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Will Novell's Desktop Linux Catch On? 327

Posted by ScuttleMonkey
from the i'll-drink-to-that dept.
Laura writes "Novell says its newly released Suse Linux Enterprise Desktop 10(SLED) can replace Windows for the average office worker. But will enterprises embrace a widespread migration from Windows?" From the article: "The desktop market is a very mature market, and Microsoft has a very strong presence there, which makes it hard for customers to move off [...] However, Jeff Jaffe, executive vice president and chief technology officer at Novell, said at the SLED 10 launch Thursday he is fairly confident that if enterprises have a chance to kick the tires of the new desktop OS, mass migration from Windows is soon to follow."
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Will Novell's Desktop Linux Catch On?

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  • by H4x0r Jim Duggan (757476) on Tuesday March 14, 2006 @09:32AM (#14915040) Homepage Journal

    For the FOSS Means Business [foss-means-business.org] event, it was suggested that we get Microsoft to take part and make a big controversial event (since Perens and Stallman would be the other keynoters).

    We decided against because MS have it too easy. They don't have to prove their offering is better, they just have to raise enough FUD so that transitions to free software are delayed for one more year. Just like last year, and probably like next year. So we decided against, and instead of controversy we'll concentrate on showing the business value of free software, and why it is sustainable.

    • I fail to understand why anyone even lets an MS rep near a Linux event in any way or form. I much rather see the benefits of Linux than listen to two three year olds bickering about who has the bigger bucket. Especially if im at a Linux convent. If and when Microsoft releases something other than their migration products like Unix Services for Windows i cant find any reason for them to be at such a convent other than to spread FUD. They arent selling or supportin anything Linux at all today.
      • Inviting MS has two potential advantages. First, it can make the event more controversial which helps spread the news into the mass media, and second it can allow the event to be a non-partisan event which shows both sides.

        To make either of these possible values happen, MS need to be addes near then start of the organising. You should make sure they fund the event too since it will be you gathering the best audience possible and then handing MS the microphone. Finally, put them on early or mid-day and

    • by Savage-Rabbit (308260) on Tuesday March 14, 2006 @10:37AM (#14915469)
      For the FOSS Means Business event, it was suggested that we get Microsoft to take part and make a big controversial event (since Perens and Stallman would be the other keynoters).

      We decided against ......


      I'm rather disappointed, If you could have gotten Steve Ballmer to attend on behalf of MS as well as Richard Stallman I would have be willing to pay for the privilege of watching the event. I'm convinced a debate between those two would end in a world class chairthrowing duel.......
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 14, 2006 @09:34AM (#14915053)
    What with all the time we spend here proving P=NP and creating world peace, we've been neglecting idle speculation about Whether Linux Can Succeed On The Desktop!
  • If novell ships its Novell Client for Linux to all major distributions there are infact an incentive to use Suse Open Enterprise even in Linux only shops. It also makes OES an excellent gathering point for various desktop versions. Companies will always be off sync on some desktops and having server software that handles this in an easy way is worth much IRL.

    If on the other hand Novell tries to tie SLED against OES they make a big enormous mistake. Even if SLED is nice i will not use it if its the only choice. Why would i want to lock myself in again coming from another lockin? Before i go SLED i want to see Novell supporting other client dists than SLED.

    So basically its not how good product Novell ships but more about how good they interact with the rest of the Linux ecosystem that will doom or raise them to the sky.
  • by suso (153703) * on Tuesday March 14, 2006 @09:37AM (#14915071) Homepage Journal
    Bloomington North High School is piloting about 120 linux machines in their school running NLD, Linspire and Edubuntu. 700 students are using them. The Bloomington Linux Users Group is helping them [bloomingtonlinux.org] by providing support.
  • Rumors of any Linux desktop distribution "catching on" in any meaningful way have, unfortunately, been greatly exaggerated.
    • Rumors of any Linux desktop distribution "catching on" in any meaningful way have, unfortunately, been greatly exaggerated.

      Yeah, those dudes at IBM don't know what they are talking about. Neither do Lowes, GM or other great big companies who have already migrated. Sleep tight, Steve Bally Boy, everything is just fine. Your employees do not use Ipods either.

    • Yeah, I have listened that Y distro will *really* replace Linux since the Caldera or Corel linux times.

      The Linux distribution that will really fight against Windows is one like Ubuntu that just expands and expands without nobody noticing.

