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10 Years of Pushing For Linux — and Giving Up

kdawson posted more than 7 years ago | from the one-thing-after-another dept.

Linux Business 857

boyko.at.netqos writes "Jim Sampson at Network Performance Daily writes about his attempts over a decade to get Linux working in a business/enterprise environment, but each time, he says, something critical just didn't work, and eventually, he just gave up. The article caps with his attempts to use Ubuntu Edgy Eft — only to find a bug that still prevented him from doing work." Quoting: "For the next ten years, I would go off and on back to this thought: I wanted to support the Open Source community, and to use Linux, but every time, the reality was that Linux just was not ready... Over the last six years, I've tried periodically to get Linux working in the enterprise, thinking, logically, that things must have improved. But every time, something — sometimes something very basic — prevented me from doing what I needed to do in Linux."

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Linux is Inhibited by Greed (5, Insightful)

eldavojohn (898314) | more than 7 years ago | (#17845492)

Your frustrations aren't unique.

In fact, I've experienced them both at home and at work with Linux.

But I would like to point out that some of the problems you faced (like integration with MS Exchange server) are simply Microsoft not wanting to release/support/adapt to standards. I know you're not directly blaming the Linux community for your (and the seemingly global) failure in adopting it but what is putting a real big halt on it in the corporate environment is companies working against it. Maybe this will change but I highly doubt it.

The shortcomings that Linux suffers are a result of poor design. Poor design of third party devices, software & services. If all the wireless card manufacturers got together and agreed on a interoperable adapter interface to their cards, it would mean that the OS developers would just need to write one other side for ever driver of every wireless card to work. The problem is that if they opened this up, they perceive their competitors would grow stronger by seeing their research. I suppose something could be said about this hampering innovation or removing the option to continually change chipsets in the search for the cheaper/better hardware, I don't know enough about wireless cards. But one would think everyone could agree on some interface to use. This is apparently a good design practice but poor business move.

I reiterate that you are not alone in your frustration. You didn't fail to adopt Linux, Linux didn't fail to meet your needs, it was the entire community and their business practices that failed you.

Re:Linux is Inhibited by Greed (4, Interesting)

Albanach (527650) | more than 7 years ago | (#17845646)

For how long have we been hearing that the lack of Exchange connectivity is what's preventing Linux adoption on the desktop?

What really astonishes me is that open source has made such great leaps in other areas yet there's no apparent replacement for Outlook & Exchange. For a huge number of folk in business, having an open office suite is useless if they don't have calendar sharing, resource scheduling and email/contact sharing amongst groups. Is this really so difficult to achieve?

Push email has already taken off - where's the open source version mobile operators can take up (Though I presume this needs to be developed outside the US to avoid software patent litigation)?

Re:Linux is Inhibited by Greed (4, Insightful)

s20451 (410424) | more than 7 years ago | (#17845970)

What really astonishes me is that open source has made such great leaps in other areas yet there's no apparent replacement for Outlook & Exchange. For a huge number of folk in business, having an open office suite is useless if they don't have calendar sharing, resource scheduling and email/contact sharing amongst groups. Is this really so difficult to achieve?

Probably not, but perhaps open source developers are not interested in providing such a solution.

The flip side of "Linus is inhibited by greed" is that "Linux is not responsive to the needs of the marketplace". There are no dollars on the line for linux.

Re:Linux is Inhibited by Greed (5, Insightful)

Rakarra (112805) | more than 7 years ago | (#17846060)

There are no dollars on the line for linux.

Uhhh.. no, there are a lot of dollars on the line for linux. Just because many of the developers don't get paid and most of the software is available free of charge does not mean that there has not been a great deal of commercial investment in Linux/FOSS.

Re:Linux is Inhibited by Greed (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17845994)

That astonishes me too. Is it really true that there is absolutely NO Linux equivalent to Exchange?

People complain about Linux not being able to operate with Exchange. Well, perhaps we can blame Microsoft for that and say that we just have to live with it. So, why haven't we made our own version?

Isn't there anything even close? Links?

Exchange? Maybe... (3, Informative)

SanityInAnarchy (655584) | more than 7 years ago | (#17846030)

I use Thunderbird to access my email at work, and I'm assuming that's on an Exchange server. Sunbird can do calendar sharing, just not with Exchange (and I haven't tried with Evolution lately) -- plus, there are web-based solutions. So, the email itself is a known and solved problem, if we have decent IMAP support. The calendar/scheduling stuff may require a different infrastructure -- but keep in mind, this is a lot like having the open office suite (which took a LOT of work) -- Microsoft hasn't given us any specs, therefore we can't really do this. And we'd much rather do it in a better way anyway.

Also, what do you mean by "Push email" and "mobile operators"?

Re:Linux is Inhibited by Greed (5, Interesting)

Christianfreak (100697) | more than 7 years ago | (#17846122)

http://zimbra.com/ [zimbra.com]

This looks promising

Re:Linux is Inhibited by Greed (5, Insightful)

morgan_greywolf (835522) | more than 7 years ago | (#17845822)

But I would like to point out that some of the problems you faced (like integration with MS Exchange server) are simply Microsoft not wanting to release/support/adapt to standards. I know you're not directly blaming the Linux community for your (and the seemingly global) failure in adopting it but what is putting a real big halt on it in the corporate environment is companies working against it. Maybe this will change but I highly doubt it.
Actually, in this case, probably not. The difficulty seems to lie in a bug in Evolution. After reading TFA, apparently the author couldn't figure out how to make Evolution 2.8 read public folders. Well, he got it working following some instructions for Evolution 2.4, but sadly, while Evolution could display a list of public folders, the 'Subscribe' and 'Unsubscribe' buttons never appear in the dialog, probably due to a bug.

Not to berate the Evolution developers too much, but I've personally found almost every release of Evolution to be horribly unstable.I say this with sadness because I was once a true believer in Evolution. Like the author, every year or two I try Evolution yet again, but unlike the author I usually give it a chance for about 6 months to maybe a year, and always I find something horribly broken about it: random crashes, data loss/corruption, memory leaks, performance problems, stuff not working (especially the Exchange connector stuff), etc. And sometimes I send in bugzilla reports and they get ignored for months and months. I think the problem has been worse since Novell took over, too.

Re:Linux is Inhibited by Greed (4, Insightful)

twbecker (315312) | more than 7 years ago | (#17846118)

Evolution is nothing more than a steaming pile of shit. I've used it with Fedora, RHEL, and Ubuntu (Ubuntu being the most stable, but still shitty), and the app is simply the epitome of unstable, especially when used as an Exchange client. I simply don't understand how a product so prominent in the open source community that has been around for so long can still suck so bad. My company now has some server side software that allows Exchange to be accessed through IMAP, and I switched to Thunderbird with Lightning. I have yet to experience a single crash or non-trivial bug.

Nice! (0, Offtopic)

ilovegeorgebush (923173) | more than 7 years ago | (#17845498)

Judging by his picture on the article, I think he's got bigger things to worry about...(like changing photographers!)

Re:Nice! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17845666)

Yarly. He looks like he's collecting chins while taking a dump and his forehead contains his intestines.

Re:Nice! (1)

SengirV (203400) | more than 7 years ago | (#17845724)

All while in the nude.

Excuse me, there goes another vurp.

Waaaaa. (1, Flamebait)

SatanicPuppy (611928) | more than 7 years ago | (#17845502)

Oh please. Yea, no support in Linux for Exchange, wow, newsflash, I am stunned. Transitioning from Office to StarOffice is a bitch, yup, been there. Linux doesn't work just like Windows, hate to break it to people, you have to be able to adapt.

If you're serious about using Linux, and you absolutely have to have Exchange and MS Office, you need to come to terms with running those applications in a terminal services environment...Or, (for Exchange) if you're a cheapskate, just use the Exchange web interface that fricking comes with Exchange! It doesn't look as good in Firefox as it does in IE, but if you're doing it on a shoestring, that's what you get, and it is feature complete.

