Linux

10 reasons Ubuntu 9.10 will be a game changer for business

The latest release of Ubuntu is just around the corner - and Jack Wallen believes it's going to make a big splash in the enterprise space.

The latest release of Ubuntu is just around the corner - and Jack Wallen believes it's going to make a big splash in the enterprise space.


October 29, 2009. Mark your calendars, people, because that is the day the Linux landscape will shift, and the bar will be raised. Why do I say this? Ubuntu Karmic Koala is released that day and, even without reading between any lines, you can easily see where Canonical is taking its flagship operating system: Business and enterprise.

When 9.04 shipped, it became clear that Ubuntu had done what all other Linux operating systems have failed to do -- truly become an operating system anyone can use. Yes, there are plenty of good, solid, easy-to-use Linux distributions, but none of them has reached such a level of both simplicity and appeal.

Now, with the release of 9.10, Ubuntu will one-up itself by taking its already user-friendly Linux distribution and making a concerted effort to gain ground with the business/enterprise crowd. And from what I have seen, it just might work. Here are 10 reasons why Ubuntu 9.10 should make businesses happy.

Note: This article is also available as a PDF download.

1: Software Center

This is the big one. Ubuntu is migrating away from the old Add/Remove Software tool in favor of the Software Center. This tool will be just as user-friendly as the old tool, but it will have one feature the old tool didn't have -- commercial software. That's correct. Ubuntu is finally going to include commercial software in its software installation tool. So now users will be able to install not only the usual open source tools, but they'll also be able to find plenty of commercial software that can be installed with a few simple clicks (and a purchase here and there). This will be good news for the business users who need more than the open source community has to offer.

2: Ubuntu One

If you've ever used DropBox, you know how helpful having a file/folder synchronization tool can be. Ubuntu One is just as easy to use as DropBox, it does instant, automatic synchronization, and it offers two plans (one free with two gigs of space and one paid with 50 gigs of space). You can also add as many machines as you like to your Ubuntu One account.

3: Ubuntu Enterprise Cloud Images

With 9.10, businesses will be able to download and use images on the Ubuntu Enterprise Cloud. You can also try out the latest 9.10 server image instantly (on EC2 with a preconfigured AMI) or even download an image and put it directly into your Ubuntu Enterprise Cloud.

4: Quickly

A new framework called Quickly will enable developers to accelerate their development process. Quickly provides a command-line framework for generating code projects, storing changes in version control, building packages, and releasing software. To do this, Quickly uses templates that allow specialized behaviors to be defined for different types of  projects. The Quickly templates define such behaviors as edit, save, dialog, glade, and package. You can think of Quickly as a Rails-like tool for Ubuntu application development.

5: Better Intel graphics support

The new kernel that will ship with 9.10 will have the kernel mode enabled for Intel graphics. Add to that the driver switch from the troubled EXA to the newer UXA acceleration method, and anyone with Intel graphics (and that's a lot of users) will see better performance and quicker resumes from suspend.

6: Faster, stronger AppArmor

Ubuntu 9.10 will ship with more profiles for AppArmor and an improved parser that uses cache files, which will speed up initialization upon boot. Although AppArmor is not a tool for the new Linux user, it lets you set up machines that are even more secure than before. You can even use Firefox with an AppArmor profile. Also included with 9.10 will be the ability to transition a process to an AppArmor profile or run without a profile.

7: Blocking module loading

This feature will allow the blocking of unloaded modules once the machine has booted. The primary focus of this feature is to prevent kernel root kits from being installed. This is handled by one-way sysctl flag /proc/sys/kernel/modules_disabled.

8: Boot time

The elusive 10-second boot time is drawing ever nearer. With the help of many improvements, Ubuntu 9.10 shortens the already short boot time offered by 9.04. It hasn't reached 10 seconds yet, but it's close. This will make many business users happy because boot time is not productive.

9: HAL deprecation

Some subsystems are being moved away from HAL. Most important (to business users at least) will be suspend/hibernate. Many know that suspend/hibernate has been a big issue for Linux. By moving these systems from HAL to DeviceKit-Power, DeviceKit-Devices, and udev, these systems will be much more reliable. This should mean that suspend and hibernate will work exactly as expected.

10: Telepathy

Telepathy is new to Linux and will serve as a pluggable framework for real-time communication via chat, voice/video over IP, and logging. Even more exciting, the framework will be available to many programs. Telepathy will be able to share connections between multiple clients (such as messaging, email, and collaboration tools). As of now, the stable components of Telepathy are Gabble (Jabber/XMPP connection manager), Salut (link-local XMPP connection manager), Idle (IRC connection manager), and Telepathy-SofiaSIP (SIP connection manager). Many other tools are under development. The primary benefit of Telepathy is that it will provide a standard interface that will simplify third-party development for applications that need to communicate with voice/IM functions.

A bright future

If you're like me, you're excited with the possibilities that Ubuntu 9.10 offers on all levels -- personal and enterprise. The Ubuntu experience just keeps getting better and the 9.10 release goes a long way to prove that.


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About

Jack Wallen is an award-winning writer for TechRepublic and Linux.com. He’s an avid promoter of open source and the voice of The Android Expert. For more news about Jack Wallen, visit his website getjackd.net.

