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Pitfalls and Options For Business-Desktop Linux

timothy posted more than 9 years ago | from the pitfalls-only-apply-if-they-affect-you dept.

Businesses 346

swhiser writes "Tom Adelstein dispassionately surveys the remaining fixes that will put desktop Linux through in the enterprise. Peer-to-peer networking, functional printing, laptop support, single sign-on to Active Directory and a better Device Manager (with a driver-get mechanism) are among the things companies are asking for. He says, 'The Linux desktop could fail if companies continue to pilot programs and conclude that it's less trouble to buy Microsoft. Everyone loses in that scenario.'" Pre-loaded systems are no longer a pipe dream or an obscurity, though; read on for one reader's mini-survey of Linux systems from large computer vendors.

Acidus writes "I called around today to the big OEMs (Gateway, Dell, HP, IBM) seeing who offered systems with Linux pre-installed, and the results were good. 3 of the 4 offered Linux on workstations. While no one offered Linux preloaded on laptops, Dell has some references nn how to install Linux on their laptops, while IBM has a scattering of docs on their website about installing Linux on systems. The reps at Dell, even though they have a series of Linux workstations, had to ask me what Linux was, and how to spell it. "Is that L-Y-N-I-C-S?""

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346 comments

MOD PARENT DOWN (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10776829)

This is a re-direct to another site. These aren't Gmail invites.

And now for my shameless plug:

Free Flat Screens [freeflatscreens.com] | Free iPod Photo [freephotoipods.com] | It really works! [wired.com]

MOD PARENT DOWN - SCAM LINKS IN PARENT (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10776840)

there is no such thing as a free ipod or a free flat screen

Re:MOD PARENT DOWN - SCAM LINKS IN PARENT (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10776962)

From a different coward:

Had you RTF Wired article, you would have noticed that there IS such a thing as a free iPod, free as is money, not counting the value of your time or the information you give up. Different things are valuable to different people. I for instance wouldn't bother, I already have an iPod, but that doesn't mean that nobody else should have one for free.

It's still off topic though, I'll give it that.

Re:MOD PARENT DOWN - SCAM LINKS IN PARENT (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10777252)

Well first of all, just becuase Wired writes about it does not make it legitimate. I can't even think of where to begin on the discussion of crooked and corrupt journalism in society and how people like you blindly follow it like rodents.

Second of all, its a fucking pyramid scheme and its not free. The offers you have to get you or friends to complete are not free and its almost impossible to find anyone gullible enough to actually complete them.

This kind of scam really hurts people who are trying to make an honest living and you should really be ashamed of yourself for even trying to defend such treachery.

As long as tech-knownothing PHBs keep making (3, Insightful)

Megaweapon (25185) | more than 9 years ago | (#10776802)

decisions in IT departments, Linux won't make much inroads on the desktop. They generally make decisions based on paid consultants and glossy magazine ads. Now, if the word spreads that companies can negotiate with MS based on threats of migration that'll keep some IT costs (somewhat) lower. Of course this can only work in bigger shops. Smaller companies can't do this.

"We are good, but everyone is against us" (4, Insightful)

Trurl's Machine (651488) | more than 9 years ago | (#10776964)

If you read a lot of Polish press - I do - you will often find this kind of reasoning, especially whenever Polish national soccer team coach explains his latest failure (and in Polish soccer, there's always a failure to explain). My favorite is "we actually won the first half, but...". There ARE some important issues with Linux in corporate environment - laptop support, printing and device managing among the most important ones. Don't comfort yourself with easy explanation that corporations reject Linux migration only because someone is "tech-knownothing". Maybe they know something - namely that the overall cost of the whole hit-and-miss game with installing Linux on laptops might cancel the benefits of such migration?

Re:As long as tech-knownothing PHBs keep making (1)

_the_bascule (740525) | more than 9 years ago | (#10777019)

From yesterdays slashdot story it is coincidental that this article addresses the same issues that a lot of the problems the IBM scholarship award posed.

link to PDF of problems [ibm.com] ,provided by MBCook yesterday.

Re:As long as tech-knownothing PHBs keep making (4, Insightful)

the_mad_poster (640772) | more than 9 years ago | (#10777066)

Tech know nothing PHBs know something you don't: if it's going to cost 2000 man hours of work at a $30 an hour average to redesign internal systems, templates, and procedures to work on a non-Microsoft system, that more than wipes out the cost of licensing the desktop systems. That doesn't include the cost of the lead up in which you have to test, deploy, and integrate all of your servers and desktops, plus the lost productivity from people needing to be retrained or retraining themselves on the shortcuts to use Linux.

People here act like a platform migration of this scale is simple as flipping a switch, and I think that really highlights how little experience in practical technology the Slashdot collective really has. You can reformat your system at home and install Linux in an hour depending on options and system speed. It's not that simple when you're talking about a business with 20 locations and 5000 workstations to migrate. It's not that simple when you have internal customer service apps to migrate. When you have internal template and procedures to rewrite. When you have to audit your hardware to ensure compatibility and then repurchase anything that might be too much hassle to fiddle with.

Migration to Linux isn't speading like wildfire for the same reason Windows shops don't jump ship to run to the superior UNIX systems even when that's cheaper: it's not as simple as you people think. It's not free. It's not even necessarily cheap. If it's going to cost you $250,000 to migrate and you're only going to be saving an average of $25,000 in license fees and support each year, it will take you ten years just to break even. Linux is not a magic bullet. You people whine and whine like little babies, but I'm willing to put my money where my mouth is that 99% of you only whine because you don't have the slightest clue what you're talking about. And the more you whine about your complete and total lack of knowledge, the more steam you give to other companies to muscle in on place where Linux could be making inroads.

What you need to do, if you really want Linux to succeed that badly, is address its single biggest shortcoming: the difficulty in migrating systems from Windows to Linux. No, it's not your fault that it's so hard. Microsoft intentionally makes it difficult to leave the nest. However, since you keep bitching about it, it IS your problem.

Quit being a whiny little bitch and contribute some code, documentation, consultation, or just shut the hell up. Your whining isn't going to change the fact that Linux just plain isn't a good solution for a lot of shops, but if you'd actually do some freaking work you chould change that.

What you can do (3, Insightful)

PigeonGB (515576) | more than 9 years ago | (#10777229)

Quit being a whiny little bitch and contribute some code, documentation, consultation, or just shut the hell up.

Actually, shutting the hell up isn't going to help anyone. Speak up. Don't like how a program works? Let the developers know what you want. Feature requests are important. Found a bug? Speak up.

Shutting up only prevents the knowledge from getting to who needs it.

I understand the point of the previous post, but having a dialogue with developers is important. Mailing lists, IRC channels, etc all exist to help contribute to software which is made by community rather than marketing/legal.

Is this really the reason? (1)

110010001000 (697113) | more than 9 years ago | (#10777430)

Before you get off on the wrong track here and start assigning blame to the PHB's, you should read this :

Last January the borough of Newham in London reversed course on a planned change to Linux after a consultant's report said Windows would cost $600,000 less to support each year. To seal the deal, Microsoft offered Newham an undisclosed discount. The Finnish city of Turku also changed its mind about dumping Windows after a three-year experiment with Linux showed employees resisted the switch. There are reports of glitches and cost overruns from other Linux adopters, including Munich and the German Parliament, which had to revert to Windows servers temporarily in mid-October when a third of its 5,000 PC users couldn't access the Internet or get e-mail.

