Beta

×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

Ask Slashdot: How To Start With Linux In the Workplace?

timothy posted about 4 months ago | from the sounds-like-mint-works-for-you dept.

Businesses 452

An anonymous reader writes "Recently my boss has asked me about the advantages of Linux as a desktop operating system and if it would be a good idea to install it instead of upgrading to Windows 7 or 8. About ten boxes here are still running Windows XP and would be too old to upgrade to any newer version of Windows. He knows that i am using Linux at work on quite outdated hardware (would have gotten a new PC but never requested new hardware — Linux Mint x64 runs quite well on it) and i always managed to get my stuff done with it. I explained to him that there are no licensing issues with Linux, there is no anti-virus software to deal with and that Linux is generally a bit more efficient on old hardware than operating systems from Microsoft. The boss seems interested." But that's not quite the end; read on for this reader's question."Since I am the only guy with Linux experience I would have to support the Linux installations. Now the problem is what works perfectly fine for me may be a horrible experience for some of my coworkers, and even if they would only be using Firefox, Thunderbird and LibreOffice I don't know if I could seriously recommend using Linux as a desktop OS in a business. Instead I want to set up one test machine for users to try it and ask THEM if they like it. The test machine should be as easy and painless to use as possible and not look too different compared to Windows. Which distro and what configuration should I choose for this demo box?"

cancel ×

452 comments

Sorry! There are no comments related to the filter you selected.

Slowly (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46716061)

Then run like hell!

Lol don't (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46716067)

Linux is only free if your time is worthless

Re:Lol don't (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46716089)

employment is only income if your time is worthless

Re:Lol don't (3, Insightful)

Billly Gates (198444) | about 4 months ago | (#46716313)

employment is only income if your time is worthless

It is worth something to someone. That's called your salary or wage. Now if you do nothing this value decreases very rapidly to minimum wage by 6 months

Re:Lol don't (2)

NotDrWho (3543773) | about 4 months ago | (#46716371)

Income is only worthless if you're time.

Themes... (4, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46716073)

KDE can be configured to look identical to windows.

Re:Themes... (1)

Zontar The Mindless (9002) | about 4 months ago | (#46716159)

Sure it can... but for the love of God--why??

Re:Themes... (4, Insightful)

tlambert (566799) | about 4 months ago | (#46716461)

Sure it can... but for the love of God--why??

Portability of learned skills means you don't have to re-train your workers.

Re:Themes... (2)

bobbied (2522392) | about 4 months ago | (#46716501)

Sure it can... but for the love of God--why??

Portability of learned skills means you don't have to re-train your workers.

Looks like and acts like are totally different things. While looking like windows might get you past the initial "it's not what I know" reaction, it's still going to take training to take windows folks into the brave new world of Linux.

Re:Themes... (2)

Zontar The Mindless (9002) | about 4 months ago | (#46716573)

I really was just trying to be funny, honest.

The department gives the hint. (4, Insightful)

AAWood (918613) | about 4 months ago | (#46716081)

This story says it's from the "sounds like Mint works for you" department, and I think that's your answer. If you're going to have to look after them, then it makes sense to go with what you're most familiar with, especially as Mint shouldn't be too alien to XP users.

Re:The department gives the hint. (-1, Offtopic)

binarylarry (1338699) | about 4 months ago | (#46716255)

No way. We need something like Gentoo here, ideally running some kind of CPU robbing bit coin mining software in the background.

Why? Because fuck end users, that's why.

Re:The department gives the hint. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46716673)

Why? Because fuck end users, that's why.

And this is why so many people have given up on their IT departments.

Seriously, if IT isn't serving the needs of your business, your IT is staffed with idiots and whiny bitches like the above poster.

In the real world, people like you get sacked.

Re:The department gives the hint. (3, Informative)

houghi (78078) | about 4 months ago | (#46716641)

Isn't Mint a distribution? So you should be able to make ity look like anything out there. I believe XFCE would look the most familiar.

For the user, look at the desktop. For the admin, look at the distribution.

As an admin, I would probably use something like SUSEStudio.com [susestudio.com] , because it would mean I would be able to easily make an installable image that looks likeI would want it with the programs I desire.

A bit of extra work and you have something that is really tailord for your company. You can make two images. One for clients and one for servers. Or go evebn further and edit YaST so you have only one image for several options. Portable, desktop, software selections per department, ...

Obviously the work you put will depend on how large the company is.

Looking like Windows (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46716095)

Every new version of Windows doesn't look like the last, so why does it matter?

Huh? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46716099)

You don't even say what the fuck your company does or even what industry you're in and expect to get meaningful advice on what desktops the employees should use?

Re:Huh? (5, Insightful)

jedidiah (1196) | about 4 months ago | (#46716157)

Yet. There are some basics that can easily be dealt with regardless of what his other requirements are. He even mentions some of them in his post.

Basically, he can start out with installing cross platform apps on Windows and seeing how readily the rest of his office can migrate to those. If the rest of his office is left running what is essentially a Linux desktop without Linux itself, then he can ditch Windows.

Re:Huh? (1)

show me altoids (1183399) | about 4 months ago | (#46716685)

Wish I had some mod points, this is a great step that the submitter didn't mention that could give 90% of your answer very quickly. Put LibreOffice on a few machines and have them use that for a while. If they are baffled and can't cope, end of story right there. If they take to it like a breeze, you can probably pilot it to more people. You should be able to tell by taking a few intermediate steps like this.

Re:Huh? (2)

tqk (413719) | about 4 months ago | (#46716445)

You don't even say what the fuck your company does or even what industry you're in ...

That shouldn't much matter. What the employees are engaged in and what they do might be useful information. If you can surf the web on Windows, you can do it with any OS, but if these are engineers needing Matlab or Autocad, or graphic artists needing Photoshop, it may be an uphill struggle doomed to fail miserably.

Re:Huh? (3, Insightful)

Talderas (1212466) | about 4 months ago | (#46716585)

There is some valuable information in here. The problem the submitter made was talking about the cost of the hardware and software and ignoring any support costs. His company doesn't want to spend money upgradeing hardware or moving to windows 7. Do you think the boss wants to spent money on someone to support linux? What's going to happen is the submitter is going to get stuck supporting it and probably not get a pay increase for doing so while starting to get bitched at for not getting his work done.