112 comments
The 'G-Man.'
The 'G-Man.'

Say I wanted to install this across 1000's of PC's and still have it play nice with all the other systems out there using AD, ED and so on?

rkuhn040172
rkuhn040172

And once again, deeply disappointed with it. 1) On first boot I am limited to a maximum screen resolution of 800X600. 2) The VirtualBox install screwed up my mouse. All left clicks opened in a new window instead of the current window and the Shift button was stuck on. A reboot of my PC fixed #2 but I'm still working on #1. Linux world...if you can't get better than 800X600 screen resolution without tinkering with it, how the hell do you think you're a Windows replacement? BTW, my PC is very "normal". HP AMD64 3800+ processor, 2 GB of RAM, Radeon 1300 video card. Nothing special, nothing super generic...typical business machine.

bookkeeper
bookkeeper

I think it's to each is own you can take what's out there and settle for it and complain or think outside the box an keep and eye out for new and better or at least different things. There is always adjustment time for different OS,s and Office Applications but it's at a minimum. And as far as security no OS will every be fool proof. I say give a try and have some fun. Signed Just an opinion

Oz_Media
Oz_Media

A while back a similar topic had me intereste din Linux adoption in teh entreprise. So at the last Vancouver Board of Trade meeting, I picked a few brains over lunch. It turns out that not ONE single company, big or small had even been considerign Linux or alny version of it for the desktop. CO's just said it was somethign teh IT guys are all excited about but they had no intent of letting them implement it for the whole office. Of course that's just a handful of guys around a lunch table, but they are very savvy business owners that run some pretty big corporations as well as a few with smaller companies (less than 100 employees). But from chats with people at trade shows, security board meetings, the VBT etc. It seems nobody is even raising an eyebrow or LOOKING for anything else now, except they recognize the IT departments seem to be getting all hot over new systems, which doesn't interest the business owners at all. 'They just sit in that computer room and get off on gadgets, while I run the business' seemed to be the general concensus.

Doug Vitale
Doug Vitale

I have followed the "OS Wars" in the form debates on various tech sites, and it's funny how both sides keep making the same points over and over. Linux is a better OS than Windows when you compare both products on their own intrinsic OS qualities. Linux is faster, more stabile, more secure, and utilizes system resources better than Windows. However, the problem for Linux is that it is virtually non-existent as a preinstalled OS in the desktop and laptop market. This phenomenon hurts Linux usage in two ways. First, because Windows comes preinstalled on nearly every PC and laptop sold, the familiarity that it engenders among techies carries over into the server room environment, as these guys are used to using Windows 2000 Pro/XP and therefore feel comfortable using Windows 2000/2003/2008 Server. Second, hardware manufacturers have little incentive to write Linux drivers for their devices because Windows has such a dominant market share. This same principle applies to PC video games and their designers. In order for Linux/Ubuntu to succeed as an "OS for the masses", the big OEMs like Dell, HP, Sony, etc. MUST start offering computers with Linux preinstalled, and they have to do so in a serious, prominent fashion (Dell's line of Ubuntu products does not meet this standard).

cbader
cbader

have you said this, and how many times has it actually come to fruition. Linux will never make it to the Enterprise desktop.

LarryD4
LarryD4

When the announcement came that the MAC OS was going nix based, every Unix/Linux junky came out of the wood work claiming. This was going to turn the IT Business world on its ear. So far I still don't see anyone jumping to go Mac. Ubuntu is a nice product, but I don't think its in any way a windows killer, business or commercial. Why is it Dell stopped offering Ununtu on nothing but mini laptop thingies? Does any major manufacterer have a major marketing campaign for Ubuntu? Don't believe the hype! Its a sequel!

Don Michaels
Don Michaels

I have been using Hardy Heron 8.04 on a Dell T300 for a while. It's been great, but I will soon be moving back to MS Win Server because of two things. Ubuntu does not have an acceptable way to monitor my PERC 6 RAID card and Acronis backup is nearly impossible to install (I couldn't get it to install even after numerous support calls to Acronis). To me, these are 'Enterprise' necessities and unless I missed something, 9.10 does not address these areas.

CharlieSpencer
CharlieSpencer

When Windows introduces features other Linux already has, Micrsoft gets berated. http://blogs.techrepublic.com.com/opensource/?p=1009&tag=content;leftCol When Ubuntu includes features already present in MS shops, it's touted as 'getting ready for the enterprise'. Commercial software, file and folder sync, image servers, Intel graphics support, power management - these have been available for Windows environments for years. If Ubuntu can get excited over features that already exist in the Microsoft world, why can't MS market the introduction of features that pre-existed elsewhere?

CharlieSpencer
CharlieSpencer

Are the mouse and resolution problems inherent in Ubuntu or are they due to the virtualization? Have you tried installing directly on the iron?

Slayer_
Slayer_

We are actually respected as we DO generate the money and run the business. The reversal is so liberating.

