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Migrating Your Office from Windows to Linux?

Cliff posted more than 12 years ago | from the thanks-for-the-new-licensing-scheme-Bill dept.

Linux Business 682

bastiji asks: "I work at a mid-sized company, around 50 people and 90% M$ shop (10% being the Sun server doing our backups). Most of my users are using Office 85% of the time with some specialized apps thrown in for good measure. With the upcoming licensing changes from M$ my finance guys are worried about increased spending on even the software that we already own. I've been to told to look for alternatives and I'm asking for your help. How does one begin to do migration from a totally dependent M$ shop to the least expensive options. Are there any examples for mid-sized firms taking this route and any public examples of cost-savings?"

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Get real, chump (-1, Troll)

OsamaBinLager (532628) | more than 12 years ago | (#3538698)

Linux and linux software costs nothing up front but is nothing but pain when it comes to maintenance. You want to migrate from Windows to Linux for job security - you know that Sys Admin is not a career and soon the janitors will be doing your job, so you want to make the system as difficult to use as possible. Clever, but you're not fooling anybody.

Good Luck (5, Interesting)

Mittermeyer (195358) | more than 12 years ago | (#3538699)

I expect that like Linux at ISPs this is sneaking up on everyone, but may be difficult to find companies publicly willing to risk Microsoft wrath by being open about it.

Re:Good Luck (2, Insightful)

Kindaian (577374) | more than 12 years ago | (#3538734)

What wrath? After the migration is done... M$ can call anything but will be eating the dust...

You can even deny the "right" to auditory... and even deny the right of M$ to know how many computers and licences you have...

Unless they come with a court order...
And even then... you can refuse to deliver the data to M$ and demand to deliver it only to the court itself...

P.S.- Of course you can end with all your licenses voided but alas...

Re:Good Luck (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3538943)

Easy to say when you don't resell software ... if you do, you'll *have* to get a M$ partnership to resell those.

Re:Good Luck (5, Insightful)

soloport (312487) | more than 12 years ago | (#3538826)

Diferentiate between quick-learners and, uh, reluctant-learners, first. If you can't figure this out intuitively, ask. "Would you like to try something new?"

Entice even *one* person to try a new, alternative Office suite (start with an MS-Windows install of TOS Office). Ask for their feedback. Observe their learnning experience and learn from it, yourself. Then take it to the next level.

Teach a half-dozen people -- in your spare time. Grow your "install base". Always return to the original group(s) and make sure they're not feeling abandoned, etc.

Next, introduce *one* new person to a "pretty" desktop (Grome/KDE). Show them all the ease-of-use options first. Then help them understand the details as they walk through the learning curve. Every newbie will be diferent. But every newbie needs encouragement; A reason to stay the course.

By all means, show them the same app. they used on MS-Windows (e.g. TOS Office) running on the new desktop! Help them make "familiarity connections".

Be methodical, plodding, patient and open-minded. You'll succeed far sooner than you ever dreamed! The initial newbies, if you employ them, will help newer newbies. And the love will spread...

Do I sound like I've done this before? ;-)

Re:Good Luck (1)

Jucius Maximus (229128) | more than 12 years ago | (#3538911)

Get them to use StarOffice on Windows first and then move them to Linux. Ease them in. Limit the number of changing variables they have to deal with at once.

New MAC Server (0, Insightful)

kawlyn (154590) | more than 12 years ago | (#3538702)

Get one ofthe new MAC servers with unlimited clinet connects. Install Start Office and leave the desktop OS's alone.

Re:New MAC Server (3, Insightful)

ahknight (128958) | more than 12 years ago | (#3538842)

Star Office? AppleWorks. The MS Office importer actually works on that one AND it's cross-platform.

Re:New MAC Server (1)

motorsabbath (243336) | more than 12 years ago | (#3538944)

We use AppleWorks, Applixware and StarOffice at home. The M$ filters run fairly well on all of them. However, how is AppleWorks considered cross-platform?

The suggestion of SO on windows and *then* start moving to Linux is a good one.


Open Office (0)

jr416de (550253) | more than 12 years ago | (#3538704)

I would start by looking at Open Office, I have been playing with it for a bit and it looks like it would handle the needs of most office workers.

Re:Open Office (2, Interesting)

BagOBones (574735) | more than 12 years ago | (#3538769)

I have been Running Open Office for several weeks now and am very happy.. It does a great job of opening most MS files.. It includes all the basic tools you need.. Word Processor, Spreadsheet and Presentation software.. I would probably recommend you stay on windows for your OS.. Sure Linux is FREE but it will only compound the learning curve of your users.. (Don't flame me, I Love Linux but for typical windows users its too much too fast.) I would also recommend you have at leaset one current copy of MS office incase Open Office can not open or convert an important document. If you use alot of Macros in any of your office documents you will probably have to redo them in Open Office..

Re:Open Office (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3538968)

The catch is that your users *should not* be running the box themselves. You just need a tech savvy sysadmin to configure all the boxes to boot and mount, say /home/ from NFS and autoconfigure the network with DHCP and that's all ... lusers *must not* have Admin priviledges ...

Re:Open Office (1)

Gudlyf (544445) | more than 12 years ago | (#3538905)

Also, OpenOffice has a nice feature allowing you to save (print) documents to PDF. It's really just a conduit into GS, but still -- it's free.

Re:Open Office (1)

BagOBones (574735) | more than 12 years ago | (#3538951)

True, Its really GS that does all that.. If you run Open Office under windows you don't get that option.. but you can mimic it by loading Ghoust Script for windows and the extra tools to redirect your printer.. I found it rather time consuming to configure (GS) and the end result didn't aways come out the best.. For some reason it would only convert the first or last page.. I am still looking into the issue.

Do only a partial change... (3, Interesting)

FortKnox (169099) | more than 12 years ago | (#3538706)

Give the techies the linux boxes and the business guys keep windows. Always keep window's boxes, cause customers will always send documents and reports in some microsoft format, so make it available.

Plus, changing business guys over to linux is no easy task.

Re:Do only a partial change... (1)

aaarrrgggh (9205) | more than 12 years ago | (#3538795)

But don't you get burned with the licensing agreements when you have computers but don't use MS products on them?

Agreed that the "business guys" are the hardest to hit, but... 85% of the work is in MS Office according to the poster.

Is there really no (viable) alternative to MS?! Something that is a cost-effective alternative that maintains a suitable level of efficiency?