(X)Ubuntu (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46716105)

I would recommend plain ol' Ubuntu since, imho, they have made the most polished Linux desktop experience for those with no prior linux experience. If you're worried that Unity may be sensory overload for some of your users -- consider installing Xubuntu and doing a little customization to give it the same general feel that your user's XP desktop would have.

Re:(X)Ubuntu (1)

maugle (1369813) | about 4 months ago | (#46716173)

From his question, it sounds like the Unity interface would be too much for their low-end PCs, so plain Ubuntu is out of the question. Heck, even on my mid-range PC the Unity menu is a bit sluggish. I've never actually used Mint, but it looks like it's a good way to go.

XFCE, last I used it, was good but just slightly too different in its behavior to be a good first step into Linux for traditional Windows XP users.

don't teach what you don't know (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46716111)

If you are going to be responsible for supporting it, make sure you know the distro/UI/whatever before you put it out there to let others try it.

That warning said, I find LXDE to be the least obnoxious Linux GUI that I have tried. It has the now-standard Microsoft-style task bar options, and has yet to decide it needs 95% of my system resources to draw an empty desktop (I'll leave out which UI was the resource hog because I know others will defend it to my death).

Haven't looked at Mint, but if you think it's too different for your co-workers, it probably is.

PCs aint expensive (5, Insightful)

cod3r_ (2031620) | about 4 months ago | (#46716113)

Not sure why they'd be trying so hard to save themselves from buying new PCs.. Probably the XP machines run like ass as it is. Linux as a general use machine for people that are so bad at computers they still use XP.... just no.. hell no. tell the boss to stop being so cheap and upgrade to this decade

Re:PCs aint expensive (5, Insightful)

MindStalker (22827) | about 4 months ago | (#46716291)

Honestly, this is the solution. Unless you and your coworkers are working for free, the man hours you will waste on transitioning and people having issues with the new machines, be it not knowing the file system or the differences between MS Word and LibreOffice. You should run the numbers and find out.
The machines you need, over their projected lives of 4 years cost $X per employee per day. That $X is likely less than 30 minutes. Is it likely that the new systems will cost you more than the same amount of man-hours in conversion and support?

Re:PCs aint expensive (2)

Russ1642 (1087959) | about 4 months ago | (#46716465)

The company probably keeps their pens and pencils in a locked cabinet because keeping it under strict control saves them $18 per year.

Re:PCs aint expensive (1)

bobbied (2522392) | about 4 months ago | (#46716537)

You forgot paying that admin to manage the key and stand there while you get the office supplies you needed, which takes her about 10 hours per year at $20/hour...

Re:PCs aint expensive (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46716703)

Sure. But if you are happy with Linux, you get freedom for more than 4 years.
If you are pissed that Microsoft is killing XP, that Windows 8 is forcing unwanted changes on you and you happen to dislike Office 365, then it's more of a question of "can I afford to make the switch?" rather than what's the short term ROI.

Re:PCs aint expensive (3, Interesting)

davek (18465) | about 4 months ago | (#46716499)

Not sure why they'd be trying so hard to save themselves from buying new PCs.. Probably the XP machines run like ass as it is.
Linux as a general use machine for people that are so bad at computers they still use XP.... just no.. hell no. tell the boss to stop being so cheap and upgrade to this decade

I think this is correct.

Even though I'm at work, running Ubuntu 12.04 with LXDE, and I have full ability to do everything I need to do, I wouldn't want to be /forced/ to use any OS or tool that wasn't the best for my work. I'm a software engineer, working on linux embedded systems, so having a linux desktop is the best for me. Our IT also allows linux to be run on the desktop, but doesn't support a lot of the details. THAT's the best way to go. Provide your users with a wide range of tools. For those that don't care, give them windows. Forcing them to use Linux won't win anyone over.

That said, I'd set up LXDE + Ubuntu 12.04 (or later), and give that to people to try. Just don't force them to use it.

Re:PCs aint expensive (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46716733)

The cost of a new PC is the least of the cost.

1) User training (even if it consists of someone trying to find where they moved the stuff)
2) If they are using XP odd's are they are going to have to upgrade Applications such as Office. More user training.
3) Peripherals, Printers/Scanners and other types of hardware may need to be replaced, depends on whether drivers are
        available.

Replace the backend first (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46716115)

You will save yourself a lot of trouble by migrating the backend (servers, database) to linux first, and only then start on the frontend (workstations, user interface). You will also enjoy a larger benefit immediately, as the backend is where linux will really save you time and effort (once you have it configured).

Should be objective, not biased... (4, Insightful)

metrix007 (200091) | about 4 months ago | (#46716117)

The thing is, Windows 7 also runs great on older hardware. I just put it on a Hp ZE2000 from 2005, which isn't at all a powerful machine and it is running smoothly and very stable.

Something like Ubuntu won't run much better (Although Xubuntu or Lubuntu may well), and AV software is not the concern it was back in the day. The free MS Security essentials and a gateway check will be more than enough.

The real issue is software. Can the users rely on LibreOffice and Chrome/Firefox? Or is there windows software they rely on or will need?

Go with what makes sense according to needs and cost restrictions, not because of an ideology....

Re:Should be objective, not biased... (0)

TheGratefulNet (143330) | about 4 months ago | (#46716207)

win7 32bit works so-so on old hardware (based on drivers). win7-64 is shitty as many things will not (ever) work.

a bog-standard usb/spdif dongle that I own and use from time to time won't work on win7/64. no driver on earth for it. 32bit, yes. 64, no.

other hardware is the same story.

next time I do an install, I'll go out of my way to avoid 64bit windows. its just not worth the hassle and I don't NEED the full ram space. it would be nice, but I don't need it; whereas I do need all drivers to work! throwing away working hardware is a sin.

Re:Should be objective, not biased... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46716521)

next time I do an install, I'll go out of my way to avoid 64bit windows. its just not worth the hassle and I don't NEED the full ram space. it would be nice, but I don't need it; whereas I do need all drivers to work! throwing away working hardware is a sin.

