Ubuntu vs. Windows 7 on the business desktop

Microsoft Windows may be the de facto standard desktop operating system in business environments, but high costs, restrictive licences and constant security issues are leading an increasing number of companies to consider open source alternatives — as Kat Orphanides explains.

Linux is vulnerable to certain exploits, particularly the kind that use automated brute force attacks to access accounts with insecure passwords.

VMware

MySQL

So, it is still important to pay attention to security issues with a Linux installation. It's easy enough to limit threat potential to the point where it becomes negligible and Linux is unlikely to be subject to the usual range of drive-by downloads, but it is still important to be aware of these threats and ensure users use strong, secure passwords, for example.

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Antivirus software is available for Ubuntu, although its primary purpose to scan any Windows file systems on connected drives, and to prevent emails with infected attachments from being forwarded to users with more vulnerable operating systems.

ClamAV is the option available in the Ubuntu Software Centre, although a range of major anti-virus companies have Linux products available.

Backups and Cloud Synchronisation

Microsoft's Live Mesh and SkyDrive services give 25GB of online storage, the ability mirror selected folders between all synced computers (assuming they run Windows Vista, Windows 7 or Mac OS X) and lets you sync Internet Explorer bookmarks and Microsoft Office settings.

Live Mesh isn't much use as a replacement for a dedicated backup regime, though. It lacks options for file versioning and there's no way to expand its free 5GB of synchronised storage (deducted from the 25GB total storage space).

Ubuntu Desktop

Document sharing is available with both account types, but there's no file versioning yet, which means Dropbox is still a better bet cloud file synchronisation and backups.

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