Re:Do only a partial change... (2, Informative)

einer (459199) | more than 12 years ago | (#3538884)

This is the correct solution for the majority of configurations. Since there is NOT a one-to-one coorespondence between MS and Linux apps, and because Linux simply cannot read some of the MS formats (Access DB, oddities in Excel/Word files), you still need to keep some MS products around.

Unfortunately, introducing another Operating System into your (until now) heterogenous network can cause some headaches. Most notably (at least in my case), backups can become a problem. We use AMANDA here for our backups and haven't had a problem. YMMV. File serving is a breeze (and FAST) with samba so you shouldn't run into any problems there.

Expect to spend a significant amount of time explaining "Windows Equivalents" to your users. Cut and Paste for example, can be a PITA.

It can be done. Don't let anyone tell you it can't.

Re:Do only a partial change... (3, Insightful)

einer (459199) | more than 12 years ago | (#3538956)

erm. When I said:

"...Linux simply cannot read some of the MS formats (Access DB, oddities in Excel/Word files), you still need to keep some MS products around"

I really meant:

"...Linux apps capable of reading all of the MS formats (Access DB, oddities in Excel/Word files), do not exist yet, you still need to keep some MS products around."

Heck, changing non-business people is no easy task (2, Insightful)

Twister002 (537605) | more than 12 years ago | (#3538946)

We can barely get some of the administrative people we have trained on Windows.

I tried to get my fiance to use Linux (SuSE 8.0), her response was "I don't want to learn Linux. I want to use Windows, that's what we have at work". Even though 90% of what she does on her computer at home (online banking, documents, web surfing) can be done just as easily on Linux, the exception being playing games (which I already have a dedicated machine for doing just that).

I tried telling her "There's nothing to learn really, you click on the menu, launch the program and use it like you would a Windows computer". Alas, to no avail.

My point being, even if you convince them it's cheaper, more stable, they won't care unless you force it down their throats. It's like medicine or a new dish. Some people like to try new things, others don't.

Not to mention the fact that you have to convince them that productivity won't be hurt. (now the Systems and help desk productivity might be hurt having to run around and say to everyone "it's just like windows". Your biggest problems will come when everyone and their dog wants to install their personal stuff (screensavers, wallpaper, P2P apps, etc...) on their new Linux machines, then get mad when you tell them it won't work.

Those Specialized apps will bite ya.. (2, Insightful)

nurb432 (527695) | more than 12 years ago | (#3538711)

Standard functionality ( such as office, email ) you can do, but trying to find a replacement for something 'specilaized' wont be easy.. and forget wine running something 'wierd' ( at least today ).

Perhaps use linux on desktop + metaframe
( plugin for citrix works great on linux ) for those apps you just *cant* replace...

Re:Those Specialized apps will bite ya.. (1)

ALecs (118703) | more than 12 years ago | (#3538758)

Too bad the licensing costs for Terminal Server and metaframe are so high you'd be better off buying standalone software. Plus, MS still wants client access licenses for users. I looked at Metaframe for my office, but it costs WAY more money. The only real savings is in administration costs (which is where termserv/metaframe really shines).

In short, boss didn't go for it - said my time was cheaper. :(

Re:Those Specialized apps will bite ya.. (4, Insightful)

mrm677 (456727) | more than 12 years ago | (#3538775)

Actually, specialized apps are often developed by small companies who don't use the newest wizbang API's that trouble Wine. I've got several specialized apps running on Wine that run perfectly. Sure, the file open/save dialogs look like the ones on original Win95 but who cares if the app solves the problem at hand.

Re:Those Specialized apps will bite ya.. (2)

toupsie (88295) | more than 12 years ago | (#3538854)

( plugin for citrix works great on linux ) for those apps you just *cant* replace.

The Java client works well in Mac OS X too. Use it everyday to manage legacy NT servers which I will shoot once we are finished with them.

Head to the supply store... (2, Funny)

TopShelf (92521) | more than 12 years ago | (#3538713)

Paper, pencils, crayons for those dazzling multi-color pie charts, in/out trays, and paper clips. No licensing fees, no support needs, no viruses. What could be better?

Re:Head to the supply store... (1)

Kenja (541830) | more than 12 years ago | (#3538741)

I'll take a macro virus to a paper cut any day.

That was fast (-1, Troll)

h3llphyre (207808) | more than 12 years ago | (#3538714)

Well, I at least have to be close to the first post

Web apps (1)

theEdgeSMAK (467213) | more than 12 years ago | (#3538724)

Open office is shaping up nicely and has the ability to import everybodys office doc's. As for the custom apps, I would recommend webification for most of them, or a nice compile against wine librarys. With the samba project around your shouldn't be forced to do everything at once.


Not a total migration (1)

Black Aardvark House (541204) | more than 12 years ago | (#3538730)

But a good start might be switching from MS Office to Star Office [] . At only $34.99 per copy, it's a whole lot cheaper than MS Office.

Re:Not a total migration (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3538748)

Or Open Office, a whole $0.00 per copy.

Re:Not a total migration (-1)

l33t j03 (222209) | more than 12 years ago | (#3538752)

Much like Linux, it is $34.99 per copy up front, $50 million / year in lost productivity.

Simple (5, Interesting)

mrm677 (456727) | more than 12 years ago | (#3538735)

Don't upgrade. Office 97/2000 will work fine for the next few years. At that time, your financial circumstances may be different or Linux may have even closed the gap some more making it a more viable alternative. Who knows, maybe a miracle will happen and M$ will develop Office for Linux (who's laughing now?)

Re:Simple (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3538774)

That's fine for in house documents. Of course any office app would do the job for that. The problem lies when you get documents from another source.

Not so simple (you forgot the BSA) (5, Insightful)

sterno (16320) | more than 12 years ago | (#3538804)

It does seem like it should be that simple but you neglect the existence of the BSA audit. If you go that route you can expect to hear from the BSA before too long offering an amnesty if you buy the latest versions of the software. If you don't, of course, they'll take you to court and they'll get you for that one or two pieces of software you didn't license. Every company has one or two pieces of software they didn't license. That's all they need to get you for the software costs and legal fees. Fun, non?

My suggestion is that if you choose not to go the Microsoft route make a point of either:

1) purging every vestige of microsoft's sofware from your office

2) making sure everything is in pristine order for when the BSA comes along

Re:Not so simple (you forgot the BSA) (1)

GeckoX (259575) | more than 12 years ago | (#3538875)

Don't go to court then, just pay up for the couple of missed licenses.

