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Alternative To Windows Desktops

Hemos posted more than 10 years ago | from the what-will-the-world-bring-next dept.

Sun Microsystems 405

Eric_Z writes "Ace's Hardware has got a article called "The Mad Hatter meets the MSCE" by Paul Murphy, about the TCO benefits of using UNIX(Lintel) instead of Wintel. According to the piece: 'The subject of this article looks at alternatives to the Windows desktop, which is a hot topic these days with IBM/SuSe scoring a highly public win in Munich with desktop Linux, and Sun aiming to build on StarOffice being the leading alternative to Microsoft Office with a software stack code-named Mad Hatter which Sun also plans to use extensively in-house. But companies depending on Microsoft Certified Engineers to adapt to Linux will carry over a number of problems, significantly increasing the chance of project failure. Paul considers the alternatives, the migration problems, and in seeking a more reliable alternative takes the opportunity to look at the business desktop from an entirely different angle, and propose a more radical solution.'"

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405 comments

MSCE? (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#6965456)

"The Mad Hatter meets the MSCE"
I've heard of a Minesweeper Certified Solitaire Expert (MCSE), but what is this "MSCE" being spoken of?

Re:MSCE? (5, Funny)

InsaneCreator (209742) | more than 10 years ago | (#6965704)

Aoccdrnig to rscheearch at Cmabrigde Uinervtisy, it deosn't mttaer in waht oredr the ltteers in a wrod are, the olny iprmoetnt tihng is taht the frist and lsat ltteer be at the rghit pclae. The rset can be a total mses and you can sitll raed it wouthit porbelm. Tihs is bcuseae the huamn mnid deos not raed ervey lteter by istlef, but the wrod as a wlohe.

Re:MSCE? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#6965800)

Okay...How did you scramble this so well?

Re:MSCE? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#6965831)

Shit dude...I just read that and now I'm all cross-eyed.

And who the fuck modded this offtopic?

Re:MSCE? (1)

WebMasterJoe (253077) | more than 10 years ago | (#6965778)

It's the sort of typo you'd expect from an MCSE. "I bought my certification from MicroSoft! Hire me! I know Microsoft XP!"

Re:MSCE? (1, Funny)

DaveAtFraud (460127) | more than 10 years ago | (#6965826)

Maybe the article should be "The Jedi meets MSCE" as in Must Someone Call Else 'cuz I always heard it as MCSE: Must Call Somone Else.

TCO benefits (2, Funny)

jargoone (166102) | more than 10 years ago | (#6965464)

TCO benefits of using UNIX(Lintel) instead of Wintel

I read this as SCO benefits from using UNIX(Lintel) instead of Wintel... and they would like to.

MSCE???? (1, Informative)

snatcheroo (576329) | more than 10 years ago | (#6965465)

MSCE???? It'S MCSE: Microsoft Certified Systems Engineer

Re:MSCE???? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#6965548)

And since the typo will be fixed and a later moderator will mod you down as a troll:

Moderator of parent thread, at the time of posting there was a typo. Don't mod parent down!

Re:MSCE???? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#6965722)

Except that the typo also exists in the original article.

Re:MSCE???? (5, Funny)

Gleng (537516) | more than 10 years ago | (#6965565)

Microsoft Completely Shafts Everyone
Management Constantly Spends Erroneously
Many Confusing System Errors
My Computer Suffers Exploits

etc, etc, etc, etc, etc....

should not be permitted to use the word 'engineer' (4, Informative)

sczimme (603413) | more than 10 years ago | (#6965744)


If memory serves, Microsoft and Novell came under fire a few years ago for their use of the word 'Engineer'. In the non-IT world, the word actually carries meaning: one must complete a licensing process before calling oneself an Engineer. Additionally, these real [i.e. non-IT] engineers are actually held liable for defects/mistakes/incompetence, etc.

My dad is a Certified Manufacturing Engineer and a Professional Engineer (P.E.); this issue was covered extensively in his trade magazines.

Re:MSCE???? (1)

zr-rifle (677585) | more than 10 years ago | (#6965883)

yes, the MCSE: Microsoft Certified Systems Engineer,

the guy frequently compared to the MCC: McDonalds Certified Chef.

hi (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#6965467)

hi

Good good (3, Insightful)

mrtroy (640746) | more than 10 years ago | (#6965473)

Microsoft needs more competition!

The best way to counteract a fat monopoly like those microsoft whores is to put some good ol competition out there against them. Its tough to match those budgets and large scale operations, but more and more companies are fighting them from more and more directions...it can only lead to good things --- better products being produced by everyone.

Either that or more marketing.

Alternative to heterosexuality? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#6965479)

I'm sure slashdot readers know all about that, too!

But I like Windows desktops (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#6965489)

They are clean, well-thought and I am used to them. WHy do we need alternatives?

Re:But I like Windows desktops (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#6965515)

Because the slashdot weenies say Microsoft is evil. Fight the power, man!

Re:But I like Windows desktops (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#6965516)

Slashdotters hate being clean. Thus the need for sloppy knock-offs which reflect their unkempt selves.

Re:But I like Windows desktops (1)

ebuck (585470) | more than 10 years ago | (#6965670)

Perhaps you don't need alternatives, but alternatives need to exist. I on the other hand, need alternatives; because, your platform of choice doesn't provide the features I need.

with apologies (-1, Troll)

pyros (61399) | more than 10 years ago | (#6965496)

Mad Hatter: Change Places!
MSCE: You mean, the are seats that don't hold you in place with a pole up your anus?

