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Introduction The purpose of this paper is to present the financial and business advantages of using Linux an open source operating system vs Windows XP a Microsoft closed source operating system on small business desktop computers It is my recommendation that it can be cost effective for a small business to use Linux as its operating system of choice In the course of my study I considered the following factors -Cost -Performance -Reliability -Scalability -Usability -Security Linux is the second most sold9 and the fastest growing server operating system today1 Among those switching to Linux are Amazoncom Boeings Research and Development division Speedera 1 government offices of Jefferson County CO the city of Steamboat Springs CO 4 and the New York Stock Exchange7 Additionally governments of several countries are making the change from Microsoft to the less expensive Linux Germany for example in order to cut costs and improve security has contracted with IBM to provide computer systems based on Linux5 Because Linux is open-source its code has been heavily scrutinized Because of this bugs are found and fixed much faster than with commercial operating systems8 and upgrades are released more frequently11 This has lead to a less expensive more reliable better performing and more secure operating system with a wide range of suppliers and technical support options Open-source also means that it can be tailored to meet a small business individual needs9 Cost While open-source does not mean that Linux is absolutely free it does mean that it is much less expensive Commercial distributions of Linux can be purchased along with a support agreement6 Red Hat for example is a Linux supplier that charges a fairly high price for support9 Set up cost is normally the biggest expense due to the learning curve with an unfamiliar operating system6 However with the proper pre-preparation and user training before rolling out a new operating system the learning curve should be manageable and an expensive support
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