Sure, they may try to charge you an exorbitant penalty amount, which would be unfair and then you may still end up in court, but then they haven't got a leg to stand on because you tried to comply with their license agreement in good faith as soon as they audited you, but they tried to gouge you.

The Judge isn't going to side with them, they'll then be paying the legal fees and the Judge will likely order them to accept the list price of the missed licenses.

Re:Not so simple (you forgot the BSA) (3, Interesting)

reflexreaction (526215) | more than 12 years ago | (#3538890)

Looks like Seattle schools are going to have the same problem [] as you.

From the article
Call Eric Harrison at the Multnomah Educational Service District in Portland, Ore. Since 1997, Harrison has been developing networks based on the free Linux operating system. His latest project links 40 older PCs to a single set of software applications running on a central Linux server computer. The cost: $200 a seat vs. $1,500 a seat for PCs running Microsoft, he says.

Re:Not so simple (you forgot the BSA) (1)

Phrogger (230179) | more than 12 years ago | (#3538900)

" can expect to hear from the BSA before too long offering an amnesty if you buy the latest versions of the software. If you don't, of course, they'll take you to court..."

Unless you've negotiated a site license from Microsoft, by what right does the BSA have to perform an attack audit?

It is the site license, I believe, that has the clause that permits license auditing, not the regular EULA. Surely the BSA can't just show up with a US marshall at any home or office and conduct an audit willy-nilly.

No they can't just audit you but... (3, Insightful)

sterno (16320) | more than 12 years ago | (#3538977)

See here's what happens. The BSA says play nice with them and they'll be lenient with you. Nice means either paying for new software or paying for them to audit you and then pay for the license you were supposed to have. Keep in mind, that having a copy of office and a receipt for it is not legally licensed unless you've got the little certificate of authenticity. So if you weren't keep pristine records they'll possibly have you paying twice for your software.

Now, that's the "NICE" approach. The less than nice approach is that they file suit against you in court. During discovery they get to audit you and can find that lone piece of software that was infringing. Now you have to pay for that license, penalties, court costs, audit costs, damages. Now if it turns out that you are the one organization on earth that has all of your software licensed legitmately, then you can probably recover the costs for your legal defense, but even then you just wasted a lot of time and resources.

One word (0, Troll)

MountainLogic (92466) | more than 12 years ago | (#3538743)


Before you switch... (5, Insightful)

whizzird (129373) | more than 12 years ago | (#3538753)

I'd suggest having the users (or leads or whatever) try the windows version of star office. Make sure they can do what they need to do, before you switch them. Otherwise you'll be forced to switch back, and they'll have a negative view of Linux.
Also make a list (you can't plan something like this too much) of all the apps they're using, and what features they're using, and make sure you can provide all of those features before you switch.

And put lots of pictures of Tux around the place. His cute smile will calm everyone's fears. :)

Re:Before you switch... (5, Insightful)

Fjord (99230) | more than 12 years ago | (#3538941)

Similarily, get people using Mozilla instead of IE. Using the Windows versions of the Linux applications they will be using will make the transition much easier.

Also check the how well specialized applications under wine. Don't just read the ranking in the codewearvers database: actually use it.

Forget MS Office (1)

Shalda (560388) | more than 12 years ago | (#3538757)

Just use either Star Office or Open Office for Windows. It's cheap, easy, and doesn't require you to spend a lot of time setting up a Linux shop. Furthermore, if you've already bought licenses for whatever version of Office, just keep using it and don't bother to upgrade unless there's some feature you really need.

I guess the other thing you need to ask yourself, is what are you qualified to support, and what kind of support overhead would be required by changing? Keep your employer's best interests in mind and only make an OS change if there is a compelling reason to do so.

Cost of retraining? (5, Insightful)

essdodson (466448) | more than 12 years ago | (#3538770)

Have your finance people taken into account that the majority of the employees know Microsoft products fairly well and would have to be retrained for such a migration. The problem getting Linux or other OSS into the office isn't cost or a technical issue. Its a people issue, plain and simple people know MS Products, they've been using them for years. A move to a completely different operating system and business suit will leave the employees feeling abandoned and useless and will more than likely hurt productivity.

Something to consider. This is probably the biggest reason that OSS has had such a hard time infiltrating the office.

Re:Cost of retraining? (3, Insightful)

codeguy007 (179016) | more than 12 years ago | (#3538855)

This is just a lot of FUD. Currently Linux Windows Managers are an easy transistion from Windows. In fact most Windows users will catch on quickly. The biggest train issue will be the Office Suite. Luckly most office suites tend to be a lot like MS Office in Menus and Commands to the move won't be as hard as expected. No retrain won't be a big problem. The problem will be the fear of moving from Windows to Linux that some of the Employees will have.

Move away from Windows or just Office? (5, Interesting)

forkboy (8644) | more than 12 years ago | (#3538779)

Are you looking to get away from M$ entirely, or just Office because of its hideous licensing scheme?

You're in for a real treat if you're going to try and get an alternative OS going in an environment that's not filled with techies....most of these people took years just to "learn" Windows, Linux (or whatever) is going to be a nightmare for them.

Maybe you should just look into a different office suite.

As a side note, it really bites my ass that M$ is trying to leverage companies into paying more money because of the fear of having to switch to new apps that possibly might be incompatible with other companies' documents. Yet another reason proprietary technology sucks. There needs to be an industry-wide switch to open document formats....RTF and whatever the spreadsheet and presentation software equivalents might be.

Not sure if this works but... (5, Insightful)

T3kno (51315) | more than 12 years ago | (#3538786)

If I were doing this I would create a "I want that" sort of environment. What I mean is pick a Linux distro that has a lot of eye candy and cool features, ala SuSE or Mandrake, and give it to some of your more advanced users, those willing to experiment a little bit. Let them play around with it, and give them some freedom to customize as much as they want. Once they start to really make the GUI look nice, and playing with some of the stuff that is just not available with out of the box Windows/Office they will start to attract other users. Have them tell the rest of the staff that this is the "future" and they are beta testing for the optimal environment. It wouldn't hurt if you got them new machine, or monitors, give a users some incentive to learn and use Linux.

With KDE 3 it's really not that hard to learn the OS, how many Windows users use a CMD shell, the same will be true for the average run of the mill Linux user if the GUI is setup right. I have been using KDE3 for a while now and it is at least as easy if not easier than Windows to do just about anything.