So the hardware you have sucks. Too bad for you. I upgraded a 4 year old machine to Windows 8 64-bit. Everything works, including a no-name Chinese webcam and USB SD/SIM card reader. Pull your head out of your ass and realize that your shitty experience is not the norm.

Re:Should be objective, not biased... (2)

Zontar The Mindless (9002) | about 4 months ago | (#46716623)

IMNSHO it's more like you were lucky enough to be able to find 64-bit drivers. Lots of 64-bit machines have shipped pre-loaded with 32-bit Windows because the OEMs didn't want to be bothered to recompile their drivers. I've put 64-bit Linux on those same machines without issue.

Re:Should be objective, not biased... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46716273)

Our standard deployed computer is a 2003 era HP, with a Pentium 4 and 1 GB of RAM running Windows 7. There are probably about 500 or these, and for the typical user they work fine. There are maybe 100 workstations that are a year or two older, as well, and while they're noticeably slower, they still work well enough.

I wouldn't put a photoshop or CAD user on them of course, but they're more than adequate to get the job done.

Re:Should be objective, not biased... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46716345)

Following "an ideology" made me safe from most of the bad stuff that has been plaguing everybody these days (i.e. don't trust "cloud" services and only use software that yourself can inspect, or in other words, the spirit behind AGPLv3).

Re:Should be objective, not biased... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46716529)

Following "an ideology" made me safe from most of the bad stuff that has been plaguing everybody these days (i.e. don't trust "cloud" services and only use software that yourself can inspect, or in other words, the spirit behind AGPLv3).

That is kind of funny saying in the midst of Heartbleed.

Re:Should be objective, not biased... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46716359)

Driver issues make running Windows 7 on most machines shipped with Windows XP impractical or impossible. Some AC97 sound controllers, printers, scanners, and video adapters are unsupported. I had a 64-bit capable IBM P4 that couldn't get video drivers at all because the Intel 945 graphics controller is completely unsupported under Windows 7.

Re:Should be objective, not biased... (2)

Darth Twon (2832799) | about 4 months ago | (#46716395)

MS Security Essentials is only free for personal and small business use (up to 10 PCs).

Sounds like the OP has at least 10 PCs, so I figured I'd throw this out here.

Source: http://windows.microsoft.com/e... [microsoft.com]

Re:Should be objective, not biased... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46716511)

FTS: "About ten boxes here are still running Windows XP and would be too old to upgrade to any newer version of Windows."

Re:Should be objective, not biased... (1)

Michael Casavant (2876793) | about 4 months ago | (#46716721)

No, re-read the license.
You can have it installed on up to 10 PC's. The company itself can have hundreds, so long as it's not installed on more than 10 you're still good.

Re:Should be objective, not biased... (1)

phorm (591458) | about 4 months ago | (#46716651)

"Windows 7 also runs great on older hardware"

On older hardware with enough RAM and at least 2 cores, yes. With the caveat that the older hardware has drivers for windows 7 (and yes, there's plenty of stuff that didn't, especially in terms of soundcard drivers etc).

Lubuntu (4, Interesting)

hobarrera (2008506) | about 4 months ago | (#46716121)

[url=http://lubuntu.net/]lubuntu[/url] is pretty lightweight, and looks pretty similar to windows as far as I can tell. Plus, it's all Ubuntu under the hood (for better or for worse). You know you'll have updates for a looong time coming.

Linux: obese or anorexic? (1)

Daniel Oom (2826737) | about 4 months ago | (#46716265)

If the users want a 'desktop' that looks like Windows, that would mean KDE or GNOME 2, which are not exactly light-weight.

Re:Linux: obese or anorexic? (1)

slacka (713188) | about 4 months ago | (#46716645)

This was exactly my experience when "upgrading" an old 512 MB CoreDuo laptop to Linux. GNOME 2 was too heavy and LXDE was lacking features. My first try was with LXDE, but OpenBox does not give the option to move windows without drawing the contents(Bug 3342). As a result windows operations are painfully slow and this was a major downgrade from XP's user experience.

After trying both the nouveau and proprietary drivers, I ended up using the much heavier Mate (GNOME 2) based Mint. Mate has the option to disable window contents while dragging but with Mint, just a few Firefox tabs gets the HD thrashing, which is worse than it was doing with XP and much worse than LXDE was doing. If the user complains, I'll give XFCE a shot.

Don't start on the desktop (3, Informative)

MAXOMENOS (9802) | about 4 months ago | (#46716125)

In my experience it's much easier to get Linux in the workplace as a server, and here there's lots of areas where it's as good as or better than Windows. Start with a LAMP server for internal web; use it to host a Wiki for documentation.

Re:Don't start on the desktop (4, Interesting)

ogdenk (712300) | about 4 months ago | (#46716533)

In fact Linux is a much more mature product as a server than Windows NT. SysV and BSD UNIX are *FAR* more mature server products that existed long before NT was even a gleam in Microsoft's eye.

Linux/UNIX is not "the alternative". Windows NT was "the alternative" to Novell Netware, OS/2 and UNIX. Most people born before the 90's already know this however.

Re:Don't start on the desktop (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46716715)

In my experience it's much easier to get Linux in the workplace as a server, and here there's lots of areas where it's as good as or better than Windows. Start with a LAMP server for internal web; use it to host a Wiki for documentation.

True, what you said, but I don't believe his goal is "to get Linux in the workplace".
I think his goal is to consider whether it's the best solution for the desktop.

Linux Mint (1)

nura78 (757740) | about 4 months ago | (#46716161)

If I were you, I would go with Linux Mint. I really like cinnamon, and it's pretty user friendly; it's also a lot nicer to use than the abortion that is the unity desktop. I'm using the debian edition of Linux Mint 64 and it's nice to not have to deal with linux release cycles.

Before using linux mint, i was using debian 6. Stopped with deb 7 because of the unity desktop nonsense. Debian is really great otherwise, but might be a little annoying for new users.