Expecting WINE to make Linux run MS programs identically to Windows is never goign to happen. Depending on WINE to be super stable and reliable in a deployment environment is a mistake, so don't do it. Spend a little money to get the tools to do it right, or don't try and do it at all. And if you try to do it without the tools or the skills to make them work, don't whine about it. We fricking know it's difficult to intergrate Windows apps on Linux machines...If anyone could do it, there wouldn't be Windows anymore.

Re:Waaaaa. (3, Insightful)

GoodbyeBlueSky1 (176887) | more than 7 years ago | (#17845660)

Thank you for your exciting commentary. Now how exactly does this contribute to the discussion about the difficulty of integrating Linux into a business environment?

Re:Waaaaa. (3, Interesting)

SadButTrue (848439) | more than 7 years ago | (#17845992)

This is NOT an issue of linux integrating into an BUSINESS environment. It is an issue of linux not integrating into a MICROSOFT environment. Although often the same thing, NOT the same thing.

Re:Waaaaa. (1)

SatanicPuppy (611928) | more than 7 years ago | (#17846112)

Did you read it?

Terminal Services Environment, whether you do it through Citrix or buy Microsoft's own product...If you have to have windows integration, that's how you have to do it. That is the only way to make it work given our current tools. WINE is not ready, and he's right, it's no more ready now than it's ever been.

Microsoft has too much to lose by ever opening up their standards; they will do everything in their power to make it hard for us to use those applications on anything but Windows. Hell, when Mac went to OS X, they pulled out Outlook support and replaced it with a very different program called Entourage, just because OS X is a little to close to Linux.

Hell, if people wanted to use windows apps they'd be better to work on emulating Macs...At least there is a family resemblance there.

Re:Waaaaa. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17846120)

"Now how exactly does this contribute to the discussion about the difficulty of integrating Linux into a business environment?"

I think he is saying that a business built on proprietary solutions and especially one from a vendor who doesn't want compatibility is obviously not going to be very successful. It that a surprise? Did this guy expect miracles?

The reverse would be the same. You have environment built on solutions other than Microsoft and then drop MS application into that environment naturally you will have problems too.

Re:Waaaaa. (4, Insightful)

walt-sjc (145127) | more than 7 years ago | (#17846132)

This article is not about integrating Linux into a business environment, it's about integrating with a MICROSOFT environment. Of COURSE you are going to have trouble integrating with a Microsoft environment because Microsoft has gone to extraordinary lengths to make that very very difficult (hence the reason they are in trouble with the EU.)

If you structure your IT to not be Microsoft centric, then Linux, Mac's, and Windows can all work together. If you design your entire infrastructure around Microsoft technologies, then good fracking luck.

Re:Waaaaa. (5, Insightful)

jellomizer (103300) | more than 7 years ago | (#17845664)

Well the thing you should look back and realize. The Open Source Community rather quickly got SMB support in its file systems, and that was closed like Exchange was. The only different is that OSS Developers (Many who are in colleges) realize the demand for needed to connect to windows networking. But being that most colleges don't use exchange especially for students the amount of work done to make Linux work with exchange is pathetic at best. Having people use the web interface, or a terminal service is stupid and most and requires more horse power then currently, and they get a worse experience.

Re:Waaaaa. (3, Insightful)

SatanicPuppy (611928) | more than 7 years ago | (#17845896)

Exchange is double hard; you really have to run it in a terminal environment to get the full feature set out of it. The web interface is rife with Active X...Even running it through a secure Apache proxy is a hell of a lot more complex than you would think.

My advice is always to go with Lotus, but Lotus is slow and it's a bear to customize, so even though it runs well in Linux, you've got people to soothe. Same with OpenOffice.

What it comes down to is: There is nothing wrong with Linux. We just don't have a killer office suite, or a killer server based productivity suite. End of story.

And as long as we're forced to use our biggest competitions Office and Productivity suites, we're always going to have problems.

And SMB support is HUGELY easier than having an Office/Exchange substitute.

Re:Waaaaa. (1)

morgan_greywolf (835522) | more than 7 years ago | (#17845968)

Actually, OWA on IE since Office 2003 is just absolutely wonderful. Except for the lack of drag-and-drop functionality and lack of functionality for local folders (duh,it's a Web application) OWA on IE is a pretty much a feature-complete version of Outlook (you can still do things requiring drag-and-drop in some other fashion).

And, you can run IE6 and IE7 on Linux, so why not?

Re:Waaaaa. (2, Informative)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 7 years ago | (#17846018)

The Open Source Community rather quickly got SMB support in its file systems, and that was closed like Exchange was.
No it wasn't. SMB was a published standard. Microsoft had an embrace-and-extend implementation, but reverse engineering it was a matter of working out how their version differed from the standard, not working out everything from scratch. There were a lot of differences in Microsoft's implementation (hands up anyone who's surprised), but knowing the basic message format etc. helped a lot.

Re:Waaaaa. (4, Interesting)

Lumpy (12016) | more than 7 years ago | (#17845682)

We fricking know it's difficult to intergrate Windows apps on Linux machines..

no it's not. Install a small group of citrix servers and use a linux client. works great.

your incredibly important windows apps (no do not allow office, only the vertical apps) work 100% on that linux desktop.

It's half assed linux transitions that dont take account for ways to run those applications that fail and get an article published how "they gave up"

Re:Waaaaa. (1)

pchoppin (864344) | more than 7 years ago | (#17845762)

Amen to that! That's what I have come to terms with. As long as I can live with the fact that I am willing to connect to other Windows boxes, be that via Terminal Services, Samba, whatever, I can deal with living in a Linux/Windows world. At least we have the choice with Linux. That's more than Windows offers.

Re:Waaaaa. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17845780)

I hope you realize that no Exchange and no MS Office in an enterprise environment is a BIG show stopper...

Re:Waaaaa. (4, Insightful)

PFI_Optix (936301) | more than 7 years ago | (#17845792)

I *thought* the great strength of OSS was the ability of the community of users to contribute directly to its development either by direct development or by conversing with the developers. When some says "Linux would work for me/my company IF..." the development community really needs to sit up and pay attention if they want to continue to grow their userbase and be taken seriously.

All too often the reaction to just such a statement is...well, what the parent says. "It can't/won't be done, you need to just use what we/they give you, you're doing it wrong." The response of the user raising the issue is almost always to drop Linux and return to Windows, which does what they need without the hoops of Terminal Services and incomplete WINE compatibility.

You want more people using Linux? Listen when they ask for something.

Re:Waaaaa. (2, Insightful)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 7 years ago | (#17846088)

When some says "Linux would work for me/my company IF..." the development community really needs to sit up and pay attention if they want to continue to grow their userbase and be taken seriously.
The community does sit up if people say 'I need this feature. It's worth $X to me, who wants to implement it.' They sit up if people say 'I needed this feature and I implemented it. I also need this feature.' It does not listen if people say 'I need this feature, implement it for me for free!'

The community, like any other community, helps itself. If you want help, become a member of the community. Don't sit on the edge and expect the community to do things for you without giving anything back.

Developers vs. Customers (3, Insightful)

Llywelyn (531070) | more than 7 years ago | (#17845828)

No, he doesn't have to adapt.

This is a capitalistic society--Linux variants need to adapt or die. Not the customers.

Either they have to provide the functionality needed to communicate with the software in question, or they have to provide a suitable replacement with a good migration capability. Good, consistent user interfaces is a plus.

Demanding that the *customer* adapt is just silly and a good way to make sure that linux remains marginal.

OWA is not feature complete. (1)

copponex (13876) | more than 7 years ago | (#17846148)

For one, you can't assign tasks. I'm sure there are a host of other differences as well.

