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A List of Linux Migration Stories?

Cliff posted more than 7 years ago | from the an-army-of-penguins dept.

68

borfast asks: "From time to time, I read about schools, cities, states or countries that decided to switch their operating systems to Linux for a number of reasons. The latest was the city of Munich. I'm currently preparing a presentation to do on local schools about Free Software and its advantages (and disadvantages) in government and education, and I'd like to show some examples of what I'll be saying to those folks. Not that I consider myself an authority on the subject but you know the saying, 'In the land of the blind, the one-eyed man is king'. Anyway, I have been collecting all the stories (both positive and negative) I find but I'd really appreciate it if the Slashdot crowd could give me a hand, here. Due credit will be given and the presentation will be posted online under a Free license. So, what Linux migration nightmares or cotton-candy dreams do you know about, and do you know any site that collects these stories?"

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68 comments

Don't forget... (1)

SCO$699FeeTroll (695565) | more than 7 years ago | (#16677215)

...to pay your $699 licensing fee you cock-smoking teabaggers.

Slashdot Confirms It (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16678279)

It is official, Slashdot now confirms: SCO$699FeeTroll is dying. One more crippling bombshell hit the already beleaguered slashdot troll when trollkore announced that SCO$699FeeTroll mindshare has dropped yet again, now down to a fraction of 1 percent of all trolls. Coming close on the heals of a slashdot survey which plainly states, "SCO$699FeeTroll? Is that guy still here?" this news serves to reinforce what we've known all along. The interest in SCO is collapsing in complete disarray as fittingly exemplified by falling dead last in the recent Slashdot survey, "What issue matters the most to you right now? 1.) Getting laid, 2.) Getting out of mom's basement, 3.) Getting another donut 4.) Cock-smoking, 5.) Teabagging, or 6.) Paying my $699 licensing fee to SCO."

Fact: SCO$699FeeTroll is dying.

Re:Slashdot Confirms It (1)

eno2001 (527078) | more than 7 years ago | (#16691845)

Classic! Anyone with mod points, please mod this up as +1 Funny for me. OK? Thanks!

Migrations, eh? (1)

Control Group (105494) | more than 7 years ago | (#16677263)

I saw March of the Penguins, does that count?

Re:Migrations, eh? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16678187)

Check out projects like edubuntu [edubuntu.com], edu-nix.org [edu-nix.org] and the k12ltsp project, also there is the k12opensource group on google and the school-discuss mailing list on schoolforge.net, all of which are populated with folks using FLOSS in education, perhaps not everyone is 'migrating' wholesale, but FLOSS on Windows and Linux is definitely making inroads in education.

google (2, Informative)

rbochan (827946) | more than 7 years ago | (#16677295)

Or any other search engine:
AutoZone
Burlington Coat Factory
Cisco/Linksys
City of Vienna information services
Daimer/Chrysler
Disney
Ernie Ball Guitars
Google
IBM
Los Alamos National Laboratory
Merrill Lynch
Mexico City municipal government
Pixar Animation
Papa John's Pizza
Raymour & Flanigan Furniture
Riverdale High School, Portland, Oregon
St. Mary's School, Rockledge, Florida
University of Oslo
US Air Force

You might not get all the details, but it might send you in the right direction.

That's just annoying (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16678011)

It's like if my buddy comes to me and asks why his circuit is picking up noise and I hand him a stack of textbooks. "Your answer is in there."

Borfast is looking for some intelligence. If he just wanted a list, he could indeed just google. If we want to help him, a little editorial comment on our part is necessary. If someone is looking for strawberries we could honestly tell him that there are strawberries in all directions. It would be the truth. Of course if he walks north he won't find any strawberries for about 5000 miles. It is much more helpful to tell him that the nearest strawberries are 2 miles east of here just off county road 32.

Some of the stories on your list are quite interesting. Ernie Ball may be a classic. They were a Windows shop until the day Microsoft showed up for an audit. Microsoft was looking for someone to make an example of. They treated Ernie Ball as harshly as they could and made sure it was well publicized. Ernie Ball reacted by completely dumping Windows and making sure that was as well publicized as possible. :-)

Daimler and AutoZone are SCO victims. They switched from Unix though. Most school boards are on Windows so the cases may not be that relevant.