Whatever distro you use, I would definitely use one that maintains the traditional desktop paradigm of a start(ish) menu with programs and a customizable desktop with icons that launch files and programs, etc. :-P

That is not going to work... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46716163)

The only reason I use Linux at work is becuase all of the software that only happens to run under RHEL, and even so, it might not be supported on the latests versions.
I am talking about Cadence, Synopsys, Ansoft, MatLab suites.

You cannot force anyone an OS unless they have the right software for their jobs.

Screw your fellow workers (1)

OzPeter (195038) | about 4 months ago | (#46716165)

They are employees .. so they do what they are told to do by their boss.

Now developing a proper business case for your boos to show that you have considered all of the angles (installation, administration, education, usage and changeover issues) , and how that affects the bottom line is a totally different question.

You won't go very far ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46716251)

... with that attitude.

Re:You won't go very far ... (1)

OzPeter (195038) | about 4 months ago | (#46716481)

... with that attitude.

So proper research is bad? What bizarro world do you live in?

Mixed Linux/Windows Environments Don't Work Well (4, Interesting)

Rafael Jaimes III (3430609) | about 4 months ago | (#46716177)

Interoperability between LibreOffice and Microsoft Office is less than ideal in my opinion. You will always run into some issues, with references, equations, fonts, something. If Linux has all of the software you need to get the job done, then go for it. If you still use programs for Windows, using a VM or dual booting is not worth it in my opinion, better off staying with Windows. If you do go Linux it is better to go full force: change over everyone. Have everyone use LibreOffice and make .odt, .ods, etc standard for your workplace. You should have minimal problems. Do not recommend Linux to someone if you're not the IT guy and it is not your job. You will be blamed for everything that goes wrong and will waste time fixing or explaining differences. Do use a spin creation system for your distro of choice and have all of your software pre-installed for your tasks to minimize customization and difference between workstations.

Zorin OS (3, Interesting)

nashv (1479253) | about 4 months ago | (#46716193)

Zorin OS [zorin-os.com] is claimed to be designed specifically with Windows XP refugees in mind. They try to get the GUI essentials similar to Windows. It might be a smoother transition to Mint and eventually Arch (I'm kidding about Arch, of course).

Observe the users (2)

eneville (745111) | about 4 months ago | (#46716213)

Observe the desktop users, see what they're doing, investigate FOSS alternatives that run on Linux. Find a distro that has all that working out the box. Customise the distro so that the default user setup has all that ready and waiting in the desktop menus. Congratulations! You're now a sysadmin on top of whatever you were before. If you like the sound of this, make it happen. If not tell your boss to employ a sysadmin to make the above happen, maybe you can get yourself in on the interview, maybe you can be his manager.

First, XFCE (2)

shellster_dude (1261444) | about 4 months ago | (#46716219)

First, I'd recommend going with XFCE for your desktop. It's simple, looks kinda like windows and doesn't change looks constantly with each release.

If you are going to be managing these things, you might want to go with some sort of thinclient architecture with a beefy server, serving the old ex-XP boxes. This will reduce the configuration hassle long term, and make those crappy XP boxes seem pretty snappy. The downside, and it can be a doozy, if the server goes down or the networking is lousy, no one will be able to work.

Group policy, OU's, ad, acl? (-1, Troll)

Billly Gates (198444) | about 4 months ago | (#46716253)

Can you assign permissions for some root like things but not all? Can you apply patches by the thousands? If an update fails will you receive a log back via sccm? Does Firefox support .pacs for monitoring? Can you create a GPO to lock gnome profiles with ease for PCI compliance?

Until then keep dreaming Linux college boy. In the real world shit needs to get done and doesn't who gets em done. Linux maybe a fine server OS but Microsoft got it beat well over a decade ago in the field of business and management.

Re:Group policy, OU's, ad, acl? (1)

sootman (158191) | about 4 months ago | (#46716385)

Seeing as how his question says "About ten boxes here are still running Windows XP" I don't think he uses a single thing you mention. Not EVERY company has 50k machines, not do they have a huge staff with many years of experience.

That said, it all comes down to "what tools do you need to do your job?" Some places live and die by Office-specific features, other places wouldn't even notice if you switched office suites as long as they can use a spreadsheet app to make color-coded 2-dimensional lists. He's going about it exactly the right way -- setting up a small test environment.

Re:Group policy, OU's, ad, acl? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46716477)

Can you assign permissions for some root like things but not all? Can you apply patches by the thousands? If an update fails will you receive a log back via sccm? Does Firefox support .pacs for monitoring? Can you create a GPO to lock gnome profiles with ease for PCI compliance?

Until then keep dreaming Linux college boy. In the real world shit needs to get done and doesn't who gets em done. Linux maybe a fine server OS but Microsoft got it beat well over a decade ago in the field of business and management.

Can you assign permission or some root like things but not all?
Yes, that's old news. Where do you think Windows got it's idea of groups and permissions from? Not Windows!

Can you apply patches by the thousands?
Yes, things like the RHN and Ubuntu Landscape. Not new things first I used RHN was circa 2002. All my machines controllable, updatable, rebootable, roll back from wherever I am.

If an update fails can you rollback?
Yes, also old news old trick not new.

PACS? Seriously?

GPO?
No, that's for a windows world. Not a windows concept though. Other ways to skin that cat.

No free lunch though. All the above, just like windows, is going to cost you.

Re:Group policy, OU's, ad, acl? (1)

Billly Gates (198444) | about 4 months ago | (#46716603)

Access Control Lists came from VMS. UNIX knows root and non root. Yes someone added a patch to Linux to include. But is not integrated with the platform and most apps are not ACL aware. With OU's you can set them for locations in AD with group policies and move with a mouse click by the thousands.

Due to sexual harassment lawsuits businesses need a way to track usage. Everyone uses .pac files with IE.

Doesn't matter if it's win specific or not. Shit needs to get done. GPOs do that. Linux never had an answer to this so it stays in academia and specialized servers. For business sorry but Windows has it beat with management.

Power management on Ubuntu (1)

Sir_Eptishous (873977) | about 4 months ago | (#46716261)

So a while back I tried several different Linux desktops. Probably around 6 or 7. I used each one for about a week or two. They all had their Pros and Cons, but I went back to Ubuntu. I went back(it was the first one I tried...) for the stability, ease of use and software available.