Read http://businessweek.com/magazine/content/04_45/b39 07083_mz054.htm for more information on the subject.

Just keep using Windows (-1, Flamebait)

vasqzr (619165) | more than 9 years ago | (#10776818)

1. Windows Network Neighborhood visibility and UNIX/Linux visibility in the same panel.
2. Active Directory password management which includes single sign-on and password expiration policies.
3. Interoperability with Exchange 5.5 and Exchange 2000.
4. Font compatibility with Microsoft Office and Openoffice.org and/or StarOffice.
5. Windows Terminal Server clients using RDP out of the box for home grown applications and special Windows applications.
6. Ability to click on a file in a Windows or Samba share and initiate the associated application.
7. Device management for hardware compatibility.
8. Compatible Windows Media player Codecs.


What's the point of using Linux, 'just because'?

Re:Just keep using Windows (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10776859)

you and bill gates can go fag somewhere

Re:Just keep using Windows (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10776898)

Exactly! Why will I even bother to have Active Directory compatability if I can use kerberos and LDAP for this stuff?

Re:Just keep using Windows (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10777127)

Is your LDAP kerberized? (in other words, can you tie Kerberos security to permissions on the retrieval and setting of LDAP attributes?)

Or is it just another Linux mish-mash of pieces and parts that could be tied together with string, bubble gum and a paper clip?

All my corporate customers prefer the bubble gum and paper clip approach.

Re:Just keep using Windows (5, Insightful)

Bandman (86149) | more than 9 years ago | (#10776908)

What's the point of using Linux, 'just because'?

Cost of licensing? Upward compatibility? Freedom of choice? Hardware requirements? Ability to customize workspace? Freedom from Microsoft inspections, like the ones MS has forced on city buereaucrats before? Better security?

Do I need to continue? I can...

Re:Just keep using Windows (5, Informative)

webzombie (262030) | more than 9 years ago | (#10776943)

Sure... like just
- keep fighting terrorism
- losing indivdual freedoms
- stop thinking

For christ sakes... just because something isn't point click and done doesn't make it any less viable.

1. Windows Network Neighborhood visibility and UNIX/Linux visibility in the same panel.

XANDROS 2.0, Lindows, Lycoris, MEPIS

2. Active Directory password management which includes single sign-on and password expiration policies.

Novell Evolution embraces mail, calendar and address book standards to ease data sharing.

Supported mail protocols include IMAP, POP, SMTP and Authenticated SMTP, as well as Microsoft Exchange 2000 and 2003. Novell GroupWise support is currently in our development branch.

3. Interoperability with Exchange 5.5 and Exchange 2000.

See above

4. Font compatibility with Microsoft Office and Openoffice.org and/or StarOffice.

Crossover

5. Windows Terminal Server clients using RDP out of the box for home grown applications and special Windows applications.

Xandros, Lycoris, SUSE, RedHat... or just install VNC...

6. Ability to click on a file in a Windows or Samba share and initiate the associated application.

Fille association is not a roadblock. Simply a minor configuration issue.

7. Device management for hardware compatibility.

XANDROS 2.0, Lindows, Lycoris, MEPIS, RedHat, Suse

8. Compatible Windows Media player Codecs.

Crossover, MPlayer, XINE

Re:Just keep using Windows (2, Interesting)

pqdave (470411) | more than 9 years ago | (#10776977)

The eventual goal might be to switch to an all-Linux environment, but in the meantime Linux users need access to all the things they use now. Microsoft would love it if the only practical way to switch to a Linux desktop was to throw out all your existing backend software and start over.

Re:Just keep using Windows (2, Insightful)

Mr. Slippery (47854) | more than 9 years ago | (#10776984)

What's the point of using Linux, 'just because'?

For one, not wanting to have your business rely on a single supplier, especially a criminal monopolist. Also better security and lower TCO.

Re:Just keep using Windows (1)

marsu_k (701360) | more than 9 years ago | (#10777001)

I don't have quite any experience with Windows networks, but let's take a few of these...
3. Interoperability with Exchange 5.5 and Exchange 2000.
Evolution Connector [novell.com] (formerly Ximian Connector) was recently GPL'd.
4. Font compatibility with Microsoft Office and Openoffice.org and/or StarOffice.
I have no problems using TTF fonts should I want to.
7. Device management for hardware compatibility.
I'm not quite sure what this is supposed to mean, but there are several distributions that offer very good hardware detection and a "control panel"-type of view/configuration of your hardware.
8. Compatible Windows Media player Codecs.
Mplayer. Although their legal status can rightfully be questioned.

I'm sure someone with more experience on Windows<->Linux networking can fill up the rest. So I recon the question should be why use Windows, 'just because'? IMHO Linux would make a lot of sense on a corporate desktop (less fiddling with malware and viruses, no more solitaire). Home users, no, not yet. Soon though (I've heard next year is going to be _the_ year of the Linux desktop ;-)

Re:Just keep using Windows (2, Informative)

BJH (11355) | more than 9 years ago | (#10777024)

Most of these already exist in one form or another.

1) Use smb:// in Nautilus.
2) Dump Active Directory and use something that's a bit more cross-platform. There's plenty of LDAP-compatible stuff out there, and Novell will sell you a drop-in solution for single signon. If you do it right, you get single signon across Windows, Linux, Solaris and HPUX.
3) Evolution Connector.
4) Just set OOo to use the MS TT fonts.
5) Terminal Server Client or rdesktop (I'm guessing they mean a RDP client here).
6) Nautilus can handle file associations just fine.
7) Not sure what the hell they mean by this.
8) Mplayer using MS codecs ;)

Basically, it sounds like a list drawn up by someone who hasn't considered that introducing a new platform into a corporate environment means that they're supposed to exploit the advantages of that platform, rather than force it to conform to whatever existing platforms they have.

Re:Just keep using Windows (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10777194)

Dump Active Directory and use something that's a bit more cross-platform. There's plenty of LDAP-compatible stuff out there, and Novell will sell you a drop-in solution for single signon. If you do it right, you get single signon across Windows, Linux, Solaris and HPUX.

Care to provide some basis for your assertion that Active Directory is not cross-platform? It is fully supported by MIT Kerberos, can be integrated into PAM, and is pretty damn secure.

LDAP solutions are NOT secure, as they pass credentials in CLEARTEXT. Yes, you can use certificates but now you've introduced the thorny issues of key distribution.

Microsoft's Active Directory has smartly tied Kerberos and LDAP together, so LDAP queries can be encrypted with Kerberos... so no certificate distribution problems and secure from sniffing.

Put that in your pipe and smoke it.

(Yes I'm posting anonymous because this post actually has something other than FUD about Microsoft, and I'd get killed by this crowd for telling the truth about Microsoft).

Re:Just keep using Windows (3, Insightful)

jimicus (737525) | more than 9 years ago | (#10777082)

1. Windows Network Neighborhood visibility and UNIX/Linux visibility in the same panel.

Check. It's called Samba.

2. Active Directory password management which includes single sign-on and password expiration policies.

Check. It's called Samba with Winbind. Though it could do with being better integrated with most distributions.

3. Interoperability with Exchange 5.5 and Exchange 2000.

http://www.novell.com/products/connector/ [novell.com]

4. Font compatibility with Microsoft Office and Openoffice.org and/or StarOffice.

TrueType fonts work fine for me. Though again, a well-designed installation program would be nice.

