10 things to consider before porting to Linux

Jack Wallen wrote 10 questions asking people who would like to migrate to Linux… I agree with most of the 10 questions… Even though most of’em are corporate not a personal concern…

I’ll rephrase the questions my way:

1-   Do you really need the propriotary softwares?

Well, There’s an equivalent OpenSource software to almost every propriotary software… GIMP can take Photoshop’s place, OpenOffice can fill in Microsoft Office’s place, InkScape can replace CorelDraw and the list goes on.

But we shouldn’t forget that (for example) those who work in Photoshop developments are getting paid to develop a specialized software for photo publishing under a specific operating system… They wouldn’t develop on that operating system unless they know how to make the best out of it for the software’s needs letting aside the fact that they wouldn’t be hired if they weren’t so skilled in image processing and stuff… Ofcourse there’s emulations but I doubt it would give exactly the perfectly same results as using the operating system they’ve developed on (as in Photoshop under Wine or mono considering my example).

2-   GNOME or KDE?

SIGTERMer would jump in this convo telling me it shouldn’t be asked since you can use both… But here’s the thing; Not every Linux migrator is a programmer or an IT person.

Ofcourse you can run both on the same Linux system without stability issues (I personally doubt… But it’s just me). But there’s people who migrate from different operating systems and want to use Linux with a close feeling and interface of their previous operating system.

So as Jack Wallen suggests; KDE goes for Windows people and GNOME goes for OSX guys.

I would disagree with the man since to me, I think it’s nothing but a personal feeling toward the thing… I, personally, prefer GNOME over KDE… It’s just me.

3-   You think your IT people could handle Linux?

Lets think of Windows, Linux and OSX as different majors… Let’s say Physics, Chemistry and Electronics… Every major got its own science and world that got some common similarities between them but got ALOT of specialized differences.

So don’t expect a Windows IT person to migrate to Linux without proper training… I like Jack Wallen said:

Sure, they may know more about Windows than you know about your own family. But that doesn’t mean they know their way around Linux well enough to administer a system or network of Linux boxes.

4-   Does your corporate gets special offers and discounts from Microsoft\Mac?

I faced a scenario that I think others did.

My friend made a Microsoft PowerPoint project and wanted my opinion. Luckily I have OpenOffice (I still do… Less space on my laptop since I don’t use it much anyway… I’m broke anyway 😛 ) so I opened the file with OpenOffice and everything was FUGLY!! Why? Because for some reason OpenOffice didn’t handle Microsoft PowerPoint’s files properly that they go REAL slow when motions are involved… I don’t know if they fixed this issue (since it’s been a long time since I thought of upgrading my OpenOffice) which assumingly they did or it’s just what happens on OpenOffice under Winows, but it REALLY caused me some panic.

Keep that scenario in mind… And think of things this way:

If my crappy college would offer cheap student version of Microsoft Office (or maybe Visual Studio as well… Oh yea, Express Edition is free… Yet it’s just express) by some special offers they receive from Microsoft (Usually they DO give offers to institutes and schools… But I think my college is too lazy to do so), I would’ve spared some cash to buy that so I wouldn’t have to be in such scenario.

As a personal preferance; I prefer paying some money on some propriotary software with features that I need that runs on an operating system that I’m really familiar with than get a free software that causes such issues or migrate to another operating system that I’m not totally used to (or will have hard time getting used to) just to have a free software that runs what I neede perfectly.

5-   Do you use alot of removable media?

I know alot would disagree on this point (I kinda disagree on this point as well), but removable media in Linux isn’t as perfect as Windows (Or maybe the other way around).

So if you have a corporate and you have alot of removable media, it’ll be annoying since some of the removable media wouldn’t mount properly under Linux.

I don’t know if what Jack Wallen suggested is the right choice, but he suggest Mandriva for removable media issues.

Personally, I faced little issues with removable media… Let’s say 1:100 ratio… I know it’s really little, but there was some issues…

6-   Is your hardware supported?

Well, it’s not a big concern in Linux anymore since new hardwares usually provide drivers for Windows, Linux and maybe OSX (Really… Not ALL of manufacturers provide a driver for OSX).

But when you want to cut price and use old hardwares, you might have drivers issues… Ofcourse you would be able to write a driver or two to work on this\these hardwares or maybe hire or ask those who made’em to write on, but that would cost money and\or time.

Though most of old hardwares are supported by Linux so I kinda disagree with Jack here.

7-   Are you using Active Directory?

