Moving to the Linux system and using its distributions brings many benefits and tangible gains to companies and institutions, most notably cost savings, as these institutions no longer have to pay annual subscriptions for every device they have. Also, the use of Linux in numerous cases increases performance than before, and enhances the technical culture in the institution or company.
But after employers decide to migrate to Linux, provided on the company’s desktops or servers, a big problem arises: which Linux distribution will we choose from among the thousands of distributions currently on the market?
We answer that question in this article through several points.
How to select the correct Linux distribution for your desktop
There are a few things to do in order to decide the most suitable Linux distribution for enterprise on desktop computers:
Define usage goals
The first thing that decision makers need to do is decide what requirements they need in the Linux distribution they are looking for, and that simply depends on what they want to do and what software they want to install and handle.
If the goal is to obtain a stable and steady Linux distribution, with a lot of software available for installation and well supported, then it is indispensable to use distributions such as Ubuntu and Debian , as they are the most popular Linux distributions and available in their repositories – specifically Ubuntu – the most available software for Linux in general. Long-Term Support versions of Ubuntu are released every two years and are supported for 5 years (or 10 years with a paid subscription), making them suitable for use for long periods of time without the need for upgrade or replacement.
Whether the goal is to receive the latest and latest available versions of software as soon as they are released regardless of stability, then distributions such as openSUSE Tumbleweed and Fedora Rawhide may be the most appropriate, and there are numerous of these distributions that stand in the middle between the newness of the software version and the stability factor.
Linux distributions for beginners are also available; Whether your company or organization does not have a technical department and you need a Linux distribution already loaded with everything the user may need and you just want to install the distribution and use it immediately, then you may like the Linux Mint distribution.
Thus, it is possible to search for the appropriate Linux distribution for the requirements of the work environment by simply selecting it and writing it in order in a list, and then looking at the Linux distributions that it provides through sites such as Distrowatch .
Conduct a trial transition period
The next step is to implement the migration on a small group of devices in the company and the association, moving at once on all devices may cause some unforeseen problems, and also solving them in one go will be expensive on time, effort and money.
Therefore, the most appropriate solution is to install the required distribution on some devices, then make some employees use it for limited periods, and then collect opinions and observations from employees about the lost issues or that need improvement, so that the technical department later in the company or organization solves them (either by installing new software or Consultations of other technical specialists, etc.).
Thus, all obstacles to the transition are solved gradually and easily rather than moving at once and facing all the challenges with each other. Numerous organizations, companies, and even cities and countries often fail emigrate to open source software because of this.
Determine the position of paid technical support
Even on the Linux desktop, there is paid tech support for whoever wants it.
Whether your company or organization is a giant and you need professional technical support to solve problems that may arise on the systems or point to you with some solutions for any technical problem you may encounter, you can buy paid technical support from companies such as Red Hat and Ubuntu, and you pay them an annual subscription for each device in your company or Your association in exchange for the technical support they provide you.
The quality and types of technical support available on the Linux desktop platform vary, but it does not go beyond 3 companies: Ubuntu, Red Hat and Susa, as they are the most prominent and only Linux companies that specialize in it on a global level.
Also, other companies may provide paid technical support for some software only; For example, Collabora provides paid technical support for the LibreOffice office package, helping companies and organizations wishing to switch from Microsoft Office to LibreOffice and solve all the problems and obstacles that they may encounter.
That is why decision makers in companies and organizations must decide whether they will rely only on technical support from the user community and the capabilities of their technical department, or provided they want paid professional support from one of these companies and are able to purchase it.
How to select a suitable Linux distribution for servers
There are other similar requirements to consider when choosing the correct Linux distribution for your company or organization’s servers.
There are questions to be answered before choosing the right Linux distro:
- Is there a specific software package that works only on a certain environment that we need to maintain and that we want to install on the new distro?
- Is there a sure load that we want to put on these servers, and therefore we want to receive a special kind of software and install it on them? Or software with particular versions?
- Is there a specific support period that we want for the distro to avoid upgrading every 6 months, 1 year or 5 years for example?
- Will the technical team in the organization or company not have any problem in dealing with the different settings system, for example, between Debian distributions, Reddit distributions, etc.? Or are our expertise and resources limited?
Answering these and other questions will directly reveal which Linux distribution to use. Distributions such as Ubuntu and Debian are suitable for stability and long-term support, but they may not be suitable for those who want to get the latest new software versions available for servers, and here they may need to search for other distributions such as CentOS Stream, Fedora or openSUSE.
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The Linux distribution you choose on the company’s servers makes future decisions related to it. For example, provided a problem occurs on the company’s servers and you want to fix it, you will need to have a technical team of Linux system administrators already to fix it and solve it themselves, or you may hire new employees or outside freelancers to fix the problems or make changes that you want.
And here’s the point: don’t choose unpopular Linux distributions. For example, it is easy to hire system administrators or independents who are experts in distributions such as Ubuntu, Red Hat, and Debian, as they are the most popular Linux distributions on the server market, but you will not find numerous experts in configuring and configuring distributions such as openSUSE, Susa, Arch Linux, Slackware and the like, and therefore this is a potential problem for you in the future Provided you choose these distributions.
Because this will mean that you will need to pay more money to hire these experts or even just find them, and the process will take more time, you are now looking for rarer expertise and not looking for something known in the market that is used by everyone.
Determine the position of paid technical support
The most prominent place in which paid technical support is used on Linux is in the servers area, because companies and organizations often need to use outside expertise to solve the problems they face or to configure and configure the software they want.
The same companies like Ubuntu, RedHat, and Susa also provide paid professional support for the server versions of these distributions, so they can subscribe to them at an annual cost for technical support.
But whether you already have expert employees in your organization or company, and you do not need to pay much attention to the infrastructure of your project’s servers, then you may not want to participate in this technical support in order to save costs, as it is expensive provided you have a lot of servers that you depend on in your infrastructure ( Because you will pay a subscription to each server you have annually).
So, it depends on you and the resources you have.
Moving and experimenting
In the end, you need to make the transition for a trial period before making the ultimate transition, just like on the desktop. Companies and organizations often do this by moving part of the infrastructure that serves their services and products to the new Linux distribution, and then after a period of time and solving all the problems and obstacles that may arise they move to it totally.
It’s okay to stop and try again; Provided you switched to using a particular distro on your organization’s servers and then found out that it wasn’t the correct one, there’s no problem in trying again with other distros until you find what you’re looking for.
In the end, these are developmental test servers, not production servers, so your company or organization’s activities will not be disrupted during this test transition. Even during the full transition to it, provided successful, you will not be down for more than a few hours at most while redirecting old services and addresses to the new Linux infrastructure.
Linux is a wonderful system and there are many advantages that companies and institutions gain from using it, most notably cost savings and integration with other open source software moreover to speed of performance and endurance and freedom from viruses and other advantages.
It is true that the process of moving companies and institutions may take a lot of time, effort and planning, but in the long run, you will find that this fatigue will be returned to you again due to the costs that were saved due to the move, and therefore it is something worth the effort to implement.