5. Windows Terminal Server clients using RDP out of the box for home grown applications and special Windows applications.

http://www.whitepost.pwp.blueyonder.co.uk/rdp.png [blueyonder.co.uk]

6. Ability to click on a file in a Windows or Samba share and initiate the associated application.

Have they used Konqueror lately?

http://www.whitepost.pwp.blueyonder.co.uk/useprog. png [blueyonder.co.uk]

7. Device management for hardware compatibility.

One already exists, it just doesn't (yet) integrate to the point whereby it can install drivers automatically.

http://www.whitepost.pwp.blueyonder.co.uk/infocent er.png [blueyonder.co.uk]

8. Compatible Windows Media player Codecs.

Which ones? Xine supports most:

http://xinehq.de/index.php/features [xinehq.de]

Re:Just keep using Windows (4, Insightful)

PoprocksCk (756380) | more than 9 years ago | (#10777111)

Well, when looking at the above list, I can't help but be frustrated. The majority of those things are already available. Let's go down the list item by item:

Windows Network Neighborhood visibility and UNIX/Linux visibility in the same panel.

Huh? What are these people using, FVWM? With Samba it's easy to set up a Windows network on a Linux box that can be viewed on both GNOME and KDE. In the same place as Windows shares. GNOME (and probably KDE, not sure) can even display different manual networks, such as FTP servers in its network place.

Active Directory password management which includes single sign-on and password expiration policies.

Can't comment on this, I'm not familiar with Active Directory.

Interoperability with Exchange 5.5 and Exchange 2000.

Am I completely crazy, or can't Ximian Connector & Evolution already do this?

Font compatibility with Microsoft Office and Openoffice.org and/or StarOffice.

Again, I ask the same question -- "huh?" -- if you want to use the Microsoft core fonts, install them! It's not that hard. It's not a fault of OpenOffice.org or StarOffice, it's just a case of the fonts that come on a Linux distro by default -- there's not Arial, Times New Roman, etc. because those are Microsoft fonts and Linux distributors can't distribute them. Might I ask a daring question: why don't Windows users install the Bitstream Vera fonts? I find it annoying that "Microsoft Office" doesn't have compatibility with "OpenOffice.org" (even though the office suites are not the problem in the first place).

Windows Terminal Server clients using RDP out of the box for home grown applications and special Windows applications.

Again, excuse my ignorance, but ... what's wrong with VNC? Why not switch to an open solution?

Ability to click on a file in a Windows or Samba share and initiate the associated application.

I don't agree that that's the problem: KDE (and GNOME maybe, I'm not sure though) can open the desired application just like normal but it does it in an undesirable way, IMHO -- it doesn't open the file from where it is, it copies it to your home directory and opens it from there. I think that that should be improved.

Device management for hardware compatibility.

That's very vague. Do they mean a GUI? If so, what's wrong with distro-specific hardware GUIs such as YaST (which is very good IMHO). A universal distro-independent solution is not a good idea, as is exemplified by LinuxConf. If you want a GUI for hardware management, pick a distro that has one.

Compatible Windows Media player Codecs.

That's the dumbest one yet, and the answer's right here: http://www.mplayerhq.hu/ [mplayerhq.hu]

Re:Just keep using Windows (1)

jmulvey (233344) | more than 9 years ago | (#10777235)

Again, excuse my ignorance, but ... what's wrong with VNC? Why not switch to an open solution?

VNC is designed solely for accessing a console. Windows Remote Desktop allows multiple users to have sessions with a Windows Server (or a Windows XP client, although only 1 user on the console or Remote desktop at a time), while the console is locked.

Re:Just keep using Windows (4, Insightful)

C0vardeAn0nim0 (232451) | more than 9 years ago | (#10777262)

repeat with me:

backward compatibility.

again:

backward compatibility.
backward compatibility.
backward compatibility.

got it ? it may not be important to you, but some big companies have _decades_ of data stored in their systems, some of this data only accessible through aged proprietary apps written in clipper, cobol, VB 3.0, whatever (some of those only exists in binary form. sources are long gone)... heck, once i went to a stock brokerage office and they had an access 2.0 running under OS/2 (by M$ recomendation) because access 2.0 was the only thing their PBX supported, and they had by force of law to record every phone call, internal or external.

it's easy for me or you to ditch windoze from our home machines because we don't have such worries. most of our valuable data are stored in open formats or easy-to-break proprietary ones and in small volume. now try to imagine GE. GM. Siemens. Toyota. Citibank. US gov.

i'm old enough to remember the reluctance of compnies in migrating from DOS to windows 3.0, or moving away from wordperfect. it only happend when M$ word/excell became stable enough, with reasonably good WP/Lotus 123 converters. that was between 10-12 years ago.

now that linux is starting to mature as a desktop environment, companies can start evaluating it. but since IT people in big enterprises abhors sudden and traumatic changes (it can cost them mora than millions, it can cost billions if something goes terribly wrong), they'll firts demmand a high level of compatibility. then as old applications are phased out, compatibility becomes a seccondary issue.

a friend o'mine recently said me he was stuck with windows in his small company (he's owner and only empoyee) because of some old clipper apps. then i showed him flagship and sugested that he could run the DOS binaries in dosEMU while adapting them to compile under flagship. he did that and is pretty happy. he knew about linux desktop but delayed the move because of 10 yr old clipper apps. and he's only one. now imagine GE's 300.000 employees...

WiFi support (5, Informative)

ChrisMDP (24123) | more than 9 years ago | (#10776837)

From the article:

"Broader WiFi card support needs to be introduced to Linux. WiFi card support for the large and important group of laptop users hardly exists. The expedient solution here would to use something like Linuxant's DriverLoader which has the elegance of being a single point solution that's applicable to the great majority of user/device scenarios."

This is the single reason that stopped my from installing Linux on my laptop. Until I discovered ndiswrapper [sourceforge.net], that is, which wraps windows wireless drivers...

Now if ndiswrapper worked out of the box, that *would* be a step forward.

Re:WiFi support (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10776944)

Try FreeBSD 5. NDISulator included, right out of the box. I use it on my laptop with a Linksys (Broadcom) NIC and it works like a dream.

WiFi - Debian - NC8000 (1)

nathan s (719490) | more than 9 years ago | (#10777032)

I recently installed Debian on my NC8000 laptop and spent the better part of a couple of hours last night doing the relevant research to get my built-in IPW2100 adapter [sourceforge.net] going.

It honestly wasn't THAT difficult, but I say this with the reservation that I'm a fairly advanced user despite the fact that I primarily use Windows. I can see how someone with limited *nix experience and who lacks familiarity with a CLI might find it nigh-impossible.

The sad thing is that I have to do it all over again, since I only allocated 1.5GB to / on Debian and now it's choking every ten minutes on me (since I have gnome running and it insists on having 10,000 useless packages or else it will go away and sulk). :-( You know what they say about hindsight...

Re:WiFi support (1)

MobyDisk (75490) | more than 9 years ago | (#10777432)

Instead of writing wrappers so that drivers from other OSs work on Linux, we should turn those wrappers into development kits and make them available to manufacturers. By "make them available" I don't mean place them on Sourceforge and announce them on Freshmean. I mean they should be marketed to hardware manufacturers so that they know that they exist, and that they can gain market share by using this simple tool to make a Linux driver.

(But then we get into the whole binary driver thing and it all goes to hell. Maybe that has to be resolved first.)

