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Can Windows, OS X and Fedora All Work Together?

timothy posted more than 3 years ago | from the like-to-buy-the-world-a-coke dept.

Operating Systems 375

greymond writes "In my ever growing job responsibilities, I've recently been tasked with documenting our organization's IT infrastructure, primarily focusing on cost analysis of our hardware leases and software purchases. This is something that has never been done in our organization before and while it's moving along slowly, I'm already seeing some places where we could make improvements. Once completed, I see this as an opportunity to bring up the topic of migrating the majority of our office from Windows 7 to Linux and from Exchange to Gmail. However, this would result in three departments each running a different system: Windows, OS X, and most likely Fedora. Has anyone worked in or tried to set up an environment like this? What roadblocks did you run into? Is this really feasible or should I just continue to focus on the cutbacks that don't require OS changes? (The requirement for having three different systems is that the vast majority of our administration, who rely solely on an install of Microsoft Windows, Word and Excel, are savvy enough that if they came in and saw Gnome running on Fedora with Open Office they'd pick it up fast. However, our marketing department is composed entirely of Apple systems, and the latest Adobe Creative Suite doesn't seem to all work under Wine. The biggest issue is with the Sales department though, as they rely on a proprietary sales platform that is Windows only — and generally, sales personal give the biggest push back when it comes to organizational changes.)"

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Union (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34200820)

Depends on what the union rules say.

Why? (4, Interesting)

0racle (667029) | more than 3 years ago | (#34200836)

Why do you want to get rid of Exchange for GMail? What has it not been doing for you? I'm at a small company, and we have Macs, Windows and Fedora desktops. The only changes we've made was removing Office for Mac and replacing it with Mail.app on the Macs and using OpenOffice on the Macs and Linux desktops.

All tied together with the an Active Directory on Server 2003 and an Exchange server.

Re:Why? (4, Insightful)

RightSaidFred99 (874576) | more than 3 years ago | (#34201046)

Exactly. If you've already sunk the costs into Exchange, it's very difficult to think of many good reasons to go to Gmail. Frankly, for desktops, the same holds for Windows 7.

I don't know all the details but if this is just your personal love of OSS then I would recommend you put your feelings aside and make decisions as a professional and not as a fanboy.

Re:Why? (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34201490)

Because exchange will continue to cost you money. Just because you sunk money into the initial purchase of exchange doesn't mean you're done spending money on it. A mail server in general will cost you a lot of man hours just dealing with spam alone. Many setups I've seen have another blade that does nothing but handle spam. So now you have to pay someone to maintain two boxes and pay a subscription fee for your spam filter. Lets not forget the price of deploying and maintaining Outlook either. Nothing but a constant PITA maintenance drain. We used to play that game. Life is easy with Gmail.

Re:Why? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34201514)

Wow, the MS astroturf army is out in force. Can't anyone with experience doing this answer the submitter's question?

Re:Why? (0, Troll)

kiddygrinder (605598) | more than 3 years ago | (#34201052)

because any mail server is better than exchange?

Re:Why? (1)

not already in use (972294) | more than 3 years ago | (#34201200)

You don't get out often do you?

Re:Why? (2, Informative)

jez9999 (618189) | more than 3 years ago | (#34201146)

Why do you want to get rid of Exchange for GMail?

Outlook's a horrid mail client. I'd actually say that Outlook 2010 is significantly worse than 2003.

Re:Why? (3, Insightful)

Mongoose Disciple (722373) | more than 3 years ago | (#34201196)

Outlook's a horrid mail client. I'd actually say that Outlook 2010 is significantly worse than 2003.

Yet, it's pretty much the best* client for scheduling/calendaring/meetings. Most businesses care a lot about this.

*Note that best != good.

Re:Why? (4, Insightful)

Monkeedude1212 (1560403) | more than 3 years ago | (#34201198)

It's also odd that he wants to switch everything to Linux when it sounds like he's got an entire Microsoft Shop going with the exception of Macs in one department.

If you aren't a Linux Guru - I don't see the point of creating a headache for yourself by trying to switch to Linux when the Microsoft Foundation is already there.

What he saves in licensing costs will ultimately be lost in troubleshooting because he doesn't appear to have the skills necessary to work this out properly - if you don't know how, than I don't suggest trying it out.

Re:Why? (2, Informative)

kiwimate (458274) | more than 3 years ago | (#34201486)

Agreed. I followed the link back to your original post from June where you said it'd been a while since you worked this much with Linux, and it sounds like you've already got your hands full. Seriously, I applaud your desire to show some initiative (and I wish you worked here for that!), but be very careful you don't bite off more than you can chew.

There are several posts here already asking you why you want to do this, considering the sunk costs in Exchange/Windows 7, so I won't repeat that lot. But if you're on Windows 7, that would seem to indicate you've only recently upgraded, and now you're talking about doing another migration. Think about the reaction from management to that, and have a really good justification if you do go that way. Lesson #1 in business technology case studies is your options always should include the "do nothing" approach, and consider the pros and cons. There'll be some disadvantages, of course, but it's a useful exercise in figuring out what the advantages are that your recommended course of action needs to beat.

The one other question I had which I didn't see answered in your June story was how big the company is, and how big a help desk you have. You're now talking about a significant increase in the technologies that your help desk will have to support. That's not easy or cheap. (Or are you the help desk? In which case, see my first paragraph about it sounds like you've got your hands full.)

I really don't want to sound negative, but these stories come up on /. from time to time and the comments always fly fairly thick and fast asking "why". Given the enthusiasm prevalent on this site for Linux and Gmail and so forth, that should hold some weight.

pessimistic view (0, Offtopic)

alphastrike (1938886) | more than 3 years ago | (#34200842)

The question is: Can people work together as a whole toward a single goal? Exhibit A: Our current government system(unadulterated pessimism) Exhibit B: The great wall of China So I think the answer is yes, if there is a Overlord with substantial credibility threatening all the subordinates with death and destruction.

Re:pessimistic view (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34200896)

Except that exhibit B was built using slave labor.

Re:pessimistic view (1)

the_one_wesp (1785252) | more than 3 years ago | (#34200934)

Hence,

yes, if there is an Overlord with substantial credibility threatening all the subordinates with death and destruction.

Re:pessimistic view (1)

Minwee (522556) | more than 3 years ago | (#34200946)

But they all worked together, didn't they?

Re:pessimistic view (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34201304)

They worked together with themselves to prevent themselves from having to work with 'those mongols'.

Does that count as 'together'?

lol CAPTCHA answers: counts

Re:pessimistic view (1)

Grishnakh (216268) | more than 3 years ago | (#34201270)

Exhibit C: The US manned space program (especially the part starting at the beginning of manned launches and culminating in the expeditions to the Moon, not so much the parts involving the Space Shuttle).

No slave labor used there, just a very generous amount of funding and political will.

However, that kind of stuff is mostly absent these days in America.

