Purpose of Linux Systems

Key Notes:

Linux is deployed as a tool for a wide variety of functions. Here are some of the common uses of Linux:

Network Server: Linux is a dominant operating system for network servers. These servers are either general purpose, i.e. a single server provides various network services such as file, print, e-mail etc., or they are specifically providing one service, e.g. a dedicated web server.

Desktop/Workstation: Linux is increasingly being used on the desktop as well. Engineering workstations (essentially relative more powerful desktops) were the first desktop systems to deploy Linux. With increasing number of desktop applications available on Linux and continuous improvements in its user-friendliness, Linux has now become a contender for the office desktop platform.

Appliance/Embedded: Linux is considered the preferred embedded operating system by many device vendors. Open source licensing of Linux give device manufacturers to fine tune the OS for their specific needs. Furthermore they save significantly on licensing costs. Many of the network based appliances (e.g. Firewall appliances) use Linux as the operating system because of its excellent networking support.


Quick test:

Q. What are key requirements from a Linux server running in production (select all applicable choices):

a) It should have minimal downtime.
b) It should do very fast word processing.
c) It should be secure against exploits originating from the network.
d) It should be remotely manageable.



a, c & d) High availability, security and manageability are all key requirements from a Linux server in modern data centers. Word processing is typically done on the desktop, and in general is a not a requirement from the server.