I was setting up a Windows Server 2008 machine today with Active Directory and I was struck by the power that the Active Directory group policies give to the systems Administrator in terms of managing your client desktop machines and creating a unified locked-down desktop across all workstations. There is a HOWTO on adding a Linux machine to a server forest and mounting the Windows shares, but will you ever be able to create a Linux only network that has as much power as the Active Directory for pushing certain packages to clients and locking down desktops to brand computers in a corporate environment? The OpenLDAP software solution has some of these features for access control and creating groups of computers on a network. customizing the Windows 7 desktop by pushing out settings from a Windows Server 2008 machine is a quick way to setup a whole room full of machines at once when the users log-in they will be greeted by their new desktop without the Administrator having to go to every machine and set them all up one by one.
With the Group Policy set by user, you may add all of the users to a certain policy and then deploying that policy, the machines will be all updated at once. Maybe Canonical can create a new system for Linux that can perform all of the same tasks as the Active Directory system. The Ubuntu Landscape system can perform some of these tasks, but it is not a full AD deployment, but it is a step in the right direction. With a full Active Directory system for Linux, it could compete better with the domination of the Windows Server product. Linux is more secure, but it needs even more features to lure away Windows devotees. The Windows Server 2008 product at least has a sane desktop, the Metro interface in Server 2012 is not very appealing, once you install the GUI desktop option, then it becomes a little better, but the Metro interface in general is annoying, why did Microsoft wreck a usable product with a crap desktop environment? Unity is not much better, Cinnamon and the Aero interface are both fine desktops, I wish you could set a Window in the Windows 7 desktop always on top so you could refer to it whilst working in another window.
Better than the Windows 8 excuse for an interface. You should not break something that is not broken at all. But the quest to create a tablet interface on a desktop machine will not go away. In the Windows 8 Consumer Preview, you could not shut down the machine unless you logged out, unless you use the shutdown /s command to shutdown using the command prompt, but that depends on your Active Directory settings. Windows is not such a bad system once you get the knack of the Windows Server product. A server operating system does not need a flashy Metro GUI, just a simple desktop with an easy to use menu to access the Administrative tools. That is a more serious product than the Fisher Price™ lookalike interface that the Server 2012 product is lumped with. Sure, after logging in you are greeted with a command-line interface, but a Powershell interface would make more sense. As I said before, the GUI is an optional component of a Server system. Linux is the same, the Linux/UNIX servers do not need a GUI, they can be administered remotely via SSH.