Re:with apologies (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#6965549)

Only if your are the goatse guy.

Ping ala Pong (1)

EdMack (626543) | more than 10 years ago | (#6965497)

If I was more objective, it would seem that Microsoft bring out a 'We hold best TCO' article, and then this side brings out an 'Oh no you dont article'

I'm creating the 'It's behind you' article right now.. don't worry

ha, funny (0, Flamebait)

hellraizr (694242) | more than 10 years ago | (#6965501)

lets face it, how many mcse's do we know capable of administering a linux network. most mcse's can't administer a windows network! I'm a strong advocate of linux on the desktop but I shudder to think how bad an average mcse could screw up a linux network say, after an IT admin leaves prematurely or a documentation-impared consultant installed it. let alone an mcse facing the custom written automation software implemented in most *nix networks.

Gonna be a few many years before this problem gets solved.

Re:ha, funny (2, Insightful)

bajan_on_ice (32348) | more than 10 years ago | (#6965595)

I think thats where most of the resellers will come in. Im pretty sure that they have considered this a BIG part of any large scale rollout of desktop linux, and I wouldnt be suprised if they have developed some sort of control station type software for pointandclick updates/reconfigs that even a microserf could understand. Especially if the desktop distros are severely pared down to what the average user requires (no root, browser/mail/office suite/IM/media player)

Corporate directory services (5, Insightful)

sphealey (2855) | more than 10 years ago | (#6965504)

[...]With the exception of security management, essentially all of the practical skills associated with those functions will be invalidated. DHCP, WINS, SMB networking, Processor Affinity Management, Domain Administration, Registry hacking, and so on, are all technologies and ideas out of place in a well run Unix environment, though some pollution has crept in.

[...]can be, and therefore will be, perpetuated in the new environment despite having no natural role there.

I am not a fan of Active Directory. But if the author thinks that corporate directory services (preferabley Novell eDirectory, but Active Directory if you must) have no role in large-scale corporate networking, I have to question the rest of his conclusions a bit.

sPh

Re:Corporate directory services (0, Troll)

alex_ant (535895) | more than 10 years ago | (#6965637)

Well, you know Unix. If you're not using the most obscure, difficult to implement, kludgey possible solution to a problem, you've obviously been brainwashed by M$ into accepting corporate bloatware over "elegant solutions."

"Corporate directory services?? Unix has been around for 30 years and we've never needed any of that bull-shite before! Everything is a file!! Who needs databases! Just use perl scripts and symlinks!!"

Re:Corporate directory services (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#6965781)

Don't forget SSH and rsync! They make managing thousands of Unix machines a snap!

I see a Flamebait mod in your future... Thou Shall Not Speak Ill Of The Great Unix Philosophy, even in Jest.

Re:Corporate directory services (2, Insightful)

finkployd (12902) | more than 10 years ago | (#6965833)

Sometimes known as LDAP... Contrary to popular belief, it is not just a crappy network authentication alternative for people who can't be bothered learning how to set up a Kerberos5 realm, it also is a directory service :)

Finkployd

I already use a Windows desktop alternative. (5, Funny)

Hawthorne01 (575586) | more than 10 years ago | (#6965505)

It's called an iMac. ;-)

Re:I already use a Windows desktop alternative. (1)

jeepee (607566) | more than 10 years ago | (#6965572)

I am using KDE on linux on my IMac too... LInux is
such a good desktop alternative, thanks for pointing that out.

I Hate when people are comparing software with hardware

Re:I already use a Windows desktop alternative. (2, Funny)

termos (634980) | more than 10 years ago | (#6965672)

Linux is such a good desktop alternative [...] I Hate when people are comparing software with hardware

And I hate it when people compare Linux with XFree.

Re:I already use a Windows desktop alternative. (2, Funny)

Xerithane (13482) | more than 10 years ago | (#6965729)

And I hate it when people compare Linux with XFree.

And I hate it when people compare a particular X11 server with the X11 protocol.

Re:I already use a Windows desktop alternative. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#6965737)

thats why its written KDE insensitive clod, i hate when people dont read well before posting :-)...

Re:I already use a Windows desktop alternative. (1)

EvilNight (11001) | more than 10 years ago | (#6965764)

You know... it's being modded as funny but this fella does have a point. Check out the features of OSX Server sometime. You'll be surprised.

yup it doesnt have solitair (2, Funny)

stonebeat.org (562495) | more than 10 years ago | (#6965507)

Including Solitair in the MadHatter might make things easier for MS certified people. Just Kidding :)

NEW SLASHDOT POLL! (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#6965512)

Whos is the gayest slashdot janitor?
  • CmdrTaco
  • Homos
  • Cowboi Kneel
  • Jaime
  • Cliff
  • Timothy
  • Michael
  • Pudge
  • Simoniker

Solaris 10 Mad Hatter screenshot (4, Informative)

ShadeARG (306487) | more than 10 years ago | (#6965519)

Here [kicks-ass.net] is a Solaris 10 Mad Hatter desktop screenshot.

Re:Solaris 10 Mad Hatter screenshot (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#6965547)

blech.
ugly.

Re:Solaris 10 Mad Hatter screenshot (5, Informative)

Kedder (529127) | more than 10 years ago | (#6965689)

This looks like regular Gnome2, which is included in new Solaris versions...

The real MadHatter screenshots seems to be here [sun.com].

