Linux

Ubuntu 9.10 makes a serious charge toward the enterprise level

Jack Wallen predicts Ubuntu 9.10 will open up the corporate world to the Linux operating system. Find out more about the latest features and enhancements.

At the end of this month (October 29th, 2009 to be exact), Ubuntu will be releasing its newest take on the Linux operating system. This time around, it should be obvious (even to the biggest of skeptics) that Ubuntu is making some serious inroads to the business and enterprise scene.

Prior to this release, I would have said Ubuntu is the best-of-the-best Linux candidate to take over the desktop scene. It's user friendly, easy to install, stable, secure, and (minus games) everything you would need for desktop computing. Now, however, the ante has been upped. With 9.10 (Karmic Koala) Ubuntu could well be on their way to becoming the best-of-the-best for the business desktop.

"Pshaw!" you say, old naysayer that you are. Well, before you pishposh this off to /dev/null/ you might want to take a look at a few of the new features (and improvements to old features) Ubuntu is bringing to life. Many of these new features should make it readily apparent that Canonical is planning some stealthy attack on the enterprise-level desktop. Let's take a look at these features.

Bootup: Ubuntu has already made serious headway in the boot up process. When 9.04 was released the goal was the ever-elusive 10 second boot up time. With Ubuntu 9.10 they are inching very close to that time. The alpha release I tested had yet to reach that magic number but it's getting close, clocking in under 20 seconds (and I was testing in a virtual environment so the installment wasn't getting 100% of the machine resources). Software Center: This is really one of the biggest enterprise-level additions. Gone will be the Add/Remove Software tool and (eventually) Synaptic in favor of the Software Center. Although this tool will be used in the same way as the Add/Remove Software tool, it will have one thing its predecessor didn't have - Commercial Software. That's right. Now the enterprise (or SMB) user can go to the Software Center and shop for just about any type of software you can imagine - including non-free, enterprise-grade software! All in one very user-friendly tool. Ubuntu One: If you've used DropBox, you will know and understand the appeal of Ubuntu One. Ubuntu One is a way to sync files and folders on more than one PC. With the help of Ubuntu One you can ensure that the files on your work PC are in sync with whatever other Ubuntu PC that has Ubuntu One installed. In order to use Ubuntu One you will have to sign up for an account. You can sign up for either the free account (which gives you 2GB of space) or, for $10.00 USD per month, you can get 50GB of space. Enterprise Cloud Images: 9.10 will include images for common usage that can be deployed by the Ubuntu Enterprise Cloud. HAL Deprecation: Many users will be glad to hear this. A lot of services (especially suspend and hibernate) that had been the duty of HAL (Hardware Abstraction Layer) will be handed off to other controlling software (“DeviceKit-power”, “DeviceKit-disks” and “udev”). Because of this change, Suspend and Hibernate should be far more reliable out of the box. Better Intel video support: Intel ships more video chipsets than just about any other maker. This has been a problem with Linux because of the horrible drivers offered. That is changing with the release of Ubuntu 9.10. The Intel drivers are switching from a much less reliable EXA driver to a far superior UXA 2D acceleration technology developed by Intel. Since so many business-class machines ship with on-board Intel video chipsets, this should make video issues with Linux a thing of the past (with regards to Intel that is). ext4: The ext4 file system will now be the default for Ubuntu. The ext4 file system has proven (since 9.04) to be very reliable and far faster than ext3. Apparmor: The Apparmor tool is getting some new profiles and features. One of the new features is a new parser that uses cache files to speed up initialization. Apparmor will also include a new feature ("PUX") which will allow a process to transition to a profile or run without a profile. New profiles have also been added to the tool, extending its strength and flexibility. Non eXecutable Emulation: Not many people know about this feature. There are certain CPUs that offer the NX feature which allows certain areas of memory to be reserved for either processor instructions or data. This allows portions of the CPU memory to be marked as non-executable. With Ubuntu 9.10 the kernel will allow this feature even if you do not have a CPU with the NX feature. This will greatly enhance protection from malicious software and/or buffer overflow attacks.