I think the point of the article is that there is no serious effort within the Linux community to provide a real replacement for enterprise-level communication software. It's a chicken-and-egg problem - no one is going to beta test something like that instead of spending some money and going to work with Windows Server 2003 (or the Leopard server, if it delivers). And the people who are left to beta test are not going to know what the real customers need.

So far, Linux has succeeded as a server platform and for running custom software for companies with in-house talent. It's going to take a company with serious clout and funding to establish either Gnome or KDE as the desktop, and then build a true competitor to Microsoft Office that "just works" 99% of the time.

It is the general Linux Comunity fault. (1, Insightful)

jellomizer (103300) | more than 7 years ago | (#17845504)

I am sure there will be Hundreds of comments saying. Well if he tried this it would work, or I did it where I am and it works fine, Get rid of Microsoft Something and replace it with GNU Something then it will work better, or do you really need that feature....

But let's face the truth. Beyond running as a server of some sort where it does one thing and does it will, Linux just stinks and most of the community doesn't want to admit there is a problem and let alone fix it. There is an attitude that it is the Users aka Customers fault for any problem that occurs, and the program is perfect unless a "Skilled" hacker was able to break your application and find a security problem.

This attitude has limited Linux's growth. Let's face it, Companies actually want to migrate to Linux and get off all the problems with Microsoft but they are not going to go 10 years back in technology and loose features they come to enjoy. As well if they will have trouble communicating with other companies who don't have their infrastructure then they won't switch. IT is Information Technology, INFORMATION... is the key if they can't share Information then the Technology is useless. So if they can't run all their old apps there is a loss in information, If they cannot access a shared information location then it is loss of information, If they cannot figure out how to use the application and get the information they want then there is a loss of Information. If the Linux solution has bad or missing document (or missing Information) then it is useless.

Most companies are not willing to change everything all at once if they can't have a gradual migration then they wont go with that product set. We need more developers for Linux and Linux applications who openly say Linux Sucks, that way we can get better tools especially for business use. But right now the majority of the OSS developers are like Linux is Coolest and most noble system on earth. So how do you improve on the godly system if in your mind it is already perfect.

Re:It is the general Linux Comunity fault. (1)

Brad_sk (919670) | more than 7 years ago | (#17845632)

>But let's face the truth. Beyond running as a server of some sort where it does one thing and does it will, Linux just stinks and most of the community doesn't want to admit there is a problem and let alone fix it. There is an attitude that it is the Users aka Customers fault for any problem that occurs, and the program is perfect unless a "Skilled" hacker was able to break your application and find a security problem. Cant's say that in a better way, Right on... >We need more developers for Linux and Linux applications who openly say Linux Sucks, that way we can get better tools especially for business use. Hmmm.. I think we need more testers and more business folks who can tune (tune a lot may be) Linux to common usage. Even after fighting for entire day, I couldn't even get my 5 button Bluetooth mouse to work on Ubuntu.

Re:It is the general Linux Comunity fault. (4, Insightful)

jedidiah (1196) | more than 7 years ago | (#17845718)

Linux does NOT "just stink". This article and your comment do nothing to demonstrate that.

The entire original article could be summed up in one phrase: "imperfect Microsoft emulation". This isn't just a "Linux" issue. It's a problem for ANYONE that wants to use something else, even on Windows.

This "microsoft or nothing" mentality is what really alienated me from Windows.

I should be able to run the word processor of my choice and the email client of my choice REGARDLESS OF PLATFORM.

Re:It is the general Linux Comunity fault. (1)

jellomizer (103300) | more than 7 years ago | (#17845884)

I Agree, But I don't think it is an issue of imperfect Microsoft emulation is the problem. It is imperfect Microsoft Emulation and the developers saying It is Good enough for everyone and We don't need to fix it anymore, because only stupid MBAs use those features. Part of the problem from the article is the guy comes back every couple of years and still the situation hasn't improved. Star/OpenOffice has been has been emulating Office Documents for about a decade now. So why are my font sizes still off. Why any document that is slightly complex slightly off in open office.

Re:It is the general Linux Comunity fault. (2, Insightful)

susano_otter (123650) | more than 7 years ago | (#17845988)

I should be able to run the word processor of my choice and the email client of my choice REGARDLESS OF PLATFORM.
I think I get what you're trying to say, but the "should be" clause bothers me. It sounds like you think you have some kind of entitlement to a world where computing works exactly the way you would like it to. I get the impression you would prefer that software developers should be compelled by some higher power to make computing the way you wish it were. Like you resent Bill Gates for going out and selling an operating system that doesn't perform according to your ideals.

The reason this attitude bothers me is that three hundred years ago there was no ideal computing, and nobody was entitled to an ideal computing platform. Today there's still no ideal computing platform, and still no reason why their "should" be.

It's like they say: If you want a job done right, do it yourself. Complaining that other people have used their freedom to do their own jobs for their own reasons seems kind of silly. Meanwhile, the vast majority of people have figured out how to get value out of the less-than-ideal computing platforms currently available. Instead of complaining about fictional entitlements, they're taking advantage of available opportunities.

Re:It is the general Linux Comunity fault. (5, Informative)

SatanicPuppy (611928) | more than 7 years ago | (#17845734)

They don't want to migrate of Microsoft...Hell, that's the root of the whole problem. They want to not have to use Windows, and Microsoft has a huge amount of money riding on people not being able to use Office or Exchange in a Linux environment.

Being a veteran of many different Linux migrations, some successful, others dismal failures, it always comes down to a few applications:

Office: StarOffice/OpenOffice is not as good.

Exchange: Goddamn managers and their shared calendars.

Unsupported Widget: Every goddamn company has an Unsupported Widget written by a savant who was killed by a bolt of lightning. The Widget is always absolutely critical to their business, and ALWAYS runs on some piece of hardware that doesn't exist anywhere else in the world, and only talks to certain versions of Windows.

Every one of these things will come up, and even if you're successful in talking them into going over to OpenOffice and Lotus, and you manage to slay or replace the widget, it's going to take longer and cost more than you would have thought.

In the end, it's always about the damn tool. Use the right tool for the job. Don't try to force Linux in where you know there are going to be problems. The jackass in the article was subcontracting for DELL, the king of the Windows shops, and he thinks he's going to be able to get by on a pure Linux environment? He's a fool.

Re:It is the general Linux Comunity fault. (5, Insightful)

arkanes (521690) | more than 7 years ago | (#17845798)

It's not an "attitude". We all know that MS interoperability is key for Linux adoption in a corporate environment, because the corporate world sucks on the MS teat like a baby cow. Microsoft, and other vendors, *actively* work to prevent this interoperability. It's worth nothing that nothing, not one thing, in this article, or your sloppy rant, is about a usability problem with *Linux*.

When you've got a vendor who actively works to prevent you from interoperating with a different vendor, who is "at fault" here? Everything that you're bitching about not working was reverse engineered, from scratch, at an enormous cost in resources and ingenuity. The fact that it works at all is a massive testament to the power of the open source development model. It could be seamless. It could work much better than Windows works with itself. But there is active, continuing work done by Microsoft to prevent it.

So don't pull your snout out of the MS trough and gasp out between stuffing your face with proprietary, locked in interfaces that "Linux isn't ready". Linux is *perfectly* ready. You're the one who isn't ready, and your Microsoft owners won't let you be.

Re:It is the general Linux Comunity fault. (2, Interesting)

gsslay (807818) | more than 7 years ago | (#17845876)

There is an attitude that it is the Users aka Customers fault for any problem that occurs, and the program is perfect unless a "Skilled" hacker was able to break your application and find a security problem.


Precisely. And far too much Linux documentation is written by Linux experts for an expected audience of other Linux experts. If you don't understand a sequence of ridiculously abbreviated unix console commands, or don't know what to do when they don't work as expected, then it's your fault.


I love many aspects of Linux, and I love the way many of the applications for it have been put together by enthusiasts who really know and care what makes a good application. But I've gone through just as many aborted attempts at implementing things in Linux as this guy, only to give up in frustration because something won't work and the only help available seems to assume that you're happy and able to begin by recompiling your kernel or something. There is simply no way that Linux is ready for the average user to configure and maintain happily on their own.