For a corporation considering how to manage its IT infrastructure, and thinking of migrating much of it to Linux, the picture is a little more like the overlord scenario, since there is no democracy in a corporation, however all the managers involved have to buy into the plan for it to work. Somehow, I seriously doubt that's going to happen in this scenario. From what I've read, it seems like the more successful Linux deployments involve fairly small organizations, where there isn't much chance for some Microsoft-loyal manager to throw a wrench into the works. Linux advocates like to point to two examples that I can recall off the top of my head: the Ernie Ball guitar string company, and the City of Largo, Florida. Neither of these is exactly a large company or organization, to my knowledge.

Yes, you can do just about everything on a Linux desktop in an office that you'd do on a Windows desktop, but the problem is getting everyone to agree to it and not cause a giant upset that forces the higher-ups to change their minds. In a small organization, that's not hard: in the Ball case, the guy who ran everything decided "no more Microsoft" and that was that, and his couple dozen employees (or whatever) just had to go with it. The City of Largo probably wasn't much different. One Linux-savvy IT guy wrote up a plan showing the benefits, the Mayor read it and liked it, and the couple dozen office-bound city employees just had to go with it.

In a larger organization, I don't think it's nearly as easy. There's different departments, with different needs, and different managers all with their own opinions. Unless the top executives are all unwavering in their support for the plan, they'll be swayed by these managers' naysaying. This also happens to be the reason why big companies are so non-agile, and so slow to adapt to new conditions, compared to small companies. Too many chefs in the kitchen, so to speak.

hahaha (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34200844)

Drop Exchange to go to Gmail?

dolt

Re:hahaha (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34200940)

You can laugh all you want. But unless you have a reason why one should not, I would consider you a troll!

Re:hahaha (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34201004)

It depends. If he encrypts EVERYTHING that goes to gmail servers, then moving away from Exchange makes perfect sense.

Re:hahaha (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34201204)

I'll give you a perfectly valid reason: your corporate email should never live on servers outside your control.

Re:hahaha (1)

kermyt (99494) | more than 3 years ago | (#34201506)

Well actually... since google has almost perfect uptime and availability moving to gmail servers should make alot of sense. Unless of course you are committing crimes as a corporation and need to be able to delete large chunks of emails in a hurry before the federal investigators get ahold of it... then I would have to agree that google is a bad choice. There is one really good reason though that I can see for keeping internal mail exchangers. if your internet goes down then your intranet mail does as well. However in a large multi location operation that can happen anyway.

Re:hahaha (2, Insightful)

nizo (81281) | more than 3 years ago | (#34201050)

When was the last time Gmail was taken down by a virus? Or a power outage? Or a hardware failure?

Re:hahaha (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34201116)

When was the last time Gmail was taken down by a virus? Or a power outage? Or a hardware failure?

http://www.pcworld.com/article/160153/gmail_outage_marks_sixth_downtime_in_eight_months.html

Re:hahaha (2, Informative)

CannonballHead (842625) | more than 3 years ago | (#34201124)

Virus, power outage, or hardware failure? Not sure. Unexpected outages? Well, at the very least, 2009. I'm sure there have been at least local outages in 2010, too.

Re:hahaha (2, Interesting)

nizo (81281) | more than 3 years ago | (#34201210)

Now the fun part starts: how much would it cost your company to make your mail service as reliable as Gmail? And from the fine article posted by the AC above:

It may sound bad, but Gmail does appear to have a reasonable amount of uptime, all considered. Following last fall's series of outages, a Google rep told the IDG News Service that Gmail suffers only about 10 to 15 minutes of downtime per month, giving it an average uptime rate of 99.9 percent. He noted that, according to some independent reports, on-premise e-mail systems tend to see twice the amount of offline time--anywhere from 30 to 60 minutes, on average, every 30 days.

Is Gmail for everyone? No, but it certainly is worth looking at for some companies.

Re:hahaha (1)

CannonballHead (842625) | more than 3 years ago | (#34201392)

Oh, I'd agree it's worth looking at for some companies. No arguments there. It sounded like you were implying they "never" went down or something odd like that... which, apparently, you weren't. :)

Re:hahaha (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34201528)

Oh, takes about two hours. But I actually know how the fuck to install and configure Exchange. In fact..... lets see....... hmmm..... oh look the logs I take say 20 minutes a YEAR and that is only for service packs. Oh and because I did some capacity planning the usual defrag hasn't been needed because the databases I run have large amounts of growth room and hence defragmentation is minimal.

FFS, /. should shut the ever living fuck up about Exchange, most of the whiny bitches dont know shit about it. Or servers for that matter of any kind.

Re:hahaha (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34201252)

Honestly, about twice a year. Last three serious outages were May 2009, Sept 2009, Apr 2010, come to think of it, they're about due for another one.

That's more often than our Exchange servers have offline.

Re:hahaha (1)

davepermen (998198) | more than 3 years ago | (#34201544)

gmail itself, 2009. countrywide mobile data connection: two days ago. the whole day. local problems? all the time. slow connection because overseas cables got cut? last year for weeks. if you have your stuff in your local network, there is only so much that can go wrong. if it's hosted on some foreign servers in a foreign country that you can't control anything about, possible problems are suddenly much more. the cloud: the biggest fault the computing industry ever created. the wrongest direction we can move to. because in the end, if there's a problem, it's still my fault, and i have to fix it. but most of the time, i won't be able to, anymore. bosses won't like that.

You are doing it wrong. (4, Insightful)

140Mandak262Jamuna (970587) | more than 3 years ago | (#34200846)

You dont actually migrate users out of Windows to Linux and out of Exchange to gmail. You make a lot of presentations and charts etc with lots of bogus numbers, with just enough credibility to convince your local Microsoft sales guys think you are serious. Once they give you some discounts, you mention that as a big savings achieved by you in your annual report and try to wangle boni [1] and/or raises. Then rinse, lather and repeat for the next year or in the next job.

[1] Glossary:

Boni: plural of Bonus.

Re:You are doing it wrong. (4, Funny)

rvw (755107) | more than 3 years ago | (#34200962)

You dont actually migrate users out of Windows to Linux and out of Exchange to gmail. You make a lot of presentations and charts etc with lots of bogus numbers, with just enough credibility to convince your local Microsoft sales guys think you are serious. Once they give you some discounts, you mention that as a big savings achieved by you in your annual report and try to wangle boni [1] and/or raises. Then rinse, lather and repeat for the next year or in the next job.

[1] Glossary:

Boni: plural of Bonus.

Hi! I'm Boni of Malta [facebook.com] . I'm single, and I want to exchange bones and stuff. Please be my friend. I'm on facebook! Woof!!!

ask slashdot: HR department (5, Funny)

MichaelKristopeit161 (1934886) | more than 3 years ago | (#34200850)

i recently hired an IT staff that outsources their job responsibilities to online chat message boards. has anyone else had experience in replacing such a staff?

Re:ask slashdot: HR department (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34201426)

i dunno, but i THINK you won't find such a replacement staff on slashdot :)

Can Windows, OS X and Fedora All Work Together? (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34200856)

Yes.