Whats new? (5, Interesting)

Moth7 (699815) | more than 10 years ago | (#6965526)

I fail to see the necessity to produce hundreds of windows-clone distros - isn't it win that we want to draw people away from? Look at it through the eyes of the average user:

It looks and functions like windows. I already have windows. Therefore, I'm sticking with the superior(?) windows

What we need to do is be developing newer, fresher ideas which keep microsoft on their toes - if we do that then at least MS has to keep coming up with the goods. My point is that a line of copies doesn't work - the average user doesn't care about the inside workings - they want results. I'll take the handheld game market as an example - How many gameboy clones have we seen come and disappear, doomed to sit in the back pages of children's catalogs? What we need as I have said too many times in this post is something new. There is more than one way to do it and until OSs capitalises on that and jumps into that niche, there is little hope of removing MS's stranglehold on the market.

Re:Whats new? (2, Interesting)

cosmo7 (325616) | more than 10 years ago | (#6965618)

I fail to see the necessity to produce hundreds of windows-clone distros - isn't it win that we want to draw people away from?

Also by the time you've copied a feature from Windows, Microsoft has already copied something else from OS X.

Troll (3, Insightful)

poptones (653660) | more than 10 years ago | (#6965652)

Better be careful, you're gonna get modded down as a troll.

I just stuck a fresh install of RH9 on a laptop. It installed amazingly well - in fact, it installed better OOTB than win2k.

But "better" lasted only until it came time to actually do stuff with it. Sure, samba seems to work well and it has no problem browsing shares on MS boxes. But try to play a video file... oops, no media codec installed in the RH9 default distro. Hmmm... well, try to play an MP3 then. Ooops, no can do - cannot play an MP3 file from a file in a samba share. Try copying the file to this machine and perhaps it can be played then...

I really want linux to live up to the promise. Really. And I'm looking forward to working with the new media structure in gonome, and hoping to do my part. But I'm honestly beginning to wonder if linux can ever catch up - much less take the lead - on a user friendly desktop.

See? I told ya. (0, Troll)

poptones (653660) | more than 10 years ago | (#6965726)

NEVER say anything critical of linux around here. ESPECIALLY if it's true. Penguinistas are very, very intolerant of fact...

Re:Troll (1)

J. J. Ramsey (658) | more than 10 years ago | (#6965774)

"But try to play a video file... oops, no media codec installed in the RH9 default distro. Hmmm... well, try to play an MP3 then."

Oh yes, this is a great argument against a corporate oriented distro. Gee! People can't use their workstations to look at media clips on company time.

Please. Red Hat chooses to leave certain feature out of their desktop, and it reflects on Linux desktops in general?

Uh, dude... (-1, Troll)

poptones (653660) | more than 10 years ago | (#6965806)

You don't think corporate users ever play goddamn video files?

See... this is why linux still completely sucks when it comes to an end user experience. Most of you don't have a fucking clue what's really needed, and the rest just make excuses for why it's not there yet.

Re:Whats new? (5, Interesting)

Lord Kholdan (670731) | more than 10 years ago | (#6965678)

What we need to do is be developing newer, fresher ideas which keep microsoft on their toes - if we do that then at least MS has to keep coming up with the goods. My point is that a line of copies doesn't work - the average user doesn't care about the inside workings - they want results. I'll take the handheld game market as an example - How many gameboy clones have we seen come and disappear, doomed to sit in the back pages of children's catalogs? What we need as I have said too many times in this post is something new. There is more than one way to do it and until OSs capitalises on that and jumps into that niche, there is little hope of removing MS's stranglehold on the market.

May I suggest an even more radical solution? Market research! Get a large group of windows users, give them a Linux desktop and tell them to complain and make requests! Linux was made great not because it was made by programmers for programmers but because it was made by USERS for USERS. How about leaving behind the old notion that only code matters and let the current userbase show the way and help developement? Of course some will disagree with this but I claim that a good opinion about UI or insight about possible uses for programs are as important as code.

Seriously, it seems that RIAA and OSS have one thing in common. Both make a whatever product they want to create and then blame the users for lack of interest.

Re:Whats new? (4, Insightful)

Liselle (684663) | more than 10 years ago | (#6965869)

Market research and focus groups led Microsoft to implement those lovely menus that auto-hide. Nifty idea in theory, however in practice the "play around with it" aspect of users using a program was lost, because they never saw stuff that they didn't use regularly. Sometimes users don't know what's good for them. Focus groups are not the answer to all of life's problems, unfortunately.

Re:Whats new? (4, Insightful)

Liselle (684663) | more than 10 years ago | (#6965767)

What we need to do is be developing newer, fresher ideas which keep microsoft on their toes

This isn't really all that true. You can't just dump a UI/functionality change on the average user and expect them to embrace it. Many have trouble with the interface that we've had since Win95.

These people have the right idea. Ease folks into it. Otherwise you will have a response similar to what happened with WinXP, where the interface was made more intuitive and easier, but casual computer users still complained (and rightly so, I think) because the things that took them so long to learn got turned topsy-turvy.

Re:Whats new? (1)

reames (706567) | more than 10 years ago | (#6965809)

My point is that a line of copies doesn't work - the average user doesn't care about the inside workings - they want results.

That's true, but the average user isn't the one making the decision in a corporation. Considering that
Windows XP Pro + Office XP == $800
and
any Linux OS + OpenOffice == $0
If Linux were to be as user friendly as Windows (to the average person), then it would already have an inherent price advantage -- and that looks pretty good to any corporate honcho that calls the shots. I agree that *nix has a long was to go, but we shouldn't underestimate how important it is that it's free.