The question really is, why is this the case? Linux developers are certainly no less skilled than any other OS developers, and they've had years to get this right. The only answer I can think of is that the Linux community is hampered by the fact that it is top-heavy with 'gurus'. They need more people who need things explained to them in simple terms, people who don't want to be told how to fix things in a 100 character command line string. Only then will they appreciate just how far Linux is from being a universal desktop system.

Re:It is the general Linux Comunity fault. (1)

99BottlesOfBeerInMyF (813746) | more than 7 years ago | (#17845898)

But let's face the truth. Beyond running as a server of some sort where it does one thing and does it will, Linux just stinks and most of the community doesn't want to admit there is a problem and let alone fix it.

The problems described are almost all problems with Microsoft products, not Linux. You can't get Exchange working with Linux? Really? Considering MS intentionally tries to make sure that is the case and has lost two criminal cases to that effect, this is not surprising. What is surprising is that anyone would assume you can use Linux and Exchange. Now try setting up an environment with no MS components and using Linux for all the tasks and see how it works. Gee when you don't have someone sabotaging compatibility, you don't have the same problems. What a surprise.

Now I'll be the first to admit Linux has some real problems on the desktop. I'm very vocal about taking people who deny Linux's deficiencies to task, especially when they blame users or simply don't know enough about other OS's to know what they're talking about. The thing you have to understand is Linux is not Windows and is not a drop in replacement. The development, deployment, and support is drastically different and optimized for different markets. If you want to use Linux in the enterprise, it can certainly be done, you just have to do it all the way and deploy is pervasively with real deployment and support from a reputable company. You also have to be willing to pay for these services. Linux saves money in the long term, but trying to be a cheapskate and getting a Windows guy to try to roll out a deployment is moronic.

This attitude has limited Linux's growth. Let's face it, Companies actually want to migrate to Linux and get off all the problems with Microsoft but they are not going to go 10 years back in technology and loose[sic] features they come to enjoy.

What features do you lose by moving to an all Linux environment instead of an all Windows one? No seriously, I'm curious.

So if they can't run all their old apps there is a loss in information...

Information is data. Applications are a means to access data. You don't need the same applications to access the same data, you just need a loss less transition path. Build this into a migration strategy. Keeping old application available during a migration is a great idea, but designing an architecture to run Windows apps on Linux is absurd in the long term.

We need more developers for Linux and Linux applications who openly say Linux Sucks, that way we can get better tools especially for business use.

No, we need more customers for Linux that say Linux sucks and are willing to pay to change that. No one else really know the customer's needs. The whole concept of Linux is all the players contribute what they need and the end result is cheaper for everyone.

But right now the majority of the OSS developers are like Linux is Coolest and most noble system on earth.

Right now most Linux developers are developing Linux for a server environment. They know it isn't perfect for that, but they are also constantly making it better and is is already better than most of what else is available. The people you refer to are the zealots. They are a small, vocal minority sold on the ideals of Linux, but who don't know a lot about the practical aspects. Linux makes a poor desktop system for many users, but most developers don't care because that is not their use for it.

Re:It is the general Linux Comunity fault. (1)

Llywelyn (531070) | more than 7 years ago | (#17846126)

The problems described are almost all problems with Microsoft products, not Linux.

This is the customer not caring about fault, and only caring about getting things working. At my old job I once fussed at a few coworkers for claiming that something that was a showstopper of a bug was "an eclipse issue": It doesn't matter who's fault it is, it doesn't matter why it is happening, what matters is that it is either their (or missing) in our product.

The customer evaluates the products and decides what the best one is, for them, given certain constraints. They do not care about why it doesn't work or who's fault it is that those constraints are not met.

Re:It is the general Linux Comunity fault. (1)

MindStalker (22827) | more than 7 years ago | (#17845902)

Ultimately the problem really lies in the insistence of doing things the MS way, instead of the Unix way. Many businesses are Unix only and could migrate to Linux easily. Unfortunately most admins are not trained in the "Unix" way, and few people are taught this training even in CS degrees. Sure we might know how to use Linux, but we still expect it to act like Microsoft. I'll be the first to admit I too am admining a Microsoft Server simply because I have tried using Linux as a Server and I simply don't have a real understanding of what I should be doing. So what we really need is training, not to better emulate Microsoft.

Re:It is the general Linux Comunity fault. (1)

Kjella (173770) | more than 7 years ago | (#17845930)

I think your comment can be summarized as "Why Microsoft can laugh all the way to the bank". What Linux can do on their own, it mostly does well. But when you're trying to cooperate with other formats, you have little to no chance when the other side isn't playing ball. It's surprising how well they're doing considering most of it is 100% reverse engineered. Microsoft has been making a mockery out of the anti-trust case saying they should open up standards. What can Linux do about it? Very little, except keep improving and hope that some day it'll be good enough you'll drop Windows, drop IE, drop Outlook, drop Exchange, drop MS Office, drop WMP. I think you need to pray for an Exchange replacement rather than Exchange support, it's the only solution that'll work in the long run. Everything you see of closed format support is a stop-gap measure.

Re:It is the general Linux Comunity fault. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17846002)

If companies really want to migrate to Linux, why don't they put their money and effort where their mouths are and join Linux community in doing improvements and fixing perceived shortcomings. Linux is not created in the same way as proprietary apps are, and its no use in shouting "your stuff stinks, you must provide me with this and that or i don't buy" as if you are dealing with some proprietary software vendor.

Re:It is the general Linux Comunity fault. (3, Insightful)

Bert64 (520050) | more than 7 years ago | (#17846038)

Actually, the problem this guy has is actually microsoft's fault...
He can't get linux to interoperate with exchange fully, exchange is designed this way - to sell more copies of outlook. Even the mac equivalent (entourage) doesn't connect to exchange in the same way as outlook does, and doesn't support all the same features.
Microsoft do not publish documentation on how to interoperate with exchange, people have to reverse engineer it every time there's an update, which is a very time consuming process. Also, the protocol must be very difficult to implement because microsoft haven't even bothered fully implementing it into their own products (entourage). Perhaps they don't even have full documentation for it themselves, and outlook is relying on a lot of undocumented legacy code to talk to exchange.

If this guy had been using standard methods of doing the same things, he would have had no problems using it with linux, there are standard ways to share folders, access mail and share calendars etc.

If microsoft were forced to open up their protocols and file formats, open source software would implement them pretty fast and all the problems this guy had would disappear overnight. Similarly, if he wasn't already dangerously locked in to microsoft, this problem wouldn't exist. This is why vendor lockin is dangerous, this guy is effectively being blackmailed into continuing to buy microsoft products "keep using our products everywhere or you'l need to replace EVERYTHING at once and lose access to all your data"

Wow. (0)

Reverend528 (585549) | more than 7 years ago | (#17845508)

That guy is funny looking.

Re:Wow. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17845638)

I think an alien is wearing his skin for a suit.

Re:Wow. (1)

Hoi Polloi (522990) | more than 7 years ago | (#17846080)

It is a wierd shot. For some reason they have his head turned. He looks like he just got surprised by a scary looking flasher.

Yeah, but (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17845524)

does he run Linux?

Microsuckware sweetens the deal (1)

Teresita (982888) | more than 7 years ago | (#17845602)

Buy two Vista(tm) Operating System upgrades, get one Jar Jar action figure for half-price.

Timing (3, Insightful)

ntufar (712060) | more than 7 years ago | (#17845574)

This guy was pushing Linux for a decade and decided to give up today, a just a few days after Vista announcement? Give me a break

Works for me. (2, Interesting)

B3ryllium (571199) | more than 7 years ago | (#17845588)

It works for me.

But, then again, my users aren't exactly "power users", if you know what I mean. Give 'em a locked down desktop with email, web, and desktop publishing (OOo), and they're fine.