Where I am now (1)

betterunixthanunix (980855) | more than 3 years ago | (#34200860)

I am at a university, and my department's IT guys have to deal with Windows, Mac OS X, Fedora, Ubuntu, and even a few old Solaris machines. They maintain a wiki of tips for accomplishing various tasks, and for the most part, users who do not use the default configuration (dual-boot Windows and Ubuntu) are on their own. The biggest issues are probably the file servers (NFS is only allowed for the default Ubuntu install, Samba for everything else) and printing (maintaining both Windows and Unix print queues is apparently difficult). Of course, we do not really have "Enterprise" IT needs; strictly speaking, we do not even need domain logins, except for a few servers, and machines can be registered on a per-owner basis (unregistered MAC addresses do not get IPs); security requirements are not very high, a firewall that blocks everything but SSH is enough, for the most part.

Re:Where I am now (2)

nine-times (778537) | more than 3 years ago | (#34201302)

The biggest issues are probably the file servers (NFS is only allowed for the default Ubuntu install, Samba for everything else)

Is that right? I am pretty sure that Ubuntu Desktop can view Windows file shares with the default install. Or do you mean on the server end? Yes, you might need to install Samba in order to have Ubuntu file servers support Windows clients, but it's not particularly hard.

The bigger and more annoying problem that I've had with file servers supporting different client operating systems has been that the different systems treat metadata differently. Different operating systems have different methods of dealing with file permissions. Moving a file might not keep your old timestamp. Windows puts Desktop.ini and Thumbs.db files all over the place, and OSX puts .DS_store files and resource forks everywhere. Moving OSX files from a non-OSX system can still cause you to lose resource forks, which isn't generally a huge problem, but it's annoying.

printing (maintaining both Windows and Unix print queues is apparently difficult).

Again, my recollection was that I was able to set up Ubuntu desktop to use Windows print queues. Maybe I'm forgetting something.

Step aside, I can answer this one (4, Insightful)

BattleApple (956701) | more than 3 years ago | (#34200866)

No.

why? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34200878)

If it works, don't fix it. While you do pay more for windows licenses, you pay a lot less for IT support staff since everyone and their grandmother knows windows. You'll also have training time and an increase in support calls from employees who don't know linux. Some employees will actually make an effort to not learn linux because they are comfortable with windows and don't like change.
You also need to consider the risk of moving your mail and collaboration off the local network onto the web. When you do that, you no longer can control uptime.

Re:why? (5, Insightful)

gothzilla (676407) | more than 3 years ago | (#34200942)

Something I've learned as an old IT guy is that employee comfort is very under-rated. How comfortable an employee is with their work space is critical to productivity. I'm talking everything from the chair they sit in to what's on their monitor. If they're comfortable with windows and office and become uncomfortable with gmail and open office then you'll just kill productivity and whatever money you saved will be meaningless.

Re:why? (3, Insightful)

Sir_Sri (199544) | more than 3 years ago | (#34201110)

That was the great weakness of the ribbon in the new office. Yes, once you learn it it's much more productive. But people are generally too scared of their computer to want to learn the new stuff to benefit from it. And it's a fight that IT support staff aren't ever going to win. Ever. If engineering comes down or management says, hey look at al this cool new/easier stuff we can do with it people might comply. In my experience it's best from management. When someone who everyone knows is a mindless suite with an MBA shows how they can do something that actually looks good, well, everyone else figures it can't be that bad.

People's expectations from home matter too, and how much they can fix on their own. If I don't know where something is, but the guy in the cubicle next to me does I can usually save IT some time teaching me. If on the other hand you use linux, which virtually no one knows, and figuring out even basic things REQUIRES an IT guy, because no one who does any of the actual work has linux at home, well, you're adding considerably to your support costs. Then you get into problems where things don't work, either on your end or for the customer. If you didn't pay for it, they have no obligation or desire to support you. If you paid 5000 bucks a seat for a piece of software you should have in your contract who you contact about things not working and they can go all the way up and down the chain to find people who can fix it, including devs. If you have a problem with something open source, pay someone to be an in house developer or pay for.. wait wasn't the point to not have to pay someone?

Re:why? (1)

Skarecrow77 (1714214) | more than 3 years ago | (#34201356)

I've been into computers for 20 years now, and an "IT professional" for well on a decade. I've been there for every major interface change microsoft has made since they became king of the desktop... ...and I despise the ribbon more than any other single one.

Re:why? (0, Flamebait)

davepermen (998198) | more than 3 years ago | (#34201492)

congrats for failing. the ribbon is great. but mostly those "20 years in business and i can't get my head around new things anymore so i have to diss it massively" guys are why people still think it's stupid. but yeah, as an it guy, you would have to sit down, spend a bit of time, read up on it, especially on the WHY, and then be there for your customers, when they ask. once you know WHY it is how it is, you will love it. but old grumpy it guys that forgot that it is about change, about new stuff, about revolution sometimes, they are a massive blockade today. and sadly, most of them sit in the higher positions of businesses.

Re:why? (1)

jedidiah (1196) | more than 3 years ago | (#34201156)

No. The corporate mail system is usually the single biggest hinderance to productivity. This is especially true of large integrated shovelware packages created by large corporations.

Stuff like Exchange is something you largely tolerate because you have no choice.

Re:why? (1)

phek (791955) | more than 3 years ago | (#34201246)

it's too bad you're getting a negative score cause what you said is very true. even with myself, if i have to use some other linux distro than the one i'm used to/like, my productivity goes down.

The key here to migrating people away from windows (or any os) is let them do it at their own pace. The only people that you should force to switch are your low level people who should only be using their computer for their specific job (such as people doing phone support). If you set it up correctly and their system is crashing less than their previous system and it's running much faster they'll quickly forget about not using what they're comfortable with. Another thing you can do (which i did when migrating an old office of mine away from windows) is make sure their home directory is actually a network share (and login is done over the network) so that they can have the exact same interface no matter what computer they sit down at. That's one thing that's very noticeable to everyone in the office. Once others using the old system start having problems with their system again (eventually it will slow down as all windows systems do over time), they'll be interested in trying out the new systems.

Re:why? (1)

Johnny Mnemonic (176043) | more than 3 years ago | (#34201268)


Something I've learned as an old IT guy is that employee comfort is very under-rated.

That's very true. Moreover, as IT, it's not your decision to make those kinds of determinations wrt productivity. The best and most worthwhile things you can do: evaluate the alternatives. Reject the ones that are not feasible for good reason, eg cost too much, have security issues, data loss issues etc.

After you've sorted the crap out, you can determine the winner, and support that with training and support, etc. But it's not your job to force the other folks onto the preferred system--you should provide a federated way to communicate amongst any of the valid systems.

If the choice that you selected as primary really has benefit, the employees will migrate to it of their own accord. If cost is the biggest determinator, then it's really a problem for your financial dept or the management to require the change--and they will do it at their own speed and with their own priorities. But if you have selected a good robust system that has sufficient advantage over the others, the majority of users will migrate at their own speed, on their own terms when they finally get tired of not being able to do what they want to do.