      For the slasdhot editors, it would be a nice poll to see which are the most used Linux distributions. The only poll I found is this and it seems quite outdated. [slashdot.org]

      Another interesting place for similar statistics is Distrowatch [distrowatch.com] where the 3 most popular distributions are: 1st. U
  • by boxlight (928484) on Tuesday March 14, 2006 @09:39AM (#14915091)
    I'll probably get modded down for this because I know Linux users don't like to hear this -- but Windows XP is a pretty good product.

    It rarely needs rebooting, it lets even computer illiterate users be surprisingly productive, and it really doesn't cost very much. In fact, it effectively comes "for free" with a $500 Dell desktop PC.

    For a Linux desktop to be preferred over Windows, the Linux desktop experience will have to provide something new and innovative that Windows does not, rather than just knocking off Windows features.

    Hackers like me and you like Linux for many reasons -- but none of those reasons are particularly interesting to Joe Office Manager or Mom and Pop User.

    Get innovative, people -- invent something new and useful that Windows *doesn't* have, and then they will come.

    boxlight
    • For free? (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Bromskloss (750445)

      In fact, it effectively comes "for free" with a $500 Dell desktop PC.

      What on earth do you mean by that?

      • OEM licensing runs ~$10 for a copy of XP, or 2% of the total cost of the machine, effectively free.

        Looking at the bigger picture, it is cheaper for a company like Dell to just support 1 OS. Think about it, which scenario is cheaper: offering machines with a copy of Windows XP for $10, or offering a choice of Windows and Linux (saving $10 a machine on those that choose Linux), and having to train a group of linux techs? the first option is cheaper by a long shot.
        • Re:For free? (Score:5, Interesting)

          by massysett (910130) on Tuesday March 14, 2006 @10:43AM (#14915522) Homepage
          OEM licensing runs ~$10 for a copy of XP, or 2% of the total cost of the machine, effectively free.

          The true cost of Windows is much more than ~$10, for both user and vendor.

          For vendor, the true cost far exceeds ~$10 because of support. Hordes of people call vendor tech support lines because of problems with Windows, whether such problems are viruses, spyware, or other operating system defects.

          For user, the true cost far exceeds ~$10 because one typically must factor in the cost of antivirus, perhaps antispyware too. Not to mention the time spent dealing with these programs, or time spent dealing with spyware and virus infections. Oh, and that doesn't include the cost of whatever proprietary software you'll need to get Windows to do anything truly useful.

          Windows costs much more than ~$10, which is a long, long way from being "effectively free."

          • Re:For free? (Score:2, Insightful)

            by dusik (239139)
            >> "Hordes of people call vendor tech support lines because of problems with Windows, whether such problems are viruses, spyware, or other operating system defects."

            True, but keep in mind that with GNU/Linux hordes of people will be calling in because they can't figure out how to get X to use the correct widescreen resolution (try telling John Doe about modelines in /etc/X11/xorg.conf) or getting all 10 of their buttons on their new mouse to work, etc. There's many things in GNU/Linux that don't auto
          • Microsoft has achieved the impossible.

            Microsoft has pushed the cost of tech support for their products off to the OEM's selling the hardware.

            Novell will not be able to do that. So, in order for Novell to match Microsoft's profit margin on the OS, Novell will have to charge MORE to pay for the Novell support techs to answer the phone calls that, for Microsoft, would have gone to Dell.

            And there will be MORE tech calls to Novell because Dell pre-approves all the hardware they ship for Windows, but not for SLED
        • OEM licensing runs ~$10 for a copy of XP, or 2% of the total cost of the machine, effectively free.

          As another poster points out, the cost of a Dell with XP is identical to the cost of a Dell with XP replaced by Linux. It's free in that most people can't buy a PC without it.

        • OEM licensing runs ~$10 for a copy of XP, or 2% of the total cost of the machine, effectively free.


          I suspect that number is completely bogus. Sources? As far as I know it was closer to $30 about 10 years ago...
        • OEM licensing runs ~$10 for a copy of XP
          Links, please. Then we can talk.
        • Re:For free? (Score:3, Insightful)

          by rtechie (244489)
          OEM licensing runs ~$10 for a copy of XP, or 2% of the total cost of the machine, effectively free.

          Nonsense. OEM licensing is typically much closer to $99 or so. One can see this in action at say, Fry's or Wal-Mart. Walmart will sell a system for $350 with XP Home and the EXACT SAME SYSTEM with Linspire (or another Linux) for $250.

          The "Windows tax" is a significant chunk of the cost of low-end PCs (sub-$500 range), which is where the real money in consumer PCs is.