Re:google (1)

Poppler (822173) | more than 7 years ago | (#16679637)

Ernie Ball Guitars
Actually, Ernie Ball is primarily a guitar string manufacturer. They do sell the Musicman line of guitars, but their main business is strings.
As someone who uses their products, I'm glad to hear they're using Free Software.

Re:google (1)

sufehmi (134793) | more than 7 years ago | (#16686279)

Here's one : http://oss-corporate.usefulz.com [usefulz.com]

Disclaimer: It's mine. Here there are a lot of companies wishing to move from their current IT infrastructure to a more open one, but they're scared. A lot of them said if there are others who have done so, it'll make the case easier to be presented in the board of director meetings. So I created it. Hope it does help some people out there.

Papa John's Pizza? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16715889)

They sure haven't passed the cost savings of using Linux to their customers! I like their pizzas, but it's usually more expensive than most.

Richard Kiley (3, Funny)

$RANDOMLUSER (804576) | more than 7 years ago | (#16677403)

As the snow begins to melt and the first buds of spring begin to swell, the Linux, thin and gaunt from a winter's starvation, begins to seek out others of its own kind, gathering at the swiftly thawing ponds and lakes. Soon, great flocks of Linux will begin their long migration south to their summer breeding grounds. Many will not make it, too exhausted from their journey to continue, or falling victim to the many predators who dog their steps on their long flight...

Linux Migration Story (2, Funny)

lewp (95638) | more than 7 years ago | (#16677439)

Okay, so this one time I was typing a report for school, and my computer was like "beeeeep beep beep beeeep beepbeep beeep" and then my report was gone. Then I switched to Linux and smoked some reefer.

I'm sure many other people have similar stories.

Re:Linux Migration Story (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16682645)

mine is same except the somking part

I have migrated to linux at home... (1)

cucucu (953756) | more than 7 years ago | (#16677479)

and ever since I don't need to password protect anything, nobody but me can use the computer now.

I'm more secure than ever with Linux (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16687759)

Suse will not work with an old MN-510 USB WLAN card. It detects it and everything, but just flat out will not work. So, I am 100% secure as long as Ilock my door! Sweet, M$ Windoze is not secure, it allows me to connect to my WAP and browse the internet where there's spyware. Thank you Linux!

My University's Engineering and CS Colleges (2, Insightful)

dch24 (904899) | more than 7 years ago | (#16677497)

My experience has been interesting. My university's college of engineering has a full-time staff of three, serving multiple labs in multiple buildings (so the infrastructure is non-trivial). They hire part-time and full-time students, train them, and rely on them for a lot of the work they need done. Because of the great leadership, the engineering network (entirely linux-powered on the backend, with all types of machines from supercomputers to workstations to desktops of every flavor) has an incredible track record, and they have been able to deal with almost every problem in a very professional way.

The CS department is exactly the opposite. There is one full-time staff administrator, who hires students to work for him. He is ornery and unhelpful. The network is down a lot. The machines are only updated infrequently, accounts get destroyed on a regular basis, the works. The same setup (linux backend, linux, windows, and mac clients) but administered entirely differently.

I guess my experience has been that if you are going to migrate, you need people who know how to do it. Linux might get a bad name, but it's really the people behind the migration.

Re:My University's Engineering and CS Colleges (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16679505)

Probably because to be an engineer you have to really know what you are doing, whilst just anyone can get through Computer Science.

Plus the inherent laziness of engineers means they'll be more motivated to do it right the first time so that they won't have to fix it repeatedly later.

Re:My University's Engineering and CS Colleges (1)

Undertaker43017 (586306) | more than 7 years ago | (#16692961)

Good to hear the tradition of grumpy, unhelpful *nix administrators is continuing and being passed along to a new generation of CS professionals.

How about this... (2, Funny)

Klaidas (981300) | more than 7 years ago | (#16677695)

1. Go to a linux forum
2. Enter search "Windows"
3. Look at a list with "Bye bye Weendoz!!!! roflmayonaise i migrated!!!"
4. Find some "LOL WTF LEENOOKS zuck!!! I'm back to my win!!! lol!!!" in bettween the entries on line 3
5. ???
6. Presentation!

