5 Best Linux Distros For The Enterprise

As anyone who works in the IT industry will be able to tell you, Linux has completely invaded the server room. File servers, print servers, content delivery systems, global caching servers, data archives, VPN servers – you name it and this operating system is running it. There’s a good chance that it forms the backbone of your business. Funnily enough, chances are also good that it doesn’t appear on many of your desktops (if any).

In the list below, we’ve taken a closer look at 5 enterprise-friendly Linux desktop options that are worth considering:

  • Linux Mint
    Whilst it isn’t specifically designed to enterprise deployment, we feel that the exclusively desktop Linux Mint is worth mentioning because of its reputation for providing one of the easiest environments for new users. It is important to note, however, that there is currently no paid or enterprise- level support available – if you choose to adopt this version, you’re on your own when it comes to support.
  • Red Hat
    Having been around since the dawn of the Linux era, Red Hat has always been focused on the business applications of the operating system rather than on consumer use. It is, however, a solid choice for desktop deployment and proves to be a more stable and secure option that the typical Microsoft Windows. The configuration includes integrated email, calendaring, contact management and a suite of office apps.
  • SUSE
    SUSE also offers both server and desktop configurations of its enterprise Linux software that you can take advantage of. As Linux is an open and flexible platform, just about any applications available on one platform are likely to be available on all the others, too. As such, SUSE can also integrate with Microsoft Active Directory and Microsoft Exchange, plus it also works well with Novell GroupWise.
  • TENS
    Trusted End Node Security (TENS) is worth checking out if security and privacy are your key concerns. It has been designed by the US Air Force and approved by the National Security Agency for secure use, so you know it’s going to be good. It doesn’t have a huge base of apps but it does support a variety of security features (like smart-card and key-card login). The entire environment runs without need for a hard drive, too.
  • Ubuntu
    A favourite amongst users, the basic distribution is available in an enterprise edition and many hardware vendors currently offer Ubuntu as a pre-installed operating system option. As an added bonus, Ubuntu also has the most available software through its online digital distribution system. Included with the system is a Microsoft-compatible office suite, antivirus and anti-malware software, and onsite training options.

There has been a widespread (but mistaken) perception that Linux doesn’t offer the same applications and utilities that a typical Microsoft computer does, which is responsible (in part) for its lack of popularity. However, many of the programs required for enterprise computing (such as QuickBooks Pro, Google Docs, Microsoft Office and Skype) are available as programs either directly on Linux or from cloud-based alternatives. So don’t let this stop you.