Re:Whats new? (1)

DrEldarion (114072) | more than 10 years ago | (#6965896)

I fail to see the necessity to produce hundreds of windows-clone distros - isn't it win that we want to draw people away from?

The problem with this is that everyone already knows how to use Windows. So if you try to convert them to something radically different, instead of getting

"It looks and functions like windows. I already have windows. Therefore, I'm sticking with the superior(?) windows"

You're going to get:

"It looks and functions NOTHING LIKE windows. I already know windows. Therefore, I'm sticking with what I already know how to use."

Keep in mind how long it took for most people to learn how to use Windows (especially if they weren't brought up with it). Do you honestly think that Joe Schmoe is going to want to spend all that time again trying to learn an entirely different UI? It's doubtful.

-- Dr. Eldarion --

Microsoft Certified Engineers (1)

frovingslosh (582462) | more than 10 years ago | (#6965534)

But companies depending on Microsoft Certified Engineers to adapt to Linux will carry over a number of problems, significantly increasing the chance of project failure.

well, doh!

hmmm mcse... (1, Funny)

chef_raekwon (411401) | more than 10 years ago | (#6965540)

linux is in BIG trouble if it relies on Mouse Clicking Solutions Experts to implement Linux solutions.

I sense a poll coming on... (1)

Moth7 (699815) | more than 10 years ago | (#6965555)

What is your favourite mis-interpretation of MCSE?

Re:I sense a poll coming on... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#6965616)

Managing CowboyNeal Sufferage Everywhere

Re:I sense a poll coming on... (2, Funny)

schon (31600) | more than 10 years ago | (#6965697)

What is your favourite mis-interpretation of MCSE?

Well, I'd say "Must Consult Someone Experienced", but that's usually not a mis-interpretation :o)

Re:I sense a poll coming on... (2, Funny)

spektr (466069) | more than 10 years ago | (#6965739)

What is your favourite mis-interpretation of MCSE?

I'll vote for Microsoft Certified Software Engineer.

SCO/LUNIX IS ON TEH SPOKE!!!! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#6965556)

Cat got your tongue? (something important seems to be missing from your comment ... like the cock or the balls!)

A few problems with this (-1, Flamebait)

RLiegh (247921) | more than 10 years ago | (#6965570)

1)The cost of re-training your office workers to use an alternate, inferior desktop when they already use microsoft products at home

2)The cost of enterprise solaris versus the cost of windows XP

3)The serious and noticeable inferior filesystem performance of the major linux filesystems compared to NTFS.

4)"slowaris". 'nuff said.

5)Word and Excell do not run on unix. You would have to factor in the cost and hassle of retraining your workforce to use shoddier tools.

Those are just five reasons why this is a bad idea which should have been discarded when it was originally refuted back in...oh...1998.

Troll alert! (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#6965632)

Ahem, I differ that NTFS is a superior filesystem than linux filesystems. Also, guess what, there's something called "WINE" that lets you run windows apps, and Microsoft office is fully supported. Also, you keep on saying "inferior" when you give no data to back it up. Say, specifically, how linux is an inferior desktop, and you won't be a troll.

Re:A few problems with this (1)

Moth7 (699815) | more than 10 years ago | (#6965656)

1)Actually, with a decent UI, any software is usable. A good IT worker should be able to adapt quickly to new software - computing is a fast moving world and requires quick adaptation skills to cater for that

2)Hey, Solaris isn't the only alternative out there and financially, it is the exception to the rule. A quick calculation of costs (on the fly in the local computer store ^^) for Redhat (w/gcc,oo.org,etc) vs Win XP (w/equivalent tools) indicated over $1000 saving.

3)Meh. I see your point. However, MS are working towards a new filesystem standard, whats to stop OSs improving on the existing linux ones?

4)Yeh, well. You might want to check that one. The speed of a computer is to a certain extent dictated by the software running on top of the OS. Not every programmer is obsessive compulsive about variable sizes and memory overhead (Not that I'm not ^^) ;)

5)4 words. Open Office filetype filters :)

And those are just 5 reasons why there are two sides to the coin :)

Re:A few problems with this (1)

RLiegh (247921) | more than 10 years ago | (#6965796)

1)It's not a question of a "decent" UI, it's a question of a "familiar" UI. You have a point regarding IT workers (whose jobs are mostly being farmed out to india, btw) needing to be adaptable, however I am mostly thinking of jane secertary or joe executive who are confronted with a *nix desktop and freak out.

2)Even if you have a point, with the rising cost of Enterprise Redhat, I think you might want to re-check the prices for RH and re-evaluate. I'm sure there are affordable solutions (FreeBSD), but I don't believe that RH is one of them any longer.

3)I would suggest that Linux work on two points:
->I/O Model, so that loading a large app like mozilla isn't choked by a large copy operation
->Instead of re-inventing the wheel, adopt UFS+Softupdates and move on. I have not tried UFS2 but I suspect it suffers from much the same slowdown as does ext2/3/jfs.

4)checked

5)again, you have to factor in the cost and resistence factor to adopting OO.

A troll mentioned WINE, however with the complexity of the WINE install --not to mention the "wisdom" of using alpha software in an proffesional environment-- that is not a viable corporate solution.

