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Can Windows, OS X and Fedora All Work Together? 375

Posted by timothy
from the like-to-buy-the-world-a-coke dept.
greymond writes "In my ever growing job responsibilities, I've recently been tasked with documenting our organization's IT infrastructure, primarily focusing on cost analysis of our hardware leases and software purchases. This is something that has never been done in our organization before and while it's moving along slowly, I'm already seeing some places where we could make improvements. Once completed, I see this as an opportunity to bring up the topic of migrating the majority of our office from Windows 7 to Linux and from Exchange to Gmail. However, this would result in three departments each running a different system: Windows, OS X, and most likely Fedora. Has anyone worked in or tried to set up an environment like this? What roadblocks did you run into? Is this really feasible or should I just continue to focus on the cutbacks that don't require OS changes? (The requirement for having three different systems is that the vast majority of our administration, who rely solely on an install of Microsoft Windows, Word and Excel, are savvy enough that if they came in and saw Gnome running on Fedora with Open Office they'd pick it up fast. However, our marketing department is composed entirely of Apple systems, and the latest Adobe Creative Suite doesn't seem to all work under Wine. The biggest issue is with the Sales department though, as they rely on a proprietary sales platform that is Windows only — and generally, sales personal give the biggest push back when it comes to organizational changes.)"
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Can Windows, OS X and Fedora All Work Together?

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  • Why? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by 0racle (667029) on Thursday November 11, 2010 @04:08PM (#34200836)
    Why do you want to get rid of Exchange for GMail? What has it not been doing for you? I'm at a small company, and we have Macs, Windows and Fedora desktops. The only changes we've made was removing Office for Mac and replacing it with Mail.app on the Macs and using OpenOffice on the Macs and Linux desktops.

    All tied together with the an Active Directory on Server 2003 and an Exchange server.
    • Re:Why? (Score:4, Insightful)

      by RightSaidFred99 (874576) on Thursday November 11, 2010 @04:27PM (#34201046)

      Exactly. If you've already sunk the costs into Exchange, it's very difficult to think of many good reasons to go to Gmail. Frankly, for desktops, the same holds for Windows 7.

      I don't know all the details but if this is just your personal love of OSS then I would recommend you put your feelings aside and make decisions as a professional and not as a fanboy.

      • Re:Why? (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward on Thursday November 11, 2010 @05:07PM (#34201490)
        Because exchange will continue to cost you money. Just because you sunk money into the initial purchase of exchange doesn't mean you're done spending money on it. A mail server in general will cost you a lot of man hours just dealing with spam alone. Many setups I've seen have another blade that does nothing but handle spam. So now you have to pay someone to maintain two boxes and pay a subscription fee for your spam filter. Lets not forget the price of deploying and maintaining Outlook either. Nothing but a constant PITA maintenance drain. We used to play that game. Life is easy with Gmail.
        • by acoustix (123925)

          Barracuda - 'nuff said.

        • Re:Why? (Score:5, Informative)

          by lucm (889690) on Thursday November 11, 2010 @07:16PM (#34202588)

          > Life is easy with Gmail.

          That is, until your company is using Gmail and you are the one in charge of IT. Even when you pay Google instead of using the free service, frequent outages of a few minutes are excluded from Gmail SLA (and they happen often!) and as the IT guy you end up being overwhelmed by angry people asking you what is going on... while having no control at all, except refreshing a blog page on some Google server to see if there is more info regarding the duration of the outage.

          Gmail is ok for a small business that does not rely on email, but the support model is not ready for bigger environments.

