Consultant and author Marcel Gagne said he runs Linux on his Compaq notebook and added that many people are beginning to look at Linux on the desktop as well.“Linux has already won the server wars,” said Gagne, who also writes the “Cooking with Linux” column for Linux Journal. The desktop is the next frontier, Gagne said.
Pioneer Petroleums LP is one company exploring that frontier. The independent petroleum retailer with 150 locations across Ontario has been using faxes and phone calls to communicate with its remote locations and decided it was time for an upgrade. The company wanted real-time messaging and decided it was time to place a PC in every retail location. But it didn’t have the funds to hire staff to support the PCs. Pioneer wanted a solution that could be centrally managed, said Dale Sinstead, director of information systems and technology, and that usability and reliability were also key concerns.
The company decided to deploy IBM Lotus Workplace Messaging running on Red Hat Linux because Linux gave it the ability to lock down client desktops so that the remote users could not download unwanted material, Sinstead said. Employees can easily change the administrative password on a Microsoft Windows, he said.
Gagne agreed and pointed to the Honeypot Project. According to that study — which left unprotected but patched Linux and Windows machines on the Internet — it took about three months to hack into a Linux box. Windows boxes were compromised in a matter of minutes.
Using Linux on the remote sites allowed Pioneer to steer clear of all of the administrative problems associated with Windows, such as dealing with malware, he said. “The Windows operating system is exploited a lot more.”

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