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Thread: Linux on the business workstation

  1. #1
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    Question Linux on the business workstation

    It seems to me that Linux lacks some of the required components to make it a considerable option for a lot of businesses.

    I will make no secret of the fact that I am Australian, and my opinions and experience is somewhat bias towards australian conditions.

    I am currently working with a company to help implement some management systems, as well as give them an online presence. The staff have often inquired about the weird OS and software on my laptop, and I have explained a bit about Linux to them. Most of them seem very interested, and after all what business doesn't want to save money on software?

    Are they using it? No..
    - The management won't use it because they think openoffice looks old and crappy and where is Outlook
    - The accountant wont use it because MYOB or Quickbooks wont run on it
    - The rest mostly complained about not having iTunes to sync and backup their iPhones

    It may be a lot to do with perception, but I can't help but feeling sympathetic to the situation of the accountant. He has used MYOB or Quickbooks for a long time as they are the most popular accounting systems in Australia. He knows them, he understands them. I might be able to find a decent Linux based accounting system, but it would take too long for him to learn to use it.. etc etc

    I am aware that it is a catch 22 situation, MYOB or Reckon won't build Linux versions unless there is enough market, yet there won't ever be enough market until applications like this can be used by these people on the Linux platform.

    I for one struggle every time I go back to using a windows computer for anything more than the occasional game and I think Linux is great. I think there needs to be some attention given to the markets that currently are not really supported (Business and Gaming).

    Apple have really given Linux a kick in the gonads with the iPhone/iPod and the fact that iTunes only runs on Mac and Windows. It really removes the viability of Linux for a lot of people who have these devices.

    I get excited to hear news of Linux Steam Clients, even if it is only strings outputs. It gives me hope that one day soon I will be able to get rid of Windows altogether and play the games I like on Linux.

    I would be just as excited to hear news of any commercial/free software being made available to Linux, especially if it makes the Linux platform more attractive to 'Business users' needs and the 'Average iPhone having users' needs.

    I would like to know peoples opinions on how Linux fits for business use and if anyone is coming across the same sorts of issues as I am.

  2. #2
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    True.

    One question though, what kind of business allows personnel to install iTunes, and sync their personal players?
    Many don't even allow own usb sticks nowadays..

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by curaga View Post
    True.

    One question though, what kind of business allows personnel to install iTunes, and sync their personal players?
    Many don't even allow own usb sticks nowadays..
    This is probably true, I probably take for granted the relative freedom I get in this regard given my role.

    It does seem however that a growing number of businesses are providing the iPhone as a company phone to their staff.

  4. #4
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    when i encounter similar scenarios with business clients, i head 'em off at the pass:
    - i explain that it's called Linux and that it's targeted at computer techs. this usually stops the conversation dead in it's tracks right there.

    i've long stopped trying to evangelize for linux on the desktop since it appears no one in the community WANTS it for the desktop. This is evidenced by the obnoxious amounts of notepad clones, development languages, and development environments and the LACK of accounting software with the feature parity of Quickbooks/Peachtree.

    aesthetic perceptions of OpenOffice by management will always be a problem, as this is an inherent problem in the personalities of management types. if it isn't shiny, it can't be any good. you can espouse the technical merits of a product til you're blue in the face, their reply will always be, "but.....it isn't shiny".

    when someone asks me how they can stop getting viruses on their windows computer(s), i tell them to get a mac. if they ask me what i use for anti-virus, i tell them i don't need to use anti-virus as i don't run windows. if they pursue it further and ask what i use, i tell them i use Linux. if they ask if they should use Linux, i tell them no because it's targeted at computer techs. i also inform them that should they so decide to take it upon themselves to try Linux i WILL NOT offer them any support at all. none. they're on their own. you might think it an elitist attitude, however i am NOT about to waste my time tieing up the business phone(because they sure as hell are not getting my cell phone number to bother me at home on MY TIME) trying to handhold them through a simple process or try and explain to them why their pirated copy of Microsoft Office won't install. better they suffer the devil they know than suffer the devil they don't know.

    all that said, at home, my family lives in a (as i like to say) Windows Free House("How does the sun get in?" "i import it from China"). the family was a bit reluctant at first, but when i explained that should they choose to continue using windows i would no longer offer support for their computer and that they would have to figure out how to solve their own virus problems. so the migration was made. they soon found out that it was not much different from windows and that they are able to do everything they were doing before, which isn't really much more than surfing the web and using yahoo mail.

    if you're smart, mate, when your clients ask about Linux, you should explain it's a system targeted at computer techs. you can reinforce this explanation by ensuring you have several CLI consoles open running superfluous processes such as tcpdump, tail -f /var/log/messages, nmap, and any other process that spews cryptic-looking info into the terminal. this usually supresses any further curiosity they may have about Linux. Honestly, if they were that interested in running Linux, they would already be doing so.

  5. #5
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    Yeah, people at ubuntu and mint are computer techs, whatever, mr. elitist. They represent bare 50% of who is using linux now. Think about it. Even janitor can run linux.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by timnwells View Post
    - The management won't use it because they think openoffice looks old and crappy and where is Outlook
    They should contact Sun and pay for alternative interface, or at least post somewhere they wish so and set money. So thing gets rolling and someone implements new inteface that can be shared from now on.
    Thunderbird and Evolution basically suck, dont they?