LedLincoln
LedLincoln

For the record, I just checked the Dell website, and they offer the Mini, an Inspiron desktop, an Inspiron laptop, and a Studio with Ubuntu. Not saying they are presented as Dell's flagship products.

icetnet
icetnet

I'm glad that everyone has to agree with your view. But on my side, Linux (Ubuntu in particular) has been a Windows killer. Plus, I know many families (even IT Directors and their families) that have switched to the Mac. For them, it was a Windows killer. As far as the OEMs, it only makes sense to continue selling the Windows license... First, it doesn't really add that much to the cost of the system. Second, the more they order the higher percentage they save in the bulk order. Most still have Linux drivers and forums to help those who wish to run Linux on these machines. Apple's announcement to go x86 and *Nix based gave them the opportunity to create the iPhone and centralize their "media" device OSs on a platform. Every Apple store that I have visited has been extremely busy. Linux/Apple may not take over or even grow in numbers, but for those many that use it, it is a Windows killer and just like MS's clients are good for MS, they are good for Linux/Apple.

jwhitby3
jwhitby3

Part of the reason that Dell stopped offering it on anything but mini's was...they got a clue. Another piece of that puzzle is that Canonical can't afford to pay kickbacks based on volume of units shipped with their OS. Microsoft can, and has for quite a while. Not that I see anything particularly wrong with it...(snicker)...it's always nice to give back to the people who keep you in business.

icetnet
icetnet

Exactly. But as we all must accept, this is the issue that is hindering your acceptance. I also have found that unless I install Server 2008 Enterprise as my base desktop there are many of the APIs and code translations that don't work for advanced customizations of clusters. That is why I have that OS on an ESX server with all of my dev applications on it. My point is that no "client" works for everyone. Linux doesn't work for most (It's true, look at the numbers). It does work for me and the guest VMs on my system run much better in Linux than they did in XP, Vista, and precursory tests with 7-RC. These "Enterprise" tools refer to quality of the tools or level of polish. Linux whole goal is split: be customizable, and have the fit and finish of a Lexus. At some point, there will have to be concessions by both sides. SDTimes talks about the "rigor" of OSS attempting to become "Commercial", or as many understand it "Enterprise" at http://www.sdtimes.com/INTEGRATION_WATCH_FROM_OPEN_SOURCE_TO_COMMERCIAL_QUALITY_A_STUDY_IN_RIGOR/By_ANDREW_BINSTOCK/About_OPENSOURCE/33835

ErickTa
ErickTa

rather than a Ubuntu problem. Its not like Linux is a new product or anything. Vendors have had plenty of time to write drivers & support software.

Brian Doe
Brian Doe

After almost two months, I can't believe nobody has made this connection: The basic message behind the "Will the real 'new' features" blog was not that Microsoft was trumpeting "new" features already present in other OS's... But that Microsoft was spinning it like they were the ones who invented the features. This is why this blog is not hypocrisy. Canonical is not attempting to pass off these developments as its own.

kmdennis
kmdennis

Microsoft claims it is adding something it created new. Linux simple states it is adding something else to the distro, if it is not truly new. And in this case, where in microsoft add/remove can you find commercial packages?

Oz_Media
Oz_Media

'Hey we are finally catching up!' doesn't cut it for me or most business owners I've spoken with either. They seem to let the IT guys(and gals) tap keys in their IT rooms and choose to just ignore them until needed, for the most part.

DEFleener
DEFleener

While there may be some validity to your argument, the article you linked doesn't show any evidence of hypocrisy. In the article, the author explains that it is not MS's copying that is a problem, just that they CLAIM to have invented the things they truly copied. As far as I know, linux O/S don't do that.

Greeboid
Greeboid

I'm no developer, but I bet some of the features bundled in Windows took a while to get right... and we're paying for it, I mean in the literal sense. What the developers at Ubuntu have done is therefore quite astonishing because it is a free operating system. When, therefore, Ubuntu's new features make it even less "Linux-niche" and more mainstream and can be used in an enterprise environment it is something they are entitled to shout about and they should be applauded for their efforts. I know Microsoft are a commercial enterprise and are in it for the money, but often they give us new operating systems that are, at best and putting it kindly, flawed. Look at Windows ME, or the very short lived Vista. Even XP was not without its issues at first, though MS should be applauded for how stable XP is now. One suspects that these commercial releases, undoubtedly not yet ready, made MS a lot of money. I've used Ubuntu for the lat couple of years and I have to say, for ease of install and intuitive use it is streets ahead of some of its Linux siblings, such as Suse.

Forum Surfer
Forum Surfer

When he wrote a column on Windows features, he made a point to counterpoint every Windows feature with a Linux comparison. Here we have a Linux article with no mention of Windows at all. Do you know how badly people would bash Microsoft if Windows Vista had poor Intel graphics support out of the box? I get a little sick of the constant bashing. Microsoft should do this...Oh they did?...Well they should have done it a long time ago. I seriously see zero issues with companies marketing their product's new features, even if the features are inspired by other designs. It is marketing, bfd.

ketan
ketan

Linux has had all those things you mentioned, for years also. In the realm of file and folder sync and image servers they have been around as long as the windows counterparts if not longer. Support for intel graphics has not always been high-end - gaming wise, but it has always been at least 'basic desktop' quality even on the newer chipsets (framebuffer video). The "reasons" that people would not move from windows are gone to greater extent, and for most it makes no sense to stay.