The list above is just the icing on the cake. Add to that all of the great features brought to life with 9.04 and you should easily see how Ubuntu is positioning itself to take on the SMB and Enterprise space.

I know there are a ton of naysayers out there, but I will go on record as saying it is no longer an "if" but a "when" that Ubuntu will lead the Linux charge onto the corporate desktop. It will be a reality, if not with 9.10 then with 10.04 or 10.10.

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.

130 comments
donbolle
donbolle

There needs to be support for the drop dead applications that business runs on. ERP systems, not just one or two but all of the majors and most of the minor players too. CAD, Finite Element, circuit capture and layout, accounting and a few I don't know about need to be under Linux or Wine has to work out of the box seamlessly. It's not about the operating system, it is about the applications that run on it. Nobody wants to change those mission critical systems so there needs to be 'nix ports supported by the vendors for all of the heavy hitters. Until you can get the top tier vendors on Linux, it will have at best a minor place in corporate use. Word processing, spreadsheets and presentations are fine, but they are not the critical systems for business.

aharper
aharper

We already use Ubuntu 9.04 and Server in our enterprise. It looks like this is several steps in the right direction.

MPG187
MPG187

Yay Ubuntu I am typing this from it. Is 9.10 out yet? It's October, last year 8.10 didn't come out until the very end of the month and by the time I knew it was out it was already November.

jasonstockler
jasonstockler

i still would like them to work with MMO's so that it can be used for gaming. I would also like to see them work with apps like photoshop etc. Go ubuntu go! Its time that Linux takes over the microsoft world.

Craig_B
Craig_B

Ubuntu is slowly making strides however I feel it has a ways to go before its Enterprise ready. Like it or not, Microsoft rules computing. This means Ubuntu either needs to convince everyone to change to a different way of doing things or be compatible with Microsoft. In the Enterprise this means having centrally managed software that works well with existing applications. It?s not about making something work together, its having it work together.

Oz_Media
Oz_Media

IN North America, wher ethe Windows world dominates servers and email, I can see a possibility that they will make SOME progress in the enterprise market. IN Eruope, wher SUSE had become more deeply rooted than out here, I don't see teh same possibilities for Ubuntu. Sevetal European governments use Novell back ends and SUSE Dsktops. While there are some whitepapers written on hoe to make GroupWise work with Ubuntu, Novell does not support it. This means in order to get support for Novell issues, admins will be instantly asked ot remove Ubuntu to remove any possible conflicts, Looking quickly at the AD it seems like they have taken it to one click finctionality and really decreased the administartor functionality of Actve Directory, which MS pretty much stole from Novell and stripped down anyway. Hard to say, I think they will make more progress than hey do today, but will it become a popular enterprise choice? Doubtful, except in outique style IT shopa, graphics companies etc. where they have tech minded people working on dekstops. For teh average joe enterprise, I don't see it knocking MS out for any more than the few shops who actually follow the IT department's recommendations to give it a go.

madmalc567
madmalc567

Ubuntu needs a one button join Active Directory facility instead of the rigmarole you have to go through now. For me, ubuntu comes across as a toy operating system, rather like those toy laptops for children

todd_dsm
todd_dsm

The users would scream. My area, Des Moines, IA, is a MS-centric territory. I would hope to see this some day but I just know the folks in the office would be marching on the IT castle, pitch forks and torches in hand, looking for blood. Perhaps it's just a matter of tearing the bandage away quickly thereby forcing them to give 'meaningful consideration' to the platform. But you know how they are, removing XP from the users is like tearing a security blanket away from a child. Once the comfort-level is violated it's just a lot of crying until they get the Woobie back. Just look at what happen happened with Vista. For my part, I was ready a long time ago. Cheers mates- TT

awesomebro
awesomebro

Sorry but I wouldn't tough Ubuntu much less Linux with a stick. When you can install Quickbooks successfully or join it to Active Directory, I'll test it out on a computer, until then, keep this where it belongs, in the less than 3% market share.