Migration Story (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16677719)

The Sinterclaws penguins migrate the entire distance from the Falkland Islands to the North Pole every winter. Once at the North Pole, these penguins assist the local inhabitants with toy production and reindeer maintenance.

"In the land of the blind, (1)

doti (966971) | more than 7 years ago | (#16678171)

the one-eyed man is a cyclope."

Re:"In the land of the blind, (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16679639)

no no no, it goes like this:
In the land of the blind, the one-eyed man is burnt at the stake for fear of witchcraft.

Re:"In the land of the blind, (1)

N. P. Coward (953833) | more than 7 years ago | (#16685057)

What's more, he's a blind cyclops. But since it's the Land of the Blind nobody makes fun of him. Of course if he has a squeaky voice...

Wow. (1)

Oliver Defacszio (550941) | more than 7 years ago | (#16678181)

The only list on Earth shorter than the Big Book of Swiss Military Victories.

Re:Wow. (1)

mr_mischief (456295) | more than 7 years ago | (#16680721)

The goal of the Swiss military to protect the sovereignty and independence of Switzerland seems to be going pretty well.

Re:Wow. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16681647)

That or the pamphlet on Famous Jewish Sports Stars...

Re:Wow. (1)

Patrik_AKA_RedX (624423) | more than 7 years ago | (#16685411)

Yes, but we weren't talking about your sexlife. Now get back on topic.

(sorry, couldn't resist. All society's fault. not mine. really.)

My university. (1)

El Lobo (994537) | more than 7 years ago | (#16678461)

We have migrated 96 PCs in 4 datalabs from Redhat to Windows XP. XP is ***very*** cheap for educational institutions. But I supose you won't like my story because this doesn't match your narrows expectations. Oh, well... It's the real life, though.

Re:My university. (1)

SecurityGuy (217807) | more than 7 years ago | (#16679369)

Linux is free for anyone who doesn't want to pay for commercial support. XP costs less than that?

Re:My university. (1)

Shados (741919) | more than 7 years ago | (#16679971)

Thats a bit narrow minded. The cost of the licenses is totally insignificant, even if it was 5 times the price.
Just as an unrelated example: A long time ago, for a company I used to work for ( I don't anymore ), I had to select between Java and .NET as the platform for an internal solution. Our programmers were equaly comfortable with both, both fullfilled our needs equaly, etc. The reason we picked one over the other came down to: an intermediate .NET programmer in my area is about 20$/hour. An intermediate Java programmer in the same area is (almost) twice that. We needed to hire a lot of programmers. That made the decision -fast-.

Initial cost is rarely significant :)

Re:My university. (1)

Bert64 (520050) | more than 7 years ago | (#16685997)

But what will the quality of the final code be? There's a reason some programmers are more expensive than others, and it has a lot to do with the quality of code they write and the speed with which they write it.

Re:My university. (1)

SecurityGuy (217807) | more than 7 years ago | (#16690955)

Narrow minded, and deliberately so. The OP's claim that XP being cheap for educational use, and therefore the right thing, follows exactly that logic.

Re:My university. (1)

borfast (752138) | more than 7 years ago | (#16679499)

I don't understand why you say I have narrow expectations. I did mention "nightmares", didn't I? I know that Linux isn't always the best solution and that sometimes Windows is the best solution.

I welcome any stories that can show something of interest. If yours is one, go ahead and share it.

My experience... (1)

jimstapleton (999106) | more than 7 years ago | (#16678925)

When linux works out of the box, it's great, but if anything goes wrong, or you need to tweak, the documentation and cross-distro compatability (important when building from source, or even getting prepackaged apps), can be a royal pain.

I switched to FreeBSD, but it's issues (less commercial software, less supported hardware), are easier for me to handle than those of Linux (overall less comprehensive and user friendly documentation).

In the end, get your devs to try both, and compare them to your experiences with Windows (and possibly MacOS as well), and make your decisions from there.

Re:My experience... (1)

Clever7Devil (985356) | more than 7 years ago | (#16680723)

Personally, I don't find the support from a megalo-corporation like Microsoft that comprehensive. I consider myself a Windows Power-User, and I still put much of that knowledge to practice at work; however, I didn't get this way by reading Help files.