          Of course, you're absoultely right about the
    • by teslar (706653) on Tuesday March 14, 2006 @09:49AM (#14915141)
      Hackers like me and you like Linux for many reasons -- but none of those reasons are particularly interesting to Joe Office Manager or Mom and Pop User.
      Oh I don't know, I think the lack of spyware, advare and viruses would be quite interesting to all of them. Of course, MacOs has this too, but that requires Mac hardware.

      I'm far from being a Mac Fanboy, but I think that in order for Linux to really be successful, what you need is a review saying 'This is just like OSX, but for free and works on your existing machine'. Windows only enters the equation as a reason to switch and being able to keep your machine will make switching easier for a lot of people.
    • Pretty good? Have you really administrated XP anytime in a larger enviroment? Its a big ugly PITA and demands crazy amounts of work to stay awake. Easy to use is the last thing i would accuse it of. I battle furious users all day long thats as lost now as they was the first time XP came out.

      OTOH they really seem to like the new Linux Terminal Server installation. Why? It just damn works and arent in any way harder to use than Windows.
      • Have you really administrated XP anytime in a larger enviroment? Its a big ugly PITA and demands crazy amounts of work to stay awake.

        That's the part I love the best. It keeps me in a job. Be careful what you wish for.
    • by jeffmeden (135043) on Tuesday March 14, 2006 @09:58AM (#14915193) Homepage Journal
      How's this for innovative? '100% open, Free applications'. By the time you add a good office suite and the requisite spyware/adware/virus protection, plus whatever other tools you need on a daily basis to XP, how free is it? Linux has been making great progress toward an arsenal of high quality, easy to manage applications and now that they are getting settled in and organizations like Suse and others, the advantage to Linux becomes the fact that you can get *everything* for free in a compatible, easy to manage way. Try getting that on XP at *any* price.
      • By the time you add a good office suite and the requisite spyware/adware/virus protection, plus whatever other tools you need on a daily basis to XP, how free is it?

        So, let's see, we'll be needing:

        OpenOffice
        Grisoft AVG
        Microsoft Windows Defender, or Lavasoft Adaware, or Spybot Search and destrory
        Firefox
        Thunderbird
        Eclipse

        All free, a lot of them also open source. Cost of using XP is still 0 to me.
      • Here's why Linux still won't catch on:

        I installed Linux on a laptop the other day. It didn't detect my wireless card. I couldn't find Linux drivers for my wireless card. Linux can't use my wireless card.

        Windows 98SE/ME/2000/XP can.

        Tell me again why I should use Linux?

        Actually, I do use Linux, I'm illustrating a point: product support for Linux is erratic, applications can be hard to find, and documentation is woefully inadequate for inexperienced users. You can make a pretty desktop and package all the righ
    • by Nosklo (815041) <WPARHFOBFDOT&spammotel,com> on Tuesday March 14, 2006 @09:59AM (#14915198)
      It rarely needs rebooting, it lets even computer illiterate users be surprisingly productive, and it really doesn't cost very much. In fact, it effectively comes "for free" with a $500 Dell desktop PC.

      I have to disagree. $500 Dell desktop has windows costs built in.
      BTW, I live in a country where everybody - and I mean *everybody* - uses pirated copies of windows. I yet have to meet a home user that has all licenses for windows and office software. Many "tech guys" make their living by instaling pirated copies of windows.

      When I say "no, I don't work with windows", people are amazed at me. Then, when I show my Ubuntu laptop, they are truly puzzled. Then, I tell them the advantages of security, updates and such, and they are fished.

      For a Linux desktop to be preferred over Windows, the Linux desktop experience will have to provide something new and innovative that Windows does not, rather than just knocking off Windows features.

      What about a huge selection of free software, unmatchable security features, beautiful customization of the desktop and themes (that Windows XP is definitively lacking), out-of-the-box support for their hardware (like when you plug in your camera and get pictures with gphoto2, without having to install the camera's CD).

      PDF export in OpenOffice, tab navigation in firefox, and so on... That features I use to sell Open Source to people which has no clue.

      Hackers like me and you like Linux for many reasons -- but none of those reasons are particularly interesting to Joe Office Manager or Mom and Pop User.

      I think that when you show them the advantages above, they are willing to try it out. With a good explanation, you can make a change. I know it doesn't work like this for everybody, but I have a good rate of success.

      Get innovative, people -- invent something new and useful that Windows *doesn't* have, and then they will come.

      If Novell is lauching SLED 10 with its Xgl extension, this will be another feature to show off and attract users that are easily impressed by this kind of eye candy.