Marcus A. Noel / ZentreCorp Consulting
Marcus A. Noel / ZentreCorp Consulting

For Ubuntu 9.10's Enterprise Charge to succeed, it must overcome the Virtualization & Integration plays Microsoft is making with Windows7 64 bit + Office 2010 + Windows Server 2008 + SQL Server 2008 + SSIS + SSRS + SSAS + ... whew! ... + Sharepoint 2008 ... Most Big & Mid-sized Businesses will follow Microsoft. Its BizSpark & WebSiteSpark(Free for first 2 years) programs are also designed to seriously bring small startups(Web Dev's & Appl. Dev's) onboard. Ubuntu 9.10 would have to be more than just a better operating system for the enterprise. It needs at least as much business solutions support and development support as what Microsoft's solutions will get. It will need Evangelists and MVP's and Certified Solutions Providers ... the works!!! Anybody see that happening anytime soon? M. Noel

Stovies
Stovies

Hi Mr Wallen, I have been eager to use UBUNTU as a means of not using Microsoft. The problem has been that Microsoft although the only real option was good. I am 70 years old and have been trying UBUNTU (teaching myself as I am a retired Marine Engineer and have used computers since the early seventies) but always there was something that prevented proper use when things went wrong. Loading software was one such problem, which you have rightly said is now 'almost' Add & Remove like Microsoft XP. I am using UBUNTU 9.10 on two of my computers and XP on the other two. What has helped is the real improvement with Open Office. I use PagePlus X3 as a Publisher for Newsletters and Scribus is not nearly as good as Serif in the Publisher side and that is the only reason I keep Microsoft. My beef with Microsoft has come to a head when I bought Office Enterprise through MICRO MART Magazine advertisements, from a company who sold them as surplus to requirements but with legal keys. I bought them because I have introduced a lot of people (retirees and youth clubs) to computing with these Office programs and Windows XP. Now I am told they are not legal. So I finally say, stuff you Microsoft, I will introduce my friends to Open Source, and I have no doubt there a plenty more about thinking the same thing. Thanks for your articles on Open Source, I hope and believe your prediction is right. Regards, Stephen Mark, Peterhead, Scotland

jonf
jonf

There have been several cases of major migrations to OpenSource and Linux. Many I.T. folks have lost their jobs in the past pushing for it when it fails. I see this as just another prediction that won't go very far. Linux is too much about doing the opposite of Microsoft and not trying to work hand in hand with Microsoft tech.

brian.grant
brian.grant

You gotta to be kidding. If it hasn't got Microsoft compatability then it will always stay as a desktop curiosity. Seriouly. I've been in the game for 25 years and if I could replace XP, VISTA and now 7 at the desktop I would have. But wihtout MS Exchange, MS Office "True" compatibility then I'm afraid that we will never see great ideas take flight in the Enterprise space.

geslinux
geslinux

Boot up process time. How interesting. I am always surprised. How can you measure? What is the baseline? What is the reference? What hardware? What does it really mean 10 seconds? On AMD or Intel? 2.8 or 3.2GHz? 1GB or 4GB of RAM? How many modules? Loadable or built in? SMP of single core? Networking or not? Gnome, KDE or XFCE? Turn off all possible services, load the kernel with no modules, no X, not networking... and wait ;) Is it really so important, 5-10 seconds difference? I do not think so. Give people fancy click'n'play intuitive GUI out of the box and they will buy PCs with Linux happily.

jkiernan
jkiernan

If I update my current Ubuntu to the new version, does the file system upgrade itself as part of that process?

