The 5 best Linux distros for the enterprise: Red Hat, Suse, Ubuntu and more

Jonathan MathewsPublic

As anyone in IT can tell you, Linux has invaded the server room. The operating system is running file servers, print servers, content delivery systems, global caching servers, data archives, VPN servers — you name it. There’s a very good chance that the big iron that composes the backbone of your company’s digital world is powered by Linux.

Chances are also good that it’s not on many of your desktops, if any.

Microsoft Windows continues to rule the enterprise on the desktop. Any inroads made against it have come from macOS X, typically in marketing and creative divisions. Relatively few companies consider the option of Linux on the desktop. But in recent years Linux distributions have become far more sophisticated and user-friendly, and the cost of deployment can be a fraction of more traditional large-scale desktop installations. Linux is often viewed as more secure, too. PC World calls security “one of Linux’s many advantages over Windows” and offers five reasons why it is more secure.

It’s a great time to explore enterprise-friendly Linux desktop options. Below are five worth considering.

  • Red Hat Enterprise Linux Desktop
  • SUSE Linux Enterprise Desktop
  • Ubuntu desktop for the enterprise
  • Linux Mint
  • Trusted End Node Security (TENS)

Three of the five Linux distributions discussed offer reliable and professional-grade support, all have frequent updates to ensure that security exploits are addressed in a timely manner, and all have at least some level of corporate connectivity baked in. In addition, all of them can run Windows programs through virtual machines or subsystems such as Wine. That ability might appeal to executives, but it raises the question of whether it’s really necessary or even a good idea.

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