Let the features speak for themselves.

I agree completely (2, Informative)

lullabud (679893) | more than 3 years ago | (#34201346)

Difference for the sake of difference is not progress. Unless you're improving something, don't force your users to waste time learning a new system. If you've already paid for software that people are getting use out of, just leave it alone. This is one thing that frustrates me with a lot of technology companies, they just innovate in circles, recreating existing features and rebranding the same old services, merely making things different and forcing their users to adapt to a new system that offers no significant benefit.

Employee productivity should be a major goal of any good corporate IT force. Not all problems have technological solutions, many have human solutions. You need to include the human factor in your problem solving, and if this means sending out an e-mail asking for feedback or walking around the office talking to folks about what problems they encounter and what features they don't understand, then do it.

This is a main difference between an IT department that people hate, and an IT department that people love.

+1 million, insightful (1)

copponex (13876) | more than 3 years ago | (#34201366)

My first question when a client asks for an upgrade is, "Why?"

If the answer is to have the latest version, I always tell them no. If the answer is to have another feature, I ask them to estimate how much time it will save their employees once it's integrated and in regular use. If you can rework a process to provide more quantitative information with real gains in productivity, then you're spending good money. If you get slightly shinier buttons with menus in different places, you may as well have flushed the money you paid for the upgrade and the money lost on changes in workflow down the toilet.

This has lost me a few jobs, but gained me more long term clients, and I don't have to deal with irate customers who are upset after spending tens of thousands of dollars for zero gains in productivity.

Re:why? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34201474)

You could get OO Writer runing on Windows, OSX, and Linux for starters. Before deploying, reconfigure Writer to look more like MS Office-- remove the document borders, change menus and toolbars. You also want to set the default fonts to Times and Arial. Most people don't even notice the difference. OO Impress is also pretty similar to Powerpoint.

OO Calc is a bit different from Excel in the way formulas are entered-- but most Excel users are more advanced. Expect some spreadsheets to break.

The most problematic is the switch to gmail-- it looks very different from Outlook. But many have done the switch. Don't forget the shared Calendar that is built-in in Outlook.

Re:why? (1)

Almahtar (991773) | more than 3 years ago | (#34201158)

While you no longer *can* control uptime, you also no longer *have to*, and I'm pretty sure for smaller organizations the tradeoff is worth it.

Ideas (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34200908)

First off, I really don't think you want to deploy Fedora in an office environment. It's unstable, has a short support life and is not well suited to end-users. If you're a Red Hat type of person, I'd recommend trying CentOS or Scientific Linux. Much longer life spans, much more stable and still free.

Otherwise, get one or two users from each department to test-run the new OS you put in front of them. It's all well and good for you to say, "We can replace A with B and it can do the same job," but your end-users will always find cases where A and B are not compatible or one lacks the features of another. So make sure at least one user in each department tries your new solution before you plan to roll it out to anyone else.

Why drop Windows 7? (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34200938)

What is Windows 7 failing to do for you that Linux will improve upon without causing problems in different areas? I find it hard to believe that a business that already paid for Windows 7 is making a smart business decision by dropping it in favor of Linux (or even Mac OS X).

Changing to Linux because you can is just stupid. Good luck following through with your "savvy" users actually using Linux on a daily basis without a lot of trouble. You're going to need it...

Re:Why drop Windows 7? (5, Funny)

AnonymousClown (1788472) | more than 3 years ago | (#34201168)

Because if he puts Linux and OSX in the environment, he now has paid experience deploying those OSes and he can then put that on his resume thereby improving his job prospects. Because employers want those ridiculously long laundry list of skills these days.

He also needs to get some Java, C#, C++, SQL, Oracle, SQL Server, Perl, VBA, .NET, Visual Studio, and iPhone coding under his belt too or otherwise he'll be unemployable.

Kids - be ruthless in building your skills laundry list because employers want you to have it all and you're competing with people from all over the World who'll work for much less than you will. Also, make sure you're in management by 35 or you'll be working at Starbucks - if you're lucky.

What else can we help you with? (5, Insightful)

GPLDAN (732269) | more than 3 years ago | (#34200948)

Post pictures of your girlfriend, and we'll tell you if you should propose. Give a snapshot of your kitchen, and we'll make redecorating suggestions. Post your eTrade login and password, I'll take a shot at helping you revise your portfolio. Thinking of buying a house?


We know nothing about your company, what it does, what the people are like. We have no fucking clue what you should do, because every situation is different. If there is one decent bit of advice to be had, and this comes from the Veep level with 20 years in:
1. Everything starts with the directory system and
2. Calendaring derives from it.

My input (-1, Troll)

SphericalCrusher (739397) | more than 3 years ago | (#34200954)

I don't know what kind of company you work for that you can just switch exchange to gmail. I would highly decline that idea, since it's much more professional to have a @companyname e-mail over @gmail. I don't know if you are currently using or plan to use active directory, but over multiple OSs, it won't always work. For exchange though, it will. Your exchange server can be easily configured in pretty much any OS to some degree, which would allow all of your users in either Linux, Mac, or Windows to have access to their e-mails, contacts, and calendars. As far as networking, there's also various other things you can do to make it work correctly. You can setup samba to allow the OSs to share files correctly. Wine also helps with allowing Windows applications to be installed on Linux and Mac, but you just have to be careful of some programs that use this -- they may appear to open up and run correctly, but you may end up running into a weird permission issue that just can't be corrected. I don't know if I can safely say I would recommend having multiple operating systems. I'm a huge Linux fan, but as far as users go, I would leave the Windows 7 workstations since Linux has not progressed that much in the desktop environment. What you want to avoid at all costs is having a mess of a network to deal with... and it seems like if you are inexperienced (not saying you are), you can run into all kinds of problems.

Gmail allows @company-name addresses (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34201070)

You can get @company-name addresses using gmail. Have used such an email at a company in the past. It is not a free account, but it is cheap for what you get.

Re:My input (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34201100)

You can use gmail and have custom domain .. I would take gmail over Exchange in a heartbeat.

Re:My input (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34201126)

They're probably talking about using Google Apps - which gives you access to most google services (mail calender, docs), with user@yourdomain.com

Re:My input (3, Insightful)

jaxtherat (1165473) | more than 3 years ago | (#34201238)

Sorry mate, but some of the advice you give is rubbish:

- "more professional to have a @companyname e-mail over @gmail."

You do know you can use google apps for your own domain, right?

- "I don't know if you are currently using or plan to use active directory"

You do know that Active Directory is a requirement for Exchange, right?

Re:My input (1)

Grishnakh (216268) | more than 3 years ago | (#34201320)

This post shows why Slashdot needs a "-1 Uninformed" moderation. Doesn't everyone know by now that Google offers Gmail for corporate users with their own domain name? Obviously, it's not free like the @gmail.com service.