CodeCurmudgeon
CodeCurmudgeon

While I have been an Ubuntu user since 6.06 "Dapper Drake," it is going to take something far more dramatic than a nicer Ubuntu to make a real impact. It is like it was in the bad old days of the IBM monopoly: It didn't matter if someone else had systems twice as good for half the price, if it wasn't IBM, the bosses weren't buying. If Windows 7 turns out to be another slow, bloated, incompatible system like Vista, we might get the bosses to think about Ubuntu. Maybe. Eventually. But probably not 'till XP support ends. Even here in billion dollar budget cut state government land, the bosses are still blithely paying out Microsoft license fees. H*ll, we converted our E-mail & calendaring to Exchange & Outlook after budget recessions of tens of millions of dollars were announced.

bookkeeper
bookkeeper

I think you keep going can't wait to try this new version out. I think the secret is to make sure people know about the opportunities out there like this new version. To show them the is a better way. Congrats and keep up the good work! Signed Just an opinion

Bill Day
Bill Day

I grudgingly use a little bit of non-Free Software (PersonalBrain, Qoppa's PDF Studio, and Adobe AIR). However, I dislike Mr. Wallen's sneer that Commercial Software is "enterprise grade" with its implication that Free Software is not. It also seems that by promoting Commercial (read "non-Free") software, Canonical might be biting the hand that feeds it.

NCWeber
NCWeber

I think the one thing that makes or breaks any Enterprise level OS will be round the clock accessible support (and the economics thereof).

The Management consultant
The Management consultant

Ubantu is floating around trying to find a home with no strategy.First it was Desktop,next it was netbooks that failed and now people are expect to believe that ubantu has leverage in an even more competative market place requiring more cash than even Apple wants to handover? Proof of concept on netbooks is the way to go.

jc2it
jc2it

I have a 45 node Hardy Heron Ubuntu + LTSP + Wine desktop implementation. This system has saved us many $$$$ in administrative costs. We use OpenLDAP to manage user accounts, and connecting to that system is painful in Ubuntu. In Red Hat ES4 which we used previously we had one checkbox and two fields to fill in. Which is all it needs to be if the OS is designed appropriately. The problem with Red Hat is the old versions of software they maintain for way too long to be a viable desktop. There is not enough backporting in RH to be a usable user level desktop. It is probably a great workstation for an engineer type or a sophisticated user. Ubuntu works well for the "I know nothing crowd" as a desktop, and for those that are a more sophisticated power user. It just does not play nicely with some existing administrative technology (At least in my experience with 8.04). Jack Please address these issues from an IT manager perspective If you want us to take you seriously...

Neon Samurai
Neon Samurai

I suspect Canonical would be interested in working with Adobe to get Photoshop running but the decision is up to Adobe. They'd likely try a WINE wrapped version (Google Earth for Linux style). Photoshop native on *nix would fly but the last time they tried they charged the normal 700$ or so per license without providing 700$ of benefits over other native available apps. I'm willing to guess that the slow rate of Windows and osX only apps to other platforms is the program developer's choice not the alternative platform. The failing of Adobe outside of Win/osX platforms has since been claimed as evidence that Linux users won't pay for software when the truth is that they are very happy to pay for software that justifies it's cost. MMO are in a similar boat. They have to decide to provide a *nix native client app (if this is multiplayer online gaming). If they've already drank the DirectX brew then it's not going to happen. If they use something like OpenGL, there's more chance of existing programs being ported. Like the regular app vendors though, the customer base has to make enough noise to get there attention or the "not enough market share" chicken and egg problem will continue. I know I'd be happy not having to stop everything I'm doing and reboot to Windows so a game can run. I've a couple of multi-day processes running now that will keep me from rebooting the machine until they finish or I deem the passwords unrecoverable and cancel the tests.

tech
tech

The toy is the one with fewer 'buttons'. If you can't edit config files, load apps and change a few settings you are nothing more than a kid playing with a toy. I have not tried ubuntu, I have pretty much stayed with SuSE, since I tend to prefer Novell eDirectory and Groupwise to M$ AD and Exchange. Though I am going to try ubuntu when the new version is out. Do I work with Microsoft Active Directory and Exchange? Sure I do, not a lot of choices anymore. But I also offer a less expensive, more reliable alternative with Novell eDirecotry and Groupwise.

