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Apr 25 2015

Free Linux for Commercial Use

Long-term Fujitsu partner Univention has introduced a new, cost-free Core Edition of its Linux-based Corporate Server software.

Some 15 years ago, open source software was widely regarded as the poor man's alternative to 'real-world' operating systems, a product that was best suited for private or educational use and required rigorous work ethics to yield positive results. Since then, many proprietary solutions have ceased to exist or lost market relevance – especially in the area of server operating systems. Back in 2000, IT departments could choose between comparatively ill-reputed platforms from Microsoft, several UNIX variants from different vendors like IBM or HP, and a growing number of Linux flavors. Today, the decision is usually one between a specific Windows Server Edition and a Linux distribution with long-term support, for example from Red Hat and SUSE. A bit less prominent than these distributions, but equally stable and reliable is Univention Corporate Server (UCS), a Debian-based release optimized for IT infrastructure and application management that's specifically geared towards small and midsized companies. Just this week, Univention introduced a cost-free Core Edition that includes a license for commercial use.

As outlined above, UCS is basically an independent Linux distribution focusing on server operation and management. To this end, it offers a host of key functions such as system and network monitoring, centralized software distribution, DNS and DHCP services, domain management, and authentication/single sign-on. Its main virtue, however, is an excellent Windows compatibility: UCS supports Samba and Active Directory as well as virtualization and can even deliver backend services for purely Windows-based client environments. All of these functions are included with the UCS Core Edition at no charge, and without legal or technical restrictions regarding commercial use, maximum number of CPUs and VMs, or maximum number of users per domain controller. Unlike other UCS versions though, the Core Edition offers "only" community support and a limited warranty in case problems occur. Users who'd like to circumvent such risks can choose between three support subscriptions that come at different price points ranging from $349 to $2,049 per year.


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