Question for you. If you are a small business (upto say 25 users) and you need a server to share files and printers would you go down the Windows or Linux route?
If you had asked me this question two days ago I would have said if you weren’t on a domain then Linux is the way to go. But after trying to set up a Ubuntu 12.04 file and print server for a client for the last two days (yes two days!!) I am beginning to think otherwise. The file sharing went fine. I installed samba and then set up the permissions as required and then mapped the shared drive to the Windows machines. Not a problem.
The problem came when I tried to set up the printer. The samba configuration files were checked (and rechecked) and had no errors but no matter what I tried I could not share the printer successfully across the network. After a lot of head scratching and cursing I think I have finally found the problem – drivers. The one big downfall with Linux is hardware drivers (it is getting better though) and especially print drivers.
So not only did it make me look bad it also cost my client money as it took me longer to sort out the issues. In hindsight more research was needed to double check that the printer was supported but in this case the manufacturer stated that it did support Linux for this particular printer. If this was Windows (and it hurts me to say this) it would have just worked!!
I will be honest and say in future if I can’t guarantee that a printer will work with Linux then I will be installing Windows based file and print servers, whether it be on a domain with Windows Server 2012 (when released), Windows Server 2008 R2 or Small Business Server 2011 or on a workgroup with Windows 7 Professional.
If the client only needs file sharing then Linux is definitely the way the go.
What do you think?
About the Author
Hi I am Chris Wakefield the owner of ComTech IT Support. I provide Windows and Linux based IT Support, laptop repairs and computer repairs to both business and personal clients in and around Stirling.
For a list of what I can offer you why not visit my website www.comtech247.net where you will find a list of my services, testimonials, blog and much more.