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What’s the best replacement for Windows on the business desktop?

grantho

By: grantho

October 15, 2008 3:10 pm

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According to a recent Computerworld article by Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols, SUSE Linux Enterprise Desktop (SLED) is the best replacement for Windows on the business desktop.

It’s great to see Steven pick up on our strategy, and we at Novell are very appreciative of this. We’re looking to put more Linux on business desktops, and SLED is specifically targeted for those workloads. Now, I haven’t been at Novell for that long (joined in early 2008), but having been a hard-core Windows user in the past, it’s amazing how easy and simple it was for me to hang up my Windows “Start” menu, switch from Microsoft Office to OpenOffice.org, get all the high-sizzle 3-D graphical effects I wanted, while remaining fully productive with SLED. That said, when when I think about where our desktop business has gone and where it’s going, I’m very excited about the opportunities in front of us.

For those who might not know, the Linux desktop market is growing at a rapid pace — according to IDC, it going to be a $120 million opportunity by 2012, and we continue to build our presence in the enterprise market by strengthening our partnerships with OEMs and channel partners. More importantly, it’s great to see SLED continue to gain traction globally — not only as a way to lower IT costs in today’s tough economy, but also as a means to bring choice to customers, stronger security to enterprises, and a truly fantastic user experience that leverages the innovation of the open source community and Novell engineers. It’s something I’m very excited about, and as our FY wraps up in two weeks, I look back at all the great stuff we’ve accomplished in the past year — our pre-load relationships with HP, Lenovo, and Dell, being one of the first Linux vendors to get into the netbook market with HP and MSI, accelerating our strategy in the Linux thin client space with Wyse, and much more. With all this traction, I’m clearly excited about what 2009 holds for us — among other things, we’re launching SLED 11 at Brainshare!

But more than what we’ve done to date, it’s all about what we can do tomorrow. And that said, it’s critical that we continue to hear from you, our customers and partners about how we can be better. Tell us what’s working. Tell us what’s not. At the end of the day, it’s about improving the user experience, delighting our customers, and making sure we are responsive to your needs. So with that said, I ask you — where do you want to SLED today?

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Categories: Expert Views, SUSE Linux Enterprise Desktop

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5 Comments

  1. By:FlyingGuy

    And what it depends on is what are you doing and what apps are you currently basing your business on.

    If you are a graphics shop, sorry there isn’t a Linux replacement unless you are willing to spend LARGE to teach your entire crew the in’s and out’s of something like gimp, and even then it is a bad bet. Photoshop is the platinum standard, period end of discussion.

    If you are an accounting firm using using something like CCH ( one of if not THE biggest practice management suites for accounting firms) there simply is no Linux replacement.

    If you are a law firm that is heavily entrenched with office automation via Office XP or 2007, you might be able to get away with SLED, but that is going to be a very difficult task since most if not all of the top time and billing packages are written for Windows and tightly integrated with office.

    In short, unless you are just using MS-Office and are not using all of its integration features, you are more then likely stuck until OOo comes a lot farther and some sort of underlying script language that is as easy as VB gets built into it.

    The biggest problem with any firm transitioning to a Linux Desktop of ANY flavor is the paucity of applications. If Novell wants to try and correct this then they should put together a coalition of interests and then purchase the Linux version of Delphi aka Kylix and get it back up to speed. Put the Mono bindings in there and get the QT libs refreshed and put it on the market for $100.00. Right now the development environment for Linux has no RAD developer tools. Alternatively start throwing some huge dollar’s and development talent at the Lazarus Project which is a complete RAD development tool that supports Linux AMD64, I86_64, i386, windows( 32 / 64) , MAC PPC, MAC i386, FreeBSD and there is even a version for NetWare LibC/Clib. And its all NATIVE BINARY CODE, no VM’s required. Now THAT is what I call x-platform

    Yeah Yeah don’t even waste your breath talking to me about Eclipse and the like because quite frankly it is not a RAD tool, it works but RAD, not a chance.

  2. By:anonymous

    i have to agree with the above comment about apps. We utilise an application that only comes in a windows version – end of story, yet we have deployed Open Workgroup Suite and SLED 10 in our company to desktops (notebooks are still XP). The way we do this is through terminal services and rdesktop – and more recently ericom powerterm – although powerterm has some difficulty with w2k3 graphics on SLED. Its a good solution for us as we have a centralised application that is accessed from remote branches so we would be using terminal services anyway – so why pay the licensing fee for windows twice. If we weren’t using terminal services then we wouldn’t be using SLED as the application is core to our line of business.

    Our experience is that there is resistance to Linux on the desktop especially when for example a rate sheet is sent to our operators from a supplier in excel and it doesn’t wortk in OO calc (yes we are hacking it to work – its a match function sort order issue) so we deploy excel to those operators. Sometimes its necessary and business doesn’t work if OS religious prejudice gets in the way.

    However in the main OO is compatible for basic stuff and does do the job.

    What I would like to see is comercial development of SMB apps for retail as complete solutions that are compatible on both platforms and if necessary wine in a vm type shell so that windows apps can be deployed without terminal services. Oh and keep doing the great work on OO compaibility – we wouldn’t have gotten this far with out it!

  3. By:kvictor

    Your strategy is to find good solutions and at once them to bury! I “thank” Novell for the sad end of NetWare, BorderManager and eDir. All my customers went to the Windows and Astaro due to your strategy. I understand them, because they know how to count the money and to see the future!
    Windows will be life forever!

  4. By:Anonymous

    From an administration perspective, SLED is NOT the way to go, unfortunately for scripted package distribution and automatic library identification and install apt-get kills rpm. Yum in my eperiance dosen;t work that well on SLED, but maybe thats just my experiance, but I always find myseld in dependency hell when I use an RPM distro, even with Yast or Yum, apt-get still seems to be the winner for ease of use.

    I also agree with the other above comments, once you have a plan for adminstration, mission critical apps come next, and unfortunetly, people like to use what they know, and although there are some alternatives, there are still not enough mature business critcal apps that are cross platform programmed for Linux. Linux is a great desktop for users who are willing to comprimse and then evolve, but more often then not, I find we end up going against the grain, when we try to impliment Linux. I have found the perfect place for it, is in high school and elementary schools labs. Young minds, are just learning how to write resumes, and work with data, and they have no pre conceived notions of how an application should work, so anyway it works is fine, as long as they get a desirable result, and for me, this has been the most exciting place for Linux.

  5. By:Arcanfel

    I think, the weak point of other OS (from Windows) is number of supported software, applications.

    For DEV team, may choose Linux. But users in business office still stick on Windows.

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