Re:Works for me. (1)

Loco Moped (996883) | more than 7 years ago | (#17846110)

But, then again, my users aren't exactly "power users", if you know what I mean.

Which means they actually USE computers, as opposed to the 'power user' who has an over-inflated idea of his adequacy, so he spends most of his time BREAKING them.

Yup (1)

$RANDOMLUSER (804576) | more than 7 years ago | (#17845592)

I never could make VMS or BeOS play nice with MS Exchange Server or get pixel-per-pixel compatability with Powerpoint either. Clearly the fault of VMS and BeOS. Nothing to do with Microsoft's changing formats every twenty minutes to prevent compatability.

Re:Yup (5, Insightful)

AKAImBatman (238306) | more than 7 years ago | (#17845924)

Clearly the fault of VMS and BeOS. Nothing to do with Microsoft's changing formats every twenty minutes to prevent compatability.
There comes a point at which the developers should decide not to chase the coattails of Microsoft, but choose to come up with their own solution instead. Rather than trying to be compatible with Exchange/Outlook, the goal needs to be to outright replace it.

With all these tech companies supposedly "selling" Linux solutions, the time has never been better to offer an Evolution client for Linux, Windows, and Mac that works with a feature-rich server on the order of Exchange Server. Yet there has been (to my knowledge) no real effort to improve the groupware solutions beyound straight-up LDAP, SMTP, IMAP, and NNTP. Those are great technologies, but they're not particularly good at providing a cohesive groupware solution. At least, not without some sort of design for how they could be used to provide the missing functionality. (Calendaring is perhaps the least addressed of the missing features.)

If such a server were developed, Linux would have a much better chance in Corporate America. Especially if the said server could keep ahead of Microsoft rather than behind them. Witness Firefox as an example. Microsoft slacked on IE (as they're prone to do when they have an uncontested lead) and paid the price by being surpassed. Exchange hasn't changed to any appreciable degree for a long time now, so the opportunity exists. Strike while the iron is hot.

But then again, what do I know? I'm just another developer in this crazy corporate world.

Re:Yup (1)

Llywelyn (531070) | more than 7 years ago | (#17845956)

Pretend I am a customer evaluating a product.

Do I care *why* the product doesn't do what I need, or do I care that it *doesn't* do what I need?

Sort of like GIMP and Photoshop. If I need features found in Photoshop that aren't in Gimp, I won't wonder about why GIMP doesn't have those features, I will simply buy Photoshop.

Re:Yup (1)

Goaway (82658) | more than 7 years ago | (#17845982)

Good thing you pointed that out. I'm sure it will make him feel a lot better when he can't do what he wants to do.

Re:Yup (1)

jellomizer (103300) | more than 7 years ago | (#17846024)

Yes it is.
VMS Decided that they wern't going to make a Desktop System so they decided they didn't need that feature so it doesn't support it.

BeOS died before it could work on that feature.

Microsoft doesn't change its formats every twenty minutes, It may add to the formats but if you take Office 97 it still seems to connect to the exchange server and gets the data...

I love these articles... (5, Insightful)

Lumpy (12016) | more than 7 years ago | (#17845594)

They always fail to mention that Management refuses to let the project actually work by letting go of exchange servers and this uncanny belief that you HAVE TO HAVE ACTIVE DIRECTORY OR WE WILL ALL DIE! Truth is that active directory is overrated and better solutions exist for linux, Exchange is not any better than other solutions, etc....

Many companies were able to switch when they got buy in and support from management to do so. You HAVE To replace your infrastructure and backend way before you replace the fontend. Then you can slowly change what people see and touch. It's a lot of work to pry microsoft from your server rooms.

The best solution is to not let it in to begin with or not allow it to touch anything new.

Try Vista! (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17845604)

you'll come back...

Misleading, and retarded (5, Insightful)

Quixote (154172) | more than 7 years ago | (#17845624)

The summary sounds misleading. The problem was not that he couldn't get Linux working; it was that he couldn't get Linux working with Microsoft Windows ! There is a big difference between the two.

From the "article":

I purchased third-party provided connectors into Exchange, and ran Office-type applications as well. But it didn't work very well....

We had to create Word and PowerPoint documents and run Microsoft-like applications because the folks we were working with at Dell were using Microsoft....

But even when working with the administrator of our Exchange server to see if there were any problems server-side, Ximian Evolution still didn't pull up my calendar or public folders....

The individual pieces ... had gotten a lot better, of course, since 1998, but there were still pieces that lacked support for the new features and new functionality in Exchange....

But even now, ten years later, I couldn't get Evolution to work with our Exchange server.....

I hate to use such strong language, but this guy is a total retard.

How is this news, exactly? This is like me taking a fine American car to UK and complaining that the car sucks because I have to drive on the other side of the road!

Re:Misleading, and retarded (1, Insightful)

EastCoastSurfer (310758) | more than 7 years ago | (#17846026)

The problem was not that he couldn't get Linux working; it was that he couldn't get Linux working with Microsoft Windows ! There is a big difference between the two.

For him working meant interoperability with Exchange and Office documents. Most corps also define 'working' in a similar way. Don't dismiss the article simply because you disagree with his definition of working.

Re:Misleading, and retarded (1)

digitig (1056110) | more than 7 years ago | (#17846114)

His particular issues might be because he's still really locked into MS even if he's trying to run the MS stuff under Linux, but I think he's on to a real issue.

I've tried many times to get a working Linux system, but I've always found something not working, and I don't mean Microsoft software not working. I mean sound not working or USB ports not working. Yes, I can hear everybody crying out "check the hardware compatibility lists first", and they right. But like the majority of computer users I live with off-the-shelf computers and I work to a budget, so I get the hardware the manufacturer gives me, and if I ask for Linux compatability I get blank stares. The folks I know with working Linux systems are pretty much all using home-builds, and I'm a software geek not (nowadays) a hardware geek so learning to do a home build is a hurdle too far.

% how many (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17845650)

how many years have story titles like "Is linux ready for mainstream?" or "the Year linux breaks through!" or "Linux penetrating desktop market!"

hasn't happened yet and, despite popular opinion around here, it ain't gonna happen in the near future either.

linux is an inferior product for the masses, regardless of your favorite flavor.

get over it (1)

spectrokid (660550) | more than 7 years ago | (#17845656)

Well cry me a river. Big bizz wants Linux in the server room and guess what: it is kicking ass down there. I've got Mandriva for email and webbanking without using 75% of my CPU on anti virus crap an guess what: it works. But my kids want to play Shockwave games on the net, so they get their own Windows trashcan(TM) to slowly fill up with parasites. And trust me, PHB is going to complain when he gets a "serious business email" with Flash content and it doesn't play. So no, it is not ready for the desktop and it will not be until MS and Macromedia decide so.

Re:get over it (2, Insightful)

tcopeland (32225) | more than 7 years ago | (#17845770)

> So no, it is not ready for the desktop and
> it will not be until MS and Macromedia decide so.

At least there's a Flash 9 player for Linux now, so that's nice. We couldn't do an indi [getindi.com] Linux port until that happened... now I'm working away on it. Well, back to GtkWidget and all that...

Re:get over it (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17846084)

uh son macromedia has current versios of both standalone and plugin clients that work great in linux.... (many other os's for that matter too)

http://www.adobe.com/shockwave/download/alternates / [adobe.com]

please stop being a dumbass and use google before you post ._.

Trying Linux Since 1994 (0, Flamebait)

ryanw (131814) | more than 7 years ago | (#17845668)

Ever since 1994 I've been saying, "Linux isn't ready today, but it will be in about 5 years." How is it that linux always stays about 5 years behind commercial offerings such as MacOSX and Windows?