      In my humble opnion they are in the right path.

      • "beautiful customization of the desktop and themes (that Windows XP is definitively lacking), out-of-the-box support for their hardware (like when you plug in your camera and get pictures with gphoto2, without having to install the camera's CD)"

        Goddamn it, I hate it when I find out here at Slashdot that I'm doing things that it's not possible to do. Sigh, now I have to stop using my XP themes and my camera that automatically installed and mounted as a drive when I plugged it in... (but really, you used devi
      • out-of-the-box support for their hardware (like when you plug in your camera and get pictures with gphoto2, without having to install the camera's CD).

        Don't get me wrong, I love Linux and I hate MS like the next guy around here, but out-of-the-box support for their hardware?! Pass the crackpipe please! After that, try installing (insert random WLAN card here) for Linux.

        Just to get my 3 year old laptop running with a fairly popular WLAN card (D-Link) on (K)Ubuntu, it took me over 5 hours of searching the we
        • Out of whose box? (Score:3, Insightful)

          by BlueStraggler (765543)
          Both OSes have their strenghts and weaknesses, but out-of-the-box hardware support is definitely not Linux's strength, it is actually its main weakness.

          If it's out of Dell's box, you may have a point.

          But if you mean out of Microsoft's box, then you're on crack. Out-of-the-box XP simply does not work. You might have a chance if you also have all of your out-of-the-box driver CDs for all your components. But if you're in my boat, and have to install XP on mom's bare PC that she bought from who knows w

    • XP Home comes free, XP Pro is still a 129 something upgrade on those cheap dells.

      So, for bang for the buck, linux distros offer the benefits of XP Pro, remote desktop, easy account managment, file shares, etc. Gnome and KDE still have bugs and do crash, XP is more stable but doesnt come with explorer process seperation by default (simple reg edit fixes that).

      Linux has 2 weak spots, driver support and applications. Both are better today, but still not even close to perfect compared to XP. Linux should boot
    • For students like me in engineering, computing and mathematics fields, where your university or college has signed up, Windows XP *is free* (as in money) via Microsoft's Academic Alliance [microsoft.com] programme along with a load of other MS products (SQL Server, Vistual Studio .NET etc). And yes, you can keep using the software after you leave your course.

      Also, you forget it is differcult for the Linux community to 'innovate' when hardware manufacturers only really cater to Window's users. Afterall, software is only as
    • For a Linux desktop to be preferred over Windows, the Linux desktop experience will have to provide something new and innovative that Windows does not, rather than just knocking off Windows features.

      It's not a matter of liking it or not, there are just facts. XP is a pretty good product, but it still takes a monthly antivirus subscription to keep it running in any kind of shape. It's not safe to surf the internet with Windows. The productivity you mentioned is evened out with the virus, trojan and spy

  • What is required (Score:2, Insightful)

    by poeidon1 (767457)
    is a good support mechanism and a good documentation that can help glitches people usually face while using linux. Asking someone to search on google or news groups can be very frustrating for anyone. Specially for applications which are targeted as windows replacements, which lack many things die to legal constraints.
    • by miffo.swe (547642)
      I have experience from both paid support and free support for OSS software. In general OSS comes out as the top dog in every consideration for me. Firstly all info is public while many companies bury it to make an incentive to buy their support. Having access to bug databases is also invaluable since you can pretty quickly find out a bug instead of having to wait for the vendor to get enogh complaints to feel obliged to conceed to really having a bug.
    • Re:What is required (Score:2, Informative)

      by cpthowdy (609034)
      Fear not, for Novell has a world-class support infrastructure, and they fully support NLD9, SLES9, etc. Their knowledgebase [novell.com] and documentation [novell.com] are second to none.
  • by Djatha (848102) on Tuesday March 14, 2006 @09:44AM (#14915115)

    As a linux desktop user, I believe in linux on the desktop. But then, I do not have the responsibility for many employees and their desktop. The real problem, if it is a problem, is that those who make decisions about IT in a company normally are not those who are enthusiastic about linux or, for that matter, everything else than the normal stuff.

    However, if those decisionmakers gets informed and think they have good reasons to switch, i.e. low costs, better support in future, better deployment, etc., I do not see why this Novel desktop would not do in most situations. On the other hand, I do not really grasp how, in heavens name, non-linux-enthusiasts gets relevant information about linux. In most magazines, websites and so on those people read, the information about linux does not exceed more than short smalltalk: the name is explained, some statements are made, but those articles do not inform people beyond the shiny penguin.