LedLincoln
LedLincoln

Palmetto, there are plenty of hypocrites on both (or all three) sides of the o/s debate. All this is saying is that there is a great alternative available that is well worth your while to take for a test drive. I've used Ubuntu for five years, and have no desire to have another o/s on any of my machines.

rkuhn040172
rkuhn040172

The mouse problem seems to be related to VirtualBox. A reboot fixed it. The resolution issue seems to be with Ubuntu. Probably due to ATI Radeon cards but none the less. However, so many people recommend Virtualbox and Ubuntu I thought I'd pair them up and give the new distro a try. Unless and until Linux (in this case Ubuntu) installs hitch free, I can't take it seriously. I have no problem working things out and trying to learn but install issues shouldn't be step 1 in my opinion.

Oz_Media
Oz_Media

Anyone in e-commerce or specializing in IT is in a different plane of business existence than IT staff who have to constantly push the bean counters to understand new technology. Having so much contact with business owners of all sizes, I see the other side though. They'll be nice to the IT staff, but they don't credit them as a revenue generation stream and thus it greatly devalues their existence in the company. The secretary at her front desk, set in her ways and not wanting to change anything, is generally given more consideration as she is the gatekeeper and often the person relied on for processing documents, quotes etc. for the sales team and management. The sales team just gets whatever they want most of the time, but one grumpy receptionist/secretary can put the kaibosh on all the plans that IT has spent weeks or months researching and presenting to the bosses. I've seen it where the IT department researches and presents a fair proposal to management, management is convinced and asks IT to put the wheels in motion. They collect competitive quotes and get ready to roll out a new concept when the secretary gets wind of it and says she doesn't want to change as it will effect her work, complacency usually, and the whole project it dumped like a lead fart. Management usually leaves these decisions up to staff, that's why they have staff; each specializes in a certain area. But when there is a conflict of staff, IT gets the least consideration/pull, then administrators, then sales staff and then lower management. Sometimes sales teams even override the lower management too. NOTE: Sales teams are also the first on the chopping block too, can't win them all.

Oz_Media
Oz_Media

You are an IT guy, the person you referenced was an IT Director. However these are not the people actually running most businesses across the country. Most business owners don't care abotu nuances and flavours of linux. Cost? They'd rather spend money on something the staff wants to use, not just the IT guy with a hardon for open source. Whether it is as easy to use or not also makes no difference, if it's teh same, why switch? For IT related reasons such as stability, ease of maintenance, less downtime etc? Again, that is something teh IT department cares about. If even oen secretary bbitches abotu a change, it can and often is stopped in its tracks and reverted to where it was when these front office people were happiest. IT staff have to get it into their heads that they usually don't run the organizations they work for. IT is just a grudgingly necsessary expense to most companies, not a revenue generator. IT will generally take a backseat to the rest of the office workers, and this so will Linux, until it comes in a Windows box with licence costs. Also, many companies feel that if it isn't paid for, it isn't supported and there's nobody to sue if needed. If it is purchased, the seller becomes responsible and will be held responsible for related issues. Catching up is not enough.

LarryD4
LarryD4

Ah but the title was "10 reasons Ubuntu 9.10 will be a game changer for business" Which I don't see happening and it appears that any hype about a new version of any Linux Distro is a chance for someone to spout off about "the business changer". Whether its a strictly Linux, Mac, or Microsoft shop. Each shop will always be excited for their next upgrade. Business will evolve to the easiest product to support and maintain, no matter who makes it. And until an OS overtakes Microsoft as the the dominent market share for client PC's, it won't change. It's getting to the point now that every time you see a headline that states this new version will change business. You instantly get the feeling that the boy is crying wolf. Until the linux/Mac industry stops comparing itself to Windows and always comes out with a statement like the title of this thread. You will have people rolling their eys saying "here we go again". Which is not what you want a CEO, CTO, CIO, Owner, Consultant doing when you want them thinking about your product.

jwhitby3
jwhitby3

Thanks for posting that link, it's a decent read, and an interesting point of view.

s0liver
s0liver

Ubuntu wants a piece of the enterprise cake now? Well, that's fine by me BUT then they should speak with the hardware manufacturers and get support for RAID and other integrated features. The next problem is virtualization... did you know that Ubuntu Server 8.04 LTS is NOT SUPPORTED in any hypervisor (Xen, VMware or MS HyperV)! In my opinion Ubuntu will only be taken seriously in the enterprise realm if it is supported by the big hardware and software players out there... BTW I've been using Ubuntu Server since 6 years now and waiting just as long for it to run on one of my servers (virtual or physical) with all features (HP SIM agents, VMtools, RAID support, etc.) supported... and I am still waiting with 9.10!

capeterson67
capeterson67

The reality is, no matter where the blame should lay, at the end of the day, it isn't working. I manage the IT infrastructure for several small-medium businesses and educational institutions. I don't have time to waste experimenting with driver issues. I have deployed 15 servers this year to date with a variety of RAID configurations. I used a MS Server OS for each one and they all work with few problems. When Linux reaches that level of deployment stability I will consider them and not before. Additionally...something approaching the level of centralized control from Active Directory would be a plus.

agonzales
agonzales

is that when Ubuntu goes the way of Red Hat and is no longer free. It will happen!

