Canonical's, Ubuntu is a widely popular open-source Linux distribution with eight years of maturity under its belt, and more than 20 million users. Of the roughly 5 percent of desktop OSs accounted for by Linux, at least one survey suggests that about half are Ubuntu. It comes with a wide assortment of open-source software packages such as Firefox, Chrome, Thunderbird, LibreOffice, and more, offering both individual and business users a pretty full suite of functionality.

The Ubuntu Software Center now houses more than 40,000 apps, ranging from games to productivity tools to educational resources. In addition, by usingWine, you can run Windows programs on top of Linux. Compared to Windows 8, Ubuntu's requirements, are much more modest. you will need only 512MB of RAM, plus 5GB on the hard drive. You'll also find versions such as Lubuntu and Xubuntu for lower-spec machines. In short, if hardware is a constraining factor for you, Ubuntu is most likely the better choice.

Ubuntu Linux comes with Linux Security Modules (LSM) installed by default. Other security-enhancing measures include chroot, seccomp, seccomp-bpf, and the newest addition—LinuX Containers (LXC). Canonical supports Active Directory as well, and Ubuntu Linux clients can join to an Active Directory Domain using third-party software such as Likewise Open or Centrify.

In addition, Canonical provides Landscape (Paid Software), an enterprise administrative tool of its own that can perform most Windows Active Directory tasks. Landscape presents an easy-to-use, browser-based control panel through which you can manage desktops, servers, and cloud instances.