Re:My input (1)

nine-times (778537) | more than 3 years ago | (#34201360)

I would highly decline that idea, since it's much more professional to have a @companyname e-mail over @gmail.

I assume he's talking about Google Apps, and will be keeping the domain name. The bigger problem is the potential security risk of having someone else host your email.

I don't know if you are currently using or plan to use active directory, but over multiple OSs, it won't always work. For exchange though, it will. Your exchange server can be easily configured in pretty much any OS to some degree, which would allow all of your users in either Linux, Mac, or Windows to have access to their e-mails, contacts, and calendars.

Not sure what you're getting at here. Gmail definitely works across different platforms. If nothing else, you can use the web UI. There's even an Outlook plugin for Google Apps.

... Linux has not progressed that much in the desktop environment...

I can understand if you think Windows is still better, but Linux has been progressing.

The hurdles are not that big (1)

robmiracle (1938904) | more than 3 years ago | (#34200956)

With Windows Office 2010, I believe it now supports .odt files, so OpenOffice/Libre Office and Windows Office can share. The Mac's with Office 2008 cannot read odt files, but you can get OpenOffice/Libre Office for them. On the email front, I think there is a very good email program for Linux that will talk to exchange, but most exchange servers do IMAP anyway, so that shouldn't be a problem to keep Exchange around for email purposes. A couple of plugin's for Thunderbird and it can handle the exchange calendering features as well. Thunderbird also talks to Google Calendar so either email/calender system. It will be interesting to see what changes are coming to Ubuntu. Today I would recommend it over Fedora or CentOS for desktop use, but they are changing how the GUI works and that could either be a great thing or a really bad thing.

Short anwer: no (4, Funny)

H0p313ss (811249) | more than 3 years ago | (#34200970)

Long answer: Noooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo!

Re:Short anwer: no (2, Informative)

Mongoose Disciple (722373) | more than 3 years ago | (#34201170)

+1 to this.

OP: Can you get all those things to work together? Sure, technically it is possible. What you are naively not weighing is the office politics.

Will the people who work at the company hate and/or fire you? Bet on it. Understand that if there is any problem with (for example) GMail, and I mean any problem, up to and including any problem that would have happened the exact same way in Exchange, it will be your fault in the eyes of anyone who matters. Random VP can't play Minesweeper because you swapped his Windows 7 box for a Linux box? He will hate your guts. He will find reasons why the switch was a shitty business decision even if he has to fabricate them. He will share these reasons with people above your pay grade and you will never have a chance to defend yourself.

Will the IT people at the company attempt to kill you? Likely. This is still true if you're the IT department.

Are you seeing the forest, or the trees? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34200978)

As your responsibilities level up, so should your strategic view of the world in your organisation. Learn to factor in the less tangible costs of large-scale swapouts such as re-training initiatives, and the costs of the human factors (speaking to your users broadly is in my opinion, going to show you that they likely won't pick up the change well at all, try to figure out what you'd spend to fix that, and what runway you'd lose as a result). Understand whether "Exchange to Gmail?" is the right question to ask, or if "Our servers and people (and all our capital budget), to their servers and people (and our monthly, now operational budget)" is the right question. You can get into whether or not Gmail is good enough technically when you have that answer, and I'd encourage you to learn from and discuss with your peers - IT leaders of other businesses. And finally, this wouldn't be an organizational change. This would be a change to how IT delivers services to existing org units, how those are paid for, and who pays them. Ultimately Sales in a lot of companies is the linkage between you and customers, between costs and revenues. You won't beat them into submission, you'll have to sell them something better (well, in my experience that's easier).

Integrate Mac OS X & Linux auth. and file shar (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34200994)

See Serving Apples, http://magazine.redhat.com/2008/01/17/serving-apples-integrating-mac-os-x-clients-into-a-fedora-network/, for a description of one technique to integrate Mac OS X and Linux authorization, authentication and file sharing.

Windows (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34201010)

Sounds like Windows ticks all the boxes for the stuff you want to do. Why don't you try going to Windows instead?

flash in the pan (1)

bigtreeman (565428) | more than 3 years ago | (#34201024)

The OSs can, but can you make the people play nice, probably not.

Have the legal department read the full license agreement(s) for GMail.

Not much experience with Linux eh,
well don't tell the boss you can support it if you really can't,
unless your budget wants to get blown out hiring gurus.

and there goes your pay rise and flash job title
( which is all you really want by the sound of it )

upstart

Change 1/3 instead of 2/3 (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34201026)

If you're looking to simplify your IT architecture, you should consider cutting out Fedora. Marketing requires Windows or Mac, sales requires Windows, and nobody requires Linux.

No. (-1, Troll)

newdsfornerds (899401) | more than 3 years ago | (#34201048)

Microsoft actively thwarts open standards. Fuggetaboutit.

Realistic Answer: Dumbass (3, Interesting)

dbesade (745908) | more than 3 years ago | (#34201062)

Lets break this down: "I see this as an opportunity to bring up the topic of migrating the majority of our office from Windows 7 to Linux and from Exchange to Gmail" -Why? Most users are not comfortable with anything other than Windows. Second Windows 7 is still somewhat fresh, I mean, your going to depreciate software that you likely purchased less than 6 months to a year old? Sounds like an immediate waste of money rather than a long term savings. The Second part of your question makes it seem like your some dumbass fresh out of college. Really? GMail over Exchange? Are you willing to hedge your business needs on a free email service, not to mention the loss of collaboration options, etc? All in all it sounds like this situation: 1) You're a Junior Administrator or Helpdesk Engineer 2) They fired the ACTUAL IT Staff and left you since you are cheap enough to keep on the books. Look, want to save money? Look into Virtualization Options, Open Office instead of Microsoft. Linux is not the end all at the workstation level, no matter what they tell you in college.

Re:Realistic Answer: Dumbass (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34201142)

Seems to me the solution to his problem is to move everyone to Windows 7. All the software he wants to use work on Windows so he'd only have one OS to maintain.

Re:Realistic Answer: Dumbass (2, Informative)

Grishnakh (216268) | more than 3 years ago | (#34201386)

Another post that needs a "-1 Uninformed" moderation.

GMail isn't a free service for corporations. Google offers a paid, supported version for corporate customers. But even the free service is way better than Outlook; I've been using Outlook at work since 2000, and I'd pick Gmail any time. Outlook is slow and cumbersome to use, and Exchange servers always seem to have problems (sure, you can blame that on the in-house IT staff, but I've seen far fewer outages with Gmail). And "collaboration options"? In Outlook? What are you talking about?

As for him being fresh out of college, I don't know what college he went to, but in my reading, it seems like most colleges and universities these days are locked into Windows, and even teach only MS technologies in their CS departments.

Sure, why not? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34201066)

Just depends on how integrated you want everything. If you're going for basic functionality with no authentication or file sharing, they all work great.

Assuming you have an AD install, all your clients mentioned like at least LDAP for authentication, some even do well with AD. All of them have NFS capabilities. You DID pay for the Ultra-Mega-Windows, right? It has an NFS client built in, and all of those clients love CIFS and CUPS.

