Linux as a business desktop

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Linux as a business desktop

Postby jaluka » Wed Feb 01, 2006 7:53 am

I am a systems engineer for a large manufacturer of network equipment. My specilisation is in network and systems security and so I originally installed Linux as a second bootable partition on my corporate laptop in order to use the vast range of security tools available. Over time however I started using it more and more and since loading Crossover office and using Evolution connector I very seldom boot into Windows. I have now used it (Fedora Core 3) as my primary system for over a year and have had negligible issues with it. Apart from a few bug bears such as the inability to use my Vodfone GPRS card and sync up with my blackberry it has been superbly stable and whats more absolutely secure. Whilst my collegues have been beset with the normal range of Windows problems that keep our internal IT staff in a job, I simply just coast from day to day.

I am trying to convince our internal IT to consider it as a viable alternative and would like to hear from anyone who has had a similar experience. I am not interested in home use, as clearly it has a large following here, only business use.

Thanks
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Postby jaluka » Fri Feb 03, 2006 3:10 pm

Hmmm...77 views and not one response, maybe Bill Gates is right, Linux may not be ready for the business and maybe it is just an OS for geeks and hobbyists. There again we live in a country that clings onto an ancient Roman system of measurement so maybe the fact that other European countries are more acceptive of new things e.g. Linux in business, should not be surprising.
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Re: Linux as a business desktop

Postby MartyBartfast » Fri Feb 03, 2006 3:28 pm

Well I viewed it and would be generally supportive but you said:

jaluka wrote: would like to hear from anyone who has had a similar experience. I am not interested in home use,
Thanks


so that rules me out, and probably most others in here.
I think that some of the other Linux mags available are more geared towards business users than LXF.
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RE: Re: Linux as a business desktop

Postby jaluka » Fri Feb 03, 2006 3:53 pm

Yes, you are right and this was because I was/am trying to find out if others are finding it possible or impossible to introduce Linux into their working environment. I wanted to use this information to provide weight to my argument for the adoption of Linux in my company.

Personally I have been using it since 1994, a time when you had to download about 20 floppy images over slow 64K lines. As such I am fully aware that there are many like me who enjoy the intricacies (frustrations) of the OS, however this clearly does not help my arguement but only further adds weight to Bill Gates's message.
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RE: Re: Linux as a business desktop

Postby MartyBartfast » Fri Feb 03, 2006 4:04 pm

Well I hope I don't get banned for saying this but I think "Linux User" is more likely to be of more use to you, although I don't think they've got forums like this, and they're not nearly as nice as the peeps at LXF towers (grovel, grovel). However I know that they have previously done articles about business migrations (although it's a looooong time since I used to read it).

Might be worth browsing some of their back issues.
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RE: Re: Linux as a business desktop

Postby Nigel » Fri Feb 03, 2006 4:29 pm

I'm using Linux as one of my desktops at work...

I work for a company that produces software, mostly for Windows (so I have to have that available), but also for Unix, including Solaris & Linux.
I am now doing all my email & browsing on the Linux box, also all my scanning, and am gradually switching all my word processing over as well (it helps that I use OpenOffice.org). One reason is to free up my Windows machine for the MS development environment (which I actually quite like).

We also run Linux on our fileserver.

But I'm probably not the sort of case-study you're looking for either, as my job is naturally multi-platform (I desperately need a bigger desk ;)).
Hope this helps,

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Postby jaluka » Fri Feb 03, 2006 5:42 pm

Nigel, thanks this is useful. Are you using an MS-exchange server or traditional pop/smtp mail system? I have found Evolution provide me everything I need except for the fact that it does not cache and so I cannot work offline.

I have tried using Openoffice but have found that in my job 99% compatible is just not good enough which is why I use MS-Office on codeweavers.
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Postby Nigel » Fri Feb 03, 2006 7:37 pm

jaluka - I use Thunderbird & pop/smtp for email - we're a small company so we don't bother with Exchange or even sendmail, we just use the mail servers our ISP provides. I believe that you can link Evolution up to an MS Exchange server if you really want to, but it's overkill for me.
Hope this helps,

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Postby Rhakios » Fri Feb 03, 2006 7:47 pm

jaluka wrote:Hmmm...77 views and not one response,


And how do I know what it's about without reading it? The topic title is a simple statement "Linux as a business desktop", with no indication of whether it is offering information, opinion, or a request for help/information.