And yes, I know all about the concerns with Amazon and how RMS feels about Ubuntu(which for the most part I agree with).
However I would reccommend it.

BUT!
About a week ago it started automatically going into sleep mode after ten minutes.
As of this writing I haven't figured out how to correct this.
It never did this before and it appears to ignore whatever Power Management settings I give it.
Yes I have Googled this and have tried many things suggested but nothing has worked so far...
If anyone has experienced this and knows the fix I would appreciate advice...

Re:Power management on Ubuntu (1)

OzPeter (195038) | about 4 months ago | (#46716329)

Can't answer your sleep issue .. But given all the drama with Ubuntu I just went back one level up the tree and started playing around with Debian.

Re:Power management on Ubuntu (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46716441)

And yes, I know all about the concerns with Amazon and how RMS feels about Ubuntu(which for the most part I agree with).

How a fat, bearded, toe-jam eating zealot feels about anything should be the least of your concerns. The man doesn't even browse webpages. Don't base your personal decisions on anything that man does or says.

If anyone has experienced this and knows the fix I would appreciate advice...

It's Free Software. Fix it yourself, pay someone else to fix it, or don't use it.

Testing Team (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46716275)

On top of the test-station idea, you should try to find a few people that wouldn't mind "test driving" whatever-distro-you-pick. It would be far easier to support just a few people, and if all goes well, you'll have a few advocates that can help when you do a full-office transition.

Nope. (4, Interesting)

228e2 (934443) | about 4 months ago | (#46716287)

The first sentence answers the question.

Since I am the only guy with Linux experience I would have to support the Linux installations.

You're going to be the new Sys Admin. On top of your other work, which I am just assuming is not a Sys Admin role.
Let IT worry about IT.

What is the use case? (4, Insightful)

joe_frisch (1366229) | about 4 months ago | (#46716317)

What are they doing with the computers? Digital design? Publishing a newspaper? Handling invoices? Controlling a nuclear power plant? Software development? Defense work? Managing a taxi service?

The answer will depend entirely on the type of use.

My entire office runs on Linux (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46716325)

It really depends on what he needs a PC for. If he's like 90% of the world all he needs is a web browser, an email client and a productivity suite. The fact that you can make magic happen on the command line doesn't really matter whatsoever (Powershell added most of that functionality to Windows anyway). Like the summary tagline suggests, Linux Mint with KDE with Firefox and Thunderbird installed would be an ideal demo. It's modern Windows built on free software.

you start around windows. (3)

nimbius (983462) | about 4 months ago | (#46716335)

The largest barrier to getting anything in the workplace but windows is a common ground with which you can collaborate and work. If you want to replace say, sharepoint, you can expect to have to sell everyone on the idea. your replacement needs to work seamlessly, just like sharepoint.

if you have a vmware deployment, linux is pretty much a non-starter as anything but a guest OS. you cant administer vsphere from linux, at least not in a way that wont make you hate your life. Many timecard systems and in house software packages might be predicated entirely on windows Internet Explorer, so the loss of ADP might piss off accounting. determine your userbase and its needs first.

Switching people from exchange is a daunting task, but egroupware and others can step up to the plate with a web-based UI. its also a huge cost saver. Whether or not your office wants that is another matter entirely. your linux systems will have to authenticate to AD, and never the other way around because windows just cant. while Libreoffice sure is a nice replacement for a new office, its a disaster when it comes to some of the finer points of complex excel spreadsheets, pivot tables, and the latest doc format. Lync, er, microsoft communicator as it was once called, has tentative support in linux but you lose helpful features like auto away and auto populate and that "call this person" feature I wonder if anyone ever uses..

doing this isnt easy. Ive spent 5 years of my career doing it, and the biggest hurdle is going to be your users. They want features like desktop sharing for meetings and gantt charts for planning. Linux doesnt really 'get' it like microsoft. The key is to make sure the channels of communication between windows users and linux users, be they desktop application level or enterprise, is uninterrupted. sometimes a quick switch from say lync to jabber is best. in other places you might want to phase things like sharepoint out over time. make sure you know how they work, and have a plan to provide a service that helps them achieve what theyre being paid to do.

another pitfall to be wary of is Microsofts jagged edge. Decreasing site licenses will beget unforseen costs like losing your Azure discount or more expensive license seats overall. the purchase terms will also change randomly and rapidly in an attempt to kill your linux idea from the management down (they do this to force meetings with your managers, who in turn dont invite you because its about a budget and not a computer to them.) Once I weaned a prior company off lync and exchange, I had microsoft representatives drop in entirely unannounced and ask for a meeting with almost every manager they could find (and me.) They will hound you with phonecalls, bombard you with junk mail, and chew up your time like never before. They do not like being shown the door.

False economy (2)

Primate Pete (2773471) | about 4 months ago | (#46716341)

I'm always encouraged to see Linux in the workplace, but it might or might not be the right answer.

The catch here is that no matter how much you save by upgrading to any new OS, the cost of support and usability issues will be much greater than than the cost of the OS even if new PCs are included. Focus on total life cycle cost, and it may be cheaper to upgrade the PCs to windows to avoid the training, ongoing teaching and hand holding required to shift to Linux of any flavor. Of course, if you've got a capable group of users the lifetime cost of Linux could be much lower. Without knowing your situation in detail, it's hard to say.

...but the price of hardware should probably not be driving the cost/benefit analysis.

Re:False economy (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46716561)

..but the price of hardware should probably not be driving the cost/benefit analysis.

Indeed. The cost of one average software developer for two months will pay for ten brand new Haswell i5s with 8GB of RAM and a Window 7 Pro license.

Some people are too cheap for their own good. Scrimping on developer hardware is foolish on many levels.

Re:False economy (1)

NewWorldDan (899800) | about 4 months ago | (#46716629)

You might also find that for 2 employees, switching away from Windows is just not an option. There may be an accounting package or some other piece of software that they're using where changing OS is just not an option. Before you even think about making a change, take a very detailed inventory of the software that your users need. Especially the things that only get used a few times a year. That's where you'll usually find your biggest stumbling block.

