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Do Linux desktop distros work for business settings?

I hear a lot about desktop Linux distributions, but I don't hear much about anyone using them in business (not school or government) settings. What's up with that? Also, how well would the desktop distros play in the enterprise environment? Are they all the same, or is one better than the other?

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There are definitely businesses using Linux on the desktop; however, the number is relatively small. Many more companies are evaluating Linux desktops with a pilot program to see how the transition from Windows goes; assuming the pilot goes well, they will consider a wider rollout.

With regard to which is the right distribution for you, there are a plethora of good choices. Red Hat, SUSE and Mandriva all have commercially-supported desktop-oriented products as well as community-based products. There are also other community distributions available like Debian, Gentoo and Ubuntu. All of them provide good and similar functionality.

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This was first published in June 2005

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