We also need to partner with manufacturers, like Microsoft does, so that kernel developers know when new hardware and drivers are available. This will fix the catch-up game where Linux drivers aren't deployed until the hardware is already on the shelf. We can also ease driver development using the feedback from manufacturers.

Stable driver API (5, Insightful)

TheToon (210229) | more than 9 years ago | (#10776841)

A stable driver API is one of the things that is much needed. This is even a problem for server environments. In a perfect world, all drivers would be open source and easy to include, but that is just a pipe dream at the moment. There is a need for binary only drivers for several reasons, where a) support and b) it includes patented/licensed code are two of the biggest.

As it is now, Linux on the Desktop is only feasible for very specific desktop environments. And on laptops? Power management and wireless networking are not automatic, and with several different hardware versions and with users that roam the world... it's a pain.

Linux is getting there though, but slowly. The support cost for linux on desktops and laptops in corporations today would be too high I fear.

Re:Stable driver API (1)

rcw-work (30090) | more than 9 years ago | (#10776888)

In a perfect world, all drivers would be open source and easy to include, but that is just a pipe dream at the moment.

You're 100% there on probably 90% of the hardware being sold, and you call it a pipe dream?!

Re:Stable driver API (4, Insightful)

TheToon (210229) | more than 9 years ago | (#10776994)

Yes, because those last 10% is what gives you problems. If you just go to your local electronic store and buy a Wifi PC Card (both for the Radius servers at work and with WPA for the users home nets, and open or WEP or WPA encrypted customer/coffee shot nets), you buy a MP3 player where you want do up/download music and use it as a portable storage device, you buy a label printer and a scanner for desktop use. Will it all "just work"? Nope.

Sure, you can find stuff that will work in Linux, but some requires 3rd party drivers (madwifi? how can you support that in a corporation) or binary only drivers (video cards, custom high end storage devices) or you have to use "vi" to configure it.

It has to be easily installed even by Joe Sixpak, else your support costs will skyrocket. IMO, this is the largest stumbling block for Linux Desktops.

Re:Stable driver API (2, Insightful)

MichaelIhde (748331) | more than 9 years ago | (#10777105)

Why not create a kernel module that wraps the current API into some stable API? Instead of each vendor trying to do this (NVIDIA, etc.) you could create one standard that could be shared by all. Certianly you might have trouble getting it into the mainstream kernel, as Linus will oppose it.

Re:Stable driver API (1)

TheToon (210229) | more than 9 years ago | (#10777378)

Yes, and an abstraction level like this is what is in use in many cases. You get a binary only driver and a small software stub you can compile against your driver to integrate it.

If the kernel provided such a layer by default, that would surely solve the problem -- because then you would have a standard API layer you make your binary only driver for. There is work going on for this with big-name IT companies behind it, so let's cross our fingers :)

Re:Stable driver API (1)

Otter (3800) | more than 9 years ago | (#10777158)

Yes, because those last 10% is what gives you problems.

For consumer use, absolutely. For business desktop use, you just don't buy that last 10%. And if you need it, or if your investment in it is too large to write off -- well, that's a good reason to stick with Windows.

Re:Stable driver API (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10777273)

And if you need it, or if your investment in it is too large to write off -- well, that's a good reason to stick with Windows.

You mean, like if your competitors are already getting the productivity improvements of that 10%?

News flash: business is competitive. You don't just throw away 10% of your business requirements to get a penguin t-shirt.

Re:Stable driver API (1)

Lumpy (12016) | more than 9 years ago | (#10777338)

It has to be easily installed even by Joe Sixpak, else your support costs will skyrocket. IMO, this is the largest stumbling block for Linux Desktops.

HUH?? for a company with 60,000 different brands and configurations of machines I would agree with you. We are talkinga bout enterprise and corperate.

I just ordered 100 lattitude D800 laptops. every one of them will be 100% identical so as soon as I configure one to the base line, all other 99 are configured, all I need to do is image from the first. so if I need to change the WiFi settings for a machine I can easily replicate those changes to the other 100 machines.

this takes 1 tech sitting at his desk in a cube 1 hour. he does not even need to touch the laptops.

In windows this will take that 1 tech an entire day or more travelling to each laptop. 3 techs if you want to get it done without overtime.

so how does linux increase costs again?

Re:Stable driver API (1)

cr0sh (43134) | more than 9 years ago | (#10777184)

I don't think I would want binary-only drivers on my server, if I was an admin. How do I know those drivers are secure? What if it isn't, and the code is bypassed or otherwised compromised to allow an intruder into my machine? What if I need to fix it because of this? How do I explain to my boss that "yeah, it is all open source, and we can fix anything - well, except this binary driver over here that was bypassed by an intruder who stole all of our IP"?

Yes, the same issues apply to Windows, on an even greater scale - and look how well security works (or doesn't) in that environment...

On home machines and possibly desktops, I could accept it (though ideally this wouldn't be the case) - but on servers...? I don't think I could honestly live with that...

It's a *nix wide problem though? (1)

gilesjuk (604902) | more than 9 years ago | (#10777191)

Other systems are just as archaic in some ways when it comes to drivers and hardware support.

Some even require everything built into the kernel. Commercial Unix operating systems are sometimes inferior to Linux (dare I mention SCO's offering).

Re:Stable driver API (1)

Libor Vanek (248963) | more than 9 years ago | (#10777228)

Linux is so far stable and quick also thanks to the "no binary driver API". There is NO (read "NO!!!") reason for your driver to be closed source (maybe except ATI/nVIDIA which are doing some crazy optimalizations - but hell, why don't they devide they driver into open source (2D + basic 3D) part and binary (gaming 3D)?)

Single sign-on to what ? (3, Insightful)

Walrusss (750700) | more than 9 years ago | (#10776864)

Why not single-sign-on to OpenLdap ?

Feel ready to own one or many Tux Stickers [ptaff.ca] ?

Re:Single sign-on to what ? (2)

blowdart (31458) | more than 9 years ago | (#10777022)

Why not single-sign-on to OpenLdap ?

Because companies want to use their existing infrastructure? Are you seriously suggesting you can sell linux on the workstation by telling companies to throw away their windows "investment" server side at the same time?

Re:Single sign-on to what ? (1)

Havokmon (89874) | more than 9 years ago | (#10777050)

Because companies want to use their existing infrastructure? Are you seriously suggesting you can sell linux on the workstation by telling companies to throw away their windows "investment" server side at the same time?

AD supposedly supports LDAP. So you LDAP to AD.

I did it with NDS years ago. I assume AD would do it. Then again, MS just introduced salvage to Win2003.-shrug-

Re:Single sign-on to what ? (1)

AstroDrabb (534369) | more than 9 years ago | (#10777446)

MS's AD is as usual busted up LDAP. I have had no problems connecting a Linux box to every LDAP server I have tried, except for AD. I wrote a custom Java app that works with LDAP. Again, every LDAP server I pointed it to worked fine, until I pointed to AD. I had to make custom changes to work with AD. AD is typical MS "embrace, extend and break".

Re:Single sign-on to what ? (4, Funny)

ReelOddeeo (115880) | more than 9 years ago | (#10777247)

Let me get this straight.

Gradually migrate desktops to Linux. Make them do sign on and authentication to a Windows server.

End result: Linux on the desktops, Windows as the server.

That way, each platform is being used for what it is best at.