What kind of industry do you work in? (4, Insightful)

leereyno (32197) | about 4 months ago | (#46716353)

If you're working with people who are comfortable with technology, then making such a transition should not cause too much pain. Annoyances yes, especially with file format compatibility issues, but nothing too serious. You'll be answering lots of questions, but the questions themselves will be from a position of needing some details filled in, not failure to understand basic concepts.

On the other hand, if you're working with people for whom computers and technology are PFM (Pure @#%$ing Magic) then ANY CHANGE, no matter how trivial, will lead to nervous breakdowns. For such people, use of a computer involves memorized incantations (if not outright prayers) based on mouse movements, clicks, and magic words typed into the screen. If these change, even slightly, they will be utterly lost and terrified -- and they'll blame YOU.

If this is the case, then you're going to have to create a standardized installation of Linux with a normal desktop interface (Cinnamon, KDE) and then TRAIN your employees on how to use it. Mint is a good choice. I'm using the KDE version of Mint 16 on all my workstations. The cinnamon version is also perfectly usable. There are of course other options. The key is to create an environment that is as close to what they know as possible. Not necessarily in terms of how it looks, but how it BEHAVES.

Even so, there will always be some differences that will trip such users up. You guys might have to hire a temp worker whose sole job will be to train and support your employees until they learn the new incantations.

The good news is that moving from XP/Vista/7 to a normal desktop Linux distro will actually be easier than trying to retrain these employees to use the malware that is Windows 8.

Do the right test (2)

namgge (777284) | about 4 months ago | (#46716355)

Instead I want to set up one test machine for users to try it and ask THEM if they like it.

I guarantee that in this form, the result of the test will be that THEY won't like it. People fear the new and unknown and need positive incentives to change.

So, offer THEM the choice of one person, to be drawn at random from a hat, being fired to pay for e cost of new PCs vs switching to Linux and everyone keeping their jobs. Then you'll find they like Linux lots.

Also, keep in mind that 'supporting' users takes much more time than you might naively guess. Make sure that your efforts to 'support Linux' don't turn you into the unproductive member of the office.

Danger Danger Danger (3, Insightful)

jellomizer (103300) | about 4 months ago | (#46716363)

You are getting yourself in a world of pain!

XP users will bitch and moan enough already if they have to use Windows 7 or 8. Giving them Linux would be much worse.

Here are some common misconceptions about end users:
1. They are stupid and only do stupid thing with there PC: Firefox and libreOffice is not the limit to a persons PC usage. They are going to do more complex things even if they don't realize it. They will want to share files over the network, they may want to attach their Camera to their PC, Video Conference, Do some graphics manipulations, even sometimes do basic system admin on their PC, such as updates or putting in a driver. You need to give them more credit then most people do. Linux for the desktop tends to have a doughnut hole in usability. You get Granny Open your program and browse the web. You got advanced user where you can script and program all you want... The hole is in the Moderate user category.

2. Their PC's will work great with Linux: Who really fully checks the Linux compatibility list when getting a PC. Especially if you initially get a windows PC. Even old PC's you may find that a network controller isn't supported, or a video driver never really worked right with that screen. Hardware makers usually make sure their stuff works on windows first then perhaps in Linux if they feel like there is a market for it.

3. Vendors/Customers/Partners will bend backwards to help you keep supported. I am sending you a DOCX with a Macro in it for you to view. Are you really going to have them redo their work so you can view that document. A vendor may give you a crappy convert. The customer will defiantly give you lip. A partner may question you.

4. We don't use Legacy Software: There is always that piece of legacy software that you have that makes porting expensive.

Cautiously... (1, Insightful)

JeffAtl (1737988) | about 4 months ago | (#46716381)

I'd give it a lot of thought before you spearheaded this initiative as it comes with a lot of personal risk. "This linux crap that Bob had us switch over to" will get the blame by the employees for any and all application or IT related issues.

To be clear, I'm not saying that Linux will be the cause, just that it will always be the presumed culprit.

It's illegal, is all (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46716383)

Discrimination in the US based on age, race, or gender, is illegal for a US company to engage in.
Though in my experience there is all types of rampant discrimination based on the above.

Many options (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46716423)

It depends on the available hardware and what do your boss expect: not every linux is created equal.

If you have relatively recent hardware (not more than 5/6 years) xubuntu or another light *buntu flavour will help you a lot (but still remember that not everything will works, i.e. flash will need CPU with > SSE2 instructions support, so you're basically screwed if you need it :-)

Other useful distro in work enviroments I successfully set up in the past were Fedora and RedHat (with the Boss being given the argument "their support fee is way smaller than MS licensing and it actually do something useful"). If your hardware is a lot less recent you still have plenty of distro available for small office work, from DSL (Damn Small Linux) to Slitaz to name a few.

Hope it helps!

Mint (1)

ArhcAngel (247594) | about 4 months ago | (#46716429)

Since Mint is a derivative of Ubuntu which is a derivative of Debian I'd stick with that. You have the support of the Debian/Ubuntu lines and the added multimedia functionality of Mint which means you don't have to configure any of it yourself. I wish Ubuntu included the multimedia stuff but I think some of it isn't FOSS. You will want to make sure whatever you choose won't run afoul of any licensing.
Had you given any thought to running a Terminal Server? I don't know what the cost of the server license and subsequent seats are but you could install just about any stripped down Linux distro and have them log on to a TS and have their full Windows experience on their older hardware.

What is your relationship with the folks whose (1)

Registered Coward v2 (447531) | about 4 months ago | (#46716435)

machines will get Linux to replace XP? I ask that because you will be the "guy who made us switch from MS" and take the rap for every problem that arises. Document mangled? Blame Linux (and your decision to switch). Missed email? That never happened in Outlook, must be Linux' (and the guy who made us switch) fault. I am not saying that such blame would be reasonable or even that you will get blamed, but there is more to switching than just finding a good distro. Ask yourself, "do I have the time and qualifications to take the issue start will arise, train staff, troubleshot problems, find replacement programs for all that we currently use, etc?"