There’s an alternative Linux solution for Active Directory; OpenLDAP… But ofcourse there’s some features in Active Directory aren’t supported by OpenLDAP (And maybe vise-versa)… Ofcourse that doesn’t mean OpenLDAP is superiored by Active Directory (Actually, OpenLDAP might be better)… But it’s just a compatibility issues and what your corporate needs.

8-   Would someone support your Linux?

To me, thats the only thing I consider a weak point in Linux; No one will really support you… I’m sure alot of people would read this the wrong way, so let me clarify my point.

Jack Wallen mentioned that if your company would install Ubuntu, Red Hat or Suse, they’ll be supported by those who made them. And if they would install Debian or whatever your only support is the mailing list or forums…

I agree on this point… When something goes wrong in your company and you purchased a supporting package or whatever from some company, you can force then to work things up and they’ll HAVE to do so.

9-   Are you paying for services?

Linux will help you cut your costs you’re paying for security service… You might not need Symantic or Norton services to secure your network… In fact, you could kick ClamAV or whatever free security suit that OpenSource Community provides you.

I’m sure alot will go “We don’t need security softwares… We use Linux\OSX”.

In Linux case: Yes you do… Linux might not have malwares, but don’t forget that alot hackers-attracting servers are Linux an they’ve been an still being compromised every now’n’then… I’m not saying Windows Serves are secured, it’s just that Linux is not totally secured as well.

In OSX Case: You probably won’t need any security suit right now since OSX is not a profitable target for hackers yet. And since OSX is gaining more users, hackers would be more attracted than before and actually start developing malwares and methods to attack OSX… Let’s not forget the PWN2OWN, Apple’s security suggestion that they removed, recent OSX malwares in the wild and other stuff.

In a personal opinion; It only depends on the user’s behavior… You could be totally paranoid about what goes on in your computer whether it’s Linux, Windows or OSX and STILL get security issues… While you can go as easy as “What does this button do!?” and you wouldn’t get any security issue… If you know what you’re doing then you’ll be safe (mostly), if you don’t then you don’t.

10-   Can your co-workers handle Linux?

This is an important point as well… You could deploy Linux in a good environment but the people who’d use it aren’t capable of using it or not mentally\physically ready to migrate from Windows\OSX to Linux.

I rephrased things in a shorter way in my own sense giving examples and explainations my way (Though most of’em are related to the Jack’s article)…

If you’re interested in reading the original post, Click here to visit the TechRepublic article

2 thoughts on “10 things to consider before porting to Linux

  1. Hay, it’s a linux related post! a long, linux related post deserves a long linux related comment:
    i agree with this post for the most part. but i would lie if i said i agreed with it 100%. here is why:

    1- Do you really need the proprietary softwares?
    if you use your os for work, you really don’t have a choice, now do you? forget linux.. or better yet, install it on an old pc or dual boot.

    2- GNOME or KDE?
    “So as Jack Wallen suggests; KDE goes for Windows people and GNOME goes for OSX guys.”
    in my experience with both, GNOME and KDE are both highly customizable. but KDE is more eye candy- oriented (i.e. OSX) if you ask me. and GNOME is far more functional.
    and you can have both without compromising system stability.. as far as linux is concerned, both desktop environments are applications.

    3- You think your IT people could handle Linux?
    if you’re going to use linux, you must be prepared to get your hands dirty. although some distros like ubuntu make linux drop-dead easy, you will eventually have to use the terminal. that is, unless you have somebody else that is prepared to deal with it.

    4- Does your corporate gets special offers and discounts from Microsoft\Mac?
    that isn’t really a consideration. if you want to port to linux, it shouldn’t depend on whether you get good deals or not. face it, good deals are every where including the crappy expo they call infoconnect.
    and about OOo, Powerpoint is property software. with that fact, it should be apparent that we are lucky that OOo can open the file at all. if you’re friend wanted cross-platform support, he should have used open tech.. or just plain text 🙂

    5- Do you use a lot of removable media?
    not really, unless it is special hardware that needs special drivers. and most removable devices are standards compliant including hard drives, usb drives, SDs, ,,, (the list goes on). some people who face issues with hard drives face them because windows doesn’t unmount -or eject.. whatever- the disk before shutting down (don’t ask me why, your the ones who use windows not me). but even with that, the issue can be easily resolved by using the terminal

    ps: i know i’m picky and have a tendency to start arguments.. but when it comes to linux, i can’t help it!

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