One can argue that linux is far superior to Windows or MacOSX to just about anyone and how they have their grandma using linux, but the reality is that without someone totally tech savvy sitting there behind this "grandma" and practically doing everything for her, she wouldn't be using it. I guarantee the stories about "grandma" using linux are begin with, "I put my grandma's computer together and installed linux for her and set it all up perfect for her. She uses it no problem."

Give me a story where grandma bought a computer and installed linux and has it running for a few years without any problems, then we'll talk.

Re:Trying Linux Since 1994 (2, Insightful)

mdm-adph (1030332) | more than 7 years ago | (#17845892)

eh? give me a story about a grandma buying a computer somewhere *that didn't already have Windows installed* and then installing Windows on it, tracking down all the important drivers, and setting up her internet connection, and then WE'LL talk.

Re:Trying Linux Since 1994 (1)

johnny maxwell (1050822) | more than 7 years ago | (#17846062)

Give me a story where grandma bought a computer and installed WINDOWS and has it running for a few years without any problems, then we'll talk.

Not only the installation, especially the "running for a few years without any problems"-part. In my experience there is always someone tech-savvy behind the - hmm.. - "technologically challenged".

Re:Trying Linux Since 1994 (1)

yogi (3827) | more than 7 years ago | (#17846106)

Okay, here's a story.

Being the family "IT Guy", I'm the one who has to purchase and support the families various computers. Now the first computer was for my Dad. He, an ex-corporate exec, wants a Windows computer. Why? Because he doesn't want any of this wierdo Linux stuff that I use at home. It doesn't work like Windows, and he doesn't want to learn something new. It's important to keep antivirus up to date for him too. I've just built him a new PC with XP. Norton AV etc. Time to first trojan installation : 3 days. With a fully patched XP AND fully patched AV. And behind a firewall. Guess who needs to remove all the malware....or work out why computers can't see each other on the home network ( Norton AV blockage ), or why he can't connect to a mail server when travelling ( Norton AV won't allow TLS connections to SMTP servers by default (WTF!!) )

Now my eldest aunt wanted a computer, and my Dad recommended a mac. They're easy to use... until you try to get the printer to work, and the drivers are only for MacOS 9. But it seems to work more or less okay.

Now my youngest aunt was after a computer. I built a Linux machine there. Guess what -- it works. No problems with drivers once it's up and running. No viruses. It's not that I haven't been called, but a blown PSU can't really be blamed on the OS. She's happy, and actually far more productive than my other aunt with the Mac.

Four years so far.... lets talk.

BTW : My Dad's home network sits behind one of the Netgear DG834 thingys which provides DHCP, Firewall, NAT, Wireless access point etc. He thinks it's great and tells all his friends to get one, since it's simple and bombproof. And what does it run on the inside? Yup, Linux.

Re:Trying Linux Since 1994 (1)

MrSenile (759314) | more than 7 years ago | (#17846138)

-=> Give me a story where grandma bought a computer and installed linux and has it running for a few years without any problems, then we'll talk.

How about a story where grandma bought a computer and installed windows and has it running for a few years without any problems, then we'll talk.

Oh wait, that's right, windows comes pre-installed so good dear ol' grandma doesn't have to worry about it. The pc 'just works'.

Hum. So hey, here's a thought. Get a prebuilt linux pc and give it to grandma, so that the linux version can 'just work' as well. And yes, they sell them.

There, we've talked. Have a nice day.

Whiny little bitch. (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17845690)

Stop whining about issues you little bitch.

Get involved and fix the problem, it's a collaborative effort.

And Windows is any better? (5, Insightful)

TheWoozle (984500) | more than 7 years ago | (#17845692)

I suppose that all IT departments at companies that run Windows are just sitting on their thumbs, doing nothing, then?!

There is no silver bullet. Running a Microsoft OS (or even an Apple OS) doesn't magically make everything work. There will still be things that don't work right - it'll just be different things.

Your computer is a tool. If it doesn't do what you need, then fine; get a different tool. But for many businesses, the appropriate tool *is* linux, and it does the job well. Please don't presume to be the voice of everyman.

Re:And Windows is any better? (1)

SCHecklerX (229973) | more than 7 years ago | (#17845824)

of course this would be the day that I don't have mod points to give.

Heh. This guy... (1)

kotj.mf (645325) | more than 7 years ago | (#17845694)

So he's tried for ten years to get a Linux workstation to seamlessly integrate in an MS-only shop, and he's run into problems?

Well, duh.

The problems he ran in to are well known and well documented. The article makes about as much sense as the periodic Linux fanboi who bitches about not being able to play Ogg Vorbis on his iPod. Why'd you buy it then, bozo?

Giving up with access to the source? (0)

c0d3r (156687) | more than 7 years ago | (#17845696)

The who point of Linux is that you have the source and can fix anything yourself, unless you simply aren't skilled enough to fix it. I've altered the source of drivers, compiled kernels for smaller footprints, altered scripts, updated libs and many other customizations to get linux to work. With windows, if it don't work, you're forced to spend money.

Re:Giving up with access to the source? (1)

Overzeetop (214511) | more than 7 years ago | (#17845980)

The who point of Linux is that you have the source and can fix anything yourself, unless you simply aren't skilled enough to fix it.

Congratulations. You've just excluded nearly all of the business world.

With windows, if it don't work, you're forced to spend money.

What, you/i? can't write a custom app to do what you need? No wonder you spell coder with a zero and a 3.

Besides, what happens when you spend your time altering your drivers and recompiling your kernal? Are you getting paid for that time? Business is about the bottom line, and we expect things to work. As much as MS can be a royal pita, it really does work - and it works in more ways than linux does. The mods will all hate that last statement, but if that got your hackles up, tell me which application can be installed that will do calendar and contact management which will sync with an off-the-shelf PDA-phone and a desktop that can run Quickbooks. You've got 3 users, two desktops and a laptop - all Dell w/o OSes, a $2000 total software, training and installation budget, and you either have to support the products for a year or have typical employees (i.e. - the 95% who have only used MS products) who can maintain the installation themselves for a year. Go.

It's a Microsoft issue, not a Linux problem (2, Insightful)

AtomicJake (795218) | more than 7 years ago | (#17845714)

If you RTFA, you see that his problems are a Microsoft environment at work that required seamless exchange of MS DOC formats and MS Exchange. Since MS does not open those formats, the applications under Linux are not 100% compatible with the proprietary MS environment. So he gave up.

While his decision is probably OK for his MS centric environment, it does by no means mean that Linux is somehow at fault. So, no news.

Short: His blog entry is superfluous and was for no good reason reflected at /.

It's a personal problem... (1)

Svartalf (2997) | more than 7 years ago | (#17846056)

Heh, I've been handling and doing what he's not succeeded at for the better part of 8 years now in various, largely MS-only, shops. If I weren't needing to work on both Windows and Linux drivers (mostly Windows support right at the moment- heh, my boss missed that little detail when I signed on for this contract...) I'd be doing it right now. It's not hard to do, really. In most cases, they don't even KNOW you're not using a 2000/XP machine- it's that seamless. A properly set up Exchange server can be talked with by Evolution- without ANY issues. OpenOffice handles everything but "fancy" stuff from MS Office, and it's very debatable that someone actually NEEDS to use that stuff. For the rest, the vertical apps, etc. there's WINE and CrossOver- and they work rather nicely.

wtf (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17845716)

Wait a minute... this guy is bitching about exchange and enterprise support and then goes and complains when he uses free as in beer distro like ubuntu whoses focus is not that... Dude the guy should have gotten Novell or Red Hat linux instead then someone would have helped him. Hell ubuntu isn't even that great of a Desktop distro lacking the maturity of Suse, Mandriva or Fedora... hell it doesn't even have a control panel....

Skip the blog post masquerading as an article. (5, Insightful)

bssteph (967858) | more than 7 years ago | (#17845742)

Dumb. Bordering on flamebait.

Wherever the author says "business/enterprise/IT environment", he forgets a critical proper noun: he means "Microsoft-centric business/enterprise/IT environment".

