the other reasons listed above are more compelling. After all, a company uses software to drive revenue and manage operations that are sophisticated, mission-critical areas. The cost of the software is not often a determining factor for mid-size and larger organizations. But it is still nice!

Amicus and Linux

Amicus has been developing software driven by Linux since 2007. We like the development tools, libraries, and sheer ease of use.

Amicus believes that the highest growth areas in computing will be in mobile devices, today driven by iOS but we believe to be overtaken by Android, and cloud computing, both strongholds of Linux.

We like the superior security of Linux versus other operating systems.


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