todd_dsm
todd_dsm

And why not? If we go picking through the rfc's we see that the advent of ldap came on unix platform around 1993. Some sharpie at MS saw the value in ldap and proposed a sleek new interface and we got spanked with our own paddle. Not good. The community might want to take back what they've developed and create something similar, but better than AD. Using the MS concept that you can take someone elses good idea and turn a dollar on it. We 'could' say, AD is pretty cool and create a replacement for it that would write out of the the things that are detestable about AD. Then you 'one click join' button would actually work. Ubuntu doesn't seem short on vision. Maybe this could be in it's next release... T

aharper
aharper

My clients had less of an issue switching to Ubuntu 9.04 than they had when switching to Vista.

tech
tech

As always, the trick is convincing Management that you can deliver everything they need without Microsoft. When Management says this is it, there may be a little belly aching by the masses but in todays environment to much belly aching leads you right to the unemployment line. So if you convince management AND deliver the promises, it can be done with relatively little pain for anyone.

aharper
aharper

I can run QB, (I did so under Wine during a migration) but why use over priced proprietary software when there's better for less? We use and support Nola Pro here. Nola has none of the limitations QB does. Active Directories? Linux can support AD on the client and server end, and has for the last five years at least. Your turn. Put it on a machine and have a look. Give it the same attention you would a Microsoft product. Widen your skill base and become more valuable in the workplace. I like the fact that Linux has a less than 3% market share. It was less than 1% some years ago. Soon it will be less than 10% and still marginalized.

tech
tech

Quickbooks is another example of Bloatware. It is a lame Accounting System that is over priced and under performs! It does however offer lots of eye candy. Oh and you can join linux with AD, the real question is why run AD. eDirectory and Novell are MUCH better alternatives to AD and M$. Groupwise is much more stable and way more scaleable than Exchange. Before you even say it, yes my BES server connects to Groupwise just fine, and yes I can sync iPhones (and other smartphones) to Groupwise too, no problems. Who needs M$ You know how I increase my income? By saving companies money on Software and O/S costs that is how. And since linux (and Novell) are a small percentage of the market I get a bonus, not a lot of competition from the M$ Only shops out there. They try to steal my clients all the time, saying we can save you on support costs, but when they find out their overall IT costs are going to soar, they stay with me every time.

i.hilliard
i.hilliard

In the case of Free vs Commercial software there seem to be two fortified and heavily armed camps that seem to refuse to accept the other's existence. The simple fact is there is room for both. Initially software was free. Then along came companies, which in many cases took the free software and commercialized it by making it better. The problem is that once a company owned a market, they proceeded to rest on their laurels, while still raking in the money. This was often done to the detriment of the original free software authors. Free software in many cases is someone scratching an itch. That is, they have an idea and proceed to implement it. Unless it becomes a major project, quite often the free project gets to alpha or early beta stage and then gets dropped, because it works well enough and the itch has now been scratched. If there are problems, the free software developer often does not have the time to provide support in a timely fashion. After all, they are not getting paid for it. This is where some free software developers have gone for a hybrid solution, where the latest version of the software is commercial and older versions are free. It seems to work for some companies. Like in the Middle East, each needs to learn to accept the other's existence and gain from each other. In the end, it will be the consumer and computing in general that will profit. Ian

jlwallen
jlwallen

Bill, In no way did I mean open source is not enterprise grade. I think ultimate it boils down to the old idea that so many refuse to let go of that in order for something to be good it has to have a price attached to it. Personally, I do not agree with that. However, many who want their IT to be taken very, very seriously - feel open source is not viable. So I guess what I should have said was that the addition of commercial software to this tool will add another level of viability to the operating system.