Also, the tendency to use the next topic navigation button means I will pass through many threads that are of no especial interest.
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Postby jaluka » Fri Feb 03, 2006 9:09 pm

Thanks Nigel. I am using Evolution with MS-exchange and the connector works very well. All features function perfectly such as Calendar, Notes, Address Book etc. However as said earlier the inability to cache messages is a bit of a pain.

Overall I have found that Linux is incredibly stable and I have been completly safe from the miriad of viruses and other nasties that affect my Windows using colleagues. I must say however that my MAC using colleagues seem to be a bit better off in that they too have a superbly stable platform with lots of nice sofware and total compatibility with MS formats. Pity there aren't too many business users on this site, I will take the advice given and try one of the other Linux forums.
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Postby linuxgirlie » Sun Feb 05, 2006 9:39 am

Depends if you class Schools as business users, which in my opinion are harder to setup and look after than a business system....
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Postby sjeapes » Mon Feb 06, 2006 12:12 pm

The recent LUG radio episode featured quite a balanced discussion about whether Linux was suitable for business use. It was specific to one of the presenters companies so might not be totally relavent but I found it interesting.
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Postby wyliecoyoteuk » Mon Feb 06, 2006 8:49 pm

We use a redhat 7.3 (soon to be 9) server for our CRM package, Commonsense, running an IBM UniVerse backend. (The old versions are IBM support's fault). It also serves our document storage needs via Samba.

We also run several Suse10 desktops in our customer services dept.
Suse10 on our service dept Kiosk machine is used by workshop staff and engineers to read Manuals and partlists in PDF format, email and web search,etc, plus it serves PHPProjekt over apache for IT and delivery staff installation calendar planning.
Of our 20 or so users, only about 5 actually need the capability of MSOffice, and we have moved most of the others to OOo. (Actually there is only one who needs it really, but there are some apps we run with links to word etc, for file archiving, and one user has her own Macros).

Our Company Laptops all came with Windows preinstalled, so we left it there for the salesmen and their PDAs. Our Sertvice laptops dual boot windows and Suse10.

In general, our Suse desktops are no problem. Their users use them for email, web, the CRM package which runs in one or more terminal screens, word processing, spreadsheets etc.
We are installing an SBS 2003 server later this month, so we will probably start using the connector for Evolution.
Unfortunately, we have several (slowly being slimmed down though) packages that are windows server and workstation only, such as Sage, ACT!, Filestream, ESPOS,etc. We also run a Print/Copyshop which needs common apps like Photoshop, AutoCAD etc, for outside customers files, and has a Mac for the same reason.

But the main reason that we are still with Windows, is that most of our customers are, and we support the devices that we sell on our customer's networks.
Thus we need to use the software inhouse so that we can keep the expertise to support it in the field.

Ironically, the MFDs we sell all run NetBSD or Linux as their OS :roll:
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Postby jaluka » Tue Feb 07, 2006 1:06 am

Hi Linuxgirlie, yes you are not wrong there, schools tend to be a bit of a nightmare and their support personal sometimes leave a lot to be desired. In a previous life I spent some time looking at security solutions for schools, councils and libraries, so know first hand. Surprisingly though at the time they were looking at using a open source authentication/security system called Shibboleth.....don't quite know if this ever got off the ground.

Wylie, thank you very much for the detailed feedback. Connector works a treat, but as I have said previously, it does not cache offline and so this may be an irritation for users who like to generate emails offline and then batch send when they connect. I once read a link that stated that if you hit the "work offline" tab it would start caching all emails to the hard drive. The link said it would take some time.....I left it for and entire weekend but no joy. Another thing is the lack of an easy to configure VPN client that works well with a variety of vendors IPsec implementations. I fear OpenSwan doesn't quite cut the mustard in this department. I use an SSL client which works extremely well so fortunately do not have to worry about that aspect, but still it would be nice to have.
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Postby linuxgirlie » Tue Feb 07, 2006 1:37 pm

their support personal sometimes leave a lot to be desired.


I'll try not to take that personally :wink:
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