Re:Single sign-on to what ? (2)

blowdart (31458) | more than 9 years ago | (#10777349)

Nice sarcasm

My point was, I guess, that telling a company they must replace both parts of their infrastructure in order to use Linux is not the way to market it. Like it or not AD is being used in large companies, in concert with Exchange, ISA, Sharepoint, VPNs and whatever else. Lack of single sign on from workstations can well be a deal breaker, and saying "Oh just migrate your backend too" is not a helpful attritude.

Re:Single sign-on to what ? (2, Insightful)

jmulvey (233344) | more than 9 years ago | (#10777315)

Why not single-sign-on to OpenLdap ?

Is OpenLdap kerberized? (in other words, can you tie Kerberos security to permissions on the retrieval and setting of LDAP attributes?)

(hint: the answer is NO)

And because of this, OpenLdap authentications solutions are NOT secure, as they pass credentials in CLEARTEXT. Yes, you can use certificates but now you've introduced the thorny issues of key distribution.

Microsoft's Active Directory has smartly tied Kerberos and LDAP together, so LDAP queries can be encrypted with Kerberos... so no certificate distribution problems and secure from sniffing.

Sorry to rain on the MS-bashing parade. They did a good job here, too bad Slashdot isn't a merit-based rating.

We've been running Linux for quite a while now (5, Interesting)

YodaToo (776221) | more than 9 years ago | (#10776867)

We currently use a kickstart install of Fedora for our EE workstations. Customized it with everything we need including configs for the various workstation/networked printers.

We use NIS so that workstations are completely interchangable. Had an EE harddrive meltdown, grabbed a spare machine, ran the kickstart, and the user logged back in via NIS within 15 minutes with no data loss! Could have had him backup instantly if he wanted to go to a spare office.

I can't believe how much easier workstation admin is now that we use Linux.

Re:We've been running Linux for quite a while now (1)

media_Assassin (176375) | more than 9 years ago | (#10776980)

How is this different from using Ghost (or free alternatives), authenticating to a Windows domain, with their data on a network share?

It would have been exactly the same outcome.

Re:We've been running Linux for quite a while now (1)

YodaToo (776221) | more than 9 years ago | (#10777031)

Its quite a bit cheaper and in my opinion a lot more secure!

Re:We've been running Linux for quite a while now (1)

media_Assassin (176375) | more than 9 years ago | (#10777068)

But that's not the point - the conclusion point the parent made was "I can't believe how much easier workstation admin is now that we use Linux."

But the situation outlined would have been identically easy using the appropriate Windows tools.

Mind you, I'm replying from Firefox running on a Dell Laptop loaded with Fedora Core 2, so I'm not biased either way. I'm just saying, you can't claim it's easier to rebuild a Linux workstation vs. a Windows workstation if you use imaging or other similar technology.

Security, cost, etc are a whole different discussion.

Re:We've been running Linux for quite a while now (1)

sporty (27564) | more than 9 years ago | (#10777016)

This can also be done with roaming profiles on windows. Just a heads up. Windows loses on cost though..

Re:We've been running Linux for quite a while now (1)

Havokmon (89874) | more than 9 years ago | (#10777107)

This can also be done with roaming profiles on windows. Just a heads up. Windows loses on cost though..

IMHO. Both are messy substitutes for Directory integration. Your applications should be installed on the server, and save data to the server. Any information they require that's user based needs to come from the directory schema.

Home directories mount from the file server.

No more workstation specific info, and no more passing 'crap' around to all the workstations.

See Netware and Pegasus Mail for an easy to follow implementation of this method.

Re:We've been running Linux for quite a while now (2, Interesting)

sporty (27564) | more than 9 years ago | (#10777145)

You are right, they are messy. Thus things like IMAP, webdav and the likes. But mind you, what you gain in portability, you lose in performance. Things like photoshop might not be happy when you deal with multiple multi meg files. Well.. not unahppy. .just slower.

roaming profiles (2, Interesting)

cliffyqs (773401) | more than 9 years ago | (#10777160)

that would be nifty... we have no such thing. Outlook gets mail and stores it on the local machine, removing it from the server. this may have been done because of server space in the past, but now it is a pain if a workstation dies. spares are a pain. users exist on the server (for email) and on local machine, everything on the local machine. not many computers to support here, but enough that I would like it to be easier.

don't be like us, plan ahead for time & cost of support.

Re:roaming profiles (1)

YodaToo (776221) | more than 9 years ago | (#10777390)

If you move to IMAP, it will take care of the mail portion of your PST crash-and-burn risk. Doesn't help with the "other" data though. I use Evolution and store my data in my NIS /home/users directory. I have backups of /home/users exclude FireFox caches and the IMAP cache to keep unnecessary junk out of the backups and reduce the media required to store.

Crackers ! (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10776873)

Dang smashed my knee on that pilot program!

HP has a Linux laptop (5, Informative)

robyannetta (820243) | more than 9 years ago | (#10776878)

http://h10010.www1.hp.com/wwpc/us/en/sm/WF06a/3219 57-64295-89315-321838-f33-395654.html

Re: HP has a Linux laptop (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10777124)

Author: While no one offered Linux preloaded on laptops,

Reply: http://h10010.www1.hp.com/wwpc/us/en/sm/WF06a/3219 57-64295-89315-321838-f33-395654.html

Mod parent up! He just proved the author wrong!

Risk aversion (4, Insightful)

Octagon Most (522688) | more than 9 years ago | (#10776910)

Risk vs. reward for the decision-maker is going to be a key factor. If I am a CIO or CTO I am likely unwilling to bet my career on the risk of the unknown. There are possibly great cost advantages to deploying Linux on the desktop in the enterprise, but if that's not a primary focus area for the head of corporate technology then it is better to stay with what is know to work. Security factors are another big consideration, but in both of these cases it's a bit of a leap of faith. Windows is the known quantity and there is a massive budget in place around it. In other words, the main technology decision-maker is not likely to be rewarded as a hero for the advantages that Linux might bring, but would be sacrificed for any unforeseen downsides. One does not have to be too risk-averse to see why Microsoft remains entrenched.

Re:Risk aversion (2, Interesting)

tbedolla (637963) | more than 9 years ago | (#10777067)

I currently work closely with the CIO in a medium to large restaurant company where we are installing a POS system with Linux as the OS...Suse to be exact although we'll probably be using IRES from IBM which is just a imaging and deployment package around Suse. While we are working out the kinks of the POS, our online ordering system running IIS and Windows 2000 was comprimised and has left us waiting for a green light with our payment processor that has resulted in approximately 1 million in losses. I don't care how much of a budget Windows has if being a "known quantity" makes you a target.

Re:Risk aversion (1)

Octagon Most (522688) | more than 9 years ago | (#10777299)

"... our online ordering system running IIS and Windows 2000 was comprimised and has left us waiting for a green light with our payment processor that has resulted in approximately 1 million in losses. I don't care how much of a budget Windows has if being a "known quantity" makes you a target."


Good point. An alternative to a rewards for the positive benefits for deploying Linux on the desktop is punishment for sticking with something that is not working or causing problems. Security concerns with Windows are certainly an example of the latter. I still feel the path of least resistance is to throw more money at the entrenched product in an effort to fix it, but that's not a viable long-term strategy. Exposure in the corporate server arena and "pioneers" such as you will set the stage for Linux to gain wide-spread desktop deployment. But then again, you are talking about what sounds to me like a specific application-focused environment. The typical corporate cubical land is full of desk-bound workers who need a wide variety of standard office applications and some homegrown custom apps written in VB. The cost-savings vs. the desktop OS and office suite has to be compared with retraining costs and development of new customer apps. And all that has to be evaluated with productivity loss from, and overall cost to contain security breaches and attacks.