I would have to thoroughly recommend against Fedora for a business environment. CentOS makes a great workstation as well as a great server. In my experience, Fedora is great for the hobbyist, and for admins who feel like they really want to prove Linux can do something.

Of cousre they can (1)

Archangel Michael (180766) | more than 3 years ago | (#34201104)

Just make sure the right tools are defined for the right jobs, and the scope of using them are clearly defined. By defining how things are supported, it makes it clear when people go off reservation, they are responsible for their own support and that policy dictates that changing existing systems will not include those "off the reservation" items are not considered.

Then you BOFH all "off the reservation" systems by purposely choosing upgrades and updates that break them .

Be careful, beyond here there be dragons!! (3, Insightful)

mrnick (108356) | more than 3 years ago | (#34201120)

This all depends on the size of your network and number of each type of system deployed. Plus don't forget there are political reasons for making or not making certain recommendations that generally outweigh any technical/economic reasons. I have seen people fired for making recommendations that had less exposure than what you have suggested.

Migrate everyone onto Windows. You have no choice (1)

Tomsk70 (984457) | more than 3 years ago | (#34201130)

Want your users to use Open Office instead? They'll demand training. And get it, if the company wants to keep them.
Want your users to use Linux instead? They'll demand training. And get it, if the company wants to keep them.
If it hasn't already happened, repeat until your 'savings' have disappeared and you've been fired.

Not the way things should be. But we're talking about the way things are in 90% of companies.

Re:Migrate everyone onto Windows. You have no choi (1)

Grishnakh (216268) | more than 3 years ago | (#34201404)

And they won't demand training for the latest MS Office with the ribbon? My most recent companies still haven't switched to that version, and are stuck with XP and Office 2003, because they don't want to deal with the problems with the new Office version.

Stupid idea (1, Flamebait)

SolidAltar (1268608) | more than 3 years ago | (#34201134)

This is a stupid idea and you're stupid for considering it.
Not posting Anonymously.

OpenOffice [unfortunately] not ready (1)

cowtamer (311087) | more than 3 years ago | (#34201138)

I would really think twice about forcing someone whose job _relies_ on Excel or Powerpoint to migrate to OpenOffice if you have such people.

I run Linux on my desktop and use OpenOffice on a regular basis. While it's good enough for demos and _most_ spreadsheeting tasks, it is NOT Excel and I find myself running Excel in a WIndows Virtual Machine whenever I have to do anything that involves juggling/formatting data which isn't intensive or routine enough to warrant its own PERL/Python script.

Before you mod me down: I love the idea of OpenOffice, and that it exists. However, if you're messing with people's everyday productivity tools, I'd definitely give them a trial period with OO's windows version or something. I hear good things about Crossover for Office, but have not used it myself.

There's no serious replacement for PowerPoint on Linux at this point in time if you exchange these files with other people or rely on giving looking presentations which have some complexity. I can _always_ tell free slideware during a presentation and unless you're Richard Stallman it makes your organization look a bit cheap.

Nor is Star Office (1)

Legionary13 (607355) | more than 3 years ago | (#34201412)

Our local government organisation moved over to Star Office (a close relative to OOffice in 2005. I was told in 2009 that they had more MS Office installations than in 2004. The reason - imperfect conversion to MSOffice formats when they want to exchange documents with outside organisations. The differences are generally small. They (the Council) are now giving up and moving to MS Office 2010 (at a time of tight budgets) though I hope and expect Microsoft are giving them a great price. Like the parent to this comment I like the idea of OpenOffice but that never compensated for my liking VBA more. Purists will mock - why else come here - but I think VBA is a terrific extension of Excel.

Management want simple answers (2, Informative)

FaxeTheCat (1394763) | more than 3 years ago | (#34201216)

Management do not want big changes. They want quick wins. Find somewhere that can show savings fast. If you find several, keep some for next years savings. And sometimes management lose attention to the issue, so talking is enough. Then you can use the same savings next year. Especially if management change. Hell, we presented decommissioning the same server 3 times to various management. Happy managers all the way!

And whatever you du: Do NOT propose anything that require more work. You will not get more staff. You will not get more time to do it. In the end you will be the one paying for the savings.

hmm (1)

buddyglass (925859) | more than 3 years ago | (#34201222)

For maximum simplicity just move everyone to OS X. The guys who need Office can use MS Office for the Mac. The non-technical users won't be freaked out by OS X in the way they might be by Linux. OS X gives you most of the same malware immunity you get with any other non-Windows OS. The marketing and graphics guys get to keep using Macs just like they always have. Your developers, if there are any, should be fine on the Mac unless they're doing development that specifically targets Windows.

From a cost perspective, of course, this may not be the cheapest thing in the world. But you can't beat it for simplicity. I also like the branded Gmail suggestion. That can work irrespective of which OS's you deploy.

Consultation (1)

rueger (210566) | more than 3 years ago | (#34201244)

This kind of change really requires a much wider consultation, and probably more skills than you have developed.

First, you haven't made a case for the changes you propose. Not an "I like Linux - Windows is evil" case, but a business case.

Begin by looking at the current costs of running and supporting your IT operations, then develop a projection of the real costs of implementing and supporting the changes - including retraining and fighting with software that doesn't quite work the way people are used to.

Even if you can make a convincing argument that there could be some cost savings internally, you also need to accept that business more or less runs on Windows and to lesser extent OSX - sooner or later something that you need to do will be incompatible.

Finally I have to ask: aren't there some more immediate and critical things that you could be working on?

If and when you've made the case to management, and they have accepted it, then yeah, you can likely make it work. I recently switched to Ubuntu from Windows 7 and Vista, and have had few problems, including running the parts of MS Office that I need, and even Photoshop in a pinch.

A year ago I wouldn't have said so, but now I'll say that you can replace Windows with Linux and have a happy transition.

That doesn't mean that you can force it on people though.

Dismantle you're entire infrastructure for OSS? (1)

adosch (1397357) | more than 3 years ago | (#34201292)

Everything you touch on is certainly feasible and (although, TONS of work) modestly achievable. However, I hate to say if you're the one who pulled out the "Linux can save us all this money" smoking gun fan boi approach, I'd say you better go back and figure out how much it's going to cost your business/company you work for how much time in training, lost productivity, transitions, oversights, and quirks associated with your mass movement to Linux. Just because you're cutting licensing costs, doesn't mean you're going to save ANY money, downtime or productivity.

I suggest you do some real, in-depth planning and perhaps identify more risks, and even go as far as picking the least ranked department in terms of criticality to your business to start with.

You're touching on changing some real core foundations of your company, so best of luck to you and your project plan. Remember, OpenOffice has no Microsoft Office alternative, either.

Who's the documentation for? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34201294)

Once completed, I see this as an opportunity to bring up the topic of migrating the majority of our office from Windows 7 to Linux and from Exchange to Gmail...

