Migrate? Not me

With all the talk of enterprises migrating - or at least evaluating — their desktop operating system use this year, there are a few worthwhile reasons why I won’t be changing mine.

I’ve been using the same operating system on my desktop for the past six years. My desktop is productive, stable, secure, manageable and, best of all, free.

Desktop productivity is an interesting topic. So often I see vendors preaching the benefits of upgrading to the latest and greatest hardware to leverage the performance benefits of new technologies. This may be true if you are a network gamer, but for enterprise workers, productivity means being able to run multiple applications simultaneously without disruption. My desktop OS does this with ease on three-year-old, commodity PC hardware.

This leads to stability. What place in my heart would an operating system hold that randomly froze on its user and had to be rebooted within a business-critical environment? Thankfully, my desktop operating system keeps all applications — including the on-screen display — separate, so that if one were to crash the whole system will not be brought down with it.

Then there’s security. In six years my desktop has not had one virus, let alone have I shelled out hard-earned money for “antivirus” software that is always playing catch up. In addition to being virus-proof, my desktop can be firewalled and locked down to the extent that it is statistically impenetrable. And if I’m feeling really paranoid, all communications to and from my desktop can be encrypted for privacy.

Of course, all the base features in the world would mean nothing if my desktop had no applications. At last count there were around 6000 applications — including all the basics such as office apps, Web browsers, and e-mail clients — for my desktop which forms part of a complete network-transparent software management system. If I need a new application I simply push a few buttons and the software of my choice - along with additional software it may depend on — will be downloaded from a trusted source on the Internet, compiled, and installed automagically without paying an annual subscription fee. The same method is used for security updates.

This type of software, or “package” management system makes my desktop a breeze on which to install, update, or remove applications.

By the way, in case you were wondering I use the Gentoo Linux (www.gentoo.org) operating system on my desktop and no, I won’t be migrating to Windows this year.

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