    Somehow the current state of the desktop in most people's minds is as inflexible as it gets. It seems as if people can not think about a different desktop. It is, as if they take it as granted. And for linux to make a breakthrough this mindset has first to be broken.

    • by danpsmith (922127) on Tuesday March 14, 2006 @10:06AM (#14915246)
      Somehow the current state of the desktop in most people's minds is as inflexible as it gets. It seems as if people can not think about a different desktop. It is, as if they take it as granted. And for linux to make a breakthrough this mindset has first to be broken.

      Why would they want the state of the desktop to change? It works. Linux, in a lot of the same ways, doesn't for the average user. There's definitely a larger learning curve (yes even for Ubuntu). Most people are simply not willing to have to learn new stuff when the old way works fine and is cheap enough.

      • Most people are simply not willing to have to learn new stuff when the old way works fine and is cheap enough.

        Exactly, they do not want to or can not think about the desktop as something in which there is variation or choice possible. I mean, how many people really know what a desktop costs them? Do they know the difference in cost between, say a windows desktop and a kde desktop? (With cost I refer here to the broader meaning of cost, not merely the licence fee or something)

        And about learning new s

  • by digitaldc (879047) * on Tuesday March 14, 2006 @09:44AM (#14915118)
    Dell [dell.com] has started offering it on their website, maybe it will catch on. People need to be able to try before they buy, so they can see how it works, then it might catch on. There is a link to do this, but most people would rather not have to install it to try it.

    I don't know where you can try Linux in a retail outlet, but it would help convince people to buy it if they could, IMHO.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Commercial:

    1. Sell upper management on the idea
    a. emphasize savings, lack of viruses, etc. (things that an MBA can understand)
    b. repeat 1 about 10 times
    c. repeat at least once again to the new management
    2. Point out the overall savings in the corporate environment:
    a. savings due to protected deskstops
    b. savings due to no virus recovery issues
    3. Do a really
  • by Esion Modnar (632431) on Tuesday March 14, 2006 @09:50AM (#14915148)
    It's a Catch-22. You'll see that software when desktop linux becomes popular enough. But desktop linux won't become popular enough until you can run down to Staples (or your favorite retailer) and buy some software for it.

    Same thing applies to almost universal availability of manufacturers' Linux drivers on the same CD with Windows drivers.

    • Staples

      Gah! Is that the new Clippy?

    • by debest (471937) on Tuesday March 14, 2006 @10:25AM (#14915364)
      Further up this thread, a couple of people say that you have to point out to people how different Linux is from Windows: that if it is just like Windows, then what is the point of switching? Emphasize the differences that are positive.

      In Linux, there is essentially no need to box up software on a shelf at Staples. The way that it is different is that you just need an internet connection. All of the software you will need (both Free and commercial) is available as downloads, not on the shelf. It's a new way of looking at things! Let people know about this, and they won't look for it at Staples.
  • How much is it going to cost? That's the answer that the rest of us who havet o justify this type of roll out. I love open source, I run it on most of our production servers but on the desktop we're a Microsoft shop. The OS is a tax that is just paid with the hardware from Dell, and I don't have the time to retrain 70 users on Open Office or whatever office suite they are going to ship with it.

    If the cost is right *see not red hat prices* then I would be willing to do the extra work if I can save a nice
    • I don't have the time to retrain 70 users on Open Office

      One place I visited gave their interviewees 30 minutes to figure out how to type, average kinds of formatting and all, a printed document back into an OpenOffice document and print it out themselves to show the match, and likewise with a simple spreadsheet. A few just gave up and left ("I have to think? Oh noooo....") - only those who couldn't chew gum and type at the same time would fail. It was a trivial test, and anyone who couldn't figure it o

  • An article on a new, Windows-destroying desktop environment and they have how many screenshots? None.

    It doesn't say if it's based on Gnome, KDE or something else, nor name any features. What a crap press release.

  • by Dekortage (697532) on Tuesday March 14, 2006 @10:02AM (#14915214) Homepage

    if enterprises have a chance to kick the tires of the new desktop OS, mass migration from Windows is soon to follow.

    Yeah, this has worked real well for Mac OS X. Seriously, what is the target market percentage that SLED10 is going to have in one year, two years? Will they be happy with 3.5%? Or must "success" be something much bigger? (maybe a video of Ballmer throwing a chair at a Novell booth?)

    But it is a good sign that they refrained from calling call it SLEDX.