        • Re:Why? (Score:5, Informative)

          by polaris20 (893532) on Thursday November 11, 2010 @08:49PM (#34203098)
          GMail was more expensive over 5 years than Exchange was, so we kept with Exchange (2010, in our case). Our spam filter is quite effective, and barely needs to be touched. Exchange 2003 was extremely hands off, and now having implemented 2010 I don't see how it's going to be any different. It works well with Windows and OS X via Office 2010/2011, and the Linux users (Ubuntu, Debian) are all content with Outlook 2010 via Citrix XenApp. As for pushing Linux on people; right tool for the right job. Trying to get CS to run in WINE is borderline incompetent if you're using it for business to facilitate the money-making process. Sure, it may be good fun at home, but there's no place for that shit in a business. Windows does the general office crap fine, so we use it. Linux does the engineering/compute stuff fine, which is why we use it. OS X does the marketing/sales/creative crap just great, so we use it. They all integrate into Active Directory easily, so I don't see why giving employees choice is a problem, provided you have a competent IT staff.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by jez9999 (618189)

      Why do you want to get rid of Exchange for GMail?

      Outlook's a horrid mail client. I'd actually say that Outlook 2010 is significantly worse than 2003.

      • Re:Why? (Score:4, Insightful)

        by Mongoose Disciple (722373) on Thursday November 11, 2010 @04:40PM (#34201196)

        Outlook's a horrid mail client. I'd actually say that Outlook 2010 is significantly worse than 2003.

        Yet, it's pretty much the best* client for scheduling/calendaring/meetings. Most businesses care a lot about this.

        *Note that best != good.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by TopherC (412335)

          I'm at a kind of satellite office for a big telecom company, and we all have "managed" workstations -- PCs running Windows, exchange server, lots of 3rd-party security software, internal websites with ActiveX, etc. So we're heavily entrenched in a Windows computing environment.

          But ironically almost all of the equipment we're working on is running a Linux kernel. We have to do development on remote *nix servers. So ssh, Xwindows, telnet, scripting with Perl/Python/Tcl/whatever, ... these are the tools for mo

          • by nizo (81281) *

            So every couple days someone asks "can I _please_ switch to Linux on my desktop? Please??"

            Linux with a virtualbox install of a Windows OS would probably work great for all the Windows specific stuff, and would easier to maintain over the long haul.

            • Re:Why? (Score:5, Insightful)

              by smash (1351) on Thursday November 11, 2010 @08:59PM (#34203150) Homepage Journal

              The thing is that then you have TWO operating systems to maintain (patch, secure, update, etc), and more memory to run the Windows VM effectively.

              If you need to run Windows apps, run Windows. If you need Unix apps run a Unix variant.

              Trying to get rid of WIndows by running it in a VM *on client machines* is retarded, you're just creating work for yourself. If you want to do that run a virtual desktop off vSphere. NOT via virtualbox running on a client machine.

              Windows as a client is fine if you have a half competent admin to maintain the environment.

              Shifting OS simply due to zealotry or lack of knowledge of the existing platform is stupid.

              For what its worth, I run a heterogenous environment here (FreeBSD, Linux, WinXP, Win7), but its because i use the relevant tool for the job. I don't do shit like replacing every screw in the building with a hex head and demand that all people give up their screwdrivers for a set of allen keys - for no reason other than not liking screwdrivers...

      • by ghjm (8918)

        What mail client is better? Gmail's web interface?

      • by Nadaka (224565)

        simple test. There is something in your mail that you need to find, you remember a few key words and search for it...

        In outlook this fails utterly. You can set up a custom folder with filter criteria to fake a search, but its a pain in the ass.

        Every other email client is capable of handling this simple task with relative ease.

    • Re:Why? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Monkeedude1212 (1560403) on Thursday November 11, 2010 @04:40PM (#34201198) Journal

      It's also odd that he wants to switch everything to Linux when it sounds like he's got an entire Microsoft Shop going with the exception of Macs in one department.

      If you aren't a Linux Guru - I don't see the point of creating a headache for yourself by trying to switch to Linux when the Microsoft Foundation is already there.

      What he saves in licensing costs will ultimately be lost in troubleshooting because he doesn't appear to have the skills necessary to work this out properly - if you don't know how, than I don't suggest trying it out.

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by kiwimate (458274)

        Agreed. I followed the link back to your original post from June where you said it'd been a while since you worked this much with Linux, and it sounds like you've already got your hands full. Seriously, I applaud your desire to show some initiative (and I wish you worked here for that!), but be very careful you don't bite off more than you can chew.