vdanen
vdanen

If you're looking for more up-to-date stuff for a Red Hat (Enterprise) workstation, you should look into EPEL (under the Fedora project). There are some other repositories out there that give more up-to-date things as well. But, up-to-date is relative, right? I mean, how old is Windows XP and how many organizations are still using it? I'm sure you're not referring to new versions of KDE and whatnot because why would an enterprise/workstation require all the new bells and whistles (and bugs!) of newer versions? Granted, in some areas RHEL can be dated. But you've got support, you've got a long security lifetime, and you do get new features (i.e. kvm support in RHEL 5.4 is entirely new). If you look at what the average "corporate" user requires, you're essentially looking at an office suite, a mail client, and a browser. Those are the typical things most office people can't live without and need for day-to-day work. RHEL provides all of that. I'd say RHEL is usable as a user-level desktop *except* for the engineer or sophisticated user that needs more up-to-date stuff or wants all the bells and whistles (and more importantly knows how to resolve their own issues). From an IT manager perspective, I think a RHEL workstation would be ideal... the less things change, the less you have to re-train people and being able to set them on a single desktop environment for 5-6 years (realistically giving that first year of release to testing and stabilizing) would give significant savings of time and money (downtime for upgrades, re-training, increased IT "usage" after new rollouts, etc.). Not to say that Ubuntu can't do that, but I think if you're looking at large enterprises that need a large support offering, you won't find that with Ubuntu. You'll find that with Red Hat (or Novell I guess, but I can't speak for their commercial support).

jlwallen
jlwallen

jc2it, I'm not sure if I understand what you are saying. You start off by saying you have a 45 node Hardy Heron deployment (which is Ubuntu 8.04) but then in the end you say it is for the "I know nothing" crowd. If you have a large Ubuntu deployment, why would you then say you can't take me seriously because I am talking about Ubuntu? please explain so I know how to further address your needs.

madmalc567
madmalc567

How many buttons do you get on the best Hi-Fi? Correct - near zero. Linux is an OS for the kind of eejits that like graphic equalisers etc

todd_dsm
todd_dsm

You're right, it takes a certain level of competence to get from MS to Linux. I'm not worried about you and I, I'm suggesting that it's made easier for 'them'. If they didn't like MS, they wouldn't pay for it. But, it's shiny, comes in a nice box, and it has wizards(!), not to mention support from any MS guy walking the streets right now. That is a tough deal to beat as an exec making decisions that will impact lives, and by proxy, production. If there were going to be a single click button to absolve you of all technical fears, then this is what you're going to face in order to make it viable. Because it's the 'them's that will be footing the bill.

CharlieSpencer
CharlieSpencer

before I can convince management, someone has to convince me. Then they have to convince me this is a battle worth fighting.

CharlieSpencer
CharlieSpencer

Yeah, and when the connections down or the server gets hacked?

CharlieSpencer
CharlieSpencer

"Quickbooks ... is a lame Accounting System that is over priced and under performs!" There are millions of businesses that use it daily, and any replacement to Windows must support an app that is not only comparable but one that accepts existing QB data. What application do you suggest those businesses use instead?

Oz_Media
Oz_Media

Firstly I don't use it, I have custom accounting software for our specific industry. But your post is justa typical 'I love linux' post where anything eith any visual aesthetics is considered bloatware. Not everyone works daily on a 486 with 32M of RAM though, in fact most half decent PC's today will run quickbooks effortlessly, as well as Vista and all the other so called bloatware that people can't run on their Colecovision console. As for Quickbooks, which you shun so effortlessly, despite your personal feelings, "overpriced and underperforms", Quickbooks DOMINATES the industry. QUickooks holds nearly 89% of the small vusiness accountging software market. That's far from being a program that nobody wants because it is overpriced or a bloated, underperformer. I an also an MCNE, I love Novell and especially groupWise, which is by far the best email and collaboration software out there. MS has been playign catch-up as they slowly steal older patents form Novell but Exchange is a LONG way form becoming GroupWise. On another note: GroupWise is not supported by Novell on Ubuntu 9.10. There is supposedly an untested workaround but, as you probably know, any Novell support tech will just walk away until it's running on Netware.

