Linux or Win2K

Posted on 2000-03-12
Last Modified: 2013-11-15
I am trying to decide on lInux or Win2K for a web/mailserver. I know all of the benefits of Win2K (that's my area of expertise). But I am also aware of a couple of mail solutions via Linux. I know Linux does not have nearly the overhead of Win2K, but resources are not an issue. The concerns are:
1. Security
2. Ease of deployment and administration.
3. Level of support.
4. Support for latest Internet protocols and languages.
I am getting ready to review Netmax Linux with the Netmax Web sever. Anyone have any insight as to what may be the better solution?
Question by:lmnjones
LVL 40

Expert Comment

ID: 2609842
Okay, I'm biased as I've worked with Unix since the days of BSD on DEC PDP-11's...

I'd say Unix/Linx wins hands down with respect to security. That's not to say that "out-of-the-box" it's necessarily secure, but it's not difficult to secure a Unix machine and the techniques for doing so are well known. When I see security patches for windows that are to fix a security hole created by a previous security patch... Also since Linux is OpenSource there are a lot of very knowledgeable folks examining it for and fixing any inherit security flaws.

Current Linuxen aren't that difficult to install, especially when the installations are for a definite purpose, such as a web/email server. It may take a bit of experimentation to come up with the combination that suits your environment. If you have someone who really knows what they are doing around to produce a "template" installation, or better yet a Kickstart, deployment can be trivial.

Administration isn't that difficult, especially with the GUI's that are distributed with Linux these days. And as bonus, you get the ability to remotely administer Linux for free.

If you use one of the Commercial Linuxen, RedHAT, Corel, etc. they all have various levels of support available. It just depends on what you are willing to pay for.

For web/email services, I think interoperability and adherance to established standards is more important than support for bleeding edge technology, although Linux does tend to stay pretty current in that respect.

If I were doing this I'd stick with SMTP & IMAP/POP for email services and use Apache for the web server, probably hosted on RedHat Linux.

Expert Comment

ID: 2609996
Of course everything can do everything. Good for you for seeking pros and cons. Im biased to unix but here are my opinions. Personally, from the information you have given so far I wouldnt choose either one except for the "ease of deployment and administration".  I prefer Win (usually NT) for servers which serve only one function. Linux is coming up strong but so far the GUI menu administration is better in Windows servers. They are simpler to run and to get them to do things you want done (as long as its a commonly desired feature since the menus do limit you more than unix does)

I prefer unix (although rarely linux) for servers which are going to perform multiple services. In the unix world if a news software wants to do an email thing then it will just call the email program. In the windows world the feature is either built in to each application or it MIGHT recognize another application by the same company (such as windows products being aware of outlook). Therefore (IMHO) the more purposes the server has, the more innefficient windows becomes and the more efficient unix becomes.

Unix is averagely secure however linux is the most unsecure of them. (dont flame me, going to any hacker site and listing the number of exploits for each OS can get you their "expert opinion"). We have some versions of unix that have been up for years without changes but linux you really need to want to stay up on. We do use Linux and its good for alot of purposes but security isnt one of them. W2K would have ahigher rating at the moment mostly due to its newness more than anything else. For that reason I would also rate it low on support.

As far as support for latest protocols I dont really see it being a factor. Support for hardware can be but protocols are kindof loaded on top of things.

Web/email services can be expanded abit for conversation. web can include various levels of cgi support. Email can refer to levels of sendmail (sending), popmail (receiveing), and listserver/archives. Do these really need to work together (web based email) or might you do better with 2 smaller machines.

Expert Comment

ID: 2610663
I'm installing a lot of network since 1993. I work with win95 win 98 SCO UNIX, an lately with linux. I can tell you , if you want to have a server that will not crash , so ease to administrate, chose linux.

You may have a trouble with your hardware, you will have to take care to chose some brand name not oem , not winmodem , some go old video card like ATI and you will enjoy deploying your server.

Author Comment

ID: 2612507
I'm looking for some guidance regarding the things I listed. I already know that Linux can be more stable (although Win2K may pass it up on stability). My main concern is email. I will use Apache for web, but I do not know what specific product to think about for POP mail ( a web-based feature would be nice).
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Accepted Solution

rbr earned 100 total points
ID: 2616460
For email (mail server, ... ) use linux. There are several tests that mail servers with linux needs much much less computer power than any windows. Do you really think that win2k will be more stable than the other ones? I don't think so. With linux there is little problem to set up an pop mail server.

1.) Security: Linux wins (but there is little known about the security of win2k yet)
2.) Hard to answer. It depends on which platform you have workes already. For a windows user/administrator it will be a little bit gard to set up a linux system. But there is much help in the internet.
3.) linux because of the open source concept changes are made very fast.
4.) linux: All commonly used languages are available and most of them are free and much faster then the windows one. Internet protocal are included very fast in linux. e.g. the ipv6 protocol was included in linux much much earlier than in windows. (Many windows versions will not be able to use it)

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