Author Gripe #1: Ancient (1998) StarOffice sucked at Word/PowerPoint files.
Author Gripe #2: In 2004, nothing played with Exchange, and "you can't function" without Exchange.
Author Gripe #3: In 2006, one version of Evolution on one distro didn't have a "subscribe" button for Exchange Server public folders.

Author Solution: Give up on Linux.

Okay... Note that none of the above have much to do with Linux. And I don't mean to be a "omg it's userspace, not the kernel" zealotroll, but really. His gripes are in two apps. The last gripe is particularly weak; I'm not knowledgeable if the problem is fixed in Evolution (or if it's even a bug), but what is potentially "there are missing buttons" does not "Linux unprepared for the enterprise environment!!!" make.

On an unrelated note (and I don't mean this as ad hominim or anything, just curious), is this site anything more than a NetQoS company blog? These kinds of posts hitting /. are getting tired. I liked it when articles were on something resembling reporting, and not random people complaining and submitters/editors going "hey, that's about Linux, and we have a couple wacky category icons with penguins..."

Can't get it to work? *yawn* (5, Insightful)

Noryungi (70322) | more than 7 years ago | (#17845766)

OK, this is just plain FUD. Here is why:
  1. The guy is working for Dell, which uses Microsoft products only (surprise, surprise).
  2. Because Dell uses Microsoft products exclusively, you run into all kind of problems and compatibility issues (surprise, surprise).


In other words: "I blame Linux, because the company I work for is too lazy, or too stubborn, or just plain too stupid to use standard-compliant software , instead of being a Microsoft-only shop". Yeah, right. Microsoft Excel and Power Point and Word run into all kind of problems when you try to use their files under Open Office. That's not a surprise, it's a Microsoft policy and it is exactly designed to lock the competition (Linux or others) out. And, guess what? It works!

A little bit like the poor South Koreans that used Windows for everything and are now stuck with a new OS (Microsoft Vista) that is incompatible with the ActiveX encryption utilities that are used by... well, 90%+ of the population.

What this article reveals (beyond the obvious FUD) is precisely that Linux is not the problem: Microsoft is the problem, as well as its closed standards and its closed filed formats . End of story.

News Flash (4, Insightful)

analog_line (465182) | more than 7 years ago | (#17845772)

Open source operating system has problems inter-operating with closed, constantly changing, standards-free, and hostile proprietary system.

Alert the blogosphere!

I mean, I feel for the guy trying to get Linux to work in a Microsoft-only environment, but this isn't exactly surprising, at all. Hell, Microsoft has problems getting their own software (Entourage in Office Mac) working with Exchange. The answer is to never use Exchange in the first place. If you're already locked into Exchange and its feature set as a driving force within your business, you're going to have to suck up and deal, or go through the pain of a switchover to something that's reasonably open. I've got the same problem with a client which is a marketing department of a large Netware based company, and the marketing people all use Macs exclusively, and the Novell Mac client is too buggy to use, forcing them to install VirtualPC on their machines so they can to basic e-mail and scheduling stuff. Costly, you bet, especially in my time because of how buggy it all is, and the idiotic design flaws of their network, but they can't just switch over because they're locked in to Netware after years of use, and they're paying for that shortsighted decision. However, it's still cheaper than dealing with the upheaval of switching from Netware to something reasonable.

He could have told MSFT to get off it's ass... (1, Insightful)

mikelieman (35628) | more than 7 years ago | (#17845794)

and release a version of Office/Outlook which runs on a linux box in a lot fewer words.

After all, freaking High School kids can release code packaged for Linux. Should we really believe MSFT doesn't have the chops to get the job done?

Square Peg - Round Hole (2, Insightful)

mugnyte (203225) | more than 7 years ago | (#17845796)


  Trying to chase MS through their Office releases, remaining completely compatable to a proprietary format is a fool's errand. This guy should have realized this way beforehand.

  Linux, or any heterogeneous OS environment, works well when the data travels on an open protocol, not some convoluted, broken document format. MS does great work with their products, don't get me wrong, and I have a lot of respect for the Office suite. However, If they don't want people to use it without Windows, then don't chase it. It's just easier to work the psychology of the workers and convince them to use a different standard.

  Any what's with that photo?! Did someone just mash his face backwards to fit in the frame?

Good reasons to gave up on MS OSs actually... (2, Interesting)

alexhs (877055) | more than 7 years ago | (#17845806)

It's quite funny because he only shows how Microsoft products aren't ready for the business...

Face it, you can use a mixed environment, like Mac OS with Linux with FreeBSD with HP-UX with Solaris with... except MS-Windows than is unable (well, unwilling) to interoperate.

BTW, the concern with word documents is quite cheap. I never send .doc for anything else internal documentation where everyone has the same MS Office version, but use .rtf instead. .doc isn't even interoperable between MS platforms (which Office version has the other guy ?)

OSs in General are Annoying (4, Insightful)

rueger (210566) | more than 7 years ago | (#17845808)

Over the last year I've been moving between Windows, OS X on a Powerbook, and a relatively recent SUSE install on a PC.

The truth is that each of them has shortcomings. The good news I guess is that most of these are irritating, not fatal.

Windows IMHO is not a long term option because of the creeping DRM and the obsessive control of the computing environment that MS seems to want. Frankly I have this horrible feeling that Vista will open a can of worms that will never end.

OS X just has too many irritating or dumb features, or lack thereof, that drive me around the bend. [community-media.com] I'm not talking about things that are different from Windows, I'm talking about boneheaded design and UI mistakes that no-one in Mac land seems to be willing to admit are a problem.

Linux, well at this point for me it works 90% out of the box, much better than a few years ago, but that last 10% can be a nightmare. As always with Linux, if it works it's lovely, but if it doesn't you're off into that hell of MAN pages and web forums, filled with half answers, slightly incorrect assumptions, and Linux arrogance.

I'm weary of tinkering with computers. I just want to turn it on and have it do what I want easily and without irritation. And I want to be able to TURN OFF "features" that annoy me.

No OS does that yet.

Linux users moving to OS X (2, Insightful)

Frobozz0 (247160) | more than 7 years ago | (#17845818)

This article clearly points out what so many people have had trouble with-- for years now. A lot of people do not want to embrace the monopoly of Microsoft. Yet with Linux you can't really get your work done without a lot of knowledge and sweat. It's ain't easy. And to make things worse, Linux distro's customize their GUI's to look and behave like their major competitor-- Windows! I find this amusing and ironic.

I look to my own empirical evidence: Of 7 software engineers (people traditionally unlikely to consider an alternative OS for development), 5 have purchased a MacBook Pro. Of my close social group of friends, only 2 out of 10+ have a Mac.

People who want something simple buy a mac. Now, people that also want to install multiple OS's (Linux, Windows, OS X) also buy a Mac.

Two way street. (3, Insightful)

fahrbot-bot (874524) | more than 7 years ago | (#17845834)

I honestly don't mean this as a troll, but...

The Open Source community can develop BSD and/or Linux and associated applications until the cows come home to roost, but Microsoft and their products will never go away. There will always be people using Windows, Office, and whatever. Try as one might, true interoperability will be difficult until Microsoft cares to participate in the effort.

At present, Microsoft is part of the problem, not the solution. They don't care if Open Source software succeeds and have no desire to help.

That is why I get paid the big bucks (3, Insightful)

codepunk (167897) | more than 7 years ago | (#17845846)

I can admin, program and integrate both platforms and exploit the advantages of both.

"Those who are limited to a single platform or language will always be limited"

Wrong approach? (3, Insightful)

Toreo asesino (951231) | more than 7 years ago | (#17845912)

Personally I've found with corporate networks especially that it's never good to be all of one thing in particular. Linux is best (in my opinion) at performing discrete tasks incredibly well - for example, storage (using lvm in particular), web (Apache), Internet caching & proxying, but as for operating top-to-bottom tasks such as managing numerous workstation and user policies, I'm afraid Windows wins it - the instant integration built-in to Windows is incredible.
I can plug in any Windows 2000 and upward PC into the network I manage, and within minutes, it'll be fully patched, have all the software we need installed, and be fully locked-down & generally configured (company screen-saver, explorer bar and such things) - all without actually touching it.

