This post starts a discussion on the topic of whether attorneys should use Linux as the primary operating system for their law firm computers. I’ve decided to write on this due to one simple fact – I’m of the mindset that switching to a Linux OS can save your law office a good amount of $$$$$$. This savings will come from lower software costs, lower costs related to the lifetime ownership of your computers, improved security, and improved efficiency. In other words, Linux can help a lawyer to get more out of his or her computing infrastructure. This, in turn, will help them to look like this:

money and computer

While those left using Windows or a Mac are left looking like this:

empty wallet and computer

I’m guessing you’d rather look like the former.

I’ll be looking at several issues as part of my upcoming manifesto discussion on why your firm should use Linux as it’s operating system. Topics I’ll dive into include:

  • An explanation of what Linux is (I understand that many lawyers have not even heard of the OS)
  • Software options & compatibility issues for lawyers who switch to Linux
  • How using Linux leads to lower software costs, and lower lifetime ownership costs of a PC
  • How the switch will greatly improve law firm security
  • My recommendations for choosing which flavor of Linux to run in your firm

I’m sure that many reading this may be unsure of what I’m even talking about. Linux is an operating system that runs on computing devices just like Microsoft’s Windows or Apple’s Mac OS. The big difference is that Linux is an “open source” operating system. This means that instead of one private company owning the operating system, it is continuously maintained and updated by the larger software community. Developers donate their time to the improvement of Linux and they, in turn, often sell products or services which utilize the technology. Companies who devote resources to helping the furtherance of Linux include Intel, Samsung, IBM, and more. Several companies offer desktop computing versions of the operating system. This desktop software is always free of charge and all updates to it are also free. This means no more paying for an operating system when you buy a computer (the cost of of the OS is incorporated into the price when you buy a Windows machine or a Mac) and no more paying to upgrade.

While you may not realize it, you actually use Linux every day. This website is being brought to you by a Linux powered server (as are the overwhelming majority of websites you view on a daily basis) and all Android phones run on a variation of the OS. I’m writing this article from my laptop, which runs Linux. As I’ll be explaining over my next several articles, incorporating the use of Linux into your office is good for profits.

As part of this series I’ll be using Linux exclusively and won’t be booting into what I consider a slow-loading, virus attracting, overpriced malware magnet known as Windows. I’ll also show how you can make the switch with essentially no disruption to the way that you’re currently doing things.

I’ll close out this quick article with two questions. First, have you heard of Linux previously? I ask this because I know most attorneys aren’t technology geeks like myself (not everyone can be cool after all). Second, have you tried or considered using a flavor of Linux in your practice? Chime in through the comment form below.