A departement moving to Linux...

Doran L. Barton fozz at iodynamics.com
Fri Feb 17 14:37:38 MST 2006

Bryan Sant wrote:
> My department at work is moving to Linux (SUSE 10) on the desktop. 
> All of our laptops are being upgraded, and the new ones are coming
> with SUSE 10 installed.  I'd say that only about 10% of the engineers
> here were running Linux on their old laptop, but everyone will be
> running Linux now.

All in all, this is a major landmark accomplishment and I applaud the
company. Who is the company?

I'm curious why the company chose SUSE over other distributions. How much
control will the IT team have over what is installed on these systems and
whether or not software updates are applied?

> 1) This is the first real first-hand case of an organization adopting
> and pushing desktop Linux that I've experienced.  I am very proud that
> we are not adopting for
> religious/political/counter-culture/I'm-a-way-31337-H4X04 purposes,
> but because it is genuinely better for our needs.  I'm glad that we're
> switching for "capitalistic" reasons instead of "socialistic" reasons.

Right. It's easy to use the communistic argument for open source when you're
talking about a school or a non-profit organization, but it's more practical
to talk about cost savings, productivity improvements, and considerable 
security benefits when dealing with for-profit organizations.

> 2) I find myself about as resistant to a forced distro of Linux as I
> am to forcing the use of Windows.  I've been running the pre-installed
> SUSE 10 on my new laptop, but I don't like it that much.  I used to
> like KDE -- then I ran Ubuntu with the later releases of Gnome -- now
> I don't like KDE.  SUSE has the Novell Desktop (Gnome) but GTK/Gnome
> is an afterthought in the SUSE world.  Anyway, I'll be rebuilding my
> system with breezy soon.  All of the former Windows people seem to
> really Like SUSE/KDE though, so I'm an exception.  I know that I'm
> out-of-line here.  It makes perfect business sense to standardize on a
> single distro/vendor to reduce support costs and increase the overall
> knowledge-base with that flavor of Linux.  I support the approach... 
> But I think it's great for *everyone else*...  Just not me :-)

I'm sure the decision to do it this way is rooted in IT management - people 
who don't want to deal with managing a diversified heterogeneous network. In 
the past, whenever I've wanted to run Linux on my desktop at a company, the 
IT people have always been quick to say, "Do what you want... but don't 
expect any support from us!"

> 3) I'm one of the biggest Linux proponents here, but I still find it
> unsettling that we are FORCING the engineers here to run Linux even if
> they don't want to.  Some (a surprising minority) would rather run
> Windows because that's what they are most effective with.  Frankly I
> agree that they should have a choice.  Am I a freak for not stoning
> those who don't want to run Linux?

Again, I think it all comes back to resource management. The IT department 
probably does not want the responsibility of maintaining lots of different 
machines running different operating systems.

> All of these guys and gals moving over are engineers (read technical),
> but I was surprised at how trivial the transition was for most (and I
> work with some SERIOUS Windows-weenies).  But even the biggest
> Microsofties, were able to adapt in just about no time.

This is precisely why most Linux vendors are excited about the corporate 
desktop. For what _most_ people do, Linux works well and it's definitely 
easier to manage from an IT perspective.

Thanks for the note. It's great to know.

fozz at iodynamics.com is Doran L. Barton, president, Iodynamics LLC
Iodynamics: Linux solutions - Web development - Business connectivity
  "Dresses for street walking."
     -- Seen outside a Paris dress shop

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