But I digress, my point really is that there are few cases where a network is running well without a mix of technology. Running one without the other is a bad idea if you ask me.

I wonder how his car runs... (5, Interesting)

backtick (2376) | more than 7 years ago | (#17845922)

I wonder how his car runs, since obviously his whole family buys nothing but Fords and he insists on putting Dodge parts in there. I bet Dodge has gotten real tired of hearing him kvetch about how their perfectly functional air filter for a Dodge Magnum won't go into his Ford Focus without using duct tape, or how when he tried to put the seats from a Caravan into an Astro, it didn't quite fit right, or how even that someone had posted instructions on how install a Dodge factory Radio into his Ford, but when he does, the retractable antenna doesn't work. I mean, pretty soon he'll prolly give up on Dodge parts for his Ford vehicles altogether!!!

Yup. The obvious inference is that Dodge makes the worst cars in the world, since their parts won't fit into a Ford...

Pretty poor statements, IMO (1)

ErGalvao (843384) | more than 7 years ago | (#17845944)

[...] We had to create Word and PowerPoint documents and run Microsoft-like applications because the folks we were working with at Dell were using Microsoft.[...]
This is not something that you can blame Linux for. Linux doesn't have to be compatible with MS applications, although it's obviously an interesting thing, and yet it does a pretty good job.

Yes, it has several compatibility problems, but to write an article with such heavy statements is quite absurd.

To this guy the business world is "MS world". This is the mistake, not using this or that or trying this or that. If everyone starts thinking like this Linux will become just a pathetic "Windows wannabe".

I'd love to see what would happen if everyone was using Linux and he tried to "be part of the shiny big business world blah blah blah" with a Windows 3.11 for Workgroups in his laptop.

Conclusion? This is just Yet Another Poor Article Depicting Linux.

And No Mass Market (1)

tid242 (540756) | more than 7 years ago | (#17845976)

Linux has also failed, over the past decade, to make a GUI that the average* person can actually use. I have been most disappointed.

* Average =! anyone who is reading this on slashdot.

-tid242

Linux == kernel (2, Insightful)

tomstdenis (446163) | more than 7 years ago | (#17845986)

I don't get blanket statements like this. As if there isn't buggy software for MacOS or Windows.

But i daily use Gnome, OpenOffice, tetex, gcc, etc. I can't imagine sitting here to use Windows, Office, ... um office and MSVC as being "more" productive. But the point is Linux == Kernel, it's not the distro or desktop. Maybe this guy hates KDE, but that doesn't preclude Gnome or icewm or wm from being suitable, maybe he hates OpenOffice where Abiword would be a better fit...

Go buy Vista than you hater!

It doesn't matter WHAT Linux does (1)

Loco Moped (996883) | more than 7 years ago | (#17846006)

The lack of a Windows sticker on the box is the only incompatibility it takes to get the pointy-haired-boss to turn thumbs down on any plan.

That's just the facts. Nothing you can do about it.

Wrong focus (1)

Scarblac (122480) | more than 7 years ago | (#17846012)

This whole discussion is wrong. Instead of talking how badly Linux integrates with a single non-Linux application called Exchange, we should be discussing the scandal that a corporate giant like Microsoft still can't make their mail/calendar server function in a hybrid environment. That would be rather easier to fix, for instance by releasing specs.

Blaming the wrong person... (1)

plazman30 (531348) | more than 7 years ago | (#17846066)

You are blaming the wrong people for Linux's problem. You tried to use StarOffice/OpenOffice to read MS Office files and you converted back and forth. Even back then you should have known that OpenOffice was available for Windows, and, had your Windows users started using it, then you would have had no issues.

Same deal with Exchange. It's a proprietary server written by Microsoft that is designed to work with Outlook. If you wanted access to public folders, have the Exchange admin turn on NNTP access to public folders and get to them that way.

What is comes down to in the end is not that Linux is not Enterprise friendly. It's that your corporate environment is not Linux friendly.

You would have had the same issues getting a Macintosh working in that environment.

It All Depends on What You Do (3, Interesting)

eno2001 (527078) | more than 7 years ago | (#17846092)

I haven't used Windows here at work since 2001. Linux does everything I need on the desktop (I work as a manager in an environment that supports a wide variety of hardware and platforms and I touch everything. Windows, HP-UX, Solaris, OpenVMS, IIS, Apache, MS SQL, MySQL, Cisco, you name it, I do admin on it). If I need to access Windows stuff, I use RDP to do all my admin work from our Windows servers. I avoid all software that must run locally as this tend to indicate poor design. If it's not centralized, I don't need it.


Now, I understand that not all IT people have the power and control that I have and they are saddled with what their company offers them. But that's no reflection on Linux. If there is an application that you MUST have on your desktop to get work done and it only runs on Windows, then by all means use Windows. But again, don't blame Linux for restrictions that come from your software vendor or market segment. Hell, if there were a professional job that required you to play the latest and greatest PC games, you'd be an idiot to say "I'd use Linux here at work if it didn't suck so much". You can't fault companies who don't develop for Linux because they are concerned about their bottom line. But you also can't fault Linux because those companies chose their financial destiny vs. a potential darkhorse.


From TFA: I purchased third-party provided connectors into Exchange, and ran Office-type applications as well.

I would say that's his first mistake. I suspect he's talking about Ximian Gnome's Evolution and OpenOffice.org. Evolution is a nice application, but it's not the best way to go if you live in an Exchange shop. You'd be better off using RDP or Citrix to publish the app from a server and having a thin client app on your Linux desktop. Or, you could at the very least access Outlook Web Agent using IE in Wine, a virtual machine or again via RDP or Citrix. OpenOffice.org? Hard for me to say as I have little use for Office software. When I use OpenOffice.org 2.0, it "just works" for me in terms of opening documents. I don't really have much need to edit them, so I don't know of the woes of conversion. But... again, I'd suggest, CrossOver Office, virtualization of a Windows machine or RDP/Citrix. These work for me as the need arises.


One thing I question in all of this is why people seem so averse to virtualization? It's the perfect solution especially with the new hardware assistance in new CPUs (AMD's Pacifica and Intel's Vanderpool). I used virtualization since VMWare came out in 97/98, moved to QEMU circa 2004 and then Xen in 2005. Outside of gaming, virtualization is perfect. It allows you access to all applications you would need for most businesses. If you are truly in an enterprise situation then it's likely that you have VLK for Windows XP anyway... so installing Windows in a VM shouldn't be a licensing issue either. And in terms of performance, with hardware assistance and Xen, you can get close to 99% of the bare metal speed. Not to mention that unlike older virtualization technologies, your virtualized OS IS running on the metal for the most part. It's NOT running within another OS at all. Reread that last line so it sinks in. I repeat, with virtualization software like Xen and hardware assisted virtualization, your "guest" OS is running NEXT TO and NOT on top of the managing OS instance.

Since the performance is there, and true enterprises use VLK for Windows desktop, why not use virtualization for that small handful of apps you really need? Or remote desktop/Citrix? Unless you're trying to run some really niche market visualization software that requires 3D acceleration, or you're in multimedia content production, Linux has been ready for the desktop for close to a decade.

He's confused (2, Insightful)

monkeySauce (562927) | more than 7 years ago | (#17846108)

This guy isn't looking for Linux, he's in search of a free microsoft windows clone (and office suite). Sorry dude, that's not what Linux is.

So what magical perfect OS _does_ he use? (1)

Ant P. (974313) | more than 7 years ago | (#17846140)

Half his gripe with Linux is interoperability issues. He's obviously never used Windows, I see...
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