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Is Linux a realistic OS for Business?

Discussion in 'Tech Talk' started by StoneGiant, Aug 14, 2005.

  1. StoneGiant

    StoneGiant

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    May 31, 2003
    Derry, NH
    I consider myself reasonably savy with regard to Unix... though I haven't used it in 10 years.

    Here's my question:

    Given that I consult at Fortune 500 companies, how realistic is it for me to switch from being a Microsoft slut to being a Linux user? Most of the people I work with use Outlook, MS-Word, MS-PowerPoint, MS Project, and Visio.

    My primary concern is editing and routing documents shared by a project team.

    Thanks!
     
  2. David_G17

    David_G17 /\/\/\/\/\/\/\/

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    Oct 7, 2002
    yes, it can be done. no, the end-users won't be happy.

    most people don't like change. especially if it means learning new stuff.
     


  3. StoneGiant

    StoneGiant

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    May 31, 2003
    Derry, NH
    My assumption is that everyone else will remain MS-sluts... and that I'll be the one responsible for translating to-and-from Word, MS-Project, etc.

    Can it be done? Or will graphics, URL's, and formatting be lost in translation?
     
  4. For email, web browsing, and office word processing sans VISIO, should be ok. I haven't had a M$ machine since 2001. Been Linux since then.
     
  5. StoneGiant

    StoneGiant

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    May 31, 2003
    Derry, NH
    Dan,

    It's not just my personal use ... can you communicate effectively with all the others who ARE using the Microsoft suite of tools? That means not just reading their docs, but also editing them and sending 'em back in a Microsoft-readable format.

    -SG
     
  6. StoneGiant

    StoneGiant

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    May 31, 2003
    Derry, NH
    Looks like the current state of affairs supports native installation of Office 2000, but codeweavers doesn't support Office 2003. Not necessarily a show stopper.

    Also, Linspire looks sorta cool. Any experience with it?
     
  7. I've heard of Office XP working.I haven't tried that.I have Office 2000,Internet Explorer 6 and Windows Media Player 9 working.On my slower PC I am using Office 97.I don't know how Office XP and Office 2003 differ.
     
  8. I tried an older version of Linspire and my CD image was corrupt and I never got it working.
     
  9. domzilla9

    domzilla9 Phone Flinger

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    Mar 13, 2003
    There's always VMWare - Apps that aren't graphic or network intensive should be ok.

    Linux is great for the back office (if you have the right staff) and certainly easier on the licensing budget, but I leave winders on the front office, and just run good anti virus on all workstations and on the mail and fileservers and block everything that isn't absolutely necessary at the firewall.
     
  10. lomfs24

    lomfs24

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    Apr 19, 2003
    Montana
    I don't know how much space you have on your hard drive but here's an option that works well for me. I split the hard drive 3 ways. One NTFS partition for Winders, one partion for Linux, and one FAT32 partition that both Linux and Windows can share for storage. Make your computer dual boot to Winders or Linux. Store all project documents to the FAT32 partition and if you encounter something that just doesn't work well in Linux reboot into XP.
     
  11. StoneGiant

    StoneGiant

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    May 31, 2003
    Derry, NH
    Understood. But in doing so, what is your advantage? Stability? Less susceptable to viruses?

    You've lost any advantage of "price" by still requiring Windows.
     
  12. prism

    prism more ammo

    1,419
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    Sep 26, 2002
    Indiana
    are you just making things harder on yourself and your business? if your work involves MS, and your team uses MS, just use MS.
     
  13. HerrGlock

    HerrGlock Scouts Out CLM

    23,791
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    Dec 28, 2000
    I use *NIX, Linux, Solaris, as darn near sole OSs. The lord high muckety-mucks tend to use WIN based OSs and I've got no real problem reading, updating and responding to stuff.

    Of course, I also have most of them realizing that you do NOT have to use Word to send a two line email and that helps.

    DanH
     
  14. StoneGiant

    StoneGiant

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    May 31, 2003
    Derry, NH
    As an outside (aka, "independent") consultant, I have no say over what my customers use.

    The question is related to how I configure my laptops and desktops, i.e., "Is it a cost-effective choice to deploy Linux for myself and my sub-contractors, or should we all remain Microsoft Sluts because that's the path of least resistance?"

    The bottom line: “Can I interoperate effectively in a Microsoft environment by using Linux OS and Linus office tools?”
     
  15. StoneGiant

    StoneGiant

    561
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    May 31, 2003
    Derry, NH
    What Linus apps do you use that allow you to edit / update the following Microsoft files?

    • 1) Word

      2) Excel

      3) PowerPoint

      4) Project

      5) Visio

    Thanks!

    Oh, and "thanks" to all who are attempting to clear this up for me!

    -SG
     
  16. HerrGlock

    HerrGlock Scouts Out CLM

    23,791
    182
    Dec 28, 2000
    Abiword, kword. Each can do some to all documents. Usually only have a problem with MS has put out a new "update" that only seems to break compatibility.

    OpenOffice Writer (thank God they got rid of that desktop thing and went to seperate applications)


    Gnumeric - primary
    OpenOffice Math

    OpenOffice Impress

    Nothing. But shift to a web based project manager and you won't have to worry about it.

    Have them save as .jpg and gimp handles them just fine.

    kivio works and does the same thing but I've not even thought about trying to get a visio thingie into it. I'll have to try.
     
  17. David_G17

    David_G17 /\/\/\/\/\/\/\/

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    Oct 7, 2002
    as long as they don't use VBscript in stuff like excel, open office is probably the best replacement ;)
     
  18. k2ue

    k2ue Member

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    Sep 27, 2004
    Victor, NY
    You can sorta have it both ways by using fast XP workstations with minimal storage and a gonzo linux samba server to provide fast storage. 1000BT is not out our sight these days to get the full server BW at the workstation. You can backup with linux tools on the server, or XP tools on a PC. And MS Office is happy as a clam.
     
  19. Dedpoet

    Dedpoet

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    Jul 21, 2005
    Detroit Area
    (Sorry, this got a bit long...)

    I am an IT manager repsonsible for 3 locations of a 19 location global company that is considering switching entirely to Linux on the desktop. We've already migrated several servers (file and print mostly) and it has been a mostly transparent switch to the end users. In my opinion though, the desktop just isn't ready yet.

    We have a "pilot" location in Europe that has switched and so far it's a nightmare. The destops themselves are very stable, and once you get the users to understand there are no drive letters anymore, they actually do pretty well. Web apps, office apps, file, and print are all excellent. The IT staff loves the ability to easily manage any workstation from any other workstation without any special software. Sounds great so far, right?

    The 2 major problems are outside compatibility and application replacement. OpenOffice does a fantastic job of reading and writing most MS Office docs. However, almost every supplier and customer we deal with uses Windows and MS Office. Your customer wants an Excel doc? Does your user know how to convert it? Where do they save the converted doc? What if that doc changes? Which one do you correct? Oops, now you have an uncontrolled document lying around...somewhere. Which format is the latest? Which is the master? Another customer sends you a Microsoft Project timeline and wants you to update it. Sorry, we use Mr. Project - the free replacement! Well, we do have one computer in the company that still has MS Project on it. Let me go over there, change the file, send it back to you, and save it as a PDF so I have a copy...

    So far, we have found applications that can replace most of what we use on a day-to-day basis that is free or very cheap. There are still some biggies though. Our ERP software, the software which basically runs the company, does not have an OS independant or a Linux version of their client available or even in development. That's huge. You don't just up and change your ERP system. MS Project is the other big one, as mentioned above.

    I love Linux, and believe it has its place in business, but I'm not sure that place is on the desktop just yet.