CharlieSpencer
CharlieSpencer

it's worth celebrating when someone accomplishes something for free, but not when someone else does the same thing but gets paid for it?

CharlieSpencer
CharlieSpencer

of Active Directory integration, probably a bigger killer in the enterprise than the client OS or office suite debates. For me, that absence outweighs any of the listed enhancements.

CharlieSpencer
CharlieSpencer

then what's the point of an article discussing them as if they were new features, and pointing out how they make it more fit for the corporate environment than it was before? At least the features Jack criticized in Windows 7 were actually new to the OS. Do I understand you as saying he's praising the new Ubuntu release for including stuff it's long had? I have nothing against Linux; my problem is with the questionable approach Jack is taking. I know this web log is about open source, but if he's going to drag Windows into it then I don't see any reason I can't, especially since I'm only referring to it in in reference to one of his own columns.

davel
davel

When I think of business I think of the Enterprise. I don't see 100,000 + instances of Ubantu being managed globally. For the small business, I still don't see it. Why would I want to switch to Ubantu and re-learn a whole new product. Most small business owners are their IT department and they don't have time to watch an OS mature, they just want it to run Quick Books and their other computer stuff...

CharlieSpencer
CharlieSpencer

and I support your right to choose your OS based on your own standards, regardless of what others think you should use. But I linked to a post Jack wrote two days ago fussing at Microsoft for including 'new' features in Windows that have long existed in the Linux. Now when Ubuntu does the same thing, it's praiseworthy.

rkuhn040172
rkuhn040172

All in all, not bad. The install took about 25 minutes with 38 updates adding up to 22.6 MB of updates after install was done. It's slick, easy and visually appealing. All basic computer needs are there. But this resolution thing is a problem. I just created another virtual at home and am having the same issue. Only 800X600. This time on a similar but different machine. An AMD 3200+ processor, 2GB of RAM, and a Radeon 9200 video card. I have to think it's the ATI cards that it's choking on.

Slayer_
Slayer_

Construct yourself a nice simple network virus, and send it out into your network. Once that receptionist complains enough, you suggest your Nix solution, pitch it around. And if all is successful, you can make the switch. Then if this receptionist dares complain, you just remind her of that virus.

icetnet
icetnet

I would submit that you could actually take a proactive role in reversing this errancy in business thought. Businesses that want to grow know and acknowledge the necessity of IT as a true business player. This has been published as the overall theme for many years now. It is all in the sample of data that you obtain and the growth model of the businesses you engage.

icetnet
icetnet

This is why these arena's become useless. It doesn't matter if I run my own business, if I'm an IT guy, or if I'm some marketing dude. What matters is that I am able to provide the service that my customers and boss desire in the most expedient and efficient manner that benefits the company. Windows is already there in most organizations (go ahead and say all). These people that you imply are so much more important than us useless (but required) IT guys are at the 50,000 ft level. If us useless people can use and show benefit that will allow those who run the companies to save money, or beat the competition to market, or add value... Oh, yeah we don't have any business sense... It makes me glad that my marketing associates work for the benefit of the company and not to try to shine the spotlight on their business sense.

kmdennis
kmdennis

Just like how they made Office for masc, they could make it for Linux and that would fix the problem of interop. I think Linux just is fairly stable enough that developers can now start (should have startged already) to make products just as great as it runs on MS systems. You have MySQL which is just as powerful as MSSql, and Apache which is a bastion Webserver, so they need some more serious work on other regular products. And why aren't they concentrating on Office sime this maybe the number productivity software that is limiting the acceptance of Ubuntu in the corporate world? Remember when Novell was the King NOS? They had Directory services down pat till MS made it commercial.

LarryD4
LarryD4

Don't think I don't see the quality of a good Linux distro. I'm not a hater in any sense of the word. I was born and raised on DOS and Windows and I am well aware of the pitfalls of supporting Windows. I have Ubuntu on my laptop and I'm very happy with it. I have administered 'nix and Windows servers. Yes, I would love to support a Ubuntu pc/server/network enviornment at work. But I know that its not going to happen until you have a company willing and capable to become a Microsoft.

CharlieSpencer
CharlieSpencer

You're getting value from Linux in ways we can't. We'd have problems no matter what desktop OS we tried to switch to. Just because we work in different arenas doesn't make us any more 'big wig' than you.

Terrylew
Terrylew

Ubuntu may lack many features for the Enterprise, but I must admit, over the last year or so I have seen a steady growth in the use of Ubuntu and other Linux distros. I have seen it being used on laptops, in the home environment, and small businesses. This may be the beginning, but Linux is going forward.

squirrelpie0
squirrelpie0

I don't deal with any 'large' enterprise systems, just single, or a few machines in a workgroup. Most of my emergency calls are to rescue a corrupted OS usually a flavour of Windows. I wind up tinkering with a bunch of old units that will no longer run a current Windows OS effectively and have played with various Linux distros for a few years. In the last few months I have popped the Ubuntu 9.0.4 Cd in a number of old units and they have without exception worked out of the box without the need for any command line input. Maybe the latest isn't the flavour of choice for you big wig techies, but it works for us little guys. What portion of the PC market are we?