The options for Joe Computer-User are not vast:

He can try to wade his way through the contents of Microsoft's included manuals and help files. The problem here being that even if he knows what the problem is, and what questions he needs answers to; the solution is rarely easy to locate.

He can try to contact Microsoft technical support. (Slashdot users will, I hope, find the humor in the links under the "Latest support news" heading. http://support.microsoft.com/ [microsoft.com]) If he manages to get a response from someone who knows what they're talking about, without sitting in front of his computer they will likely only solve the symptoms.

If he knows someone that is "one of those techy people" he can impose on them for assisstance.

Or, if he's like many home-users, he can call the "Computer Guy" to come to his home and fix the real problem. These "Computer Guys" are not short for work.

For the majority of home users, the migration to Linux would not be all that painful. The only difference my household noticed when I migrated the laptop was that it had new games. (Damn you Frozen-Bubble! How many hours have you stolen WoW from me on the shoulders of my girlfriend?)

What makes the difference in Linux is that the popular distros have a thriving community built up around them that respond to even the most "Noobish" queries surprisingly quickly. You don't need to be a master of the shell to succeed with Linux. Beyond that, the problems that just don't exist in comparison to Windows are endless.

My apologies to the OP for not addressing his question, but I felt that this needed a response. And to Jim, FreeBSD is a great solution. I do not believe, however, that it is a solution that caters as well to normal users as Gnu/Linux. I normally agree with your points, thank you for being such an active contributor to our community.

Re:My experience... (1)

Bert64 (520050) | more than 7 years ago | (#16685945)

The same is true of any OS, especially windows...
If it works out of the box, it's easy enough... But as soon as something breaks, the error messages are useless, debugging information is useless, the registry is hardly what i'd call intuitive or easy to use, and the closed source nature of it makes it much harder for even the most skilled people to debug and fix your problems.

Not to mention the fact that commandline is much easier to debug remotely. cut+paste the error into google and when it gives you answers, cut+paste the answers back.

Re:My experience... (1)

jimstapleton (999106) | more than 7 years ago | (#16687567)

Funny thing is, I know several people who are almost tech-idiots who actually hack their own registries...

It's not as friendly for certain types of people, but the heirachical nature, plus regedit can actually be very useful. As well as keeping a lot of things in "one" place (even if that "one" place is scattered all over their computer)

Also, I've not had the troubles installing applications on Windows that I have had installing them on Linux. I want an application not-out-of-the-box on Windows, I open it's installer, go through the menus, and it works. The problems with that are rare, with emerge, yum, apt-get, deb, rpm, the various ubuntu installers, I've not had that kind of reliability - it's more like "click on it and hope it works" in those cases, at least in my experience.

Everybody has a different experience on these thigns.

Also, a closed nature won't affect the average user, who couldn't care less if they could hack the source, or do weird edits to it or not.

Re:My experience... (1)

Xenophon Fenderson, (1469) | more than 7 years ago | (#16688661)

Also, I've not had the troubles installing applications on Windows that I have had installing them on Linux.

One killer feature that is missing from the Linux distributions I use regularly (RHEL 2/3, FC4/5) is a software deployment mechanism. Group policies plus Windows Installer (MSI) packages really make my life easier, even when I'm just supporting my family. I am aware of tools like cfengine, and I am certain I could script yum commands out via SSH, but I'm forced to admit that Microsoft's interface to that sort of thing is really nice. (I haven't used systems like ZENworks, Tivoli, or SMS, but I'm told that they're pretty good, too.) I'd love to see a Linux distribution (Redhat?) provide enterprise management tools similar to what AD/GPO/MSI give me, especially if it could give me a pretty GUI to a well-formatted text-based config file (unlike the binary/XML mess that Microsoft and Apple try to shove down my throat).

I guess I could write such a system myself in my copious free time. :)

Re:My experience... (1)

Bert64 (520050) | more than 7 years ago | (#16700757)

I've had the opposite experience...
Most programs install cleanly, but having to manually locate the installer, and usually click through multiple pages of license agreements, other bullshit and ads before you can download it is incredibly annoying.
For those few apps which dont install correctly, the error messages are useless for diagnosing why it didn't install and you often have to give up and accept not having the app.
Package managers on the other hand, debian's apt is usually problem free (although you cant mix and match stable/unstable packages since theyre linked against different library/gcc versions)... Gentoo's emerge is also pretty good, and you can mix and match nicely... When it does fail, and gentoo does fail far more than debian (since it's more of a power user tool) the error messages are usually pretty descriptive, and you can paste them into google and usually find someone else with the same problem.

