Book Review: Using Linux in a Windows World

O’Reilly’s latest book, “Linux in a Windows World” is such a welcome change from the regular drum beat of the Linux community feeling that Linux must beat Windows.
This is NOT what the Linux / Windows “battle” should be about. The overall success of Linux will not be in its eradication of Windows, but in its ability to coexist with it and other systems.
“Indeed, the challenge of coexisting with Windows can be viewed as an opportunity,” says Roderick W. Smith, author of “Linux in a Windows World” (O’Reilly, US $44.95). “Linux can be integrated into a Windows network, providing a reliable and low-cost platform on which to run vital services for Windows systems, or even serving as a workstation on an otherwise Windows-dominated network.”
As Smith points out, “Linux can be an effective addition to a Windows network for several reasons, most of which boil down to cost.” He reminds readers that Windows achieved its dominance in part by being less expensive than competitors in the 1980s. Today, of course, Linux is less expensive to own and operate. “This is especially true if you’re running Windows NT 4.0, which has reached end-of-life and is no longer supported,” says Smith, adding that Windows 2000 will soon fall into that category, as well. Users who run these older versions are faced with the prospect of paying to upgrade or switching to another operating system. Linux is often that other OS.
Smith writes for those who work with Windows-dominated networks but wonder how they can best use Linux in that environment. As Smith explains, “You can replace Windows servers, supplement Windows servers with Linux servers, use Linux to implement new services you don’t currently run, deploy Linux-based thin clients, or migrate some or all of your Windows desktop systems to Linux.” His new book provides guidance on how to accomplish these tasks, with an emphasis on Linux in the role of network server operating system.
Focusing on integrating Linux into a Windows-dominated network, “Linux in a Windows World” concentrates on areas in which Linux can easily replace or complement the function of an existing Windows server. Readers learn how to:
-Create a file and print server for Windows, Linux, and Macintosh computers
-Use a single authentication system for Windows and Linux users
-Avoid expensive software upgrades by replacing an obsolete Windows NT 4.0
domain with Linux systems
-Filter spam and viruses from email before it gets to users
-Create a low-cost network backup solution for Windows and Linux
-Deploy thin client Linux desktops