        There are several posts here already asking you why you want to do this, considering the sunk costs in Exchange/Windows 7, so I won't repeat that lot. But if you

    • Re:Why? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by gravis777 (123605) on Thursday November 11, 2010 @05:31PM (#34201694)

      I'll take it one step futher - why get rid of Windows 7? You already have licenses, probably already have some patch deployment method in place, and your users are probably happy and familer with it. There is going to be a ZERO cost benefit of going from Windows to Linux because the company ALREADY HAS licenses. Now, if you are talking about bringing in future people, and in future computer purchaces, going open source, that is different.

      All going from Windows to Linux is going to do is frustrate users, and going from Microsoft Office to OpenOffice is yet ANOTHER new Office product they have to use. You will have to incure a cost of training users, and suffer from a temporary loss in productivity while the users learn the new system. In other words, converting from Windows 7 to Linux will probably ADD costs, not save them. On top of that, you would have to incure the costs of reimaging your entire Windows user base, and backing up user data, then porting it over to Linux.

      I say, stick with Exchange - your department has already sunk money into it, and leave your Windows users alone. Your solutions are going to COSTS money, not save it.

  • by 140Mandak262Jamuna (970587) on Thursday November 11, 2010 @04:09PM (#34200846) Journal
    You dont actually migrate users out of Windows to Linux and out of Exchange to gmail. You make a lot of presentations and charts etc with lots of bogus numbers, with just enough credibility to convince your local Microsoft sales guys think you are serious. Once they give you some discounts, you mention that as a big savings achieved by you in your annual report and try to wangle boni [1] and/or raises. Then rinse, lather and repeat for the next year or in the next job.

    [1] Glossary:

    Boni: plural of Bonus.

    • by rvw (755107) on Thursday November 11, 2010 @04:20PM (#34200962)

      You dont actually migrate users out of Windows to Linux and out of Exchange to gmail. You make a lot of presentations and charts etc with lots of bogus numbers, with just enough credibility to convince your local Microsoft sales guys think you are serious. Once they give you some discounts, you mention that as a big savings achieved by you in your annual report and try to wangle boni [1] and/or raises. Then rinse, lather and repeat for the next year or in the next job.

      [1] Glossary:

      Boni: plural of Bonus.

      Hi! I'm Boni of Malta [facebook.com]. I'm single, and I want to exchange bones and stuff. Please be my friend. I'm on facebook! Woof!!!

    • by HangingChad (677530) on Thursday November 11, 2010 @05:35PM (#34201714) Homepage

      Boni: plural of Bonus.

      I think it would be funnier if the singular was boner. Then you could come home and proudly announce, "I met with the boss today and got a boner!"

      At my age that is a bonus.

  • by MichaelKristopeit161 (1934886) on Thursday November 11, 2010 @04:10PM (#34200850)
    i recently hired an IT staff that outsources their job responsibilities to online chat message boards. has anyone else had experience in replacing such a staff?
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by Kjella (173770)

      My HR staff outsources their job responsibilities to online chat message boards. has anyone else had experience in replacing such a staff? [Warning: This post may cause recursion]

  • I am at a university, and my department's IT guys have to deal with Windows, Mac OS X, Fedora, Ubuntu, and even a few old Solaris machines. They maintain a wiki of tips for accomplishing various tasks, and for the most part, users who do not use the default configuration (dual-boot Windows and Ubuntu) are on their own. The biggest issues are probably the file servers (NFS is only allowed for the default Ubuntu install, Samba for everything else) and printing (maintaining both Windows and Unix print queues
    • The biggest issues are probably the file servers (NFS is only allowed for the default Ubuntu install, Samba for everything else)

      Is that right? I am pretty sure that Ubuntu Desktop can view Windows file shares with the default install. Or do you mean on the server end? Yes, you might need to install Samba in order to have Ubuntu file servers support Windows clients, but it's not particularly hard.