Re:A few problems with this (3, Insightful)

ichimunki (194887) | more than 10 years ago | (#6965715)

1) Most office workers barely know how to use the software they have. The transition will require training them to not know how to use a whole different set of software. Oh, wait, it won't because no one needs to be trained to not know stuff.

2) Which is?

3) Benchmarks are where?

4) Not nearly enough said. Again, benchmarks are where? And why are they "Linux" FSs in #3, but now we're talking Solaris? Which is it?

5) People had to learn to use both Word and Excel as they migrated from packages like WordPerfect and Lotus 1-2-3. Not to mention the changes from version to version of just the MS software. I think your users will survive.

Desktop Corporate Linux... I tried (5, Insightful)

oZZoZZ (627043) | more than 10 years ago | (#6965575)

My company runs Windows 98 clients and NT4 server atm, and I figured it was time to upgrade. I looked into Microsoft, with Office/WinXP and server 2003, and the cost was about $40k. That seemed insane, so I decided to try Linux.

I've been running Linux at home now for a few years, and am quite competitent running it. My first step was to replace the slackware/wmaker combination that I was happy with on my laptop to Redhat/Gnome/Bluecurve, and I was immidetely impressed with how far linux has come on the desktop, I figured this wouldn't be a problem.

I showed the owners of my company Linux, and they said they were fine with it on every machine... now the tricky part, application compatability.

Under Wine I was able to get my payroll software and estimating software running, but the accounting software proved impossible. Using older style database clients and VBA, I was totally unable to get it working.

I came to the conclusion that while I can use Linux on the desktop, application support from large corporate vendors need to be there before Linux can run on the desktop. I also came up with: "in 3 years, if we want to run a different accounting/estimating/etc package, will linux work for us?".. That question is unanswered atm, and therefore using Linux in a corporate enviroment seems to be a gamble right now, a gamble that I am not willing to wager on for my company. Another issue is support from our existing vendors... they supported running their software on Windows and 2 of them *REQUIRED* PCAnywhere to be available whenever needed... this was not possible with Linux.
Linux on the home desktop seems more than ready, but enterprise/corporate enviroments seem to need better application support before it's possible... while I do belive that the application support will be there in 3 years, I don't think it's a risk work taking atm.

Re:Desktop Corporate Linux... I tried (4, Interesting)

molarmass192 (608071) | more than 10 years ago | (#6965772)

At least you tried. WINE is not a panacea and any apps written in VB rather than WinAPI/MFC are notoriously tough to get working on WINE. After all, you've got an interpreter running on an interpreter in those situations so it's twice as tricky. You're best bet would be Win4Lin terminal server instead of WINE and simply serve the GUIs out to the clients. I had a similar situation where I had to get a 16-bit VB 3.0 app working and WINE consistently choked on it (not surprising since nobody is working on the 16-bit emulation anymore). Anyhow, Win4Lin (not terminal server though) was the cheapest / easiest solution since they already had WinME licenses and they've been humming along for almost a year that way.

For anybody else reading this, VB apps are an absolute terror to get working under WINE. If you're considering a Linux migration, be weary of these particular apps and have a backup plan.

Re:Desktop Corporate Linux... I tried (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#6965870)

Funny - In theory, VB should be easier to emulate than raw WinAPI because VB runs mostly inside a virtual machine.*

Anyway, if someone could provide seemless support for VB, Access, and FoxPro, you would remove 80% of technical reasons for not migrating off Windows.

Changing out a word processor or retraining for a new "desktop" are solvable problems -- Replacing all of your internal/vertical applicaitons written for the Windows evironment is not.

Unfortunately, it sees like the current group of Wine developers are more focused on video games than business applications.

*yeah, I'm aware that it's a common 'advanced' VB trick to call out to win32.

Re:Desktop Corporate Linux... I tried (5, Insightful)

ip_vjl (410654) | more than 10 years ago | (#6965775)

I don't understand this attitude that MSOffice is *required* if you run Windows. I see it a lot when comparing the costs of running the two OSes.

$ windows = OS cost + MSOffice cost
$ linux = free OS + free office app

There's nothing preventing you from running free (beer/speech) software on Windows.

If you need Windows to run legacy apps, why not do it in stages. In your case, upgrade your boxes from 98 to XP - but don't do the MSOffice route. Use Openoffice.org (assuming it will work for you since you were going to do a full linux switch anyway) and other open source software when applicable. (Mozilla Firebird instead of IE, etc.)

This way, you don't abandon your legacy apps ... and in a few years (at next upgrade time) there will either be a feasible open source solution, or maybe Wine will have advanced enough to run what you need.

If you can do a full transition, good for you. But to compare costs the way you did isn't a real comparison.

Re:Desktop Corporate Linux... I tried (1)

ip_vjl (410654) | more than 10 years ago | (#6965812)

correction to my post:
... there will either be a feasible open source solution, or maybe Wine will have advanced enough to run what you need.


left off the 3rd possibility:
... there will either be a feasible open source solution, maybe Wine will have advanced enough to run what you need, or you'll find that you still need windows.

Re:Desktop Corporate Linux... I tried (4, Insightful)

FreeLinux (555387) | more than 10 years ago | (#6965875)

I disagree. I would suggest that the application support is there today but, not the way people are trying to accomplish it. By and large most evaluations like you have done are trying to use Linux as a drop in replacement for Windows. This will probably never happen. While there are many applications that can be used as drop in replacements to Windows applications there are even more that are not. And Windows applications, for the most part, don't run on Linux.