First step: Audit (4, Informative)

nine-times (778537) | about 4 months ago | (#46716439)

If you want to know how to start, your first step would be to audit all the software that people use to get their jobs done. Once you have a complete list, ask these questions for each piece of software:

  1. Does that software run on Linux?
  2. If not, is there a comparable piece of software that would have all the functionality we need?
  3. If not, can we live without the missing functionality?

If you get to the end of those questions and the answer is "no", then you should probably cut your losses and accept that you'll have to stick with Windows. If you can answer "yes" to at least one of these questions for every piece of software on your list, then select some users to be in a pilot program. You should find at least a couple semi-influential but fairly patient power users and set up a new test machine for them.

Re:First step: Audit (1)

Clyde Machine (1851570) | about 4 months ago | (#46716517)

This is probably the most fair response to the question. The ultimate question being asked is, "Which workstation setup will allow the end users to be productive?" If FOSS is part of your criteria, ensure that there are open source solutions for all your office's needs, from document writing to file sharing to video viewing. Invest in what will make your office work better overall, even if it isn't $0.00.

be there, done that, barely survived... (1)

smoothnorman (1670542) | about 4 months ago | (#46716449)

If your boss has any basic science education try to sell them on the "a monoculture is at more risk to attack" approach. that's not entirely false, but mostly it sounds good and pointy-hairs tend to swallow it.

Then choose some version of Ubuntu or Red-Hat, but be ready to suffer all the horrors of dealing with the document, spreadsheet, calendar exchange formats. Those issues, more than any other, will spell failure. (just one middle-level moron who can't open your LibreOffice 'power-point' stack and you're toast) So, far more important than distribution is to be ready (practice!) your corporate compatibility two-step. (once saved my bacon by showing that my 'beamer' stack made everyone's powerpoint stack look like crap)

Beware of the vindictive IT staff who don't want to learn one more thing beyond their 'microsoft certification' merit badge. They will make your life a living hell. good luck!

Re:be there, done that, barely survived... (1)

iggymanz (596061) | about 4 months ago | (#46716509)

RedHat Enterprise makes a poor desktop, too much tweaking needed. Ubuntu is better desktiop but the UI which is the main focus of the distro sucks ass. Why not go with Mint where they have good desktops (MATE, Cinnamon, and to somewhat lesser extent KDE) as focus

Get a Mac (1)

Jon Schneider (3503939) | about 4 months ago | (#46716459)

I know they're expensive...but they're supported end-user based UNIX.

Terrible Idea (2)

Hevel-Varik (2700923) | about 4 months ago | (#46716471)

10 boxes on windows and a least a couple semi-power users of one or more office applications with defined workflows that help them get their job done. If all they use is webmail and surf the web then yeah but what 10 box office does that. Nobody there manages their everything in outlook?

What kind of work do you do? (1)

Khashishi (775369) | about 4 months ago | (#46716479)

What kind of hardships you will face totally depends on details of your workplace and work. I mean, if you are developing for xbox live or something, you probably don't want to force Linux on your colleagues. If you are doing hardcore science, you probably are already using Linux. Do you have a lot of legacy applications? One important legacy app can screw up your transition.

my experience in various workplaces (2)

emanuele_fanton (2529260) | about 4 months ago | (#46716519)

I tried many flavor of ubuntu and now I always use Xubuntu. Simple and fast. Set automatic update and make two users, Administrator and User. Never give away the administrator pwd. Install vino and set permission for remote desktop. Be clear on one Thing!!! You are not the one to ask for it, they asked for it! They can change any time they want and pay for!

Do it slowly (1)

pesho (843750) | about 4 months ago | (#46716527)

Instead I want to set up one test machine for users to try it and ask THEM if they like it.

This experiment will have a predetermined outcome: the users will not going to like it (if they even bother to try it) because its is different. Don't do it unless you realy need an excuse not to transition to linux.

If I were you I would do a gradual change:

  • 1. Before you do anything else, do your homework. Make sure you can run everything you need for your business on linux. This means checking with everybody and his sister in the company and going over every single app and document that is being generated or used. Put your findings in writing. Develop plan for the transition, that includes a pilot transition of small number of desktops. Show your findings and your plan to the management and make sure you have their approval in writing.
  • 2. Start the pilot by transitioning only the PCs with the now obsolete windows XP. Do it one at a time, allowing enough time for the main user of the machine to transition, while he/she has your full attention. Use this to iron out any transition problems. Stuff like compatibility issues between file formats and software. Leave the newer windows versions that are supported as is, but start gradually adapting the users to the free software they will have to use on linux (switch MS office to Libre Office for example, but keep the windows OS). This way the shock of the transition and the backlash will not be as bad.

As far as distro's come, the obvious choice is to do it with the distro that you are most familiar with. Alternatively use a distro that will be supported for years to come, even if you are no longer with the company.

No Anti-virus software ? really ? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46716543)

so your company collects no personal data about anyone (not even employees) and takes no credit card payments . . . . what business are you in ?

Almost definitely no (1)

slashmydots (2189826) | about 4 months ago | (#46716547)

Basically no 3rd party special corporate software runs on Linux so the answer is almost always no. It doesn't even work well with Exchange. But if the system is for web browsing, Google Docs or an ODF office suite, and file storage, go for it. Otherwise, the lack of any domain controls or ability to join a Windows domain kills it in most cases. Out of the 42 systems here at my company, none of them could run Linux or Apple. Every single one needs access to our shared drive that's domain-permissions controlled and they all most need to run Photoshop, Oasis (IE-only), Quickbooks, Office 2003, AutoCAD or something else Windows-only.

Don't Go All-in at Once (1)

The Eight-Bit Link (2447312) | about 4 months ago | (#46716601)

Just as the title says. Start by first replacing the software on the computers with their open-source alternatives. Swap Outlook for Thunderbird, Internet Exploder/Chrome with Firefox/Chromium, Office with Libre. Then, have them use it for several weeks. Once people get comfortable, shift over to Linux. Otherwise, you're going to get lots of opposition due to the sharp change. I like Xubuntu, but in all honesty Mint or Elementary are probably your best bet for the least amount of shock.

You will have the following problems, and wins ... (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46716621)

I've done this.