Re:My experience... (1)

jimstapleton (999106) | more than 7 years ago | (#16701679)

I've actually had better luck with emerge than with apt-get, which I find to be odd. Maybe I've had a higher error rate with Emerge, but the system is one I foudn easier to fix problems in, so I spent as much "fixing" time with 10 emerge errors as I would with one apt-get error. That's an important factor too...

Re:My experience... (1)

Bert64 (520050) | more than 7 years ago | (#16732787)

Yes, i found that too... Emerge is far more transparent as to it's process for installing packages, and all the scripts are plain text files and easily read/modified, as is the package database.

Point Of Sale (Service) (1)

itomato (91092) | more than 7 years ago | (#16681589)

Take a look through POS vendor's sites. Most Non-Microsoft POS platforms run on Linux.

* Wincor/Nixdorf
* IBM
* SAP/Triversity
* Micros
* BananaPOS

There are more..

Novell even has a Point of Service-specific Distribution, NLPOS..

You might have to get creative - not all individuals' success stories are public, but vendors are happy to tout their successes with a list of clients that successfully use their product. Add them to your list!

The past week (1)

Gernok (977745) | more than 7 years ago | (#16683139)

This past week, I've attempted to install Xubuntu/Kubuntu/Ubuntu 6.10 onto my system to do a little work at home.

Nvidia + Wide Screen LCD flat panel can be cumbersome, tweaking modelines, xorg.conf files, ugh! It's enough to drive one sane! And the fact that currently 6.10 (at least for a number of people) loads to a black screen of death, and CTRL-ALT-F1 to F6 didn't bring up a viewable console making it that much more of a pain.

I finally got another distro installed, downloaded the latest nvidia drivers and got my monitor up into it's native 1440x900@60, but I would say that until the installation is streamlined to where you don't have to tweak/play with conf files, examine logs/bang head against wall or threaten the system with a baseball bat, the average "user" is going to be lost, frustrated, and returning to the evil empire.

Best bet, make sure ya have a non-lcd/laptop, etc. "normal" monitor available... I'm sure that would have made life a LOT easier this past week.

Re:The past week (1)

Bert64 (520050) | more than 7 years ago | (#16685993)

I have a 1600x1024 widescreen LCD...
X picked it up automatically by reading the supported resolutions from the display itself. It also worked out the physical dimensions of the screen and set the DPI appropriately, so the fonts are fully readable and the same physical size as on any other screen.

Re:The past week (1)

speculatrix (678524) | more than 7 years ago | (#16686271)

I have the slightly unused res of 1366x768 on my Sony TX2 laptop; I had to use the 855resolution hack, but it wasn't hard, and SuSE10.1 even has a config file specifically to make it possible.

In this case, there was no failure of the technology, only a weakness of documentation and lack of a trivial control panel for the hack.

In contrast, I've spent lots of time fiddling with nvidia drivers on windows trying to get a tv-out card to work perfectly with my ordinary CRT television before it worked well.

Re:The past week (1)

corychristison (951993) | more than 7 years ago | (#16693523)

I would say that until the installation is streamlined to where you don't have [snip] bang head against wall or threaten the system with a baseball bat, the average "user" is going to be lost, frustrated
I think Windows users experience this a fair bit as well. Especially related to hardware. I do a lot of "PC Repair" in my spare time for people via word-of-mouth. Until these people can understand, figure out, and problem-solve Windows issues, I think they will be lost in Linux. However, Linux has a lot of tools for debugging/problem-solving and is generally more apparent. Windows hides users from this side of the fence.

Better question (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16683807)

Try this: what does your organization need to migrate from your current platform to Linux? A few things off the top of my head...