Bit, how is this different than the likes of Windows 2003. There are countless applications, even Microsoft applications such as Exchange 2000, that will not run on Windows 2003. For some people this will mean that they will not implement Windows 2003 but, as time wears on most if not all will move to Windows 2003 and upgrade or replace their existing applications to ones that do run on Windows 2003. They will buy Windows 2003 and they will also buy Exchange 2003.

So, rather than looking for a seamless drop in replacement to Windows in Linux, why not look at it from an upgrade/migration point of view? There are numerous accounting applications that do run natively on Linux. The specialty apps that are written in VB will need to be rewritten for Linux. But why not? Chances are that those same VB apps are right now being examined for a rewrite in C#.NET. They'll have to be for the sake of Windows 2003.

The point is that people seem unwilling to rewrite or migrate their apps for a Linux environment but, for some reason, they think nothing of doing this for their Windows environment. The thing that they fail to take into account is that in the Linux environment this will almost certainly be a one time affair. But, in the Windows environment it will be a recurring theme every few years because that is what Microsoft wants and has to do in order to keep selling the same companies more software.

All too often people say that it is not cost effective or it is too difficult to make the switch but they seem to disregard these same issues as they run on Microsoft's treadmill.

BTW, have you repatched your Microsoft RCP service?

Nice timing... (5, Informative)

Basje (26968) | more than 10 years ago | (#6965579)

... as it was just yesterday that it became know that Ford Motor Company is joining the ranks. They are switching [scotsman.com] from Windows to Linux

Re:Nice timing... (1)

sonny317 (300865) | more than 10 years ago | (#6965874)

I can't find any more info on this... Is this all of Ford Motor Company, or just the European realm? I remember some articles a year or 2 back hinting of a switch in Europe, but I'll be impressed (and happy!) if it is all of Ford.


Anyone know anything more?

It's the apps, silly (5, Insightful)

sphealey (2855) | more than 10 years ago | (#6965607)

The author missing one minor point. The core of business information management for small and medium sized business is Win32-based client/server applications. These are the products that you see advertised and discussed in Manufacturing Systems [manufacturingsytems.com] and CFO Magazine. In the middle to late 1980s they were available on several platforms and usually had a Mac version, but by the mid 1990s they had migrated almost exclusively to the client/server model on the Win32 platform.

These midrange apps are the bread-and-butter of corporate computing. They do not run on the Mac and do not run under Linux. Some are starting to move toward a web browser based model, but not all and not necessarily quickly.

Until Linux equivalents exist for these midrange apps, the Linux desktop will not be used in midsized organizations.

sPh

Re:It's the apps, silly (2, Interesting)

spectrokid (660550) | more than 10 years ago | (#6965700)

Gimme SAP Business warehouse under Linux and I give you 1000 users in my company alone.

It's the service economy, silly (1)

duffbeer703 (177751) | more than 10 years ago | (#6965782)

What manufacturing?

In case you've been asleep, the United States has outsourced small and midsized manufacturing to the Far East or Latin America.

Re:It's the service economy, silly (1)

azaris (699901) | more than 10 years ago | (#6965886)

What manufacturing?

In case you've been asleep, the United States has outsourced small and midsized manufacturing to the Far East or Latin America.

Well, duh. What do you think the manufacturers use to control their subcontractors in foreign countries without distributed desktop manufacturing application? Abacuses? More than ever it's crucial that there is a robust solution that allows for multiple installations across the world. This involves things you didn't run into ten years ago with your dinosaur server running SAP - VPN's, Internet security, browser-based interfaces, mobile interfaces, l12n, i18n and so on.

There's a lot of market for such software. The one positive thing about this is, with browser-based interfaces and remote-access methods based on standard IPSec Linux clients can theoretically also be used, even if the server software runs on Solaris, OS/400 or W2K.

Re:It's the apps, silly (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#6965892)

Yeah, that web based model can really shake things up, can't it. Imagine that you can have practically anything on the backend server -- Linux, Windows, Solaris -- and it doesn't matter what the client runs. It could be a text-only serial terminal, a PDA, a phone, a state-of-the-art desktop, or a 10 year old PC. Wow, that's a lot of flexibility. It allows a company to respond faster, deploy apps faster, make changes in existing apps without a company-wide refresh.

But what happens when you deploy Windows on the server? Yup, you're locked into Windows on the clients. Often, updating the server requires lots of little updates or major updates on the clients. Remember, they based their business model on the same practice that made a new car every year seem the thing to do. I.e., they push the new model as better than the old. Now Microsoft has done some really great business selling that to companies -- to the tune of billions upon billions of dollars -- and it's not likely that Windows will disappear entirely from business. But the problem is, unlike car manufacturers, businesses will be *forced* to upgrade because the old file formats and the apps won't run properly on the new system. If I'm running a business I don't want my technology policy dictated by another company. That's just not good business.

But Linux grows -- it's now in the "they fight you" phase since the laughter and apathy didn't squash the movement. Microsoft has been repeating "Linux costs more than Windows" and "Initial cost doesn't matter". Hmm, yeah sure. Deploying a Linux desktop for targeted applications is no more expensive than deploying Windows. And cost does matter. Lots of other articles will disabuse the blinded CEO of this latest Microsoft propaganda so I won't mention it here.

