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Introducing desktop Linux to our company

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  • Introducing desktop Linux to our company

    About a month ago, during a conversation with a manager in our IT division, I mentioned Linux. He was aware of Linux as a server OS, but didn't realize that it could also be used on the desktop. I should mention that we are a health insurance company, not an IT company. It seems odd to me, though, that an IT person would be unfamiliar with desktop Linux. Certainly, the technicians in our company are aware of it. So, I had another meeting with the IT manager and I brought along a Live CD. The meeting was too short to get into some things like the variety of GUI's available, but I did get the chance to show him LibreOffice and Skype for Linux and to mention that I can work remotely using Citrix, which has a Linux client. It's unlikely that anything will come of it soon, since the company just upgraded to Windoze 7, but he was looking for an alternative to Microsoft Office and liked the look of LibreOffice. Baby steps...

  • #2
    Now mention the words TCO, zero license cost, one day of training (provided by you of course, essentially for free for the co), and such training usually comes with tax perks too.

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    • #3
      Originally posted by curaga View Post
      Now mention the words TCO, zero license cost, one day of training (provided by you of course, essentially for free for the co), and such training usually comes with tax perks too.
      And remember to mention the driver nightmares when getting it to work with GDI-only enterprise printers, Windows shares, not being able to join Active Directory domains or push down Group Policies, etc etc.

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      • #4
        Certainly valid points. I disagree about the printer part - GDI printers were made as a cost-cutting measure, whereas enterprise printers usually come with PS and network support, complete opposite of that.

        Also, your users hate GP

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        • #5
          Make sure to point out that you will of course accept the firing when this goes wrong.

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          • #6
            Originally posted by Sonadow View Post
            And remember to mention the driver nightmares when getting it to work with GDI-only enterprise printers, Windows shares, not being able to join Active Directory domains or push down Group Policies, etc etc.
            Do you enjoy being a Microsoft chill? Enterprise printers works well with linux (basically just as well as with osx). Windows shares is natively supported on linux, to the point where you can replace your entire file server and AD server with Samba without windows users noticing (and yes, just as easily). Group policies have always been built into any linux box (although router firmwares tend to disable it), it is windows that needs it added on as an after thought through AD. Integrating GP seemlessly (with single sign on) into a AD set-up requires work, but so does any advanced server setup. In a pure linux environment, this is a non-issue. Documentation is however easily available: https://www.redhat.com/resourcelibra...tive-directory

            There are real issues moving over to linux desktops, but you seem only interested in spreading FUD rather than addressing the real problem points.

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            • #7
              The real question is whether the software needed to run the business will run on linux, because an office suite, VOIP, and remote desktop software is all fine and dandy but if you can't run the website or desktop application needed to do business well... then it's definitely not happening.

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              • #8
                Originally posted by Luke_Wolf View Post
                The real question is whether the software needed to run the business will run on linux, because an office suite, VOIP, and remote desktop software is all fine and dandy but if you can't run the website or desktop application needed to do business well... then it's definitely not happening.
                Enterprise software is often in java, which runs everywhere. I can do my work on Linux@home just as well as on Windows@work.
                Sure, some businesses can't live without Macs or Windows, but probably 80% can be migrated without issues.

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by scottishduck View Post
                  Make sure to point out that you will of course accept the firing when this goes wrong.
                  Hehe. That's why I've never promoted Linux at work - whether officially or unofficially. Because I saw what happened to those who did.

                  People aren't generous. They don't remember the good part - that you suggested them a nice lightweight OS with many benefits (like easy keeping all applications up to date via package system). But they certainly remember that something somewhere went wrong and they'll blame it squarely on you.

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by scottishduck View Post
                    Make sure to point out that you will of course accept the firing when this goes wrong.
                    If that's true, why don't certified professionals of the buggy, incumbent OS get fired every day?

                    Because if anything I'd say the reverse is true: the buggy OS causes endless problems requiring perpetual maintenance, that keeps certified admins always in demand, keeps providers of certifications and training in business, and so people continue to be educated in it.

                    A well designed Linux/BSD solution might just work as intended without needing an employee to look after it - you could put yourself out of a job! Well-designed UNIX solutions might be found still in service from 20 years ago.

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                    • #11
                      Rolling a business over from Microsoft based solutions needs to be done carefully. If done correctly, the people behind it will only secure their jobs.

                      Start with servers, move them over to platform independent solutions. One service at the time, making sure the transition is smooth and take what ever time is necessary to do it right. Do *not* rush it. This move alone will make a big impact on your TCO, providing the confidence to move over to clients. A well designed server set-up is critical, and must be in place before any migration takes place.

                      Start off with pilot users on linux,. Chances are you already have some linux enthusiasts in the company willing to be test pilots. They will typically not hang you out to dry.

                      Make sure you have a rock solid set-up before rolling out to regular users. The roll-out should only be based on willing users (not necessarily enthusiasts). Do not force people away from their desktop. Simply ensure that the experience on linux is just as good as on windows, and allow the last die hards to keep their excel spreadsheets and fancy powerpoints, even quickly roll back users who complain. For those who do not complain, still make Microsoft office available through terminal services should they need it. We already know that incompatibilities caused by Microsoft office formats is by far the main obstacle in a well designed migration. In addition there may of course be special applications only available on windows. After years, you may consider forcing the last die hards over. But only when you are certain that it will not disrupt daily operations.

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                      • #12
                        Anyone use Samba4 or OpenXChange?

                        I've been vaguely aware of Samba4 and OpenChange, which is an Exchange-compatible email server product. Has anyone used either of these in a test or production environment?

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by dashcloud View Post
                          I've been vaguely aware of Samba4 and OpenChange, which is an Exchange-compatible email server product. Has anyone used either of these in a test or production environment?
                          Samba's been around for ages and is very trustworthy. Don't expect a drop-in AD replacement though. You'll need your own test environment and migrating from AD will probably take a fair amount of effort.

                          No clue about OpenChange. IMO, if your company uses Outlook you need to bite the bullet and buy Exchange. And without Outlook Exchange is a waste of time. There are much more lightweight and easy to configure solutions if you need only e-mail.

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