icetnet
icetnet

Good points. The purpose of the CTO and consultant (and to some extent the CIO) is the exploration of possibilities to create better environments and/or better pricing for their constituents. "Here we go again" is true of any company that puts out any "glossy" marketing. Understanding the difference between the "volunteer" staffing that get boosts from bloggers and technology evangelists via these forums and those with true R&D and marketing budgets is the key to being an exceptional contributor in or to the organization. As far as any media is concerned... you can expand the cliche to read "Trust nothing, verify everything!" I agree that the "MS envy" style of marketing is a put-off, however it is a good grass roots initiative and as we've seen in the past years, grassroots initiatives can pay off big. The system still has to have the fit and finish that allows acceptance to those who come and "kick the tires". I know and have contributed to many small businesses that are running a Linux backend. Most still have MS clients because they are easy and people are familiar with them. But the backend is a backend. Once configured, it is accessed just as easily as any other. And that's my point. Who cares about the marketing. It is after all... marketing. If the overall system/application is valid, it is useful.

capeterson67
capeterson67

Even if we get to the point that Linux has a Network OS that offers every advantage that Windows OS does, there are huge obstacles to be overcome in regards to critical 3rd party business software. Does your company use Quickbooks? Sorry, out of luck. How about Peachtree? Sorry, isn't going to happen, at least not easily. I have read about Peachtree server installs on Unbuntu that have been made to work with some tweaking but Sage does not offer ANY support for that configuration. If you already shelled out money for a support contract(and you are a fool not to) you aren't likely to switch. Bigger companies have bigger problems. There aren't many ERP solutions out there that currently run on windows server that will run on Linux. Powershop will but MAS90 won't. Great Plains surely never will. No company in their right mind is going to play the experimental game with their accounting/ERP package. They aren't going to abandon what they have been using, no matter what it costs, to TRY any of the Linux accounting/ERP . For Linux to really take a piece of the pie in the business/corporate market, they need to offer something that is virtually bulletproof and convince some of the bigtime software developers to support them.

dmeireles
dmeireles

Nice reply, I've enjoyed reading it :) About the parts and manufacturer support... Yes, both sides are not getting the same attention, but it had been worst I must say. Of course, for some businesses, that is simply not enough, but hey, that's how things are today and for some it works quite well. It will take you more time of investigation when "shopping" for hardware because you'll have to make sure everything is compatible, but that way you'll also be (forced to) learning more about that same hardware, which in long term, might be good (professionally speaking). About eBox... Yes, you are right, it is not a Windows AD replacement. Don't get me wrong with my previous comment, Active Directory is a wonderful thing, it simply WORKS, and the amount of things you can do with it is astonishing! eBox (nor every other samba implementation) doesn't replace that, not even close. Yeah, you can have roaming profiles, admin and user accounts, quota, permissions, LDAP accessible service to authenticate other services (FTP, for example), etc.... But never the true AD experience. You might want to have a look at Novell eDirectory or RedHat's Directory Server, which are way more capable than the simple Samba acting as a Domain Controller.

CharlieSpencer
CharlieSpencer

for both this post and your previous one. I think very few of us in Microsoft environments are particularly devoted to the company or its programs. Mostly its what we inherited, or what the CIO says we're going to use, or a lack of Linux-skilled potential employees in the region, or those business-critical applications that enough employees use to make it worth having everyone run Windows. But I'm still waiting on white papers or case studies about a company with more than 50 employees that's been able to convert from MS to open source.

capeterson67
capeterson67

but the issues are more complex. First let me say, I am not a raving fan of Microsoft. Quite the opposite when I have the luxury of having an opinion. Unfortunately, many of my customers are in the manufacturing field and uptime is absolutely essential. I understand that Linux as an OS is stable and secure but getting it up and running generally takes more time. That said, they like inexpensive and want to save money...we all do. But not at the expense of getting parts out the door. That has to happen at all costs. I would LOVE a viable alternative to MS slavery, I truly would. The individual who commented about what my expertise is in making my perception different is correct and I acknowledge that but it is what it is. I play around with Linux a bit at home in what little spare time I have and to be honest, I still come across too many situations where I have to start tinker to get something working because a straight line install and config doesn't work. Then I am down to researching little command line edits in different configuration files and there is usually some trial and error there. That is fine for the home front but not something I want to engage in, in the field, unless absolutely necessary. I AM intrigued by eBox for centralized control but cannot seem to narrow down just how far it goes. With AD and Group Policy I can control and limit nearly every aspect of the desktop experience for my endusers. Does ebox offer anything similar to Group Policy level management? I WANT to like Linux as a network/domain controlling OS. I am just not seeing everything I need to see to make it viable for most of my customers.

icetnet
icetnet

Good point. BUT... if you take a solution like eBox (http://ebox-platform.com/) and place it in these same businesses (Disclaimer: not every system works for every case, this is just a scenario), you may save the companies a grand or two (depending on the number of servers) per year. Then your fees become much more palatable when you present an acceptable solution that potentially increases their profit margin. AND/OR they make the decision fully informed and your expertise is noted and you become more valuable to them as a solution provider and not just a consultant. Just a thought.