The important thing is that Linux puts the IT roadmap back into the hands of the business. Take Access and a SQL Server backend... Doesn't talk with much else properly. Try getting ODBC drivers to talk to that SQL Server reliably. That's lock-in at its finest. Funny thing though, if you replace that SQL Server with Oracle or Postgresql or even MySQL on a Linux backend and web browser frontends, you suddenly have lots of wiggle room. You can use Macs, your PDA, your text terminal, your Linux boxes that cost next to nothing to deploy.

(I can't let the TCO argument go though. Microsoft says Linux is more expensive in the long run. Lots of companies are now using essentially dumb machines -- PCs running a proprietary database frontend connecting to a database server. The cost to deploy these Windows machines will always have an associated OS cost. Always. With a Linux desktop you build it once then deploy it everywhere. You don't have to pay a penny more in licensing costs. Not a year down the line, not some hidden licensing cost, not ever. Wait, you say, you still need to pay for Linux expertise? Hardly, the current crop of Linux distros are easy enough to install and maintain that my 70yr old father can do it. Your existing Windows admin, if he is at all competent, should be able to do the same. If not, hire a couple college kids for 1/4 the salary of that Windows admin to maintain your Linux for you.)

But isn't the... (1)

bob670 (645306) | more than 10 years ago | (#6965611)

whole idea of a Linux desktop revolution rooted in the usability of Star/Open Office? Which both suck? Next suggestion please...

...waits patiently for the 90% of the users only use 10% of the features argument and laughs...

Re:But isn't the... (1)

Moth7 (699815) | more than 10 years ago | (#6965702)

Indeed, 90% do. And when the time comes, if they never used them in MSOffice then there's nothing to unlearn when they have to use them in SOffice. Also, SOffice is generally a greater and safer productivity tool if you're a programming type. Sure, theres VBA for Office, but how many StarBasic "High Risk" security warnings do we get on bugtraq every day?

Migrations (1)

rf0 (159958) | more than 10 years ago | (#6965614)

If you have an existing Windows infrastructure thats works then bolting Linux onto it ok however as pointed out in the articule just shoving clients on isn't going to reduce the cost.

However if Sun are talking about it you would expect that most of their infrastructure is already UNIX so it would actually make sence. Of course I can't see all the windows workstations being replaceed as the saying goes

"If it ain't broke don't fix it"

Rus

Re:Migrations (1, Funny)

Moth7 (699815) | more than 10 years ago | (#6965773)

"If it ain't broke don't fix it"

You've never met a programmer then? ^^

McBride is Sun's PR guy (1)

spektr (466069) | more than 10 years ago | (#6965617)

Sun offers legal protection covering desktop components like Staroffice against third party intellectual property claims that aren't available to companies sourcing their Linux desktops from the IBM/SuSe partnership or other players.

Now I understand why McBride stresses the notion that open source projects should protect its customers against legal prosecution. Sun is one of the two companies that bought a SCO license, you know...

Metaphors (4, Funny)

Xpilot (117961) | more than 10 years ago | (#6965649)

They used the "mongoose thrown into a snake pit" metaphor to refer to Linux being used in an all Windows environment, and the "Indiana Jones shoots the swordsman" metaphor, to refer to the technological advantage of Linux over Windows. But combine the two and you get the "Indiana Jones thrown into a snake pit" metaphor, and you know how Indy feels about snakes... things don't look good for Linux it seems.

What is the Sun motive? (2, Interesting)

Ars-Fartsica (166957) | more than 10 years ago | (#6965677)

I am glad to see more code and support for GNOME, that said Sun still is a hardware company and Intel boxes are not their bread and butter. I see this product as a wedge for Solaris, not a true linux push. Even then, I don't see much here you can't get from RedHat's bluecurve additions on top of GNOME...actually I see very little on top of the stock GNOME itself (which says a lot about the high quality of the stock GNOME).

Microsoft will be their worst enemy (4, Insightful)

Bob-o-Matic! (620698) | more than 10 years ago | (#6965693)

By making it more and more difficult for users to run unlicensed copies of Windows OS (XP was a great start, they'll do better next time for certain), the home user who wants to upgrade will find themselves "upgrading" to something else entirely if they want to keep the price the same. No one wants to pay for a software "dongle" to make other software they (may) have paid for work. People buy computers to surf the web, send email, play games. They don't feel they need to pay just to be able to move files around.

I am hoping that the kind folks at OpenAL and OpenGL make a compelling replacement for DirectX so that games will run natively on Linux. When you get the gamers, you will have won. MS has the gamers right now. When those gamers come to Linux, they'll learn the OS and show their friends. Windows will lose its ubiquity on the desktop because no one wants to pay to upgrade their copy of windows, or even pay for an original license when building a machine.

It is only a matter of time.

Wow, I call major slant here... (3, Interesting)

javelinco (652113) | more than 10 years ago | (#6965708)

Main thing that bothers me about this article is how obviously slanted it is, without really going into what's important. I mean, I see all of these statements about how things that are true in the Microsoft environment are not true in the Linux environment (or at least, aren't best practice). So, the missing information is this - if the design is flawed, and the solutions are wrong for the problem, then what are the solutions (at least give us a hint) to these problems in oh-so-perfect, everything-else-sucks Linux? Okay, so maybe I'm feeling a little annoyed, but if I'm supposed to be developing/supporting solutions in multiple platforms, perhaps some lucid discussion of the issues and their solutions would be useful? Certainly this article pretends to be hitting these things, but it fails to execute. I'd love to see some links that try to hit these issues in a more complete manner. Anyone?