  • Change is bad (Score:5, Insightful)

    by texaport (600120) on Tuesday March 14, 2006 @10:03AM (#14915226)
    The userbase always acts like they are dragged kicking and screaming even with simple desktop look and feel.
    It happened with WIN98 to 2000 and I've seen it with "interface issues" upgrading desktops from NT4 to XP.

    Putting aside the REAL issues of a major migration, the answer to successful change is to not fight human nature.

    Forget about pre-changeover sessions for enduser input and all that. Upgrades succeed in environments where
    management doesn't let after-the-fact moaning and groaning be effective tools.

    Everywhere else you selectively put shiny new computers (and OSes) on certain peoples desks and just wait.

    One hour later when the inevitable jealousy and pettiness reach full force, the users are ready to realize they
    can keep their old/slow/loud/ugly computers or be upgraded on schedule. Unfortunately, human nature rules.

  • by NevDull (170554) on Tuesday March 14, 2006 @10:12AM (#14915273) Homepage Journal
    Novell no longer has the marketing might to make such a switch happen. They're in a significantly smaller share of the business market, and can't incentivize the switch.

    I think that something along the lines of an OS platform switch will have to start with companies who outsource their entire IT infrastructure to a company like IBM Global Services, where all of the "figure it out" and "just make it work" bits are Someone Else's Problem.

    I know that IBM has financial ties to Novell, and has an interest in keeping it alive. I just don't know that they'll be willing to make it Their Problem on thousands of desktops.
  • I have not had a chance to take a look at sled, but I remember my first thoughts of SuSE 9- those being, 'wow, do i need 73 programs for writing one word doc?' This was back before Ubuntu was very well known, and SuSE was the leader in ease of migration, so I had considered trying to switch my parents. I just didnt think they would be able to handle so much at once.

    Also, I think the end user should not have to use the command line. (...here comes the flame...) As much as I think any self respecting geek sh

    • As much as I think any self respecting geek should be able to survive without the everyday comforts of his GUI, it is unreasonable to expect everyone to be capable.

      Take that thought one step further. Just because one is not a genius at [command shell of your choosing], doesn't make them 'not capable.'

      The point is getting the machine to do what you want it to do. If you can do that without ever using the keyboard, that's as good as anything. The interface you use to get the job done matters far less than
  • by DarkSarin (651985) on Tuesday March 14, 2006 @10:18AM (#14915317) Homepage Journal
    I hate to poo-poo anything linux related, since I am a fan. I am a big fan of the penguin, but at the company where I work, it just won't happen.

    Here's why: we resell cellular phone service for one of the BIG providers, and their web-based interface to activate phones ONLY works on Internet Explorer. Period. They actually check for other browsers and REJECT ALL OTHERS. They claim security reasons, but I think their web gurus are just morons.

    Additionally, our point of sale requires Terminal Server Client (RDP), and we need to have printer support. It is also a windows only application. They also highly recommend Citrix Metaframe, but that's out of our price range (the terminal server licenses are costly enough).

    As long as we are an authorized agent for this company, we are required to meet their software requirements. This 100% means Windows, and Internet Explorer. We have managed to cut our MS Office Installs by using OO.org, but this hasn't been without troubles [whining idiots that can't use a mouse reliably, let alone figure out a slightly different interface--good thing MS Office 12 is going to be even more radically different].

    There are a lot of small businesses in a similar situation, and as long as this is the case, linux will be a limited use OS.

    Now, if someone would release a terminal server client that supported ALL attached peripherals (at the client end), then I would use that (and we might be able to get rid of windows at several points).
    • by Ruie (30480)
      Additionally, our point of sale requires Terminal Server Client (RDP)

      I believe rdesktop [rdesktop.org] can be used to connect via RDP.

      • Additionally, our point of sale requires Terminal Server Client (RDP), and we need to have printer support.

        Does rdesktop do printers?

        • Does rdesktop do printers?

          I think yes, though I have not tried it myself. You would need to install appropriate printer driver on the target computer (I would suggest postscript)

          rdesktop: A Remote Desktop Protocol client.
          Version 1.4.1. Copyright (C) 1999-2005 Matt Chapman.
          See http://www.rdesktop.org/ for more information.

          Usage: rdesktop [options] server[:port]
          -u: user name
          -d: domain
          -s: shell
          -c: working directory
          -p: password (- to prompt)
          -n: client hostname
          -k: keyboard layout on server (en-us, de,

  • M$ Office (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Beefslaya (832030)
    Most companies already have thousands of dollars worth of Microsoft productivity tools that their employees don't need to be retrained to use.