      The bigger and more annoying problem that I've had with file servers supporting different client operating systems has been that the different systems treat metadata differently. Different operating systems have different methods of dea

    • by hedwards (940851)

      printing (maintaining both Windows and Unix print queues is apparently difficult)

      Shouldn't be, they should ultimately use the same que. I'm pretty sure that the printer daemon can handle that without too much trouble. Samba just presents the device the way that a Windows server would, it then hands that off to the local print daemon for actual printing. So, it should handle that largely by itself provided that things have been correctly set up.

      But it's been a while since I did anything like that, most of the time I'm just connective my *NIX computer to the networked printer. And thes

  • by BattleApple (956701) on Thursday November 11, 2010 @04:11PM (#34200866)
    No.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday November 11, 2010 @04:17PM (#34200938)

    What is Windows 7 failing to do for you that Linux will improve upon without causing problems in different areas? I find it hard to believe that a business that already paid for Windows 7 is making a smart business decision by dropping it in favor of Linux (or even Mac OS X).

    Changing to Linux because you can is just stupid. Good luck following through with your "savvy" users actually using Linux on a daily basis without a lot of trouble. You're going to need it...

    • by AnonymousClown (1788472) on Thursday November 11, 2010 @04:37PM (#34201168)
      Because if he puts Linux and OSX in the environment, he now has paid experience deploying those OSes and he can then put that on his resume thereby improving his job prospects. Because employers want those ridiculously long laundry list of skills these days.

      He also needs to get some Java, C#, C++, SQL, Oracle, SQL Server, Perl, VBA, .NET, Visual Studio, and iPhone coding under his belt too or otherwise he'll be unemployable.

      Kids - be ruthless in building your skills laundry list because employers want you to have it all and you're competing with people from all over the World who'll work for much less than you will. Also, make sure you're in management by 35 or you'll be working at Starbucks - if you're lucky.

      • Java, C#, C++, SQL, Oracle, SQL Server, Perl, VBA, .NET, Visual Studio,....Linux and Windows

        I got that from a job posting that my father-in-law sent me.

        And at 35, you're oooooolllllldddd in corporate IT.

    • by hedwards (940851)
      Depending upon the set up he might be able to get his money back for the portion of the license that hasn't been used. But it still requires a bit more than wanting to use Linux to actually justify this.

      Probably the best first step would be to establish that all the software that the employees need works on Linux or has a fully compatible clone. If he can't do that then the rest of this is futile and a waste of the employers resources.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by gbjbaanb (229885)

      Changing to Linux because you can is just stupid.

      crikey, things have changed round here, haven't they?!

  • by GPLDAN (732269) on Thursday November 11, 2010 @04:19PM (#34200948)
    Post pictures of your girlfriend, and we'll tell you if you should propose. Give a snapshot of your kitchen, and we'll make redecorating suggestions. Post your eTrade login and password, I'll take a shot at helping you revise your portfolio. Thinking of buying a house?


    We know nothing about your company, what it does, what the people are like. We have no fucking clue what you should do, because every situation is different. If there is one decent bit of advice to be had, and this comes from the Veep level with 20 years in:
    1. Everything starts with the directory system and
    2. Calendaring derives from it.
  • by H0p313ss (811249) on Thursday November 11, 2010 @04:21PM (#34200970)
    Long answer: Noooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo!
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      +1 to this.

      OP: Can you get all those things to work together? Sure, technically it is possible. What you are naively not weighing is the office politics.

      Will the people who work at the company hate and/or fire you? Bet on it. Understand that if there is any problem with (for example) GMail, and I mean any problem, up to and including any problem that would have happened the exact same way in Exchange, it will be your fault in the eyes of anyone who matters. Random VP can't play Minesweeper because you

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by Deviant (1501)

        +1 This

        95% of the industry is using Windows and Exchange/Outlook. All of the peers that your management will run into use them. All of the vendors that provide possible software or tools for your industry expect you to have them. Also, if you can't properly and easily manage Windows 7, with all of the great management tools and Group Policies that are available and information online and from Microsoft Press, it is a failing on your part as it is a great OS and I've had a great experience with it in a very