jwhitby3
jwhitby3

First off, this is NOT a criticism or a bashing attempt, it's an observation. I have to question the deployment stability statement. If Linux didn't have deployment stability, then Capital One wouldn't have RedHat Enterprise Linux on every server in the data centers in Richmond. I have been part of more deployments than I can count, and I now provide and manage the IT services for several doctors offices using a combination of Linux and Solaris. Solaris being my preference. BTW, you wont find a single Ubuntu deployment. We use Linux that was built for the enterprise to begin with (Redhat and CentOS), not a Linux that aspires to compete in the enterprise. The only time I have ever seen problems in a Linux deployment, was when the people involved wanted to use some el cheapo crap not really RAID cards, (software RAID). Then there were driver problems sure. It sounds like you have been cursed with having to use cheap hardware with Linux that has NO support, because whoever made the final decision was trying to cut corners everywhere possible. (Or intentionally tried to derail enthusiasm for Linux). Of course those cards work almost flawlessly in Windows, it's what they were designed for to begin with. As far as not wasting time experimenting. I agree whole heartedly. Check out the Redhat and CentOS HCL's and you wont have to. They only list hardware that works, works well, and they can reasonably support.

dmeireles
dmeireles

"When Linux reaches that level of deployment stability I will consider them and not before." I do not agree. I can argue with you that setting up a secure and well configured FTP and HTTP server in Windows Server is hard because I have almost no experience with that system, while you'll be saying the same about Linux OS's. I've done setups of plenty of Linux servers and usually I manage to get things working quickly. It depends on how much experience you have with the system and your knowledge level, and of course, the hardware and support from the vendor (and yes, I know that in some situations there is only Windows support). Ex: you want to setup (quickly) a linux box that will act as a file server, domain server, proxy, firewall, LDAP accessible by other tools, HTTP server with user dirs and more... Well, just install the eBox package and you're done in 1hr! ;)

Greeboid
Greeboid

How much is Red Hat anyway?

Greeboid
Greeboid

Where did I say it's not worth celebrating success of any kind? Did I not actually point out that there were succeses from Microsoft? Its not worth trying to pick an argument for the sake of it, particularly when yours is flawed from the start. Still, at least it made you think.

Greeboid
Greeboid

we should celebrate the fact that we can now get these features for free from an alternative source. We now have a real viable choice .... not that someone isn't getting paid! Sorry, I probably didn't explain myself too well.

Forum Surfer
Forum Surfer

Simply managing credentials, authentication and aduc visibility doesn't really make me jump for joy. I want the ability to actually do something with it once it is in ADUC. :)

BlueCollarGeek
BlueCollarGeek

I manage several Windows networks and like the tools for them, but I also use puppet/puppetmaster on my Linux systems and find it handles the automation of standard admin tasks (from initial configuring desktops and servers to handling updates and settings changes) with ease. In some regards, using puppet is almost easier and more effective than Windows GPO. Once I edit a text file that defines what I want in each "class" of system, it updates all systems in that "class" within one hour - without any rebooting. Also, I can configure and provision a new system just by booting it from the network (pxe boot) and choosing the system class I want from the pxe menu. Took me a few months to learn using puppet/puppetmaster but now that I have it working, I much prefer it to WIndows GPO. I know Ubuntu systems can be managed wwith puppet/puppetmaster and those of you who must have a gui to be comfortable to admin a system can check out Canonical's Landscape (Canonical is the parent company behind Ubuntu). Landscape is not free - but compared to Windows licensing costs - it might as well be.

agonzales
agonzales

I was reading thru all the replies to finally see that someone weighed in on the more important part in the business realm. ACTIVE DIRECTORY!

Forum Surfer
Forum Surfer

Honestly I haven't seen it in action, I've only heard of it before. I would like to observer it in a production setting since it allows for true integration, not just glorified authentication. It is a product that could allow windows admins to continue with our group policy addiction, yet gradually switch over without necessarily being so hands on with every pc. That is what Linux needs out of the box to compete with Microsoft. Maybe some one should create a new community driven distro with this goal in mind. We shall call it....SuperTux. Wait, no there's a silly mario-esque game that has that name... The point is, that an out of the box solution like that could wean people off of Microsoft. That is what is needed. An all out change is too much. A gradual change over while maintaining a functional, mostly single point of administration for domain related administration in a mixed Linux/Windows desktop environment could win many people over.

capeterson67
capeterson67

As I said in another post further down, Group Policy is a POWERFUL tool for large scale administration. I haven't seen anything close to its equal in a Linux distro yet. But I would love to. I would love to have a real alternative offering to Windows Server.

capeterson67
capeterson67

Even if eBox can assume many of the duties of Active Directory, that means little on an enterprise scale network without Group Policy Management capability. I automate so much of my networks, Group Policy is essential for me. From software deployment to local and group based printer installations, Group Policy handles the vast majority of the day to day mind-numbing admin tasks. The ability to control what the user sees as well as has access too, on his local machine not just the network, is critical to me.

CharlieSpencer
CharlieSpencer

I've been using the phrase 'AD integration' as a blanket term to cover all those other management features. I'll try to avoid it in the future.

