January 15, 2015

Should You Use Linux for A Start Up?

Let me tell you a story: You’ve drafted your business plan and you’ve got funding. You are a tech business and you’ve got to decide a few things. You’ve got 20-50 employees who are going to be working around the clock on the next big thing and you need to determine your OS. Are you going to go with something stable, compatible, but vulnerable like a Windows version? Are you sucked into some Mac OS because of some proprietary hardware of software? Honestly, the best bet for your is (surprise surprise) a version of Linux. As you can get some stable builds for free, what’s your overhead going to be? If you are really concerned, why not dual boot  windows and ubuntu?


Well, once you’ve got your system up and running and your employees in the office you need to consider a few other things from a tech perspective. Security is first and foremost. While we all know how the NSA uses (or used, who knows now) SELinux and that the Linux kernel is very security focused, there are a few other ways you can boost it. If you are still looking at the zero cost avenue and you have some pretty major security concerns you can run Fedora on all your computers like Linus Torvalds does. There are other security concerns however. Like, since not everyone knows how to rebuild a kernel when you get some critical error, you’ll need someone to recover your data. Since that is really your only overhead, other than an IT guy who is familiar with Linux, it’s well worth the risk.


So, is Linux really worth it for your startup? Yes, but you have to know what you are looking to do. Since there are so many distributions, you are going to need to research which ones you are going to use and which one is the best fit for your needs. I talked about Fedora as a security conscious one, Ubuntu/Debian (with unity) for a more user friendly approach, or even something like Kali Linux for pen testing.


My personal experiences with Linux in the workplace actually started shortly after I adopted Linux on my home PC (well I was am still am dual booting Windows). I was at a startup who had installed Ubuntu on all the desktops, other than a few, and had no idea what they were doing. Luckily the IT guy and myself both were familiar enough with it to work through some of the early problems (mostly on the fly problem solving). Once we got past the growing pains that all start ups go though, we were in the clear. It saved the company a lot of money and, even though the new people we eventually hired did grumble about having to learn a new OS, it eventually worked out for the best.

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