  • by dbesade (745908) on Thursday November 11, 2010 @04:28PM (#34201062) Homepage
    Lets break this down: "I see this as an opportunity to bring up the topic of migrating the majority of our office from Windows 7 to Linux and from Exchange to Gmail" -Why? Most users are not comfortable with anything other than Windows. Second Windows 7 is still somewhat fresh, I mean, your going to depreciate software that you likely purchased less than 6 months to a year old? Sounds like an immediate waste of money rather than a long term savings. The Second part of your question makes it seem like your some dumbass fresh out of college. Really? GMail over Exchange? Are you willing to hedge your business needs on a free email service, not to mention the loss of collaboration options, etc? All in all it sounds like this situation: 1) You're a Junior Administrator or Helpdesk Engineer 2) They fired the ACTUAL IT Staff and left you since you are cheap enough to keep on the books. Look, want to save money? Look into Virtualization Options, Open Office instead of Microsoft. Linux is not the end all at the workstation level, no matter what they tell you in college.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Seems to me the solution to his problem is to move everyone to Windows 7. All the software he wants to use work on Windows so he'd only have one OS to maintain.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Grishnakh (216268)

      Another post that needs a "-1 Uninformed" moderation.

      GMail isn't a free service for corporations. Google offers a paid, supported version for corporate customers. But even the free service is way better than Outlook; I've been using Outlook at work since 2000, and I'd pick Gmail any time. Outlook is slow and cumbersome to use, and Exchange servers always seem to have problems (sure, you can blame that on the in-house IT staff, but I've seen far fewer outages with Gmail). And "collaboration options"? In

  • Just make sure the right tools are defined for the right jobs, and the scope of using them are clearly defined. By defining how things are supported, it makes it clear when people go off reservation, they are responsible for their own support and that policy dictates that changing existing systems will not include those "off the reservation" items are not considered.

    Then you BOFH all "off the reservation" systems by purposely choosing upgrades and updates that break them .

  • by mrnick (108356) on Thursday November 11, 2010 @04:33PM (#34201120) Homepage

    This all depends on the size of your network and number of each type of system deployed. Plus don't forget there are political reasons for making or not making certain recommendations that generally outweigh any technical/economic reasons. I have seen people fired for making recommendations that had less exposure than what you have suggested.

  • Stupid idea (Score:2, Flamebait)

    by SolidAltar (1268608)

    This is a stupid idea and you're stupid for considering it.
    Not posting Anonymously.

  • I would really think twice about forcing someone whose job _relies_ on Excel or Powerpoint to migrate to OpenOffice if you have such people.

    I run Linux on my desktop and use OpenOffice on a regular basis. While it's good enough for demos and _most_ spreadsheeting tasks, it is NOT Excel and I find myself running Excel in a WIndows Virtual Machine whenever I have to do anything that involves juggling/formatting data which isn't intensive or routine enough to warrant its own PERL/Python script.

    Before you mod

  • Management do not want big changes. They want quick wins. Find somewhere that can show savings fast. If you find several, keep some for next years savings. And sometimes management lose attention to the issue, so talking is enough. Then you can use the same savings next year. Especially if management change. Hell, we presented decommissioning the same server 3 times to various management. Happy managers all the way!

    And whatever you du: Do NOT propose anything that require more work. You will not get more
  • For maximum simplicity just move everyone to OS X. The guys who need Office can use MS Office for the Mac. The non-technical users won't be freaked out by OS X in the way they might be by Linux. OS X gives you most of the same malware immunity you get with any other non-Windows OS. The marketing and graphics guys get to keep using Macs just like they always have. Your developers, if there are any, should be fine on the Mac unless they're doing development that specifically targets Windows.

    From a cost p

    • by gtall (79522)

      I think he'd have to shoot the sales staff first, if I recall correctly the paragraph on what he wants to do. Personally, I think butt shots work best to get their attention, otherwise they'll spend their lives making misery for the rest of the company over the Pain they are enduring.

  • This kind of change really requires a much wider consultation, and probably more skills than you have developed.