I'm out of breath (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#6965710)

"The subject of this article looks at alternatives to the Windows desktop, which is a hot topic these days with IBM/SuSe scoring a highly public win in Munich with desktop Linux, and Sun aiming to build on StarOffice being the leading alternative to Microsoft Office with a software stack code-named Mad Hatter which Sun also plans to use extensively in-house.

I don't like to be picky, but that sentence alone is longer than most of the papers I've written throughout my academic career. But since I'm not picky, I'll let the two spelling errors in the summary slide.

My company use Linux on Desktop already (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#6965727)

Hi !

As a system administrator responsible for an heterogeneous facility of 1 400 server and desktop computers, I must admin we install SuSE on every of these !
SuSE meets all our requirements : scalability, flexibility, adaptability, popularity : whatever the computer on which SuSe is installed, this software use all the aspect of the computer (processor, Graphic card, Mother board) in order to power it and to provide of the ,ecessity tools for the user.

For me it makes non sense that some of Slashdoters are upset to see that SuSe develop non GPL software for its own distro : Bulshit ! How can a company make money by providing everything for free ?

My company was very well informed about the prices of SuSE products : why take care of our money when SuSE offers such awesom tools for the users ? I am a bit pissed of unstable and unfinished GPL tools that we can find in poor distros like Mandrake or Slackware ! In the professional field we need professional tools and software. We are not committed to this communist community called GNU.

Since I use SuSE on my own Desktop computer, I make love my wife better, I sleep deeper and I feel better. Unfortunately my daughter has failed at the exam. Poor fiddle little girl, I have adised her to not use Redhat though.

Typical slashdot reply (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#6965736)

blah blah SCO blah blah $699 DON'T FORGET!

*humble grumble* insensitive CLOD!!

MCSE related to problems? Blasphemy! (1)

smoon (16873) | more than 10 years ago | (#6965740)

"But companies depending on Microsoft Certified Engineers to adapt to Linux will carry over a number of problems, significantly increasing the chance of project failure."

But that has nothing to do with Linux. Those companies probably already have significant problems. Oh, wait, it said "carry over" so I guess the fact that they have problems is tacitly implied...

IN SOVIET RUSSIA.... (-1, Troll)

devphaeton (695736) | more than 10 years ago | (#6965741)

syke!

Seriously... not that it is relevant to the article nor that anyone else really cares...

We now have the term "lintel"? Sounds like a bean.

I greatly dislike the term "Wintel", probably because it's a label that's been stuck on my machines so often by some of the more naive Apple folks, regardless of how much i try to explain that there is no "Windows(r)" and no "Intel(tm)" involved in them.

Oh well. I'm outnumbered so i guess they're right.

The author is in a happy dreamworld (4, Insightful)

reemul (1554) | more than 10 years ago | (#6965814)

Several of the comments made in the article seem to indicate that the author is living in a happy dream world, where clever users are oppressed into mere drones by MCSE's and MS software. He acknowledges that it is a best practice in the Wintel world to lock down machines as much as possible to minimize support costs, yet seems to think that Unix will "empower users" (from a sidebar) without causing any problems at all.

Is he crazy? The reasons that machines are locked down is that the endusers are stupid. They know nothing about computers, and ideally they shouldn't have to - they are just tools to do their real jobs. Any extra capabilities will just allow them to break more things. Sun can only support so many users per admin by locking systems tighter than most MSCEs could dream of - the answers to what is wrong are so easy because there are no other options. The users aren't empowered, they are chained down as much as possible. All to the good; but believing you can take the same idiot endusers from a windows shop, give them magic Lintel boxen and some responsibility and rights to manage their own systems, and get *fewer* support calls is just delusional.

And thinking that it's the OS that is driving all those fast upgrades to physical machines is also absurd. A huge portion of all business desktop and laptop upgrades is driven by vanity, not need. Good luck thinking that a rational OS decision based on security and TCO will quickly stop "mine's bigger" purchasing. You think execs sending email, looking at excel spreadsheets, and playing solitaire need those multi-thousand dollar laptops? You think that running linux they'll stop buying them?

I liked the approach of the author, to look at the practices that will be reflexive to existing support staff and the effect they will have on a Linux implementation. But his take on the reflexive approaches of the *users* is completely unrealistic, and renders his article mostly useless. Face it, most of the people here on Slashdot have dealt with those endusers - you think the majority will agree that they will miraculously become wise if just given a chance? Or will the /. crew decide that the author is living a dream?

14 million active consumers use Mac instead (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#6965817)

14 million active consumers use Mac instead of windows as their main alternative.

7 million use os 9.2.2 or older and about 6.8 million normally boot into osx.

True, there are forty times as many os9 apps as osx but the ratio is slowly changing, and hundreds of professional (>600 dollar) packages exist on mac osx now.

basically all the old SGI adn sun stuff emigrated to bsd-based mac osx.

osx is not as secure as os9, or as fast for small IO, or as quick booting, or as easy on powerbook batteries.... but it shines in parallel computation and most large desktop macs sold have more than one processor.

plus the worlds fastest computer for under 15,000 dollars only costs 2,999 and is from apple and is the dual g5 with pci-x slots and 8 gig of ram maximum.

VIRUS BLUES (0)

llZENll (545605) | more than 10 years ago | (#6965821)

The biggest diff in TCO has to be the simple fact that employees won't have to delete 1X10^34 virus emails per second coming into their inbox if they aren't using Outlook. LOL
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