Windows or Linux? What Recruiters, HR Managers Need to Know

Individuals, small businesses, and even major corporations and some governments are choosing in large numbers to migrate from Windows to Linux. Recruiting and HR functions are very technology dependent. While many HR professionals know about the applications that run on their computers, they might not understand the operating systems, or “environments”, on which their software runs and how those environments can affect costs and reliability. MedZilla explores the option of using Linux, a competitor of the Microsoft Windows-based environment and asks the experts if this “free” option is too good to be true.

Marysville, WA (PRWEB) April 2, 2004 -- Companies, single users, even some governments and major corporations are moving from Microsoft Windows-based environments to Linux. And apparently with good reasons: Linux, an open source operating system, can be free, is not as susceptible to viruses, and rarely crashes. Even better, there is a surprisingly large variety and of freely available, high quality business and desktop software which runs on Linux.

“We’re gradually making the change for a variety of reasons. Reliability is a big issue: we have to be accessible to our clients (job candidates and recruiters) 24-7,” says Frank Heasley, PhD, president and CEO of, a leading Internet recruitment and professional community that serves biotechnology, pharmaceuticals, healthcare and science. “Although we continue to use Windows for some applications, that is rapidly diminishing, and we are slowly converting our desktops to Linux.”

Christopher Faulkner, CEO, C I Host, a Dallas, Texas-based web hosting and data center infrastructure company with about 200,000 clients worldwide, says companies are changing to Linux in droves. “Our Windows sales are down and Linux sales are up.”

Faulkner explains that when the Linux operating system started going mainstream about eight years ago, it was developed to run enterprise level applications as an operating system choice to Windows. But, Linux was text-based and hard to use. That has changed dramatically. “They’ve built a GUI, which is a graphical user interface. Linux looks a lot now like Windows in the aspect that you have icons, programs, a trash bin…. Actually you can run a lot of the programs that you run on Windows on Linux. They make programs that allow you to convert the applications. It’s a more stable operating system and doesn’t crash as much,” he says.

Randolph Bentson, assistant professor of computer science, University of Puget Sound in Tacoma, Wash., says Linux has been growing in two different markets: the server and the desktop. Although these markets place different demands on the system, Linux has been responding well to both. “In the server market, Linux has been the backbone of significant services, including search engines and user interface for Google, image processing for Industrial Light and Magic, and ISPs throughout the world,” he says.

More locally, Linux is often dropped in place without fanfare to provide file sharing and email service within a business. The wry observation has been made that upper management is often unaware how much is being done by Linux systems, according to Bentson.

Until recently, the desktop market has been a bit harder for Linux to penetrate because many vendors wrote applications to run only on Microsoft based systems. Nevertheless, Linux has been adopted by some businesses and governments because it offers greater reliability and support for more diverse and less expensive computers, Bentson says.

One of the biggest draws to Linux is that it is free. An “open source operating system,” Linux has a community of people worldwide who are developing applications and programs for the operating system. And the operating system is royalty-free, meaning you have the source code to it and can customize its programs according to your company’s needs.

Joshua Drake, president, Command Prompt Inc., Gresham, Ore., says that using Linux can make a significant impact on a company’s bottom line. “Linux is more cost-effective because it’s more secure. In an average Windows environment of say 25 servers, you can have as many as three or four full-time administrators; whereas, in a Linux environment you can have 30 or 40 servers and one full time administrator,” he says. “It’s also less expensive because it has no license fees. You buy Windows and have to buy Windows 2003 server, which comes with five client licenses, costing about $700. That means you can connect only five people to it. The ‘supported’ version of Linux--from let’s say Red Hat--will cost you about $300 and has no client access limits. You can put 1,000 people on it for $300 or you can download the free version.”

Drake says that recruiters and HR professionals could install Linux on a workstation and have email, Microsoft office compatibility, web browsing and the potential for no viruses—all for free. HR leaders and recruiters can even use some of their HR applications on the system by converting the programs to run seamlessly on Linux, according to Faulkner. “There is a company called Lindows, which is a merge of Linux and Windows. It allows you to run any application that you would run on Windows, on your Linux computer with the exact same features, the exact same application, and look and feel. It works seamlessly,” Faulkner says.

Too good to be true?

Steven Ciarciello, president and CEO, CompuData, a privately held business systems and software solutions provider, is concerned about a looming lawsuit involving Linux and SCO (the Santa Cruz Operation). He’s so concerned about the outcome that he says his company is starting “throttle back to the Windows environment.”

SCO, he says, is threatening lawsuits against every single user of Linux because it is alleging that Linux operating systems of any variant have used proprietary and patented information from the UNIX operating system source code that SCO owns.

“These Linux variant companies don’t have the money for lawsuits. If these companies are going to be sued and they don’t have money, they’re just going to go away, which will leave [Linux] customers in a difficult position. SCO wants businesses that have Linux operating systems to pay $700 for the use of that operating system … to them so that you won’t get sued,” Ciarciello says.

However, many remain optimistic about Linux’s future. In his article “2004: The Year Linux Grows Up (or Blows Up), author Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols wrote in eWeek that Linux will persevere. “SCO may still be heading for the courts, but instead of charging forward, the anti-Linux company will be wobbling forward as the courts start knocking out its arguments. As a result, Linux will be free to grow more quickly than ever in businesses.”

“We are aware of SCO, but in the end I doubt that much will come if it”, says Dr. Heasley, who points out that Linux will survive in any case, and there are other open source unix alternatives, even if SCO does somehow manage to prevail.

Established in mid 1994, MedZilla is the original web site to serve career and hiring needs for professionals and employers in biotechnology, pharmaceuticals, medicine, science and healthcare. MedZilla databases contain about 10,000 open positions, 13,000 resumes from candidates actively seeking new positions and 71,000 archived resumes.

Medzilla® is a Registered Trademark owned by Medzilla Inc. Copyright ©2004, MedZilla, Inc. Permission is granted to reproduce and distribute this text in its entirety, and if electronically, with a link to the URL For permission to quote from or reproduce any portion of this message, please contact Michele Groutage, Director of Marketing and Development, MedZilla, Inc. Email: e-mail protected from spam bots.

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