    First, you haven't made a case for the changes you propose. Not an "I like Linux - Windows is evil" case, but a business case.

    Begin by looking at the current costs of running and supporting your IT operations, then develop a projection of the real costs of implementing and supporting the changes - including retraining and fighting with software that doesn't quite work the way people are use
  • Everything you touch on is certainly feasible and (although, TONS of work) modestly achievable. However, I hate to say if you're the one who pulled out the "Linux can save us all this money" smoking gun fan boi approach, I'd say you better go back and figure out how much it's going to cost your business/company you work for how much time in training, lost productivity, transitions, oversights, and quirks associated with your mass movement to Linux. Just because you're cutting licensing costs, doesn't mean

  • Why, why, why???? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Dynedain (141758) <slashdot2.anthonymclin@com> on Thursday November 11, 2010 @04:52PM (#34201316) Homepage

    Why Linux? If it's simply license costs, well then keep people on Windows. The per-seat software license costs are pretty small compared to your labor + overhead costs of what your IT people will need to put in to retrain user expectations. Even if you're paying $500/user for Windows + Office, that's tiny compared to overall productivity differences.

    If people need posixy goodness, give 'em OSX. For the most part they'll probably be happier to not need to mess around as much with desktop config and software installation. Leave Linux to users who can self-install and self-support.

    Do not take MS Office away from your Finance and Management teams. Sure, they could learn OpenOffice if they needed, but there's a lot of stuff that Excel does really well that OpenOffice Charts can't. And if a Senior Manager spends even 1-2 hours trying to learn how to use OpenOffice, well, that wasted time just blew away the license cost savings. Re-training and loss of productivity is very expensive, very difficult to factor into your budgeting plans, and impossible not to underestimate.

    Finally, why move from Exchange to GMail??? If you don't want to pay as much, consider Kerio or Zimbra, but do not force users to give up integrated messaging, group calendars, and contact databases. We're moving right now from a lousy group calendar to Kerio (Exchange wasn't right for us) because we waste so much time just trying to schedule meetings.

    • by Dynedain (141758)

      Oh, and take the total price difference in your final options, and divide it out over the lifespan of the systems (usually 3 years, but check w/ your CFO regarding how they're depreciating items and taking advantage of tax issues). Leases offer a lot more flexibility for the bean counters in how they report things.

      If that total difference, divided by the timespan is less than the salary + benefits + overhead of adding a single employee to the firm (which it probably is) then it's a huge waste of resources.

      W

  • I hate to say it, but you should probably stick with Windows.

    As a business, running Windows apps under Wine sounds like a constant headache that could leave you dead in the water. Even if everything works today, who knows what tomorrows patches will bring?

    From a cost and administrative standpoint, it's probably cheaper to buy the extra Windows licenses than to support and maintain a third OS anyways.
  • You need to get everyone driving toward eliminating the need for installed applications and
    moving towards web based solutions. Once you are on primarily web based solutions the majority
    of these issues dissappear. The first great step is to get rid of exchange that is one path
    of lockin eliminated.

  • Go Slowly (Score:5, Informative)

    by gQuigs (913879) on Thursday November 11, 2010 @04:59PM (#34201398) Homepage

    The last transition I ran (had to leave due to personal reasons) was looking like it was ultimately going to fail.

    Why?
    OpenOffice - found several critical bugs (all fixed now) that kept people from being able to work effectively
    Intel video drivers - found a fun critical bug whenever they plugged into a projector
    Didn't have control over what other groups bought as software (big one, make sure management is actually willing to back you up)
          * think hard about this one, is there anyone (manager) in the company that will end up buying something without consulting you and who no one wants to go against...

    The 3 OSes can easily coexist. Here's how I would go forward:
    Don't touch the different platforms at first, start with the applications.
      * Web browsers - make sure everyone is running firefox. I found out that 1 person was using IE6 for an important project. they hadn't mentioned it, even when asked directly. Solution: Block Internet explorer access, (I forced the person to move to IE8, yay for small victories)
          having people complain when you have it blocked on Windows is much better than having people complain when they are now on Linux. (They will blame Linux)
      * Best in class applications - DON'T start with OpenOffice. Make open source applications a regular part of discussions for new software. Evaluate other software you use for open source applications. Make sure they are successful.