You will have the following problems:

#1 - some business users will be totally unable to function without microsoft outlook. They will have ZERO interest or patience in learning thunderbird (or whatever) and will become INCREDIBLY vocally disgruntled that it doesn't do the fonts/alarms/animatedsigniatures/auto-invite-replies/whatever the way "it always worked in outlook"

#2 - file sharing. If your in a typical "business" environment, the functionality (not saying it's good or bad) of windows SMB/CIFS sharing will be incredibly difficult to replace. I've used NFS to achieve similar results with a graphical file browser, but you will be surprised how many users copy/paste files instead of drag/drop and the minor UI differences will cause them to clam up FAST.

#3 - proprietary business apps. Not even niche line-of-business apps - but stuff like the UPS Worldship client. It's possible to operate without them, but would/will take SERIOUS business realignment and shake-up to do.

#4 - Welcome to the IT department, you're the new system administrator and helpdesk guy. Your job will vanish if the linux deployment has any speedbumps.

#5 - If your network uses radioActive Directory, prepare for pain. Several years ago, I successfully built a gentoo fileserver running samba, extended file attributes, pam plugins etc that was 100% "integrated" into the company active directory - you could even right-click a file from a windows box and play with the fine-grained permissions with individual user ACLs and stuff, and after some trial and error it even worked - but it was a SERIOUS pain in the ass. Getting a bunch of desktops to not only authenticate against an AD server, but to handle things like home directory creation, user ID translation, etc, intelligently will be a pain in the rear to setup and maintain. Security patches to your AD server _WILL_ break the duct tape.

#6 - You will very quickly learn exactly how scared of computers 50% of end-users are. They perform their tasks by rote, and if something (say, plugging in a USB stick) doesn't behave in a way they expect it to, you should expect constant show-stopper-sounding complaints to the boss. Get used to hearing things like "Ginger says she can't do her job." on a weekly or daily basis.

#7 - connecting to printers/scanners/whatever shared off some windows box will end up being a LOT more problematic then you think.

#8 - If users can't load their comet cursor, change their background to some animated waterfall, or have other specific desktop tweaks like they're used to, expect "Ginger can't work like this" complaints, no matter how trivial it is to you and me.

#9 - "My excel macros don't work with this openoffice calc thing" turns out to be more of a actual show-stopper then you think.

You will experience the following pros:

#1 - Up-front short term cost savings on licensing. Your boss will love that.

I'm not suggesting you hold back, and I've converted 3 small companies to desktop linux myself, just giving you some fair warning of what to expect.

#2 -

easy.,, (4, Funny)

Connie_Lingus (317691) | about 4 months ago | (#46716647)

just tell him this is the year of desktop linux.

Set up for failure (1)

Dancindan84 (1056246) | about 4 months ago | (#46716649)

I'd say that attempting to start it in the workplace on outdated machines with people who've likely been using the same OS for over a decade because they've never been upgraded is the wrong way to go about it. While it is a decent use case for Linux on the desktop, you're also setting it up for failure.

Showcasing it on decently modern machines and with users who (likely) aren't so entrenched to show that it's capable of competing with a modern OS, and THEN taking the, "Oh, and this will also run on that old crap hardware pretty decently" approach after would be better. Unfortunately that process should have started a year or more ago to be effective.

At this point I'd agree with most of the others above. Tell your boss he's better off shelling out to upgrade the computers rather than trying to keep the dead walking.

Be careful (1)

dysmal (3361085) | about 4 months ago | (#46716655)

This really depends on your coworkers and what type of work everyone does. If everyone is pretty savvy then you might be OK. No two people use their computer the same way at work though and you'd be surprised how many backwards things people will do as part of their daily work flow.

There aren't many warning pop up boxes to save users from themselves. Are you ready to deal with "I accidentally removed my toolbar" or something equally absurd? Or "Why is it i keep getting a crackling sound when i listen to a youtube video?" Little things that you take for granted that work well on a Windoze box can actually be a pain for average people even in an office environment. Adobe Flash is a pain in the balls randomly on Windoze!

No good deed goes unpunished.

As a Linux Mint proponent, I say no. (1)

scorp1us (235526) | about 4 months ago | (#46716657)

I run Mint at work and at home, and my retired neighbor runs it because of me.

However I continually run into limitations from it just not being windows. Unless all they do is web work, I foresee a need for them to run something micrrosoft.

Best to install SpiceWorks and see what you've got installed across your domain.

Wrong view point (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46716693)

The application should drive the OS and not the other way around. If the application runs best with Windows, then that is the answer. Same goes for Apple, ChromeOS, Android, etc. If the computers are old and slow, then they are ripe for failures and should be replaced on that account alone. Lost productivity due to a hard drive failure of an old system is bad management. If you read any non-biased studies, then you will know that Linux isn't free. I have seen ROI studies that show Linux on the Desktop to cost more for a company.

FYI, Linux is absolutely NOT invulnerable to attack. Assuming you don't need AV on it is a very stupid stance to take. There may not be as many viruses in the wild, they do exist. I have also seen a lot of Linux installs that have stripped away a lot of security and use generally poor security practices. Linux can be just as much of a security threat as Windows, in the wrong hands.

Debian and XFCE4 (1)

jenningsthecat (1525947) | about 4 months ago | (#46716719)

...even if they would only be using Firefox, Thunderbird and LibreOffice...

I just finished installing Debian Wheezy with XFCE4 on the laptop of a friend whose usage pretty much fits this description, and she loves it. (She *hated* Win 7 but quite liked WinXP). Personally I stay away from Ubuntu because, as I understand it, an upgrade is somewhat more painful than it is for Debian. So if you're interested in Linux Mint, you might want to try Linux Mint Debian Edition, (LMDE), as it has the slickness of Mint but maintains rolling releases.

Load More Comments
Slashdot Login

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?
or Connect with...

Don't worry, we never post anything without your permission.

Submission Text Formatting Tips

We support a small subset of HTML, namely these tags:

  • b
  • i
  • p
  • br
  • a
  • ol
  • ul
  • li
  • dl
  • dt
  • dd
  • em
  • strong
  • tt
  • blockquote
  • div
  • quote
  • ecode

"ecode" can be used for code snippets, for example:

<ecode>    while(1) { do_something(); } </ecode>