If you allow fairly unrestricted Internet access I would make sure that all of the multimedia apps are working correctly, and that flash is working as well. These are big things for the weenies, they want the bells and whistles that Windows provides, and with a good distro they're all there, but they may need some tweaking to get them running flawlessly.

Just my $0.02, but that is what I would do.

pr0n (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3538914)

set up the firewall to allow linux boxes to surf pornsites and the windows boxes to be "family friendly". then, let the users choose their own.

...linux fully deployed in 2, maybe 3 days on the outside.

I have to agree with this (1)

Das Fink (462558) | more than 12 years ago | (#3538939)

I have been using Mandrake 8.0 for about six monthes now (first Linux install) and I have not needed to go to the command line for anything. I am not a particularly great computer person, but other than learning the whole mount unmount floppy disk disaster (what dya mean I can't just put the disk in the drive?). The transition from windows has been pretty smooth. Using gnome the menus are all in the same place (almost) as they were with windows, useing star office is almost exactly the same as using MSOffice, the Gimp does my phot editing easier than photoshop ever did.
Abd contrary toevery thing I have heard every thing just worked straight out of the box with less fuss than trying to get it to work on my hideously boken windows partition.

Ok now I will go back in my corner and shut up

Slow transition (5, Interesting)

crow (16139) | more than 12 years ago | (#3538789)

Plan a slow transition. Microsoft is going to hit you with a deadline to buy into their subscription system. The deadline is that if you don't buy in by then, you have to pay full price for upgrades in the future. But you can ignore that since you'll be transitioning away from Microsoft instead of upgrading.

If you're lucky, your custom apps will run with Wine or can even be compiled with winelib to be native on Linux, even if they are a pain to port to real Linux apps.

If you find you can't effectively transition your apps, you can stick with Windows, but drop Office in favor of Star/Open Office. Even if you get stuck paying more for OS licensing, you'll save a huge bundle on the other licenses. If you do that, just be sure you're very careful with not letting unlicensed copies of MS Office onto your systems, or you'll be in big trouble if a BSA audit comes along.

Why not make it a Sun shop? (5, Interesting)

schowley (415879) | more than 12 years ago | (#3538792)

The company I work for will be converting the entire backend to Sun Microsystems machines. While working with the Sun engineers I asked about alternatives to M$ as well, and it turns out that moving off M$ to a Sun thin client was easier than I had expected. We have 110 users and may look at using the Sun iplanet app server to administer our in house apps through an intranet portal to the desktop.

Make sure that you have your licences (1)

reflexreaction (526215) | more than 12 years ago | (#3538796)

Based on the reports [] coming out of Philadelphia schools if you are considering moving from Microsoft to Linux they may think it's time to do an internal audit of your machines to make sure that you have a license for every box.

Re:Make sure that you have your licences (1)

reflexreaction (526215) | more than 12 years ago | (#3538815)

There is also another article [] over at Salon about Philadelphia's woes.

HTH (5, Informative)

cymraeg (578870) | more than 12 years ago | (#3538799)

In my experience, it's best to replace your servers with Linux, particularly because end-users tend to be more resistant to change concerning their day-to-day activities. If you're using Windows NT for file and print sharing, then you can easily replace those with Linux and Samba. The user's won't care what the server OS is so long as they have access to their files and printers. Most of your cash outflow can be stopped here. Of course, if you have specialized apps that require MS software (ASP scripts), then you'll need to maintain those, but for pure file and print sharing, you can easily go the Linux/Samba route.

For internet services, you're set. Linux can do everything Windows can and more. For SQL services, you can migrate data from MS SQL to any myriad of free SQL servers available from Linux. Just make sure that your SQL statements are ANSI compliant.

You'll just have to handle these on a case-by-case basis.

For the end users, consider OpenOffice as a replacement for MS Office. There are plenty of good browsers for Linux (Mozilla and Opera) that can replace IE. Eventually, you can get users used to using Linux with KDE/GNOME and still give them the functionality they need.

One caveat: in my experience, leave the accountants alone. They tend to be moody, set in their ways, and can become quite a strain on your happiness if you try to mess with their routines.

The only thing I can offer you advice on are your custom apps. For those you can either just live with the fact that you need MS for them, try to find Open Source alternatives, or if written in-house, consider porting.

I hope this helps you a tiny bit. Best of luck!

One more thing... (1)

cymraeg (578870) | more than 12 years ago | (#3538834)

You could always hire me to help. Right now I'm cheap, easy, and willing to relocate. :)

Migrating From Windows on the Desktop (2, Insightful)

queenb**ch (446380) | more than 12 years ago | (#3538800)

I would suggest that you proceed slowly. Linux doesn't have the mature GUI that Windows offers and it takes some getting used to. Most non-technical people are inherently disturbed by change - they fear change. My current employer is considering this. We have organized groups by job function. The admin assistants will be going first since word processing, email, etc. are fairly robust for Linux. I suggest that you look at and their Evolution product, namely for the email client. I also suggest AbiWord as a good "Word" replacement. The whole office suite is relatively simple to replace.

Our developers and IT staff, which make a large part of our company, are having difficulty since we use many of those "specalized applications" that you were referring to. We have had some luck with WINE. You might also want to check out Lindows. VMWare is another option, but that still requires a Windows license - however - it wil allow you to run what just became your legacy apps until you can migrate off them as well.

One way ... (3, Interesting)

halftrack (454203) | more than 12 years ago | (#3538801)

... is the hard and brutal way. Buy some easy Linux distros (Mandrake or perhaps RedHat) then send all employees away to learn about using Linux. If they are depending on the haunting .doc format run Office through Wine. The special windows software should either be run through Wine or in an emulator such as VMware (although this would require a separate Windows license.) Get some geeks/gurus to work on making Wine working near perfect.