Re:Risk aversion (1)

cliffyqs (773401) | more than 9 years ago | (#10777218)

heck, we run win2k because we don't want to deal with the potential problems of going to xp. we have a couple win98 machines because the software they use does not run right under win2k. Linux is right out. this is funny because the hp mainframe will be migrating to a unix-shaped OS in a year or two. now I need to get an old castoff computer, install Linux, and learn. I have a Knoppix cd, but it doesn't like our integrated video much and will not talk to my modem (it's a winmodem, grr)

Domino (4, Insightful)

cdimart (660076) | more than 9 years ago | (#10776926)

The only thing that I am waiting for is a Linux Domino Client and Admin Client (not iNotes). One would think IBM could get this taken care of.

Re:Domino (1)

Jaegar (518423) | more than 9 years ago | (#10777152)

You're not the only one. If IBM ever started/finished that project, I could finally replace Windows on my work machine. IBM seems to take their sweet time when releasing one of their products on Linux.

Actually, I couldn't remove Windows from my work machine. I still need it for Battlefield......I mean......intensive graphics benchmark program. Yes. That's it exactly.

Cut Dell some slack! (3, Interesting)

stratjakt (596332) | more than 9 years ago | (#10776928)

The outsourced tech support probably couldn't spell "Windows" either. They don't even have the same letters on their keyboards as you do.

If someone called you up and asked you to spell some random word in Hindi I bet you'd mess up too.

As for the first topic, it should be no shock to any one that linux needs a whole shitload of stuff, Samba and others are great projects, and provide a lot of the desired functionality, but getting them installed and set up and "playing nice" with your Windows network can be a real bitch.

I mean, who here has jumped through the hoops of adding a linux server to an AD domain? Compare to adding a Windows server to an AD domain. Now imagine Betty McOfficeGirl trying to follow some written instructions to set up her fancy new linux desktop. Not all offices have a team of IT guys swarming around taking care of everything. Most people are on their own.

Linux needs to fight this battle in the small businesses of the world. They got a toe in the door as far as POS machines and kiosks, that type of thing. But linux needs to be running on the PC in the back office of every mom and pop grocery store or restaurant or doctors office, etc...

Everytime I criticize linux I get modded down and shouted at by morons for being a MS "fanboy" or "astroturfer". It's all obvious to anyone who cares to look, though.

Frankly, I don't think linux can do it (replace windows). I don't think linux will do it. I don't think we should be trying to shoehorn Windows compatibility into a Unix clone. Linux' strength comes from its Unix roots, and I think it should stay close to them, and stay focused on conquering the backend.

I see something like ReactOS developing into the horse to bet on.

To me, a Windows killer is something you install over some guys copy of Windows, and they never even notice that some of the icons are in different spots, or the Windows logo is replaced with something new. Everything works as it always did, albeit with all the transparency a GPL'ed project gives us.

Just my 0.02. I really don't think linux could ever replace Windows any more than a tractor trailer could replace a honda civic. All those regular non-mechanical folk don't want to drive a tractor trailer, and don't want to learn.

Re:Cut Dell some slack! (1)

stratjakt (596332) | more than 9 years ago | (#10777259)

See, I called it.. Flamebait.. Waste some mod points on this message too.

Listen here, no flavor of unix will ever be a "windows killer". Just like no flavor of gameboy will never be a "PS2 killer". Why are you all so friggen blind?

Once again ... Why bother. (2, Interesting)

JPyObjC Dude (772176) | more than 9 years ago | (#10776935)

The truth is that Linux is no where near the quality and refinement of OSX. The only thing that is holding me back from recommending OSX as the switch to platform is the lack of native OOO and in particular a stable 2.0 trunk.

Once native OOO comes out next year, OSX will be the `switch` platform I am recommending to all my friends relatives colleagues...

Regarding Linux, OOO 2.0 is again a main switching point. OOO 1.1.n is still too limited to be useful for power users to switch.

Another HUGE blocking point for switchers to any platform other than win32 is the lack of a `all in one` netmeeting'ish application. Sure there is gnomemeeting but it still does not support an secure integrated vnc server/client p2p component. This is greatly limiting.

JsD
[dreaming of programming Java/obj-c/Python on an apple at apple while programming in Java/tcl/JS on a dell at another]

Re:Once again ... Why bother. (2)

slushbat (777142) | more than 9 years ago | (#10777309)

Yes why bother ... posting a comment which nobody will understand? WTF is OOO?

VPN (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10776936)

One major headache for us would be out of the box PPTP use. Most of the issues Tom mentions would go a long way to start phasing Linux into the environment I am responsible for.

Re:VPN (2, Insightful)

stratjakt (596332) | more than 9 years ago | (#10777051)

Linux needs out of the box L2TP, not PPTP. PPTP is insecure and shitty, MS abandoned it. L2TP isn't perfect, but it's better.

Of course, if the OpenVPN client for Windows worked better (no friggin WinPcrap dependencies), and the architecture on both sides better supported dynamic "road warrior" scenarios, it could render the whole issue moot.

Fundmental hardware problems (1)

samberdoo (812366) | more than 9 years ago | (#10776957)

Until the common Linux flavors have better support for USB and Firewire devices, people will keep getting frustrated with these implementations. Trying to fit in to the wintel box way of doing things is a slow process. It's been evolving for over 20 years. Now if Intel started to actively support Linux.......

Re:Fundmental hardware problems (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10777181)

Until the common Linux flavors have better support for USB and Firewire devices...

Wow, I didn't realize that this was still an issue with the major distros. I loaded Fedora onto my PC with a USB scanner, a USB laser printer, and a USB flash-memory reader. All three worked flawlessly, right off the bat.

What devices are causing problems, anyway?

Re:Fundmental hardware problems (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10777240)

Wow, I didn't realize that this was still an issue with the major distros. I loaded Fedora onto my PC with a USB scanner, a USB laser printer, and a USB flash-memory reader. All three worked flawlessly, right off the bat.

I call Bullshit, unless you call having to edit /etc/fstab and manually mount your flash disk "working flawlessly"

Re:Fundmental hardware problems (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10777438)

This worked fine for me. YMMV.

http://users.actrix.co.nz/michael/usbmount.html

Single sigon (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10776959)

I was charged with implementing single signon between our fedora box and ADS. Just use Samba, winbind, and pam. If someone wnats to configure these tools into a single offering, I'll use it, but it didn't take too long to implement.

Mattrock

Re:Single sigon (1)

buchanmilne (258619) | more than 9 years ago | (#10777268)

Yeah, so I've been doing winbind (without Kerberos) on Mandrake since samba-2.2.2, and Mandrake 10.1 or 10.0 Corporate will setup auth to ADS (ie with Kerberos) during install or using drakauth, but that's still not single sign-on.

Single sign-on means you enter your password once per session, not that you enter the same password 15 times during the day.

In other words, it's the full Kerberos thing, including support for Kerberos auth in all the preferable mail clients, web browsers, network browsers (not just smbclient -k), FTP clients, IM clients etc etc.

We're not there yet ...

