Free software, or, to be more specific, Linux, has not been as widespread and popular in enterprises as people had expected years back. This has always seemed like an anomaly to the public in general, and only served to further the myth that Linux is not meant to be used by anyone except pure techies. The proponents and supporters of proprietary software operating systems like Microsoft would like you to believe that Linux is very threadbare on actual features. The insinuation is that Linux is at the very bottom of the user-friendliness and convenience scale, and is simply a waste of time in the constraints of corporate life, such as deadlines.
Then again, all the popular doubts and misconceptions are just that – misconceptions. There has been an unfounded extrapolation of minor issues to make a mountain out of a molehill. For instance, as stated above, Linux has an image of being the environment of choice for geeks and hackers. The latter demographic in particular is taboo in a corporate workspace, and due to this sense of attached blame by association, Linux is considered to be the tool of choice for hackers and possibly, corporate spies. You can see where the distinction comes in at the traditional marketing methods employed by Linux distributing companies as against a corporate behemoth like Microsoft.
Microsoft appealed to the decision makers, the businessmen, and in essence, to people at the top of corporate pyramids. Linux distribution companies targeted the base of that pyramid, adopting a bottom to top approach, so that the people who actually needed to work in their environment (the developers and other people in technically oriented back-offices), in the hope that they’d convince their superiors about the benefits of the Linux environment. The latter’s marketing efforts have proved to be misguided, as the decision makers of corporate organizations tried and got habituated to Microsoft’s products, and were either intimidated or knew precious little about any other OS. The top to bottom approach helped to add enterprise after enterprise to Microsoft’s clients, effectively shutting out Linux.
Moreover, Linux needed to make people recognize the distinction between an operating system for desktops as against operating systems for servers. The latter is where Linux completely trumps Microsoft, but their marketing message to enterprises hasn’t been absolutely clear on that front. It has to be admitted that in a desktop environment, the Linux OS still needs a level of polish and finesse that can make it more approachable to basic users.
The Linux Server also allows a level of flexibility and variation unlike any other enterprise server. But the more you delve into the extra trinkets, the more you need to watch your steps. This means that to fully utilize the true potential of the Linux environment, you need to know the skills you need. It will be unlike the Microsoft Server from a rather basic level. That means that if you want to use the Linux Server for its own merits rather than the features it has in common with the proprietary server you are used to, you will need to know what you want from it. Only then can you make the most of it.