Kathy Gibson reports from a SUSE/SAB&T TEC webinar – Linux is seeing a huge surge in popularity – which is not surprising when you consider the various features offered by the operating system.

Tinus Brink, director of consulting at SAB&T TEC, points out that Linux is free, which is a good part of the reason for its popularity.

It is also open source by nature and the source code can be changed to fit your needs.

In addition, Linux has various distributions to fit specific user needs. It can operate as an enterprise operating system on the server, or as an end user operating system on the user’s device.

It is more secure than most operating systems, Brink says. And, by default it protects privacy.

“For some of you who may have installed the operating system recently you will know that Linux doesn’t ask for your personal data, which indicates that it better protects your privacy.”

Importantly, Linux patches and software updates are issued very quickly. “And there are fewer hoops to jump through for updates,” Brink says. “They can be implemented automatically as well using solutions like SUSE Manager.”

Linux is the better choice because it is reliable and doesn’t become slower over time, Brink adds,

It is low on resources like RAM and doesn’t have a lot of clutter in the back-end.

“If you are not sure what Linux to use, you can actually test drive it with a bootable USB disk on almost any computer.”

As well as being easy for users, Linux is easy for developers to use. And, if they do run into problems, there is a big support community that is available and willing to help.

“Do you want to be in the same space as the biggest technological winners?” Brink asks.

Organisations that adopt Linux will join other users like SpaceX and NASA, which both run Linux in their operations.

There are various systems that can be replaced by Linux alternatives, Brink adds.

It can be used on front-end desktop computers, application servers, firewalls, file servers, Web servers, network administration servers, retail cash registers and many more devices.

In the enterprise space, SUSE Linux Enterprise Server (SLES) for SAP comes with high availability (HA) and disaster recover (DR) capabilities built in. “When your system needs to failover and the company can’t afford downtime, this is an important feature,” Brink says.

Applications are important for users and they will be happy to know that most of them do run on Linux.

Brink points out that remote calling like Microsoft Teams, Zoom, Skype and Skype for Business all run natively on Linux.

Support tools like TeamViewer, VNC and GoToAssist run natively, while office software like Office 2013 Offline or Microsoft Office 365 online can run through the browser on Linux too.

Google G-Suite for business, LibreOffice or OpenOffice are also supported.

Some applications are not supported, but a tool called Wine, a compatibility layer, enables Windows applications to run on operating systems like Linux.

Wine is not an emulator, it translates calls on the fly, so it doesn’t slow operations while cleanly integrating Windows applications into your Linux setup.

Brink points out that Microsoft acknowledges that Wine is a prime example of the importance of open APIs, according to the record in a recent Oracle versus Google court case.

Linux has become more popular than ever for home use.

In the month of May alone, it has moved from 2,03% to 3,17% in terms of market share, Brink points out.

‘You can guess at the many reasons why people have adopted Linux more, but the main reason is likely to be saving money. Linux is inherently a lot cheaper than other operating systems.”

Linux growth has come mostly from Windows’ base, which still has the lion’s share of the market at 86,69%, down from 87,97%.

SUSE is an important player in the open source community, Brink says.

It offers a wide range of products that customers can download and test immediately.

OpenSUSE is available with Tumbleweed and Leap open source communities, as well as enterprise-level products from SUSE itself.

Enterprise Linux includes desktop and server, or server for Power iterations. Customers can also run SAP with SPES for SAP, HA and Availability Extension.

Other SUSE products include Infrastructure Management, container and application platforms, high availability and geo clustering, storage solutions and high-performance computing.

SUSE products run comfortably on the cloud with support from all the hyperscalers.

“So rollouts and maintenance, in general, on-premise or in the cloud, run extremely well,” Brink points out.

SUSE is the most popular distribution for SAP applications. More than 70% of SAP Application servers run on SLES; more than 90% of any SAP HANA solutions run on SLES. “The reason is extremely simple: SUSE helps SAP develop its products, and engineers co-engineer the operating system to ensure a better experience with SAP applications and installations,” says Brink.

In addition, 100% of SAP Business One systems run on SLES where they are easy to install and maintain.