CharlieSpencer
CharlieSpencer

"... it boils down to the old idea ... that in order for something to be good it has to have a price attached to it." As opposed to the new idea that only free software is acceptable, as expressed by Bill: "I grudgingly use a little bit of non-Free Software..." Why 'grudgingly'?

todd_dsm
todd_dsm

Then there should be no problem just calling the standard an ASCII text file and being done with it. No download required. Keep in mind, the legislative branch saw it this way too. As far as being 'over expanded' my original assertion is simply thus: *1991 the linux kernel is born *1998 I noticed for the first time a tag on a computer in a magazine that said, "Supports Linux OS". More computers then touted the same tag soon after... *2002 Linux drivers became mature enough that it wasn't necessary to provide such tags on computers; you simply install and go (for the most part). *2004 IBM offers an option: MS or RHEL HP, Compaq and Dell follow soon after... *2008 Dell offers Hardware that ships with Ubuntu or Free DOS. Oh, and by the way, any core protocol or service run on a Windows Server was conceived, written, and tested initially on UNIX first, then ported to Linux. Here's the short list: DNS, DHCP, SMTP, POP3, IMAP, LDAP; even IP became the sole province of BSD after the ARPANET began falling away. The list is longer than this and therefore more distinguished. MS has never created any technology to my knowledge. They are great at taking open solutions, for example LDAP, putting on a pretty interface, marking it up and selling it off. For those without the benefit of a formal education, they truly do believe that Active Directory was released for the first time in 2000 and is a unique and beautiful thing in the universe. For the rest of us, we had already been starring at it since the first RFC for LDAP was released in '93. Yes, linux IS making strides EVERYWHERE. It could be argued that they are the most meaningful contributions in modern technology. Just email the Google sys-admins and ask them how many windows servers comprise the Google cluster. The reply should look something like this: HAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA HAHAHAHAHA HAHAHAHAHA HAHHHHHHHHHHAAAAA HAHAHAH. Signed, The Google Team :) Don't get me wrong, I only intend to make good fun of a silly situation, and rectify some misgivings. Given the history, and the unlimited course that Linux appears to have in it's future, we can only discern that it's simply a matter of time before the One Button solution of pure simplicity finds it's way to the Linux platform. They who bring it will prosper and flourish, as the competition has...

The Management consultant
The Management consultant

Think this is over expanded however I am very much aware monopolies kill innovation and eventually themselves.However it would be appropriate to understand that this is a very confused picture.It would be best to refer to linux as opensource.However research done by BSC consulting shows opensource cannot replace MS but can change the market sufficeintly to increase innovation and penitration.The future is difficult to forcast but shake out is likely to leave four or five main opensource players.Proprietory development will require a new model for opensource to compete sucessfully in the market.Enterprise adoption is not soley about technology the fragmentation of opensource will leave some capital markets unasaleable for opensource.It remains unclear if distros like Ubantu will provide sufficent proof of concept confidence for big ticket enterprise adoption if indeed it survives.

CharlieSpencer
CharlieSpencer

"...anyone wanting to read a FREE government document online would then have to pay $250 for MS Word." Or they could download MS's free Word Viewer, or OpenOffice.org. Doesn't get much 'freer' than that.

todd_dsm
todd_dsm

Everyone should have to run a small business before being handed the reigns in a large business, for this very reason. The corporate budget, somehow, represents 'free money', waste it at will. Amen, brother, amen. Back to the topic: free software isn't anything more or less than keeping information in the hands of the people. We are so used to MS in our society that when congress was deliberating about HOW to store digital information, they actually considered a .doc format. So, anyone wanting to read a FREE government document online would then have to pay $250 for MS Word. Free has a whole new meaning at that point. And, the people sat silent. Linux is making strides EVERYWHERE to better the lives of those willing to take the plunge. The next logical step is directory services; the big boys are already doing this. Apple has an AD plugin in OS X - it ain't impossible. Being Apple it's also easy. Steve Jobs understands that usability is a cornerstone of software engineering. Without it there will be no adoption of the software. Deny this and you are denying the Apple empire which, by any measure should not exist at all. They are the goofy red-headed kid that somehow made it cool to be red-headed and goofy. Take any garden variety junky off junk, they will howl at the discomfort that they couldn't possibly explain. Wean them off of it slowly, nurse them back to health and you might just be looking at a new tax payer. The important thing to never forget is that end users are NO DIFFERENT. The real coup would be much simpler than you think. Make a linux environment that looks more like Windows XP than Windows does. Not some knock off that's 97% XP like - a linux DUPLICATE of the XP interface. Nobody would say a word... Think of 'The Button' like this. It's the junk for admins that don't read much. They need a soft, simple solution, that allows them to say, 'Don't make me think'. My assertion is that mass adoption of linux would spread like wildfire. Using someone elses good idea for your own gain, like MS does to others; thereby beating them at their own game.