Or: once completed, you will have made a nice guide book for your replacement, someone cheaper and who isn't complaining about getting paid fairly as their responsibilities increase.

Don't let the door hit you on your way out.

Why, why, why???? (4, Interesting)

Dynedain (141758) | more than 3 years ago | (#34201316)

Why Linux? If it's simply license costs, well then keep people on Windows. The per-seat software license costs are pretty small compared to your labor + overhead costs of what your IT people will need to put in to retrain user expectations. Even if you're paying $500/user for Windows + Office, that's tiny compared to overall productivity differences.

If people need posixy goodness, give 'em OSX. For the most part they'll probably be happier to not need to mess around as much with desktop config and software installation. Leave Linux to users who can self-install and self-support.

Do not take MS Office away from your Finance and Management teams. Sure, they could learn OpenOffice if they needed, but there's a lot of stuff that Excel does really well that OpenOffice Charts can't. And if a Senior Manager spends even 1-2 hours trying to learn how to use OpenOffice, well, that wasted time just blew away the license cost savings. Re-training and loss of productivity is very expensive, very difficult to factor into your budgeting plans, and impossible not to underestimate.

Finally, why move from Exchange to GMail??? If you don't want to pay as much, consider Kerio or Zimbra, but do not force users to give up integrated messaging, group calendars, and contact databases. We're moving right now from a lousy group calendar to Kerio (Exchange wasn't right for us) because we waste so much time just trying to schedule meetings.

Re:Why, why, why???? (1)

Dynedain (141758) | more than 3 years ago | (#34201502)

Oh, and take the total price difference in your final options, and divide it out over the lifespan of the systems (usually 3 years, but check w/ your CFO regarding how they're depreciating items and taking advantage of tax issues). Leases offer a lot more flexibility for the bean counters in how they report things.

If that total difference, divided by the timespan is less than the salary + benefits + overhead of adding a single employee to the firm (which it probably is) then it's a huge waste of resources.

We just looked at completely revamping our servers, network, and desktops, comparing an Windows AD server environment to an OSX OD directory structure (most of our workstations are OSX). Even when you factor in all the extra licensing on the AD side, and the extra speciality management tools we'll need to buy to integrate OSX client management effectively, it was less than $30k difference in initial outlay costs on a half-million dollar project. Over the 3 years of depreciation and financing, that's less than $1k/month in direct cost difference. And if we had gone with the slightly less expensive OD environment, our IT labor costs would certainly have been more than $1k/month higher.

Leave your personal agenda out of this, and figure out just how much labor and lost productivity for users really costs. Hint, it's not simply their salary. I guarantee you your CFO knows how much overhead there is on top of salary, which is the company's real break-even. Someone making $65K a year likely needs to be billed out at around $70/hr or more, just for the company to break even. Every hour of productivity that person loses increases the hourly rate you need to bill them at in order to continue to break even.

Stick With Windows.. (1)

TheNinjaroach (878876) | more than 3 years ago | (#34201322)

I hate to say it, but you should probably stick with Windows.

As a business, running Windows apps under Wine sounds like a constant headache that could leave you dead in the water. Even if everything works today, who knows what tomorrows patches will bring?

From a cost and administrative standpoint, it's probably cheaper to buy the extra Windows licenses than to support and maintain a third OS anyways.

No. due to important reasons (0)

unity100 (970058) | more than 3 years ago | (#34201338)

and foremost of these reasons is the future. with proprietary software, you dont know what will happen in future. your vendor-locked app may be dropped by the supporting company, or, the company can go down under even. you may end up with an app that a lot of people in your organization is using, but now derelict. that goes for all kinds of software. see whats happening to ie6. a lot of big companies have modified it according to their needs, but, now the company that made it is trying to kill it. its more critical for o/s and other stuff.

secondly, cost. with free software, your costs will keep going down and down, and with proprietary, up and up. if you let windows or a similar company which has aggressive vendors to get into your organization from any point and establish themselves, they will push more and more lock-in stuff, your costs will go high and they will practically infest your i.t. you will have to walk any step by engaging with vendors, wont be able to take any decisions on your own independently.

third, and one of the most important, security, and moddability. with free software, your organization will be free to do any modification you want, according to WHATEVER need you have. you wont have to fight with vendors in order to get a half assed solution for your problem, and be prevented from modifying a small bit of code in their proprietary app that you could modify and fix your problem. and, it will cost money.

security is another concern, and it doesnt even need detailing. with free software, any vulnerability will be patchable as soon as they are out. (or you discover them). with proprietary - yeah, you need to wait for vendors, or the parent company to fix them, sitting vulnerable or trying to find intermediate measures to defend your company's ass from attacks while huge companies like microsoft take their slow time for fixing the thing. and another thing - if they think some particular thing is low priority - you are screwed. they may fix it in months, and you may live through the hell of defending/securing your apps without having any access to the code.

so, in for future investment, one should always go with free software. for, EVEN if a free software app totally goes bust, you can still have it, and run it, if your organization is TOO dependent on it.

Dump Win-doze and Lin-sux (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34201348)

Why not just use OS X for everything? Apple computers are faster, more reliable, more scalable, more secure and far far far more usable than anything else.

Focus (1)

codepunk (167897) | more than 3 years ago | (#34201370)

You need to get everyone driving toward eliminating the need for installed applications and
moving towards web based solutions. Once you are on primarily web based solutions the majority
of these issues dissappear. The first great step is to get rid of exchange that is one path
of lockin eliminated.

Go Slowly (4, Informative)

gQuigs (913879) | more than 3 years ago | (#34201398)

The last transition I ran (had to leave due to personal reasons) was looking like it was ultimately going to fail.

Why?
OpenOffice - found several critical bugs (all fixed now) that kept people from being able to work effectively
Intel video drivers - found a fun critical bug whenever they plugged into a projector
Didn't have control over what other groups bought as software (big one, make sure management is actually willing to back you up)
      * think hard about this one, is there anyone (manager) in the company that will end up buying something without consulting you and who no one wants to go against...

The 3 OSes can easily coexist. Here's how I would go forward:
Don't touch the different platforms at first, start with the applications.
  * Web browsers - make sure everyone is running firefox. I found out that 1 person was using IE6 for an important project. they hadn't mentioned it, even when asked directly. Solution: Block Internet explorer access, (I forced the person to move to IE8, yay for small victories)
      having people complain when you have it blocked on Windows is much better than having people complain when they are now on Linux. (They will blame Linux)
  * Best in class applications - DON'T start with OpenOffice. Make open source applications a regular part of discussions for new software. Evaluate other software you use for open source applications. Make sure they are successful.

  * Make sure the other people in IT actually want this change.
  * Move them to Linux/OpenOffice and observe problems over at least 1 full release of Fedora, trying to get problems fixed for the next one
  * Transition office to OpenOffice on all machines (have just installed first, then default, then uninstall MS Office - very important) watch for issues over at least 6 months
  * Transition office to Linux

Yes, this is more like a 2 year plan. But well. Go Slowly. :)

One other point, if anyone wants to move over let them, and help them do it. If they are choosing to switch they could be very very helpful down the road.