Whatever you chose professional training and a support deal with the distro manufacturer.

low cost office (5, Funny)

VAXGeek (3443) | more than 12 years ago | (#3538802)

I suggest moving your server to an Intel 386DX/33 with at LEAST 16 mb of RAM. That should have no problem running a pre-1997 version of Linux. For Internet connectivity, you can get a 56k modem very cheaply from Best Buy. You should be able to lease a 24 hour 56k baud line from Earthlink at about $60 a month. This will be much cheaper than the costly T1 you have now. Move the clients to VT320s. You should be able to find a few terminal servers at Salvation Army, or perhaps K-mart. As for Office Software, hand out LaTeX manuals and have your users use vi for inputting, and then they can run LaTeX for the nice output. This should save on licensing costs on the server/clients, and a VT320 is a lot easier to maintain than a full PC. Instead of Outlook, teach your users how to use mailx. Instead of IE, give them a few lessons in lynx. You might want to limit the amount of users that you let surf the web concurrently, because with 16mb of RAM, we don't want the server thrashing too hard. Backups should be no problem. You should be able to fit all of the server's data files onto a zipdisk, which you can connect through the parallel port on the PC. Also, junk all your old HP LaserJets and pick up some old DEC LP printers. They can do quite a few pages an hour, as long as you don't mind the noise. If you implement my plan, I bet your users will be smiling all day!

STFU (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3538923)

Shut The Fuck Up

Why force change if it's not yet pertinent? (1)

19Buck (517176) | more than 12 years ago | (#3538803)

Just keep on using what you have till the machines and/or the software aren't doing what you need them to do anymore.

It's good to plan ahead and see where you have to go, but there's just no reason to push ahead when your current machines and software can probably solider on for a good number of years to come.. depending on how old your stuff currently is that is.

Here's my question (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3538806)

Is it possible for a random newbie person-- such as the average former windows user at an american business-- assuming the OS installs right and they don't have to do any mucking about with drivers, to just sit down and start using the GUI portion of GNU/Linux without having to learn any of the command line?

I've been using various distributions of linux for some time now. It's been awhile since i've run X under linux, but back when i did use it it seemed like the GUI was not really sufficient and i would always wind up back at the command line to get anything done. I could do a couple things with simple graphical tools-- netscape, AIM, etc. But anything even the tiniest bit complicated, like installing a new program or mounting a disk or force-quitting a program or changing my network settings (or even launching X itself in one of the messier distributions), required me to open up an xterm and then usually pore over apropos and man trying to find which command i wanted and which flags it required.

Later versions of GNOME really impressed me for how they managed to give a natural feel to the file management portions of UNIX, but even when i could use the GUI, i usually didn't manage to; most distributions tended to give incredibly vague ideas of which programs you had installed. There were hundreds of useful graphical tools for various tasks installed by default, but there was no way to find out what tools i had installed or what they did other than poring over tens of pages of output of a (command line) package manager tool, and no way to get to these programs except by opening an xterm and typing its name followed by an &. (OK, there's grun, but it wasn't always installed by default in the menu.) Oh, yeah, the menus. KDE, GNOME, and whatever window manager you wanted all had different menus containing *some* programs, but not all, and not always the best out of the two or three redundant programs for each task. And they were usually so badly organized that it was usually easier to search on google for the command line program.

Anyway, what i am saying is, it seems like linux is vaguely inseperable from the command line, and the command line is really just not acceptible for your average home/business user. You should be able to do all the things people expect of their computer through graphical tools.

So my question is, have modern linux distributions improved these conditions? Is it possible to migrate an office, or possibly your mother, to Linux without it ever being necessary for them to learn how to use xterm?

Yes they are better (2)

sterno (16320) | more than 12 years ago | (#3538927)

As an experiment, when I was moving my desktop at work to run on Linux (YAY!), I decided to try to do as much through the GUI as possible. I wanted to see how far things had come and answer your question which I was wondering about too. So, I installed redhat 7.2 loaded up KDE and got to work.

The simple answer is yes, you can do nearly everything through the GUI. I found that, I only had to move away from the GUI when I was doing non-standard things. For example I wanted to download a cutting edge version of a piece of software that had to be compiled. So, yeah I had to bring up a command-line to manage that. Overall though I think that anything I'd normally be able to do under windows I could do under Linux with no need of a command line.

CrossOver Office (1)

hendridm (302246) | more than 12 years ago | (#3538809)

If you want to retain compatibility, you could try CrossOver Office [] from Code Weavers? [] . It's expensive, but an option.

Right now, it's either Wine or whine (2)

cecil36 (104730) | more than 12 years ago | (#3538810)

Micro$oft has way too much dominance in the business world when it comes to office applications. This is why I hope Lindows is able to proceed into development and future release onto desktops. That way, we can still run what I believe to be one of the best word-processing programs on the planet, yet still run an operating system that is more stable than Windows (and not overly priced).

Dont upgrade the desktops, upgrade the servers... (1)

coene (554338) | more than 12 years ago | (#3538814)

First off, keep the desktops running Windows, except for those technically savvy individuals who are already comfortable with Linux as their primary desktop (not many, if at all). If I were in your situation, I'd migrate the servers that you can to Linux/BSD, and keep the desktops as-is. This will remove the need for connection licenses, and still give the friendly GUI that people are used to. You can do magical things with Samba for filesharing.

Dont upgrade your desktop software to the latest and greatest M$ product (XP?). If anything, put OpenOffice on the desktops and see if the users like it.

How about (IBM/LOTUS) SmartSuite? (3, Interesting)

bsharma (577257) | more than 12 years ago | (#3538816)

I have been using it and it is simply great. Absolutely better than StarOffice and a fraction of the MS Office cost.

Good way to show reduction of costs... (5, Funny)

toupsie (88295) | more than 12 years ago | (#3538818)

Give me your business name and location. I will call the BSA to perform a free audit of your company. I am sure after the friendly BSA auditors finish, your boss will see the reduction of cost moving to Linux will be. Don't worry about paying my consultancy fee for assisting you in this matter, I am sure the BSA will kick back some bucks to me because, without a doubt, your finance guys forgot to pay for every license for every software package on your company's computers.

Ditto. (1)

huckda (398277) | more than 12 years ago | (#3538821)

I've been "promoted" to part-time all around computer/network problem solver/creator, for a small private high school. We are currently using Novell for fileserving, and win '98 for users, aside from a small 15 station MAC lab.

I've been deliberating how to change over to Linux and the respective applications that can be used to teach application use, such as MS's OFFICE suite. Abiword and gnumeric have been suggested, but what about powerpoint/publisher/access equivelants?

keeping in mind that the environment is being used to teach 13-17 year-olds, does anyone have any suggestions?

Re:Ditto. (0)

deep13 (157030) | more than 12 years ago | (#3538919)

staroffice ( or openoffice( I *think* that openOffice is just an open source version of sun's product.
I've been using staroffice for a while now under FreeBSD (has been ported to pretty much every platform). it's so easy, even my wife can use it.
There is also a new version of staroffice out, haven't tried it yet.