      * Outlook, though for what we use Outlook for, it's probably doable.
      * Visio. If you say "Use Dia!", I'll laugh in your face because you're an idiot.
      * Network-wide integrated login like Active Directory with the easy-to-use management tools. If you say "Use OpenLDAP!", I'll laugh in your face because you're an idiot.
      * Distributed file system integrated into client Windows PCs, though this is probably doable too.
      * Java that works in the web browser. I've yet to have a Linux system where it does.
      * Automated updates that Just Work; no needing to write a script to do it, no recommendations you don't patch your kernel or system libs until it's been tested more.
      * Special vendor software that was programmed for Windows and is crashy there. Haven't tried it in Wine.
      * Equivalent UI familiarity and ability to find and retrieve information and change settings just as quickly as in Windows. This is impossible since it is literally asking for the box to come with your training in it, but it is a hurdle that stops people from moving over. Adding UI features such as useful context menus everywhere is a good help.

Add yours...

Linux vs Windows (1)

bzipitidoo (647217) | more than 7 years ago | (#16685169)

I can relate my own anecdotal experiences.

First, the good points of Windows when compared to Linux. Setting up peripherals is still a PITA in Linux. Peripherals in Linux have gotten much easier in recent years thanks to SANE, HPLIP, Gutenprint, CUPS, gphoto2, ALSA, improvements in the 2.6 kernel and in udev. Having to mount CDs and USB memory sticks was also extremely annnoying in Linux. Linux distros vary considerably on how they handle removable media-- Ubuntu is pretty good at it, while Slackware and Gentoo just don't do it. You have to pick peripherals carefully, as in before you buy check on how well the manufacturer supports Linux. HPLIP is a big reason why I went with an HP printer. I used to use an Epson which, thanks to poor Linux drivers had to be reset entirely too often, causing Linux to advance its USB ID to the next number while the configuration info stayed fixed at the first number, which then forced the user to reboot the computer. I also have a Yamaha MIDI keyboard with USB interface which I am not able to fully use in Linux. I can play MIDI files from Linux, but to store MIDI files on the keyboard's bit of built in memory I must use their proprietary Windows only software to do the transfer. Even worse is the Nokia cell phone I have. Not only do I have to use Windows if I want to interface it with the computer, I have to buy a special USB cable that costs more than the phone! Another troublesome device is the Winmodem. Though there are ways to get a Winmodem working in Linux, just save yourself the hassle and get a real modem if you must use a modem at all. As for digital cameras, gphoto2 has had no problem communicating with the Casio ones I've tried. Every manufacturer knows their product must work with Windows. They don't feel that way about Linux.

A lot of glue is often missing in Linux. Windows is by no means perfect at this stuff either, but better than Linux. Want the GIMP to acquire a scan, or print a picture? Print PDF files from xpdf? Have Firefox run xpdf for PDF files? In Slackware at least, have to set that up yourself. Even something basic like configuring XWindows can still be tricky if you want things like the mousewheel, or tap-to-click on a laptop's touchpad, or want the monitor to turn off after a period of inactivity.

Lots of software is Windows only. When commercial software is available for both, it's usually available for Windows sooner. I don't see WINE (WINdows Emulator) in Linux as really viable. Game software of course. Lack of game software could be considered an advantage if one is trying to cut down on the distractions in a work environment. Tax software is another. Then there's things like Flash and Shockwave. There is no Shockwave for Linux, and Flash 9 for Linux is still in beta, and still performs so poorly that WINE can run the Windows version of Flash faster. For print shop stuff, I don't know which is better but I suspect Windows, and I also guess the MacIntosh is still better than both.

My brother is a user only. I tried to switch him, but he clung very tightly to Flash, MS Office, and Disney games for his children. I can't even get him to entirely abandon IE tho at least he will use Firefox most of the time. He's such an anti-corporate zealot that to see him of all people clinging to what he views as superior stuff in spite of his views drove home to me that Linux still has a way to go. OpenOffice is the obvious next piece to introduce. To him, whatever software handles best whatever his employer uses, which is doc files, is what he wants. I've tried switching other users, but always what matters most to them is will they still be able to use their favorite app? One family clung fiercely to Windows ME of all things. Their computer did what they wanted, and they weren't going to change even to Windows XP let alone Linux. I did get them to move to Firefox and Thunderbird-- and got bit by a bug in Thunderbird that only manifests in Windows ME and 9x. (Thunderbird's mail files eventually become corrupted.) I also tried to interest the grandchildren and turned their computer into a dual boot machine. They liked GAIM and the old video games in MAME, however the only times they would boot into Ubuntu Linux was when they'd screwed up Windows ME with yet another virus. Didn't matter if they used Linux for a whole week or two before I came by, they instantly went back to Windows as soon as I fixed it. Tho I checked with the grandparents before I installed the old video games, it backfired somewhat when they had a change of heart over the copyright notices. From those experiences, I decided the best approach may be to not upgrade the software on an existing computer. Introduce the new operating system ready to go on new hardware, and let them gradually migrate.