It can be done (1)

cbybear (256161) | more than 3 years ago | (#34201402)

I've seen this at multiple places I've worked and its success varied depending on the skills of the IT staff. My last job was a VFX studio, where it was mostly Linux, some Windows, and some Macs. We opt'd for using Active Directory and providing interfaces to it using LDAP and NIS (Active Directory frankly rocks and I am not an MS fan by any stretch). We wrote command-line tools using Python that talked LDAP to the AD server and allowed us to add/retire users, groups, aliases, etc without using any MS GUIs. It has been solid since it was deployed. Of course we had to spend a good chunk of time writing those tools and I'm not a cheap developer. I think it was worth it though.

Of all the machines, the Macs have proved most problematic in getting them to play nicely (I love my Mac, but get the enterprise support down dammit!). It was party due to poor management of the Macs in years previous, partly to do with how Apple has wrapped the gooey BSD center. Snow Leopard has made it much easier. mDNS is a complete pain on a network of any appreciable size (especially if your switches and routers are kinda dumb). Do listen to its siren song.

As for whether or not you should do this, I typically defer to my users. I agree that users should operate with the tools that make them most productive. My new job is at a place that is mostly Windows. I asked for, and got, a Mac. They understood I wanted to be most efficient so I picked the tool I'm most happy with. I would really hate it if someone decided to alter my toolset without deep discussion. I would encourage you to talk with your users and balance your needs for infrastructure management with their desire to use tools they know and love.

Don't want to do it (1)

snspdaarf (1314399) | more than 3 years ago | (#34201438)

I sure would like a front row seat to watch it all happen, though. Really, what you suggest is a good way to have everyone mad at you, right before you get fired.

working with that situation right now (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34201442)

running windows and apple is ok. Running linux not so much. the open office.org has been almost shutdown for libre office due to oracle. do you really want to go there.
google app's is a good place to turn for simple word processing. but at a business level not even close to cutting it.

i take it you are an open source nut. I say go for it and make your life a living hell till you quit then the next guy will convert every thing back to windows. evey one will speek of you with a sharp tounge while the other guy gets a reach around from the front office sec.

there more to cost savings than migrating... (1)

gbrandt (113294) | more than 3 years ago | (#34201446)

How much money do you save migrating to Linux when marketing and sales use OS X and Windows with software for those OS's. You have to get all new software that runs under Linux, get everything running under Wine (for the Windows dudes) and provide support people to handle the training and issues. And the OS X guys are screwed, they can't run their software at all.

Artificial cost savings.

Common software packages (1)

LoudMusic (199347) | more than 3 years ago | (#34201454)

Firstly I agree with gothzilla's statements about user comfort and productivity.

But to answer the question about making the different OSes work together, it's just a matter of administration. The tools are all existing. One thing to keep in mind is a slow migration. If you're moving users from OS X or Windows to a Linux distribution I suggest starting with providing them software packages on their current OS that they will be using in Linux. Things such as Firefox, Chrome, Open Office, etc. That way they can get used to the new software on their familiar OS before having everything change.

I like the notion of migrating offices from Windows and OS X to Linux, but if I were personally to do so I wouldn't do it because of financial reasons. I'd have the company make contributions to the appropriate developers and organizations involved - especially if it's a for-profit business using the FOSS technology.

Stop. Please. (1)

oatworm (969674) | more than 3 years ago | (#34201504)

Since you're not giving us a ton of details to work with, let's make some fairly basic assumptions...

1. Any workstations you've already purchased already have Windows pre-installed, and future workstations will almost certainly have Windows pre-installed. So, you're going to spend time (that's "$/hour" in management-speak, even if you're salaried) wiping these machines, installing Fedora or some other Linux distribution, then hoping and praying everything works off the bat. Since you almost certainly won't have the time to call in every Windows OEM license for a refund, this means you're actually spending money (in the form of time) to remove Windows off these machines. For what? If you're thinking about saving money in Office licensing, Open/LibreOffice is available for Windows, so you don't need Fedora or whatever to make that happen. If you're thinking about saving money on antivirus subscriptions, forget it - individual per-machine licenses for anti-virus subscriptions are a drop in the bucket compared to what you'd spend installing Linux, losing manufacturer support on your workstations (or keeping it, but having fewer support options), and retraining users on where things are.

2. Your company has already paid for Exchange. The only time it makes sense to walk away from a pre-existing Exchange installation (it's not that bad, if tended to properly) is if you're either about to outgrow it (i.e. you're on Exchange 2003 and running into the 75 GB data file limitation) or planning on replacing the hardware or software soon anyway (i.e. hosting it on a 7-year-old server and looking to upgrade). If you're not at that point, forget it - it's already paid for, so there's no savings to be had there. If you are at that point, however, you need to think clearly about compliance, performance, and migration issues. Gmail by itself can handle user@domain.com e-mail, but you already have to have that account somewhere for it to map up. Otherwise, you're looking at Google Apps, which may or may not meet your needs and may or may not be as cheap as you think it'll be. Then there's the issue of migrating the boss' 15 GB Outlook data file to Google Apps (ha!), whether your company has enough bandwidth to handle every user in the organization having to pull their e-mail from "the cloud", and whether or not you're encumbered with PCI or Sarbannes-Oxley data retention policies (keeping seven years of information, content filters to block out sensitive data from the e-mail system, etc. etc. etc.). Depending on your situation, you might be able to migrate to another groupware solution (Zimbra, OpenXchange, Novell Groupwise, *shudder* Lotus Notes, etc.), you might be able to migrate to a hosted platform (hosted Exchange, Google Apps), or you might be stuck with Exchange. Either way, "I'm sick of Exchange!" isn't a business case for making that migration.

3. What's your motivation? If your motivation is "Open source is awesome!", don't be surprised if your bosses laugh at you and tell you to get back to work. Business people don't mind paying for things that work well enough to get the job done and are (rightly) suspicious of anything that claims it can get the job done for less. Consequently, if you're going to push forward a solution of your choice, whatever that might be, you're going to get some push back. Will it open their reports? Better check that first. How quickly can we get it back up if it breaks? Will we have access to the information if a backhoe hits our Internet connection? More often than not, "how much does it cost" is so far down the list of concerns that it can be safely ignored, at least to a point.

Personally, I'm getting the "I just got out of college, got my first IT job, and want to save the world one Linux installation at a time" vibe, and that's okay. There's room to stretch your legs there - file server upgrades, for example, are a fantastic place to stop buying Windows licenses and roll a Samba installation or two. However, it's important to pick your battles, remember that most people don't share your enthusiasm for "free software", and remember that "does it work" is far more important to most businesses than "how much does it cost".

Fedora? (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34201508)

You should only consider RHEL, SUSE,CentOS, or Ubuntu LTS for business use. Fedora release are only supported for a few months.

Of course,since you don't know what you're doing it won't matter. Nobody is going to let you destroy the business with your silly plans.

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