Re:Ditto. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3538953),

unfortunately .. you dont (3, Informative)

jest3r (458429) | more than 12 years ago | (#3538824)

At this point you really don't .. because most of your employees also use Windows at home ...

As an experiment some of our more computer literate employees switched to Linux - but in the end had to switch back due to a plethora of small but annoying problems.

These included opening files sent via email .. as well as simple things like fonts not displaying properly .. websites not working properly (ie. streaming win media) (yes we know about crossover but BUYING a program to run FREE windows programs seems wrong) .. file system structure .. and believe it or not the 'ugly' interface was mentioned quite a few times. Yes GNOME looks nice - but its nowhere near as polished as Windows or Aqua ..

A mid-sized company with around 50 people?!?! (4, Informative)

nedron (5294) | more than 12 years ago | (#3538825)

I would call this a small company, but that actually makes the proposition easier.

First, evaluate the alternatives. What applications can be replaced with Linux equivalents and which can't. For the ones that can't, would it be cost-effective to consider limited licensing for those apps and running them from a Windows terminal service with Citrix Metaframe installed? Or would it be cheaper to by VMWare licenses for those users who absolutely have to run some esoteric Windows app.

When the alternatives have been considered, propose a pilot targetting a limited group of users to see whether the can continue their normal work routine on the new platform.

These are all starting points. The tough one is what to do about apps that only exist on Windows and are critical to the job the person is doing.


Well... (2, Informative)

Arminius (84868) | more than 12 years ago | (#3538827)

I work for a large transportation airline. We are a large Sun shop. We are currently looking at switching over to Sun Office 6.0. Our software costs shold be dramatically reduced while maintaining MS office "compatibility". The compatibility issues seem to be the biggest factors we are addressing at this time.

Too many options (1)

meta_gorn (316019) | more than 12 years ago | (#3538829)

Just as I get cywin and various LAMP ports to Win32 purring like a kitten, my boss say I can switch to a Ximian desktop any time I want. Oh, freedom's torment!

migration to linux (1)

buthaggler (226441) | more than 12 years ago | (#3538835)

It may seem like a duanting task, but with proper planning, research, and development it can be done.We just finished a Windows to Linux migration, and one thing is watching and listening to users,(they yell the loudest), will make the migration painless as possible. Open Office, Win4lin, and Samba are more than enough to ease any transition. Plan in steps and create a strategy to acheive the goal. Good Luck, hang in there, keep at it the migration will happen.


MS is hurting (2)

scott1853 (194884) | more than 12 years ago | (#3538836)

I work for a small company (4 people) and MS called us to try and get us to subscribe to their maintenance program. The first thing they said was "MS Project 2002 is going to be 4 times the cost of Project 2000 unless we got on the <something - he mumbled> upgrade package".

Re:MS is hurting (2)

waldeaux (109942) | more than 12 years ago | (#3538866)

I work for a small company (4 people) and MS called us to try and get us to subscribe to their maintenance program. The first thing they said was "MS Project 2002 is going to be 4 times the cost of Project 2000 unless we got on the upgrade package".

Oh that would be *beautiful*... my immediate response: Oh! That makes the decision much simpler - we'll just migrate to Linux and save lots of $$$. Retraining is no worse than training people to use M$ products anyway (probably less in the long run).

Re:MS is hurting (1)

abh (22332) | more than 12 years ago | (#3538897)

If you only have 4 people, I'm wondering if perhaps MS Project is overkill...

The other way around (0, Interesting)

sjnokker (578073) | more than 12 years ago | (#3538845)

I just know this will get modded down to minus 1000, but I can't resist:

For over a year or so I'm thinking of moving from Linux to windows. Why? Because of the stability and usability. Windows 2000 and XP appear to be very stable and no one can deny that they are lightyears ahead of anything on linux when it comes to desktop comfort.

I just hate it when I encounter yet another website that doesn't load using Konqueror, mozilla, opera... you fill in the blanks. I just hate it that I can't play movies on my linux machine without five days of intensive configuration battles.

I've developed a lot of software for unix and am now seriously considering porting them to windows. Hell, it will be a lot easier to sell these things as well. Right now, I don't even have to bother.

About 10 years ago (remember kernel 0.99pl15?) I had to choose between adopting windows, OS/2 or linux, because Dos was dying. For quite some time I was happy to say that "at least linux crashed less often than windows". (never gave os/2 a try though). The last few years, windows gained on stability and user friendlyness. While making the move to the semi-professional desktop, linux became more unstable (I don't know how many times I've grunted after installing yet another 2.4.x kernel) and certainly couldn't keep up with the gains made by windows on the user friendly side. Before playing some video I still have to say a prayer...

Right now, I can't keep my development pc running for more than a week because of some application that leaks memory and uses up my entire memory after a few days.

So how about it... Porting my own software to windows. I can see a lot of problems. filesystem links, permissions. Most applications cannot be scripted...

Anyone have experience going from unix/linux to windows?

Why Choose? Just use both. (1)

Alpha_Geek (154209) | more than 12 years ago | (#3538928)

I have two machines connected to a 2 port USB KVM switch. That way I can quickly move between my two machines here at work, one FreeBSD and one Windows 2000. I spend probably 95% of the time in FreeBSD (thank you VNC!), but some things are just easier in Windows (SQL Enterprise Manager sucks over VNC). Occasionally I go to Windows to open a website that Mozilla can't handle (screw you, WebTrends). It makes my life as a System Administrator much easier, takes 2 seconds to go from FreeBSD to Windows.

Re:The other way around (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3538966)

I wouldn't abandon all unix/linux boxes. There's a great many everyday things that you probably do with your current setup that XP or 2000 will frown upon.

As far as stability? hard to say. at work my XP Pro workstation never BSOD's (like 98SE did) but it locks up solid probably around a dozen times a day, requiring a trip to the reset button. Although i'm discovering i'm not alone in this amongst cross-platform users that have migrated to XP on the windows side, hopefully your mileage will vary. I also find its "cutesy-wutesyness" slightly offensive, but that's just me.

Others might tell you to go to OSX/apple as it has many MS apps made for it and has the bsd functionality underneath.
IMHO OSX is a step in the right direction for apple, but i still find ther hardware horrific and thier community (although largely ignorant sheep) impossible to deal with. Hopefully things will change.