And now, where Linux is better than Windows: networking, security, stability, freedom in both senses of speech and beer, and better availability of some kinds of software, most especially development, library, and server side stuff. Older versions of Windows (as in 9x) were so lame you couldn't even change the IP address without having to reboot. Windows 2000 improved greatly on that at least but security has in some ways become worse. 2000 and XP have to be patched or firewalled before you hook them up to the Internet, or they will be infected in far less time than needed to download the patches thru Windows Update. Where the freedom is really killer is that you can just trash all those records on licenses for dozens of commercial software packages on hundreds of computers. If your organization has especially bad red tape for purchasing software, you can skip it. Bliss! No more moral qualms about whether it's ok to move a copy of Windows to newer hardware. No weeks long wait for approval. No sweating over whether the BSA is going to raid and find hundreds of violations. And, the network can be a bunch of independent peers, each with their own copies of whatever software they need. In the 80's and 90's I wonder if a lot of central server style setups were forced on organizations solely because that was the only way to license many users for some cruicial software at a reasonable cost. Real mess if that server ran Windows and caught a virus.

Windows also has an additional single point of failure that Linux doesn't: it's controlled by a single organization. While it's a little hard to say what would happen to Linux if Linus Torvalds was run over by a bus, or arrested on suspicion of murdering an ex-wife, or some such, neither Linus nor anyone else has the power to make all existing installations of Linux stop working. Unless automatic updates is turned off, MS does have that power with Windows, and has already demonstrated it with that terrible "Windows Genuine Advantage" they launched a year ago. MS blundered and might do so again with Vista. I think there's a good chance Vista will have overly restrictive DRM. They will of course spin that as better security. That MS is even working on such things shows who's #1, and it isn't their customers. Even if they can't shut some alleged pirate down via technical means, they'll probably try to have legal grounds to do so buried somewhere in the EULA. Woe unto the innocents mistaken for pirates! The commercial software world is so frightened of piracy that they are willfully reckless of everyone else's rights for the sake of their own, as Sony showed with the rootkit on the music CD, and as the RIAA further showed by arguing Sony has a right to protect themselves, and as TaxCut did by using a copy protection method that as a side effect could overwrite and destroy unrelated data on users' hard drives.

Re:Linux vs Windows (2, Insightful)

Mr. Hankey (95668) | more than 7 years ago | (#16685977)

FWIW, I've been using Linux for well over a decade and it's come quite a long way. I worked my way through the entire Slackware distribution from the ground up while I was a college student. When I started, it was a bit of a difficult task to get anything working. You needed to build your CD-ROM interface's driver (typically your sound card) into your kernel in order to use it. If you had a Sound Blaster 16 you might even get it the sound card itself to work. Recompiling/upgrading the system libraries and binaries from a.out to ELF format and migrating from the BSD to SysV init all by hand taught me a lot about the system, but it wasn't for the squeamish. Tweaking X11 was an interesting game of generating mode timings that hopefully wouldn't destroy your monitor based on minimal documentation. Browsers tended to be statically linked memory hogs due to Motif 1.2 not being open source, at a time when 8MB might have been your total RAM. Swap was often required just to get X to start. Setting up printing typically involved editing a lot of config files to set up print filters, queues, and getting your file rendered through Ghostscript. Boy has all that ever changed.

How easy it is now depends on which distro and software you use of course. Mandriva 2007 for example popped up a dialog box and configured my printer for me when I plugged it in for the first time. Ubuntu/kubuntu also tend to be good about adding and removing hardware. X11 isn't nearly the guessing game it used to be, and the hardware I own just works in a fresh OS install given one of the aforementioned distributions.