      * Make sure the other people in IT actually want this change.
      * Move them to Linux/OpenOffice and observe problems over at least 1 full release of Fedora, trying to get problems fixed for the next one
      * Transition office to OpenOffice on all machines (have just installed first, then default, then uninstall MS Office - very important) watch for issues over at least 6 months
      * Transition office to Linux

    Yes, this is more like a 2 year plan. But well. Go Slowly. :)

    One other point, if anyone wants to move over let them, and help them do it. If they are choosing to switch they could be very very helpful down the road.

  • I sure would like a front row seat to watch it all happen, though. Really, what you suggest is a good way to have everyone mad at you, right before you get fired.
  • How much money do you save migrating to Linux when marketing and sales use OS X and Windows with software for those OS's. You have to get all new software that runs under Linux, get everything running under Wine (for the Windows dudes) and provide support people to handle the training and issues. And the OS X guys are screwed, they can't run their software at all.

    Artificial cost savings.

  • Firstly I agree with gothzilla's statements about user comfort and productivity.

    But to answer the question about making the different OSes work together, it's just a matter of administration. The tools are all existing. One thing to keep in mind is a slow migration. If you're moving users from OS X or Windows to a Linux distribution I suggest starting with providing them software packages on their current OS that they will be using in Linux. Things such as Firefox, Chrome, Open Office, etc. That way they ca

  • Since you're not giving us a ton of details to work with, let's make some fairly basic assumptions...

    1. Any workstations you've already purchased already have Windows pre-installed, and future workstations will almost certainly have Windows pre-installed. So, you're going to spend time (that's "$/hour" in management-speak, even if you're salaried) wiping these machines, installing Fedora or some other Linux distribution, then hoping and praying everything works off the bat. Since you almost certainly won
  • Why Fedora? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Just Brew It! (636086) on Thursday November 11, 2010 @05:13PM (#34201548)
    Fedora is a bleeding-edge distro with a rapid release cycle and relatively short support period. If Linux makes sense for you at all, you should probably be looking at Ubuntu LTS or Debian on the desktop, and RHEL/CENTOS/Debian for servers. Fedora would not be my first (or even second...) choice for deployment in an enterprise environment, unless most of your users are *NIX software developers (and they're developing for RHEL/CENTOS as the target environment).
  • by CAIMLAS (41445) on Thursday November 11, 2010 @05:23PM (#34201626) Homepage

    I've been there, done that, and gotten the pink slip. No, not literally - but I've looked into doing things like this in the past.

    Consider for a second why you want to do this before you approach it, as well as the added overhead of maintaining multiple, divergent systems.

    As for Exchange -> Gmail... why? Seems like a (significant) downgrade to me, and I'm particularly un-fond of Exchange.

    If you're considering multiple apps under WINE and completely abandon the existing OS, I suspect you're a bit of a fanatic (or simply inexperienced). You want to do something like this with baby steps. One application at a time!

    What's the justification? Licensing costs? Avoiding malware? Reducing management overhead? What is your end goal?

    The only conceivable time I can imagine moving common workstations to LInux right now is if you're running on ancient XP machines and/or the necessary applications are either minimal and do not necessarily require Windows, or you plan to move to something like XenApp for important Windows apps. Moving already-licensed W7 machines to Linux "just because" seems stupid unless there's a good time/money management reason for it.

    IF you're silly enough to approach this, I suggest you look at user requirements - and then start replacing and/or migrating one thing at a time. If you want to get rid of Exchange, I suggest you look at that first, consider options, and do a migration only once you've figured out that it makes sense after considering all use-case scenarios.

  • Basically, the answer is yes, they can work together. I'm not sure, though, whether that's the important question.

    I've run a couple different networks, now, with a mixture of Linux, Windows, and OSX clients. The easiest way to do this is probably still to keep a Windows domain running, since Linux/OSX support Windows authentication and file sharing better than Windows supports Linux authentication and file sharing.