tech
tech

Absolutely! It is much harder to find knowledgeable people. It is also much harder to fake your knowledge level. But they are here in central Indiana, and there are more every year (at least for linux). That said a truly knowledgeable MS SQL DB Admin can quickly learn MySQL, anyone who understands Active Directory can learn e-Directory. Since Novell migrated Netware to OES and Linux things are easier there as well. Groupwise, really is it's own animal, but the stability and scalability are far superior to Exchange server.

rkuhn040172
rkuhn040172

Don't you think it's much harder to find and hire techies that know Linux, MySQL, Groupwise, etc? I'm in Indy and I know Shelbyville. I can't imagine there are too many people living in or around Shelbyville that know open source as much as there are people who know Microsoft.

CharlieSpencer
CharlieSpencer

"It is true it is much easier to convince a small office say less than 10 than it is to convince a business with say 75 employees ..." Or 850 or so like we have, or the tens of thousands the Fortune 500 companies each employ. If I was starting a company from scratch, with no legacy applications, no entrenched infrastructure, no customer- or parent company-mandated applications and file formats, I'd be all over a Linux-based solution like white on rice. We're not.

tech
tech

Since I run my own business, and since I like to see profits in the bank and not money running through my hands, I was forced to look at many different options long ago. M$ Office, Yeah it is a good product, but lets be honest. How many people use more than 20% of what Word, or Excel offer? maybe 2 - 3 % of the users. So Open Office is just fine for about 97% of the users. Need M$ Publisher? Try Scribus. The list goes on and on. A copy of Office costs say $250 (depending on version) and I have 10 users. I just saved $2,500 every couple of years. That became pure profit to me. Now lets add in an operating system such as Windows 7 vs SuSE, Exchange vs Groupwise, MS SQL vs MySQL, right on down the line and I think you can see where this goes. I didn't have to raise my rates, but I was able to increase my profits, and in fact the wages of my workers. For me at least it was a win for me, a win for my employees and a win for my clients. One is not likely to take the effort to work out all the little glitches and give the unknown a fair shot unless there is something in it for them. That is why when I switched I told my employees they would reap the savings with me if they could make the switch work. I convinced myself, I have the cold hard proof. Now I convince others. It is true it is much easier to convince a small office say less than 10 than it is to convince a business with say 75 employees, but it can be done. Thanks to the economy it has become easier to convince business owners to take the plunge, which just cements my business because around here there aren't a lot of people that support Novell, or Linux.

tech
tech

I do not consider myself a linux fanboy. I do consider using the right tool for the job, and I don't believe in selling someone M$ Office, "because that's what everyone uses". I match the needs of the business with the best price / performance trade offs, generally saving companies thousands of dollars a year in licensing and support costs alone. As for your hardware assumption that it is old and not capable of running newer OS / Software, I and most of my clients are on a 3 - 5 year hardware replacement schedule regardless of what OS or software they choose to use. Just because MANY small businesses use Quickbooks, does not invalidate my point that it is overpriced bloatware. Quickbooks is just fine if you have one person doing all your accounting. Try running it where there are 4 people doing accounting and it becomes much less useful and sometimes downright painful. What would I recommend? That would largely depend on what the business did. My first requirement for any accounting software is that it be DB based. Because I don't want to be in a position where I can't get at the data (either for reporting or moving to a new system). Beyond that it really does depend on the industry. Many times custom software will serve you much better than the be everything to everyone software. As the old adage goes, use the right tool for the job. You know I can take a screw out with a Swiss Army Knife, and I can use it to cut a piece of lumber too. But if I want efficiency I am probably better off buying a screwdriver and a saw to do the job, as it will get done faster and with more precision.