    The nail in the coffin will be a distro that can run all those applications, plus their own. Until then, I can't sell it to management. They won't even look at it. And I'm sorry, but OpenOffice is NOT a replacement for M$ Office, if it looks slightly different then what people are used too, they won't touch it with a 10 foot pole.

    The same goes for Mac.

    Granted Codewe
  • by zerofoo (262795) on Tuesday March 14, 2006 @10:30AM (#14915401)
    Linux will never get a large presence on the corporate desktop until the "big-brother" tools are there. Thanks to SOX and GLBA, we have auditors in our department twice a quarter. Due to the standardness of windows and active directory, we can be sure that we are in full compliance by implementing standard operating procedures. There are no such widely accepted procedures for the Linux world. By introducing Linux, you introduce audit and regulatory scrutiny. No one in business wants to draw unnecessary audit and regulatory attention to IT - it costs money, time, and causes headaches while distracting you from your business.

    Ironically, I run many linux based tools to audit my windows machines for SOX and GLBA.

    -ted

  • It wants its story back.....

    joab
  • by mmell (832646) <mmell@hotmail.com> on Tuesday March 14, 2006 @10:35AM (#14915454)
    The office I work in has a Windows XP lockin . . .

    Not because of any windows functionality per se, but rather because our chosen mail client is Blotus Notes.

    And, yes, some of my co-workers use WINE to run their mail client, but I'm not up for doing that at work (at home, use OpenSuSE 10 x86_64 and Solaris SPARC for all computing), but I can't afford to fight the good fight at work; I'm too busy trying to bring home the big evil!

    Still, between efforts like this, Linspire and a whole bevy of others, I suspect that Microsoft's dominance of the desktop is becoming less of a carved-in-stone given and more of simply being the way it is now.

  • by ErichTheRed (39327) on Tuesday March 14, 2006 @10:44AM (#14915538)
    IT people would love to see desktop Linux take root. I know I would; it could potentially solve a lot of support headaches.

    Here's one thing that's holding the Linux desktop back...standards. Non-technical users know a superset of the following things about their computer:
    - To log on in the morning, I press Ctrl+Alt+Del, enter my e-mail address and password, and click OK. To log off, I use Start -> Shut Down.
    - To read my e-mail, I use {Outlook | Notes | GroupWise | something else}.
    - Ctrl+O opens a file. Ctrl+S saves it. Alt+F4 closes a window. Alt+Tab switches apps, etc.
    - To write a document, I use Word. I know 500 key combimations and tricks to get my work done.
    - To use a spreadsheet, I open Excel. I also know 500 key combos and tricks.
    - To write a presentation, I use PowerPoint. If I'm in sales, I could practically code the next version of PowerPoint. If I'm a normal user, I know a few tricks to get slides written.
    - To browse the Internet, I use IE.
    - To use my USB flash drive / iPod / scanner / printer, I plug it in and go. (Microsoft really works with vendors to make sure devices work as advertised in all but the screwiest of configurations.)

    What people in IT don't realize is that users do not care what technology is new or cool. Users want to do the job they are hired for, go home and spend time with the family. Their computer is a tool, nothing more. It's like a phone or copier to them. They learned Windows and Office, and if a replacement doesn't work exactly as the old one did, they'll resist it.

    If the Linux distributions put their strength behind one core set of applications, and also made Linux all but invisible to users who don't want the command line, then a real contender against Windows will emerge. Even Microsoft is worried about people adopting Vista at the corporate level because of the huge system requirements. A well-organized, standard Linux with no complexities exposed to the end-user would be a welcome change in some companies.
  • by IGnatius T Foobar (4328) on Tuesday March 14, 2006 @10:48AM (#14915571) Homepage Journal
    Novell has a long history of not being able to get out of its own way. From the bumbling days of DR-DOS after they acquired it from Digital Research, to the "Univel SuperNOS" project (brilliant idea -- they were going to fuse together Netware and Unix -- and they simply abandoned the project and let Microsoft eat their market), to their latest move of letting Ximian take over SuSE (let's be realistic here, that's how it ended up happening), there just doesn't appear to be anyone over there who knows how to actually execute a plan and drive technology into marketable products.

    So what's going to happen? My guess would be that the new technology like Xgl and its associated compositing managers etc. will find their way into the pool of open source software, and then someone like Ubuntu will drive it into a slick, easy to install, easy to use desktop that people will actually want to use.