Of course, none of this is to say that linux or even decent examples of bsd are without problems. This is ESPECIALLY not to say that the linux community is devoid of zealots.

good luck in all that you do.

Stupidity (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3538867)

Get real, Linux is still not ready for the generic user, soon maybe but not yet.

It Really Depends On What You Do (2, Insightful)

Aix (218662) | more than 12 years ago | (#3538869)

The "specialized apps" are where it really makes the difference, unfortunately. For example, if you're doing mechanical engineering, there's nothing out there like Pro/ENGINEER for linux (That I know of...). Also, stupid little things like shipping and receiving needing to use UPS software and accounting using Peachtree or Quickbooks. There's not a lot of professional-level software like this out there for Linux. Don't get me wrong - there's a lot of stuff - I run it exclusively, but I have to reboot to use Pro/E.

It's the applications stupid (2)

nuggz (69912) | more than 12 years ago | (#3538922)

I agree, the apps matter.

Last time I tried staroffice it was good, but not 100%, which isn't surprising, MS office itself isn't 100%.

But what about CAD, you must use the exact same program, and VERSION, along with handfuls of specific apps.

There is also the ever common MS Access Databases (which are quite nice for many simple tasks).

Not to mention the crazy Calculation programs most larger technical companies have, heck I still use some DOS programs regularly.

With Microsofts past history more companies are getting scared to just upgrade, they evaluate whether EVERY application works properly and take it nice and slow, moving to Linux would be quite a jump. It likely is quite a bit cheaper to just pay $2k/yr and stay with MS

Please post follow-ups (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3538872)

It would be interesting to hear how this develops, as a case study. Practical experience in the field often gives useful insights. Be sure to notice the many orthogonal aspects of the problem: human factors; training; office poltics; financial; interoperability; and of course technical issues. Good luck.

You can do (1)

Haiku 4 U (580059) | more than 12 years ago | (#3538889)

all you need to, with the stuff
you already have.

It's easy - one piece at a time...;) (1)

stevey (64018) | more than 12 years ago | (#3538894)

So if you've got 50 people there at the moment you've probably got a few servers for things like network sharing, and Exchange for email, right?

My advice would be to switch the servers over and then do the clients - installing Debian or something similar to become the companies NT login system will give you an immediate saving in terms of NT server licenses. (Or 200).

Once that's done - and it's been demonstrated that it's stable I'd attack the Exchange system, and setup a box to be the companies IMAP/POP3/NNTP server.

Basically I would want to switch the servers first - and then the clients. Mostly because that should be transparent to the clients, and I expect you'll always have to leave a couple of Windows clients around.

Once you've started the switch you can gruadually make things more functional by doing things like introducing a Squid cache for the company, or something similar.

I hope that helps a little..

The Laundry List (2)

GOD_ALMIGHTY (17678) | more than 12 years ago | (#3538896)

Keep the users on windows for now.

StarOffice 6.0 (get the supported version from Sun) $76.95/user

Mozilla 1.0 or Netscape 6.2.3 (1.0 will be out end of month)

SunONE Calendar Server 5.1 (formerly iPlanet, formerly Netscape) web interface, email integration $30/user

Cyrus IMAP 2.x (available with most distros)

OpenLDAP 2.0.xx (available with most distros also needed for the Calender Server)

pam_ldap (available with most distros)

Your fave distro with a recent version of Samba

Use the LDAP server for centralized user management, the Samba server for file sharing and authentication for the Windows boxes. The Calendar Server + Cyrus + OpenLDAP should make a nifty Exchange Server Replacement.Of course, don't forget Sendmail, which has some nifty integration with LDAP too.

All relavent documentation for doing this should be available on the web, mailing list archives and such.

You will need a Sparc, HP-UX or WinNT 4.0 box for the Calendar Server, but that should run you less than $1K for an older UltraSparc or around $1K for one of the new mini servers Sun is selling now.

So, total cost of migration (minus Labor)

~$1K for Sparc box
$106.95/user for software
~$70 Your favorite distro

10 users for less than $2500 plus Labor if you recycle existing hardware..... not bad, what's that? 1 Win2K Server License + 1 Copy of Exchange 2000 without the client licenses or the Office licenses?

Oh yeah, and now you can manage the servers via dial-up over ssh. Sweet!!!!!

Re:The Laundry List (1)

Jucius Maximus (229128) | more than 12 years ago | (#3538952)

"Mozilla 1.0 or Netscape 6.2.3 (1.0 will be out end of month)"

Apparently you did not see the last Mozilla roadmap... "If we work hard and fortune smiles upon us, v1.0 in Q3 2001 !"

[This is intended to be humorous.]

MS License changes (1)

slutdot (207042) | more than 12 years ago | (#3538898)

I've spoke to management regarding this same thing recently and have proposed migrating some to Staroffice. The argument I used was that most people in our company rarely ever use Word or Excel to its potential so buying Office every two years doesn't make sense when Office 97 will work for most people. Apparently the accountants are starting to get a little concerned over the license changes because it appears to be working. Management agreed to allow us to start with the I.S. Deparment for deployment of Staroffice and as the techs get trained on that product, we'll eventually migrate other departments. Some groups will still be allowed to stay on Office because there are apps that use Excel and Access and there's no way that we can get rid of those apps.

By the way, my company has about 6000 users and we purchase a copy of Windows and Office for nearly every person that comes to work for us. It's dumb but it's the policy here. After StarOffice, I'm going to work on getting Linux on the desktop. That's a greater battle though. I showcased RH 7.3 recently and some people were impressed but others were a little concerned that the new interface would intimidate some of our workers. Support costs were another issue that I agree with but I'm going to try to get management to allow some of the engineers to start using linux on their laptops and set aside a budget for books. After spending so much money over the years on MS training, it would be very hard to get the same Red Hat training for tech support.

Simple migration (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3538903)

Move everything to Plan 9 [] . Just rewrite the apps you need. Nothing to it, really, you could start now and have everything done by June 1. Unless you're not a real computer guy.

Stick with what you have for now... (2)

SlashChick (544252) | more than 12 years ago | (#3538909)

It sounds like you're afraid that what you have won't be viable in a few years. If you have Windows 2000 and Office 2000 or XP, though, you should be fine.

Read this article [] on CNet. In your case, forget the Software Assurance program and buy OEM licenses from your vendors. The cost increases that Gartner is factoring are for the retail copies of Windows and Office -- OEM copies are usually about 60% of that price.

