Implementing a Linux-based networked desktop

Since the BSA’s active crackdown on illegally acquired software a.k.a pirated software last year, I’ve heard of only two activities by most small and medium sized companies — either they buy licensed Microsoft products or switch to Linux as an alternative. Our company of 16 heavilly networked, internet pounding computers chose the latter.

I thought that P500k+ worth of software ain’t worth it — with the little income that most small web development companies take home today, that amount certainly isn’t easy to let go. The quest for the best Linux distro that fits our needs started early last year. We tried a lot of them — Xandros is a cool replica of MS Windows. We’ve tried Mandrake in the past — we didn’t like it. So Mandriva didn’t cross our mind. Then, comes Kubuntu – the KDE version of Ubuntu Linux. We loved it the first time I tested it on a PIII machine.

Kubuntu certainly does most of our computing jobs in the office. Almost anything that our former lover, MS Windows, offers has an equivalent free software from the linux community. Take a look at this:

  • Browser — built in Firefox (IE for Windows)
  • Mail client — Thunderbird (Outlook for Windows)
  • Instant messenger client — Gaim (much like the Trillian for Windows)
  • Office Suite — OpenOffice.org2 (MS Office for Windows)
  • Graphics — The Gimp (although, admittedly, Adobe Photoshop for Windows is more mature)
  • Text editor (for programming) — Kate (we were using UltraEdit for Windows before)

All the basics are there! We successfully deployed Kubuntu across our network mid-2005. We’ve been using it since then and we couldn’t be more happier. I feel that the network is more secured, easily upgradable (Kubuntu releases new versions every 6 months) and dynamic.

On the other hand, this isn’t always the case for other companies. I’ve tried implementing Kubuntu to a client of ours with about 20 workstations. Before they even sign up, they realized that they can’t work on it for lack of Linux ports for their accounting and bank software.

Anyone here successfully implemented any Linux distros across their networks? Your story can be an encouragement to other companies who think that Linux is a dangerously unexplored territory.

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  • If your company has customized applications, such as banking and finance software, then I think it’s cheaper to license Windows rather than to overhaul your entire system, which may entail having to pay someone to port the application to Linux, create a Linux equivalent, or transfer the data to a format that can be handled by a Linux-native app.

    Then there’s the training costs.

    So it’s still highly dependent on a firm’s setting and standing.

    At any rate, I would expect an established institution–such as a bank for instance–to cover their bases in terms of licensing at the outset.

  • haven’t anybody tried dost asti’s bayanihan linux?

  • PoshNeya

    I installed bayanihan linux last week. Since im very new to linux, I had a hard time configuring the modem and soundcard but its okey now.

    I use the following apps:

    kopete – (messenger)
    firefox – (browser)
    The Gimp (photoshop for linux)
    OPenOffice.org – (nuff said).

    Linux is great. Im thinking of installing Kubuntu but since I only use it for personal use, ill probably practice with Bayanihan first.

    Now i only use XP for games. 😉

  • One group that immediately comes to mind when thinking about the difficulties entailed in transitioning to a pure Opensource environment would be the internet cafes.

    A few months back when reports started coming out in the media about raids being conducted by the PNP/NBI/whatnot against cafes using unlicensed Windows software, I read that although some of the owners were all too willing to convert to, and this is how one referred to it… “Linux,” they found themselves ultimately conceding/reverting back to Microsoft, and of course shelling out the license fees this time, since the opensource alternatives were poor platforms for their obvious revenue source, gaming.

    While this may not necessarily be true, one _is_ led to wish that there was more activity in the opensource game development scene.

    At home I run a pure *BSD network environment, reflecting the respective BSDs’ strengths/focus:

    For firewalls: OpenBSD

    For multimedia worskstations and general desktop-y, Windows-y things: FreeBSD

    For admin stations (no fluff like flash and java): OpenBSD

    For general tinkering and experimenting with architecture/OS deployments: NetBSD, DragonFlyBSD, Solaris

    Like the previous poster, I’m thankful that for now, the only reason I have to keep a Windows install CD around is for relatives’ gaming urges.