This is backasswards (4, Insightful)

RealProgrammer (723725) | more than 9 years ago | (#10776966)

The way Linux will make inroads on the corporate desktop is not by some big push to get it over the top, but by steady, incremental improvement. Not to mention any names (lest I be accused of flamebaiting) but targeted super-projects will not work.

Reacting to the perceived needs of corporate users is fine, but that's not a good fit for the Open Source way. You need someone who has enough pull with a developer to get a single feature or bug worked on. In the early stages of a project, that person is the developer or people he knows personally, with the circle expanding outward as the project grows.

Companies with perceived needs for a Linux desktop can sponsor development of those needs. Sure, the rest of us can try to guess what to create based on surveys and hearsay, but it's way better for the people close to the problem to come up with the solution.

The best way to promote Linux on the desktop is with apps. If a killer app appears, people will adopt Linux and be motivated to fix whatever perceived flaws they find.

Re:This is backasswards (1)

cliffyqs (773401) | more than 9 years ago | (#10777269)

that's how they made progress so far, word of mouth. It's hard to be patient when a product you see as inferior and more expensive is more widely used than one that is good, shows great promise, and costs less. Slow and steady may not "win" anytime soon, but it will build support and credibility.

sing with me: we shall overcome...

Are you sure about that? (1, Insightful)

lukewarmfusion (726141) | more than 9 years ago | (#10776975)

...and conclude that it's less trouble to buy Microsoft. Everyone loses in that scenario.

And Microsoft loses...how?

Some Insightful, Some Not So Insightful (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10777026)

Article Myth: Linux doesn't do P2P networking.
Fact: Linux just doesn't have a Net Neighbourhood/Places GUI. There is nothing that requires Linux (or BSD) to have to have a domain controller. In the past week, I've provided support in online forums where the problem is stated that on Windows they can't see the other Windows box - because they are using Network Places, which relies on NetBIOS and can take up to 45 min for a computer to show up in. This is the reality of the userbase - GUI.

Myth: Printing sucks
Fact: No argument - it sucks. No central tie-in into the system so all programs use the same printing config. I shouldn't have to setup CUPS, and then setup each and every program I want to use to use CUPS.

Myth: Laptop support is non-existant
Fact: There's sites dedicated to it; as long as the hardware is available, for the most part there is no trouble booting linux on a laptop. Rather, the article says that there's just not enough wifi support in laptops...

Myth: No Terminal Services client
Fact: rdesktop worked fine for years now

There's other issues, but those are the most visible. Not to say the article isn't overall wrong in it's assertion - that in order for Linux to get to the point where drivers are listed with hardware along with Windows, the hobbyist programmer mantra of "it works for me, so fsck you" keep stagnating Linux where it is today - where it's been for the last couple of years ever since "this will be the year of the Linux desktop...No, THIS will be..."

It's not acceptable to have to install 3+ programs in sequence to get an app to work - bundle the bloody stuff already, quit being lazy. Funny from the crowd who chastizes closed source about how bad their software design is...

Re:Some Insightful, Some Not So Insightful (2, Insightful)

stratjakt (596332) | more than 9 years ago | (#10777210)

Article Myth: Linux doesn't do P2P networking.
Fact: Linux just doesn't have a Net Neighbourhood/Places GUI. There is nothing that requires Linux (or BSD) to have to have a domain controller


It's all about single sign-on and "zero configuration". Sure you can manually configure user lists in 900 linux machines, or you could set up a seperate LDAP for linux and have AD for windows, and manually sync them. But thats not what businesses want. That's twice as much time to add a user in their minds.

As for the Net Neighbourhood thing, it's not even just that. I rarely use it on windows, but I'm always typing stuff like \\SPIKE\Shared\Sourcecode\ into the address bar of explorer.

The closest thing to getting that behaviour to work in linux is that LiSa daemon which I positively can't stand. I shouldn't have to tell some daemon how big my subnet is to be able to browse local shares. There should be no configuration needed to do that, it should work "out of the box".

Similarly, Samba should install with a default config that works out of the box, rather than having HOWTOs tell you to edit the smb.conf file by hand because only morons and idiots use swat. WTF is that? This is how we're trying to entice switchers?

Integration is lacking here. I should be able to right click and select "share via SMB" or something in my file manager to create a new share, just like we do in Windows. Having to edit a text file, then restart the daemons is kind of ridiculous.

Myth: Laptop support is non-existant
Fact: There's sites dedicated to it; as long as the hardware is available, for the most part there is no trouble booting linux on a laptop. Rather, the article says that there's just not enough wifi support in laptops...


Wireless is the major selling point of a laptop these days. It's the whole ballgame. IMO, wireless is the only thing a laptop is useful for with their tiny little cramped keyboards and endlessly frustrating touchpads.

Don't you see all those businessmen at the starbucks in the airport all wirelessly doing their important business? They didnt get the company to agree to buy them so they could sit there disconnected and play Tux racer (even if that's what they really are doing).

Myth: No Terminal Services client
Fact: rdesktop worked fine for years now


TFA is talking about a client, not a server. We need to be able to start a windows terminal session from a linux desktop.

I can tell you that I couldn't use linux on my desktop box at work for this very reason, I regulary have to connect to clients machines via Terminal Services, or PCAnywhere.

I may have some techie cred in our office, but I have no say in what OS our clients want to run, and I can't tell them to install VNC or anything.

Re:Some Insightful, Some Not So Insightful (2, Insightful)

doj8 (542402) | more than 9 years ago | (#10777360)

Myth: No Terminal Services client
Fact: rdesktop worked fine for years now

stratjakt commented:
TFA is talking about a client, not a server. We need to be able to start a windows terminal session from a linux desktop.

I can tell you that I couldn't use linux on my desktop box at work for this very reason, I regulary have to connect to clients machines via Terminal Services, or PCAnywhere.

I may have some techie cred in our office, but I have no say in what OS our clients want to run, and I can't tell them to install VNC or anything.


Uh. RDesktop is a Windows Terminal Server client. I've used it to connect to Windows Servers for several years.

Wuh? (1, Insightful)

Wylfing (144940) | more than 9 years ago | (#10777094)

Peer-to-peer networking, functional printing

This is a good list of criticisms....for me to poop on!

Really, I don't get these problems. Getting networked printing to work with Windows leaves you with red marks on your forehead from banging it against the desk. And P2P networks? Half the time Windows machines don't see each other in the "workgroup" or refuse to exchange information or doggedly insist on logging you in as the wrong user. In both cases, printing and networking, if something doesn't work correctly there's often nothing you can do to fix it besided rebooting and seeing if that helps (which, bizzarely, often does).

On the other hand, networked printing in Linux amounts to selecting a CUPS or Samba printer and clicking OK. Oh, and you might have to specify that it's an HP G85. How is that not functional? I think I took one step to set up my OfficeJet as a shared CUPS printer, which was "apt-get install hpoj". P2P networking, uh, come on you must be kidding me. We had this nailed before Micros~1 even knew what a network was. And with the interfaces now available in Gnome and KDE, traversing networks is almost transparent. "Sharing" is even very Windows-like in KDE (right-click and choose share). How's that not functional again?

Now as for the others -- AD support? That's rich. Not exactly parallel, but where is, for example, the support in Windows for ReiserFS, ext3, and JFS? I say that makes Windows "not ready for the corporate desktop" because it can't read non-MS filesystems. A clever driver-getter would be spiffy, but in Windows it's merely an agreement with hardware manufacturers to bundle/offer their drivers. This would be a reality for Linux if hardware vendors had open source drivers available, so really it's not a Linux shortcoming at all but a hardware vendor problem.

