The Linux kernel is very flexible. There are so many distributions of Linux that I have lost count. There is the Vyatta routing distribution that is useful for creating a router on an old computer. The Clonezilla utility distribution is also very useful, this is a Linux based distribution of Debian that is used to create an image of a hard disk partition for later deployment on another computer or a series of computers. This is a quicker way to deploy an operating system and associated software to a computer easily. You only need a USB thumb drive to deploy an image onto a desktop computer. Vyatta is a router operating system that allows the creation of rules for routing data around a network and creating firewall rules. Smoothwall is yet another Linux based operating system that is installed onto a computer and turns it into a dedicated firewall appliance. This is a good use for an older computer with a couple of Network Interface Cards installed. The Google Android operating system is based upon the Linux kernel, but this is not as open as a Linux distribution like Fedora on the desktop that uses the open source Linux kernel and all of the associated software supplied with the Linux distro is open source as well.
The Windows 8.1 updates have brought new versions of Powershell and Internet Explorer, but Linux is more secure than Windows by a long margin, there have been quite a few security vulnerabilities for the Windows OS, and with support for Windows XP ending on the 8th of April, there will quite a few more security breaches once the zero-day security holes in that old OS are exploited. There are a lot of businesses that are still using Windows XP for various tasks, but the computers are connected to the web. Even if they are using a firewall with good rules, there are ways to get malicious software onto the machines. Simply opening an e-mail can infect a computer if they are sent a specially crafted message. And having Windows XP connected to the web is a bad idea. I am using that in a VM, but it has NAT access to the web and it is not connected to the main computer. I just want to see what happens to it after the support ends. There are already no more updates available in Windows Update. So why are people still running this operating system? I guess the change required to update the operating system on all of their computers is a bit too much. That would take up quite a bit of time to get all of the computers updated. But that will be a necessity once the support ends and the Total Cost of Ownership skyrockets and the administrators are forced to upgrade the operating system on the computers.
That is their job though, and they will be forced into this eventually. Windows XP is behind the times and it is about time it was retired. Windows 7 will be ended in part in 2020; that means that Microsoft are forcing users to upgrade to Windows 8.1. This is a joke when you could be using Fedora Core 20 or Red Hat Enterprise Linux on the desktop. That would of course offer greater security and reliability than Windows 8. Windows Server 2012 with HyperV allows good server virtualisation, this is very useful with a powerful Dell server with 48 Gigabytes of RAM, this allows multiple server instances running on one server. Red Hat Enterprise Linux allows virtualisation of server instances using the Xen hypervisor. Read more about this here: http://www.redhat.com/resourcelibrary/articles/enterprise-linux-virtualization-support. This powerful ability makes use of spare CPU cycles on a server to allow a virtualised server to be deployed very quickly. Far more quickly than installing new hardware in a rack to store the files for a new server, you can just create a virtualised server and that way you can install many servers for various tasks without installing extra hardware. Just the hard disk space on a RAID array and the CPU/RAM required for each VM. With HyperV, the Virtual Machines each take up RAM and if one is assigned an amount of memory that is too large, this will impact the other virtual machines. So you must balance the amount of RAM assigned to each VM to allow them to all coexist together. But I have found that installing something like Lync 2013 on Windows Server 2012.
That is quite a fun endeavor that takes a long time. Getting SQL Server 2012 installed and coexisting with the Lync server takes a lot of fussing about. I keep getting an error about the main data store not existing. That is the only problem I am having right now. But this will be resolved soon. I actually do not mind Windows Server 2012. It is not a bad desktop operating system as well as obviously filling a server role. But I am running Linux Mint 16 on my home PC and that suits me just fine at the moment.