Microsoft's licensing changes have pissed off a lot of customers, and a lot of those customers are migrating off Windows and onto Linux on their servers (because heck, it's $999 for Windows 2000 Server and migrating to Samba/Linux doesn't involve much retraining for your users.)

I would be hesitant to push users off of Windows and Office at this point, especially if I had an all-Windows 2000 shop. With only 50 users, you can get a VAR to hook you up with OEM copies of the latest and greatest Windows/Office at any time without buying in to the Software Assurance program. Thus, I wouldn't worry too much about licensing changes. If you want to see the greatest benefit with the least migration cost, put your web and workgroup servers on Linux.

The desktops, however, are often more trouble than they are worth. I'd leave them alone if I were you. The migration and training costs just aren't worth it at this point. The best thing you can do is just to get them all on the same version of Windows (2000) and Office (2000 or XP) and leave them alone from there. You can look at it again in a couple of years.

Don't waste your software (1)

L. VeGas (580015) | more than 12 years ago | (#3538924)

I've found that many companies waste a lot of money by actually buying a separate copy of software for each PC! Americans are so wasteful.

Linux and VMware (1)

nodialtone (580061) | more than 12 years ago | (#3538938)

We've migrated all of our systems to linux, with multiple VMware guest operating systems such as, NT4, WIN2K and WIN XP... Works great!

We're thinking of the same thing. (2)

schporto (20516) | more than 12 years ago | (#3538942)

And its a huge nightmare the more we think of it and that's just the tech side. And we use Corel Office, so should have an easier time. The problem is all those custom access databases that people have that won't work anymore. That's gonna hurt big time. OpenOffice is good. Heck its great. But there isn't an access equivelent yet. That's were all the customization dookickeys happen that the IT staff probably won't know about. And they important. Other then that we may be doing it. It looks good, its cheaper, we can make more simple user menus. People can't install their cool version of something unless we let them. Less viruses. Less crashing. Better preformance on lower grade hardware. If people can run word processing, spread sheet, access the internet, get mail, run calendars, print, listen to a cd, and not crash 10 minutes into the day. People would be thrilled. Dang. Now I gotta go fix someone else.

You can't beat a Monopoly... (1)

march (215947) | more than 12 years ago | (#3538959)

Microsoft has a monopoly. You cannot beat that. Any switch at this time will cause you more grief than happiness (other than the satisfaction of getting M$ off your machines).

Your business guys will need M$. You administrators (not SA's!) will need M$. Your customers will need you to have M$. Etc.

You will loose (at least in the short term - which might be the long term, if you know what I mean) if you switch.

I have... I now run linux with vmware so I can get the required Lotus Bloats spam messages my company sends out.

Alternatives: Wait, Macs, WordPerfect (2)

guanxi (216397) | more than 12 years ago | (#3538965)

I'd agree with an earlier poster: Stick with what you have for now. Software doesn't wear out; as long as you have the features you need, don't upgrade.

If you must upgrade, what about Apple Mac's? Is the Office licensing the same for Office for MacOS?

Another alternative: WordPerfect. The word processor is just as good, if not better than Word; the drawback is that the spreadsheet, while decent for many tasks, isn't suited for power Excel users. The last two versions of WP even run VB.

StarOffice (2)

binaryDigit (557647) | more than 12 years ago | (#3538967)

Several people have replied about migrating to StarOffice (can't say anything about OpenOffice since I've never used it). They are right in pointing out that getting the office apps right is the numero uno priority. Anything that a user uses 85% of the time is going to be something that they are very passionate about. Which brings me to my point.

Now to be honest, I haven't looked at SO in about a year, so things might have changed since then. But my impression (as a very long time Word/Excel user) was that the program was not up to snuff. On equivilent hardware it took forever and a day just to start up, the user interface is radically different than office products, and it just had a very clunky feel to it. Now the first two issues don't speak to whether SO is actually _better_, just different enough to create a learning curve. A learning curve that it will be hard to get the average user to try to tackle without a pretty darn good reason. I think that this will be your biggest hurdle. Saving a few bucks here or there is important only to the bean counters. And if those bean counters are going to be forced to switch from Excel (which most know quite intimately) to SO, then they might not be so quick to want to switch.

Simplify the task bar, menus, desktop (5, Insightful)

mikosullivan (320993) | more than 12 years ago | (#3538973)

Linux can be made a lot friendlier just by configuring the desktop for really easy use.

This is a small change to the way KDE and Gnome look, but I think it's an important change: the typical Gnome taskbar along the bottom is three times as big as Windows users are used to, and is cluttered with a bunch of useless toys. Get rid of everything except the buttons that indicate which programs are running, and of course the button that users think of as the "start" button.

The default menus in most distros are also way too extensive. They tend to have the same thing several times in several places. Pick the dozon or so programs your users generally need and put them in the main "start" menu. Hide the rest in a single "advanced" menu, or even get rid of the menu items altogether.

Put icons for the most important programs right on the desktop: Spreadsheet, Word Processor (not "Text Document" like Open Office says), etc.

By default, don't allow multiple desktops. Users who are advanced enough to understand the concept will know to ask you for it.

Finally, sit and watch users play with the system. Note any place that they frown and get confused. Don't believe self-deprecatory excuses that they just don't know what they're doing and they're sure the system is fine: if they don't know how to do something it's the systems' fault for not being easy enough.

Minesweeper and Freecell (5, Funny)

mblase (200735) | more than 12 years ago | (#3538982)

Demonstrate that you can play those two essentials on Linux just as well as on Windows, and you'll have no problems from there on out.

options (1)

dimitri_k (106607) | more than 12 years ago | (#3538986)

Let the finance guys figure out the savings, but your options are these:

1. Do nothing. (no cost, no effort)

2. Do something.

2a. Go full-boar Microsoft. (large cost, low effort)

2b. Go with MS Windows and Star Office [] (medium cost, low effort)

2c. Go with Linux and Star Office (low cost, large effort)

(There are also all the hybrid approaches that are the fractional permutations of the above.)


Decide what makes the most sense for your situation. Personally, I'd be disinclined to go with 2a, because there is still effort involved, but the cost is large. I'd guess that a combination of mostly 1 and some 2c might work well for a normal distribution of workplace personalities, duties and talents, and it would be cheap. Maybe one or two 2a's and one or two 2b's for good measure.

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