    Quote Originally Posted by timnwells View Post
    - The accountant wont use it because MYOB or Quickbooks wont run on it
    Similar situation in Russia, with single proprietary company, 1C, monopolising the branch to such extent, that you are bound to send reports in 1C format. That costs a LOT of money, incl. renewal, licensing etc. Either 1C or you are out of business.
    Until someone came and started free accounting project - Ananas. Ananas is NOT 1C.
    Year later 1C released linux client.
    So accountant is basically happy spending money on unneeded licenses. If so, nothing can be done.

    Quote Originally Posted by timnwells View Post
    - The rest mostly complained about not having iTunes to sync and backup their iPhones
    Cowon is MUCH better. But all top-managers are same. They copy others behaviour and think they are unique. Indeed Apple does amazing psychological zombification. You can sync with gPod, but its Apple problem of not supporting Linux. 99% of linux applications run on other operating systems. You notice which fault it is? Vote with money.

    Quote Originally Posted by timnwells View Post
    It may be a lot to do with perception, but I can't help but feeling sympathetic to the situation of the accountant. He has used MYOB or Quickbooks for a long time as they are the most popular accounting systems in Australia. He knows them, he understands them. I might be able to find a decent Linux based accounting system, but it would take too long for him to learn to use it.. etc etc
    If he is in love to such extent with proprietary app, then its either him to change habbits, or proprietary app owners to support linux. Neither case possible? Contact russian "ethersoft", they are specialist in making proprietary blobs work out of the box on linux via wine. They upsream as well. Codeweavers may also do this. Both not for free, but it will pay off in long term. But it will not free him from licensing and absence of any freedom towards this software future.

    Quote Originally Posted by timnwells View Post
    I am aware that it is a catch 22 situation, MYOB or Reckon won't build Linux versions unless there is enough market, yet there won't ever be enough market until applications like this can be used by these people on the Linux platform.
    Well, there is someone who can start it rolling, via simple poll on whichever social or professional network you, guys, are present.

    Quote Originally Posted by timnwells View Post
    Apple have really given Linux a kick in the gonads with the iPhone/iPod and the fact that iTunes only runs on Mac and Windows. It really removes the viability of Linux for a lot of people who have these devices.
    No, it shows how stupid Apple is and what it can do with things you own from them. Good case to throw our ipod out of the window and switch to device that implements USB:Storage specification, ie connectable as simple storage device.

    Quote Originally Posted by timnwells View Post
    I get excited to hear news of Linux Steam Clients, even if it is only strings outputs. It gives me hope that one day soon I will be able to get rid of Windows altogether and play the games I like on Linux.
    AMD

    Linux is capable at doing anything that Windows can, and more, and better. Its just some key people that refuse to add support for software they own to it because they either have fears or have fears for cashflow decrease.

    Windows is not an option? Then see ways how you can make Linux an option. As simple as that. On any level of complexity.

  7. #7
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    i explain that it's called Linux and that it's targeted at computer techs
    One of the least technical people in my office is the one who has the least trouble when trying to use Linux. They tried it without having any preconceived ideas, without expecting it to be Windows and have had very little issues with it.

    i've long stopped trying to evangelize for linux on the desktop since it appears no one in the community WANTS it for the desktop.
    Plenty of people want it for the desktop. They just want to be able to do all the same stuff as they could otherwise. Like accounting. It's not that people don't want it for the desktop so much as for business and for gaming, it's just not feasible yet.

    Linux on the desktop requires the support of commercial applications developers, yet they won't support it until there is more users.

    I predict that the companies like MYOB or Quickbooks who take the supposed risk to develop for Linux will see great returns from doing so. Same goes for gaming, if Valve take the risk and release a Linux Steam client and their games for Linux, it will pay off. I for one would much rather buy and play games using Linux than having to have windows to do so.


    Indeed Apple does amazing psychological zombification.
    lmao

    No, it shows how stupid Apple is
    I don't like what they have done, but for them it makes sense. The more they force people to use their software only, the more money they make. For them it's just good business. It just sucks for anyone using Linux as they don't offer iTunes for Linux.

    ------

    It's annoying that companies like MYOB and even the Australian Government say you must use this application (ie. for an individuals tax returns) but the application only runs on Windows, not even under Wine. So to do a tax return I must have the Windows OS. Personally I think thats just downright illegal, I should not have to fork out hard earned money to purchase OS software I don't want, just because the government is to lazy to get a Linux app developed. On the flip side, if I don't do a tax return, I get charged fines.

    There should be laws passed that if the government is going to force the use of software, that software has to be made available to all platforms!

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by timnwells View Post
    It just sucks for anyone using Linux as they don't offer iTunes for Linux.
    Considering that iTunes is the worst piece of crap media player/library I've ever used, I don't see that as a bad thing . There's Linux software which works fine for transferring audio files to my girlfriend's iPod.

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    Quote Originally Posted by movieman View Post
    Considering that iTunes is the worst piece of crap media player/library I've ever used, I don't see that as a bad thing . There's Linux software which works fine for transferring audio files to my girlfriend's iPod.
    I agree, I don't much like iTunes myself. You know it, I know it, most of the seasoned Linux community knows it. It's the new people that use it because that's what their iPod/iPhone told them too, that would have issues by it not being available on Linux.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by timnwells View Post
    lmao
    Quote Originally Posted by timnwells View Post
    It's the new people that use it because that's what their iPod/iPhone told them too, that would have issues by it not being available on Linux.
    So I was right with zombification?
    You use audio player that does not support all formats, it does not support all opensource formats, it does not support all operating systems, it isnt cheap and its company likes to do what suits it! Why are you buying it then?

    For white box and belongings to the clan?

    Talk about psychological manipulation!

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