    And then when Novell's revenues continue to slide, even these technologies will lose their staffing, when the next round of layoffs will cut those who are not working on products and services that directly generate revenue. Seriously, the whole Novell organization ought to be divested and sold off as pieces to other companies who can work with the products and services that still have some value.
  • by robpoe (578975)
    I think Novell COULD have a fighting chance, if they bought Codeweavers [codeweavers.com], shipped Crossover office with every copy of their enterprise desktop. Oh, and poured some manpower into it to make certain applications (Quickbooks, anyone) run using it. Quickbooks is the main reason my small business can't run Suse (or any distro, for that matter) on the desktop - and I don't mean partially running it. Some would argue that I should dump QB and go to something open source .. but when your CPA requests that you use
  • "2006 will be the year of the Linux Desktop" get's a smack. Look, we all know a Linux desktop can replace a Windows one; many of us have proven this for years and years by running a Linux desktop in corpy-corp environments. When they allow it all I ask for is an IP - and from there I need no support. Still, it's going to be the decision makers, you know the old adage, "no one was ever fired for buying IBM"? It's the same for MS. While managers want to play it safe and have the $ to buy into MS's lockin
  • If they could get a few commonly used commercial application ported then they would have no problem becoming mainstream. For instance -- if Quicken ran on Linux I could have converted my sister's Doctor office. But alas she uses Quicken and even if there are Linux alternatives to it, she's used to using Quicken, so that makes all the difference.

    Other key apps are QuickBooks and PhotoShop. I'm sure there are a number of others. Novell should really get after these companies to support them.

  • by order_underlies (451013) on Tuesday March 14, 2006 @11:28AM (#14915898) Homepage
    Microsoft force upgrades on user about every four years anyway then four years after that they wont support the product before that. so over a 12 years all desktops will have to upgraded at least twice.

    I dont think novell could seriously expect to take a lions share of the market anytime soon - linux adoption will always be a gradual process. I think a big problem is that a lot of windows admin would be out of a job if they had to use linux. there is a big learning curve for moving from windows to linux especially when something doesnt appear to work.

    but there are plenty of places where linux on work desktop could start, especially when user have restricted functionality to a few apps anyway (e.g. call centres which genreraly restrict users severely) i would think these sorts of places would be a good place to start.

    i had a friend that was working for a company which tried to roll out linux to company desktop but the user revloted because thopenoffice wouldnt run excel macros and they were a finance company. there are always going to be a plethora of issues doing a migration like this and most users will say linux doesnt work (simply cos they're used to windows and are too lazy to figue things out) - so there would have to be a deegree of training to offset this.

    so, in summary, for a company generally there will be an increased cost in training/administering linux in the short term but i would say the TCO in the long term would have to work out in linux advantage in the long term as windows always forces upgrades of its products and as we all know is prone to all sorts of security holes/bugs.
  • It won't catch on (Score:3, Insightful)

    by FishandChips (695645) on Tuesday March 14, 2006 @11:29AM (#14915905) Journal
    I don't think anyone has established that there is a market for an "enterprise desktop", whatever that is. Sounds like something cooked up in the marketing department. It would be interesting to know what Novell's sales figures for their "enterprise desktop" editions are so far. Just my 2 cents, but I wish Novell would drop this stuff and concentrate on a single, excellent distribution called SuSE Linux whose cost range from free (no support) on up, depending on the support wanted and the software actually used, etc. The kind of installation required should the choice of the user: the result of a granular installer and policy/lock-down tool. It should not be the result of the marketing folks trying it on which just leaves the user feeling powerless. Considering Novell's rather precarious financial situation they might not have much to lose by taking a few risks such as, gasp, not doing exactly the same as everyone else right down to the droidish marketing babble about "seamless integration", etc.
  • by sgt scrub (869860) <saintium@y a h oo.com> on Tuesday March 14, 2006 @11:30AM (#14915914)
    If SUSE, or anyone for that matter, wants to succeed in the business desktop market they need to replace the Office/Exchange/Cell Phone relationship with something better or cheaper. I have yet to meet a client that told me, "I don't like Linux". They say things like, "How can I tie that in with Exchange? Can I replace exchange with something? How can all of my users devices syncronize email and calenders."

    The desktop has never been important in the workplace. Look at all of the shops that have Windows and Mac users. Getting work easily done through document, information, and financial exchange is the only thing that is important.

    Novell has their groupware and SUSE has OpenXchange and Evolution. When they make it easily integrated with handhelds and desktops they will begin to win market share.

    If they make something that is a "drop in" replacement I'll be there.

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