What about HP laptops? (1)

drgreg911 (741844) | more than 9 years ago | (#10777133)

...no one offered Linux preloaded on laptops.
A while back HP started offering SUSE pre-loaded on one of their business-oriented laptops. Is that still going on?

Re:What about HP laptops? (1)

Jaegar (518423) | more than 9 years ago | (#10777409)

Yes, you can order the nx5000 with Suse 9.1 on it. I believe it was also supposed to come with OpenOffice loaded on it.

However, when you try to configure a system like that, you'll notice in nice bold letters at the top: "HP recommends Microsoft Windows XP Professional".

"Linux desktop could fail" WTF? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10777172)

What is up with these suits talking about "failure" if Linux doesn't meet their requirements. This is yet another instance of applying a corporate mentality to a non corporate entity. He doesn't define fail because its a meaningless term. The majority of the OS users in this world are home users, not corporate users. These latter users want a stable system that doesn't force them into unnecessary purchases. There is no fucking way Linux is going to fail with this crowd. If the corporate stooges don't need it, that's fine. It doesn't have jack to do with failure of the Linux desktop.
But here's where the failure comes in. If your company's IT budget eats up your marketing or manufacturing resources and your competitor saves that money and beats your ass in the market then guess what Mr Tidy Tie ---you fucking failed.

is the man an idiot? (1)

Lumpy (12016) | more than 9 years ago | (#10777177)

peer to peer networking? that is a frigging nightmare to any enterprise It department.

why do you think that we lock out the ability for you to share folders on your machine in the domain wide settings??

Gee, that's all we need is something that makes it easier for a Virus to spread.

the author has some interesting points but most are examples of someone writing an article about something he knows nothing about.

I admit that some things are slightly laking, but some of what he talks about exist (sorry, but single login to a active directory? that's a windows product why not use the unix solution like this that has existed for decades?)

These are the types of articles that simply Fuel the PHBs into thinking they now know more about a subject.

Device Manager (1)

RogerWilco (99615) | more than 9 years ago | (#10777203)

I can realy adhere to his call for a uniform Device Manager/Driver (and therefore uniform driver API)
In my specific case I do not want to talk to /dev/ttyS0
I want to talk to a Modem and tell it to Dial 123-456 at 9600 Baud 8N1
using GSM network transperency. I want the driver to know how the modem should accomplish this. He also mentions printing, it's a similar issue AFAIK.
It's just an example, but a stable uniform interface and API on a higher level would make life much easier for a lot of independent software providers and hardware vendors to support Linux. This in turn would make Linux more viable.
The big question is:
Who would define such an interface and get the GUI and the Kernel people on board?

I know it's all about the age-old discussion between a fully free open easy to debug any modify system on the one hand, and a predictable stable consistent user friendly less open and free system on the onther hand.
It's between Ideal and reality, between "we do not need to replace MS" and "we should replace MS", between "the optimal" solution and a stable environment, between open source and closed propretairy drivers. It's about backward compatibility and ease of use.

I bought Civ:CTP for Linux from Loki in 99/00, I haven't had time yet to try it on my SuSE 9.1, can anyone tell me if it will work?

A 1995+ program for Windows will most likely work on Windows XP.

The cult of UNIX must die! (-1, Troll)

couch_warrior (718752) | more than 9 years ago | (#10777216)

The thing holding linux back is the cult of UNIX, the propeller-head weenies who think that a Command-line interface is the way God wanted computers to be used, and that it is immoral to make computers easy to use, since people need to earn the right to compute by memorizing arcane command syntax. Linux won't succeed in the mainstream until we learn a whole new paradigm. Repeat after me - "Ease of use is all that matters"; "GUI good, CLI bad"; For techies-"Any effort required by the user to learn the interface is two orders of magnitude more important than the effort expended by the developer in making it easy to use." I suggest a whole new goal, not just GUI, but DWIM (Do What I Meant). Instead of making the user interface into a video game where the user plays against the machine in order to see if he/she can get what he/she wants out of it, make the user interface an AI Avatar whose mission in life is to do what the user WANTS, even if the user interface has to go to great lengths to overcome the user's ignorance of the technology....

Re:The cult of UNIX must die! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10777428)

"GUI good, CLI bad"
Sure. Now go away and find a directory of 10,000+ files and find all containing a capital M or a sequence of three digits in the filename. Then select any that were created between April and August of this year, and have not been modified since September. Now move them into another directory. Use a GUI filemanager to do this. Go on, do it now.

no they don't (1)

flynt (248848) | more than 9 years ago | (#10777227)

The Linux desktop could fail if companies continue to pilot programs and conclude that it's less trouble to buy Microsoft. Everyone loses in that scenario.

Microsoft certainly doesn't lose. And how do the companies lose? They just did a pilot study on cost effectiveness and determined Microsoft was the answer. If Linux was cheaper and better for them as a company, they certainly would have switched.

WHY? (3, Interesting)

Libor Vanek (248963) | more than 9 years ago | (#10777250)

8. Compatible Windows Media player Codecs.

WHY???? Show me ONE big corporation which needs to play movies on the users desktops!

This post is a troll (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10777356)

"Is that L-Y-N-I-C-S?"

You can carry on insisting on pronouncing it incorrectly, but give other people a break when they don't have the slightest fucking clue what you're talking about. Linux is pronounced linux.

OS X Meets Criteria, But Not Solution (4, Informative)

Spencerian (465343) | more than 9 years ago | (#10777370)

Mac OS X meets almost all of the criteria that the article suggests for Linux compatibility... ...except that Mac OS X is not Linux. (That, and the Windows codecs, although the popular VLC application [videolan.org] does the trick in all but the stickiest non-QuickTime codec.

So, taking a page from both Apple and Microsoft's business handbook, what can the Linux community "steal" from Microsoft and Apple to make Linux a stronger enterprise player?

Getting things from the Apple side isn't very hard since its resources come from the FreeBSD world, which is open source. Samba works great in OS X, which means stronger integration in Linux is needed to match OS X's performance, which I suspect does nothing particularly special.

Same is true for AD authentication. Mac OS X uses a plug-in its Directory Services that understands this LDAP-variant...surely this is something that would work in Linux, or does it lack a refined mechanism for handling multiple directory services as OS X?

Ximian already provides Exchange compatibility in its mail product, and Exchange 2000 works with IMAP provided that Outlook Web Access (WebDAV) is running. Special features of Exchange (and its Outlook client) may be missing, but Mac users are still missing features from Entourage, the successor to the Outlook client on Mac OS X, so this is not quite the biggie. Linux/Intel users can run VMware (as Mac users would run Virtual PC) to use the actual Outlook client if needed.

The Microsoft Office component is a toughie. Mac OS users have a genuine Office client. Microsoft knows that holding back creation of a Linux client would sap power from its enterprise drive.

No easy answers in this, really. I think, however, that Linux could use a central business owner, although I know its nature makes that impossible. But wait--isn't that what Apple's doing with OS X by licensing or using BSD components?

What if a company licensed a Linux distro and took the reins to make a Linux-compatible OS with the same functionality, but also the "one-click" simplicity, application strength, and security that Mac OS X enjoys in its Mach/BSD fusion?

Of course, we know that this appears to have been done, with Red Hat, et al. But has it really been done well?
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