About your keyboard, have you tried Rosegarden? It's a bit of a large package, but it comes with a wonderful score editor and will happily play to and record from multiple MIDI devices. If you keep your keyboard near your computer, you might never need to use the keyboard's memory again.

As for the GIMP, it does have the ability to scan through SANE. File->Acquire->XSane:Device Dialog works in the version I'm using. You'll need SANE installed, but I've never had a problem with bringing images in through this menu item.

Xpdf is a bit of a simple application, and doesn't have much extra functionality. There are however other applications like kghostview which can do everything you're looking to do and more. Konqueror as a browser embeds it as a PDF viewer, amongst other datatypes. While the Adobe PDF plugin for Firefox doesn't seem to have been functioning properly for a while, there are alternatives.

I've listed mostly KDE apps as examples, as those are what I've tended to use, but there are typically GNOME equivalents with good functionality as well. If you want full functionality, it's best to use more modern applications. While I'll agree that Linux is not yet ready to replace Windows on everyone's systems, it's continuously improving in user friendliness and hardware support. Linux is certainly headed in the right direction. When will it be 'ready'? Who knows. What I do know is that the definition of ready varies per person. It was ready for me 12 years ago, and it's ready for a lot more people now.

Re:Linux vs Windows (1)

bzipitidoo (647217) | more than 7 years ago | (#16690001)

I've been using Linux since kernel version 1.3. The main trouble I have with GNOME and KDE is they are such resource hogs, and I like to get by with ancient hardware. If you have 64M or less RAM, Knoppix can't run KDE unless you let it create a swap file. I use Slackware with light weight window managers. Lately, I've been trying out jwm (used in Puppy Linux), and xfe for a file manager. I would like to trade out xfe for something lighter. I've had better luck with xpdf than with ggv. ggv chokes on a lot of pdf files.

I'll have a look at Rosegarden. Never heard of it before, thanks for mentioning it. I've been using pmidi to play files. And no, the keyboard cannot stay close to the computer-- computers, even quiet ones, are too noisy for that.

Skolelinux (1)

tqk (413719) | more than 7 years ago | (#16690747)

Skolelinux is up and running in 200 schools the world wide. It's a network (server plus thin client) solution, Webmin for remote, simplified config.

After a quick glance... (1)

flydpnkrtn (114575) | more than 7 years ago | (#16692143)

After a quick glance over the comments here does anyone else get the feeling "Ask Slashdot" isn't really working? I'd think that there were quite a few migration stories out there, at least from local governments trying to save money (http://www.novell.com/success/jefferson.html [novell.com]) or just Googling linux success story...

I'm not getting a warm and fuzzy about possibly starting a business based on this (an idea I was toying with)...

Migration (2, Interesting)

slo_chewie (863404) | more than 7 years ago | (#16699643)

I work for one of the companies mentioned in one of the earlier replies. I'd be willing to answer some questions you may have. In our case we have never looked back or regretted the migration to Linux. We were given a 6 month deadline to migrate and have been running smooth for nearly 6 years now without MS.

I gave a presentation on Free Software / Open Src. (2, Informative)

elvey (86546) | more than 7 years ago | (#16700165)

Whoops ; Here are the examples I meant to include in my previous post.

Venezuela[1], Brazil[2], Extremadura and other regions of Spain[3], New Zealand[6], Bulgaria & Madeconia[4], and China[5], India. Development is often a worldwide effort, much like academic research.

For example, while I have only done a little FLOSS development, I've never met any of my collaborators in person.
    Thailand Cities: Vienna, Munich, Geneva, Bergen[7]. Peru, Paris:almost.

[1] http://linuxtoday.com/news_story.php3?ltsn=2002-08 -30-011-26-NW-LL-PB [linuxtoday.com]
[2] http://www.ipsnews.net/interna.asp?idnews=26006 [ipsnews.net]
[3] http://www.linuxjournal.com/article/8485 [linuxjournal.com] - Good Read.
[4] http://www.foss.bg/news.php?id=2 [www.foss.bg]
[5] http://www.techweb.com/wire/story/TWB20031117S0015 [techweb.com]
[6]
[7] http://www.iht.com/articles/2004/10/13/t13_2.php [iht.com]
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