What can Linux do?

Personal Unix Workstations

Whether at home or at work, the combination of Linux and an Intel based PC makes for a powerful Unix machine. Linux is great for organizations that cannot afford Sun or HP workstations for every engineer and baulks at the thought of X terminals. Linux is also a good choice in hybrid situations - DOS and Windows users retain access to their files and are able to run some programs.

X terminal client

Linux's excellent X11 Windowing support makes it very easy for applications to run remotely on an application server (from another Linux machine to a multiprocessor supercomputer) and display locally on the Linux workstation. Linux offers an advantage over traditional Xterminals in that Linux provides a complete range of multimedia services including sound, animation, and advanced graphics support. When you need to use your Linux machine for more than an Xterminal, you can do so quickly and easily. With PC hardware now fast, reliable and very cheap, why pay more for less?

X Application Server

Any computer capable of acting as an X terminal can take advantage of the huge range of X applications available for Linux. It makes just as much sense to use Linux for serving applications to fast RISC workstations as it does to reverse the roles. At the other end of the scale, configuring Linux as an application server allows companies to recycle their 286 and 386 class machines. These machines are capable of acting as a dumb X terminal by running a DOS X Server. This means that Linux is the choice for a low budget X Windows network.

Unix Development Platform

Linux is capable of supporting serious Unix development. Most mainstream languages are available, and many minor ones too. The cross-compilation environment allows binaries to be generated for many other Unix platforms. GNU C, GNU C++, GNU Fortran 77, ADA, Pascal, Modula 2 and 3, TCL/Tk, Scheme and SmallTalk/X are available for free, and with extensive libraries of working code. The popular Motif widgets are also available from several suppliers at a cost. Interpreters are available for many languages to help cut development time. All this, together with flexible scripting shells language sensitive editors, source code control packages and documentation aids add up to give the programmer a completely customizable environment. It also makes an ideal computing student's system... they can have complete control of a sophisticated system without upsetting users on shared facilities.

Commercial Development

Among other development systems, a commercial implementation of CA/Clipper (Object oriented compiler based superset of dBase, and Fox ) means that Clipper developers - are able port their software to Linux with little or no change. This results in the same functionality albeit with increased performance - between 20 and 200 times faster on the same hardware as the DOS version.

Network Servers

Educational institutions and commercial organizations alike are enthusiastically embracing Linux as an enterprise server. For file and print sharing, Linux can be configured to use NFS, AppleTalk, and NetBIOS protocols. Its inexpensive nature and high performance make it very attractive. LAN bridging to create WANs is also is a good use of Linux. When running on RISC and Symmetric Multi-Processing (SMP) hardware, Linux brings flexibility and ease of use to serious back-end processing

Internet Server

Linux is a child of the Internet, and excels at providing Internet services. World Wide Web, usenet news, email, ftp and many more are usually supplied with Linux by default. These can be configured to provide access to internal users of a network, or to publish information accessible by the whole Internet. When combined with dial-up modems (using the multiple serial port solutions) Linux becomes a formidable Internet access point. A good number of commercial access providers have chosen Linux because of its reliability and performance in this respect.

Terminal Server, FAX Server, Modem Server

Serial and telephone devices are well supported by Linux. Expensive custom-built terminal servers (such as Annex) typically provide SLIP, PPP, direct connection, Dial-up Appletalk and The Internet Adapter support. Linux has all these available, plus provision for custom security, authentication and logging procedures. Internet Service Providers are able to connect over 200 modems to a single modest system to provide a reliable and maintainable dialup solution.

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Last modified May 28, 1996. Maintained by *Martin Michlmayr <tbm@cyrius.com>.