Forum Surfer
Forum Surfer

Or at least ADUC authentication. I gave up testing ubuntu. Honestly, I got tired of it. My focus is more on networking these days. I did some successful deployments of OpenSuSE with some nice ADUC "integration". To be honest though, I didn't like it. It seemed to be more of a after-thought to make corporate IT people stop whining about ADUC integration. Okay, we're "integrated" and authenticated...now what? I use policy management to deploy or uninstall all software without ever touching the pc's. Step 1. Setup good backend policies and groups. Step 2. Load generic windows image, takes the pc guy a few short minutes. Step 3. Add pc to group xyz and all necessary software is installed upon first login. Until I can do that, ADUC "integration" is little more than glorified "authentication" and means diddly-poop to me.

brian
brian

1. AD authentication, so users can use the same accounts they're using on my Windows systems to log on to the PCs running Ubuntu (btw - the accounts are in the format "firstname.surname" - last time I tried using Ubuntu, it told me that a username with a period in it was not allowed) 2. Centralized configuration of almost all major aspects of the OS, similar to what MS provides via Group Policy management, including the ability to centrally manage the rollout and upgrade of 3rd party software. 3. Centralized patch management (similar to Microsoft's WSUS). There are a few more minor things, but these features are the major ones I'm looking for.

blarman
blarman

What most people forget in these OS flame wars is that the OS is just a tool to get to your mission-critical applications. Whether that's QuickBooks, AutoCad, PhotoShop or a web browser, if you can't get the app open under that OS, it isn't going to matter - you're locked in. That's why some software companies - especially MS - don't adhere to software standards. Once they do, the OS becomes less important and easier to make irrelevant.

GreatZen
GreatZen

A medical office I support has separate administrative and clinical resources. The administrative staff all use MS Office 2003/2007 and we have OOo deployed to most of the clinical staff personnel who rarely need to use office productivity apps (and for whom I can't justify spending oodles of money for better compliance). Virtually no document looks the same when written in Word but opened in Write. Most documents look VERY different. Very simple format settings like margins, page orientation, line/paragraph spacing, font size, font, and color are usually incorrect. I have been able to see this happen with hundreds of documents, most of them being very simple single page memos with no special formatting.

pgit
pgit

Open office is getting much better at maintaining formats and such in docs that are also opened/edited in MS Office. There's just about as much inconsistency as you'll find between docs being handled by MS Office 97 and Office 2007 any more. Used to be you'd frequently have a mess on your hands going between the two suites, but not really any more. About the worst I've seen lately is a doc fitted to one page in one suite spills over a few lines onto a second page in the other. No show stoppers any more, not with the docs my clients are generating anyway.

icetnet
icetnet

Yes, Open Office is supposed to do that. I have supported Linux for a long time but only used it regularly (like as my desktop) for the last three years. Until OOO 3.1 came out, the operative word was "Supposed". After 3.1, the interoperability is pretty great until you get into the nitty gritty. The translation from OOO Formula into MS Office is not very good. PowerPoint and Presentation have their issues as well (if you don't mind a few size and location tweaks, they work well). Embedded media is still shaky and documents have some loss of translation in color formatting (e.g. OOO allows you to "background" the text with a color that makes it into Word but is almost impossible to change in Word) My CAD and Graphics stuff... Well, that's why I have an XP VM (using Virtualbox). It could and can be better, but this works well for me and with 4 systems in the house (currently only mine with Linux), I have cut my software budget by 48% (NOTE that all system do not have all of the same applications, thus the higher than 1/4 value). Running 9.04 for the last 9 months, I have had zero issues connecting to Domain shares (although I have not made the system a Domain member). I like it. It works for me. Your mileage may vary.

adanowotar
adanowotar

Open Office is NOT really compatible. Even if you try to work a document between MS Office XP/2003/2007 you are going to loose some formatting details, margins will change, even colours in spreadsheets are different. If you create a document in MS Office and try to print it from Open Office it will look different for sure. Ubuntu is great by the way ;)

blarman
blarman

Open Office fulfills that requirement, and it doesn't cost $350/seat. I've been using it for 5+ years and short of Access programs or Excel documents that have a ton of VB in them, I haven't found anything that doesn't work perfectly. And the new enhancements to Present (PowerPoint clone) are a huge boost. If you want to gripe about interoperability with MS Office, there's of course only one party to blame for that: Microsoft.

TexasJetter
TexasJetter

While I have not used it, isn't Open Office supposed to do just that? I know it can open/edit MS Office formatted files. Just curious if anyone out there has actual working experience with a mixed MS Windows\Office and Ubuntu\Open Office environment? Having said that, in my environment we have other applications (AutoCAD, Revit) which do not run on Ubuntu, so we are stuck there.

k9fe
k9fe

The main complaint is that users saw a need for something Windows had and that was keeping them from migrating or even trying a different platform. Ubuntu has been getting closer and closer to the level needed for acceptance in the business world. I have been waiting for a day I can start deploying those various animals into my work environment...soon, very soon!

barryc
barryc

I'm glad that Ubuntu is approaching a level of usability that competes with Windows and Mac. I'm intrigued by the ways in which the new features you tout can make a difference for the future. But there's still one thing missing: Until folks can truly, fully share productivity software documents between platforms (MS Office), Linux isn't going to really be ready for the general business desktop or laptop.

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