    It will take a little work and a bit of knowledge, and even then you probably won't get ev

  • by dave562 (969951) on Thursday November 11, 2010 @05:27PM (#34201656) Journal

    Your job as the IT resource for the organization is to give the staff the tools that they need to do their job. Do the sales people want new tools, or are you trying to force new tools upon them? The sales staff pays your salary. As much as it sucks to hear it, that is the bottom line. They have a workflow and a way of doing things that is centered on the tools they have. Why are you trying to upset the apple cart?

    Linux has matured to the point where if you are starting from scratch, it is a viable path to take. You can get the functionality you need at a fraction of the cost. Linux is not enough better than Windows (or OSX) to migrate onto it (for most organizations). If you like Linux, bring it in where you can. If you need to develop a new application, consider a LAMP stack instead of SQL and IIS. If your boss randomly starts whining about licensing costs for Office, suggest OpenOffice.

    Do not take it upon yourself to "make things better" if you are the only person who seems to care. Let the users tell you what they need, and help guide them to the best solution. I have seen careers ruined by people who truly wanted to make things better, but were too caught up in their own heads to realize that nobody else seemed to care. They end up "solving" problems that do not need to be solved, and in the process create a lot of upset and headaches. Migrations are never simple. Often times going from one version of an application to another is a big enough headache, nevermind one OS to another.

  • just use fingers to touch OS X and feet to run Windows, while voice-controlling Linux.

  • You can do this in GroupWise. Seriously.

    The Apple client for GroupWise works. Yes, it did as of this summer. Lately, Apple hasn't been busy crippling it, so I suspect it's still ok. Works for 10.4 and 10.5.

    The Windows clients include a native client and an Outlook plug-in. This was slick in Outlook 2007.

    Would you prefer the GroupWise Web Access Client?

    GroupWise server runs on NetWare, SUSE 10 or above (I think), Windows Server '03 and '08. The Mobile Server might be fun to look at.

    Yes, GroupWise works

  • by Mr. Underbridge (666784) on Thursday November 11, 2010 @05:33PM (#34201706)
    If you put a wolverine, a badger, and a mountain lion into a box, will they cuddle?
  • by khb (266593) on Thursday November 11, 2010 @05:59PM (#34201940)

    You haven't provided anywhere near enough information to give useful advice. What are you trying to accomplish? What are the users doing? What tools are they using (releases count), etc. Who would be using Linux and why (if it's going to be low cost windows replacements, then perhaps rehink your choice of distribution...)

    You need to trade off budget, vs. requirements vs. desiderata .. it's why IT is a profession not a hobby ;>

    As to the question you asked, if you keep things on Exchange, and CIFS everyone can share. If you migrate to IMAP based servers everyone can share, except for calendaring (outlook's Calendar features are not the same as what you get with Google Apps, so be careful what you threaten your user community with).

    How do Sales and Marketing communicate? What do they need to collaborate on? If it's just PDF documents from Marketing->Sales then the question is pretty meaningless. If they need to coauthor documents you might have very different Requirements.

    Personally I work in a mixed Windows/Linux environment, and sometimes use personal Macs attached. Engineering is CentOS based, my Linux laptop is Ubuntu, my Windows laptop is XP and my Windows VM inside of the Ubuntu environment is Win7u. Macs are aged PPC based devices.

    Depending on just what you are trying to share and WHY makes all the difference ... but it can be done. Trivially in many cases; less so in others.

    As others aptly noted, taking Excel away from power users is seldom a successful strategy.

  • by Chris Snook (872473) on Friday November 12, 2010 @06:27AM (#34205286)

    A friend of mine tried this with her rather savvy users, but the churn in Fedora created too much work to keep up with. It worked fine, but they ended up switching to Ubuntu LTS for the longer support lifetime, since CentOS 5 was getting a little old. If you prefer the Fedora ecosystem, RHEL 6 was just released, and CentOS 6 will be out soon.

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