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Moving from Linux to Windows Desktop? 167

slyall asks: "I work in the Network/System Admin team for an ISP. Our firm was recently bought by another company that has mandated that my team's desktops be switched over from Linux to Windows XP in the next few weeks. Some of us are have used Linux almost exclusively and going to Windows is a big change. Can people suggest any tips, books or websites to help Linux people shoved into the Windows world (especially those running lots of Linux and Cisco boxes)? We've all got years of experience on Linux but running Windows day to day is a big challenge. We don't yet know if the company will provide us with tools such as Cygwin or Windows Services for UNIX but we won't be allowed to install random programs and may not have admin access. We're not happy with the change but we're unable to stop it. What we are hoping to do is reduce the performance hit that the changeover is going to cause." This is probably one of those situations where a LiveCD-based distribution, for use in an emergency, might help.
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Moving from Linux to Windows Desktop?

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  • Quit. (Score:4, Insightful)

    by JamesP ( 688957 ) on Tuesday February 24, 2004 @10:15PM (#8381361)
    No, really. If they're obligating you to change it's because they're morons and don't deserve having you as an employee...
    • Re:Quit. (Score:5, Interesting)

      by desau ( 539417 ) on Tuesday February 24, 2004 @10:22PM (#8381431)
      That was exactly going to be my recommendation. At a previous employment, I was faced with a very similar situation. It took me a few days but I came to the decision that I would not continue to work in such an environment. The next day I told my manager that if I was forced to use an OS which limits my abilities as an employee, I would no longer continue my position. He was surprised and amazed, but took it seriously -- my coworkers and I were allowed to keep our environments.

      I eventually left for other reasons. Quitting is always an option. It probably won't net you the same outcome, but I would never stay at such a blinded company.
      • Re:Quit. (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Otter ( 3800 ) on Tuesday February 24, 2004 @10:47PM (#8381725) Journal
        And while you're looking for a new job, along with desau and James, be sure to complain here incessantly about how those damn Indians are stealing all our jobs.

        Honestly, where are you guys posting from, 1998? I'm starting a new job next week and less than thrilled about having to give up my MacOS desktop and use Windows -- but I'll be showing up to work nonetheless.

        • Re:Quit. (Score:5, Interesting)

          by sweetooth ( 21075 ) on Tuesday February 24, 2004 @11:02PM (#8381908) Homepage
          There's a huge differance between taking a new job that is differant from what you are used to and being forced to change by new managment. Not only that, but they aren't sure they are going to have admin privileges on thier own boxes and they are supposed to be Net/Sys Admins? I'd leave, I'm not even sure I'd give em two weeks with that kinda of brain dead mentality.
          • Re:Quit. (Score:3, Insightful)

            by Otter ( 3800 )
            I'm not saying this isn't stupid. (It probably is, although obviously I don't know the details.)

            Nonetheless, declaring that this is something worth quitting your job over strikes me as incompatible with unending crying about the job market. I remember a few years ago when everyone here thought you should quit if your boss insisted on documents in .doc format instead of .rtf. I remember it every time I now read about the horrors of outsourcing.

            • Re:Quit. (Score:3, Insightful)

              by BillyBlaze ( 746775 )
              Nonetheless, declaring that this is something worth quitting your job over strikes me as incompatible with unending crying about the job market.

              There's more than one person here, so pointing out each instance where their opinions differ isn't really necessary.

            • It isn't that the desktop change is worth quitting over, it's that it indicates a particular mindset on the part of the new overlords. In other words, things are only going to go downhill from here, the handwriting's on the wall, and it's resume dusting off time. I'm sure the new company will survive just fine, but working for them is going to be a guided tour of hell.
          • Re:Quit. (Score:4, Interesting)

            by Mr. Darl McBride ( 704524 ) on Tuesday February 24, 2004 @11:14PM (#8382062)
            You don't need to admin your desktop in order to admin the ISP.

            Keep in mind that there's a good chance that there's a reason behind what they're doing. The ISP who bought them may have an existing suite of software they want in place to run the ISP, and it may be Windows-based. We don't know both sides of the story here.

            It may also be a labor issue. Point-and-click Windows admins are a dime a dozen. Unix folks are more expensive. Granted, the average Unix admin can run rings around the average Windows admin productivity-wise, but that's only guaranteed if managed by someone who understands Unix as well. The new management may be Windows-only.

            • Re:Quit. (Score:5, Insightful)

              by innosent ( 618233 ) <.jmdority. .at. .gmail.com.> on Wednesday February 25, 2004 @01:40AM (#8383277)
              For large companies, the first statement is absolutely true. Sarbanes-Oxley comes to mind. If the company is publicly traded, document retention policies need to be strictly enforced, and allowing even administrative personnel to modify or delete files becomes a huge liability. The law sucks, but denying you administrative access to your machine could save you $20 million and/or 20 years in prison. Deal with it.

              If you are trying to find a way to maintain productivity levels of experienced Unix staff on Windows, forget it, it is impossible. Anyone that types over 10wpm will be able to do more with a Unix system, since experienced Unix people tend to prefer CLI to GUI, and you can't click that fast. As for books to read, the UI isn't your problem, it's the difference in opinion on Administration. You would really have to know what systems are in place (Active Directory being a major one), how administrative tasks are divided, and what tasks will need to be done by your people on a daily/weekly/monthly basis. You most likely don't need to know everything, and what you do largely depends on what the company expects from you. Unix is not just an operating system, it's a business model, and if the new company doesn't fit that model, you probably aren't in a position to change that. In other words, you probably don't need a book/training on Windows, you need a book/training on your new employer, which hopefully will be provided to you when your department is absorbed. There is really no point in studying something that you don't know you will use.
          • Re:Quit. (Score:2, Funny)

            by gangien ( 151940 )
            Well I'm glad that I'll be competing with people who will quit their jobs over forced usage of a particular OS in a short while :).
          • Re:Quit. (Score:4, Interesting)

            by 4of12 ( 97621 ) on Wednesday February 25, 2004 @09:56AM (#8385243) Homepage Journal

            Not only that, but they aren't sure they are going to have admin privileges on thier own boxes and they are supposed to be Net/Sys Admins?

            There are good reasons for giving people vanilla-flavored, locked-down Windows boxes because support techs are easier/cheaper to find and the support costs are as lower than a Windows plus something else environment.

            And that works fine if your corporation's needs are largely met by beancounters, managers and secretaries.

            But any company that relies on code developers and IT literate people for any part of its bread and butter should know to

            • keep those developers happy,
            • give them whatever they want as long as they produce and the cost is reasonable.
            Nothing worse than some heavy-handed policy run amok.

            I run on Linux, am familiar with it, like it and am happy with it. My experiences trying to develop on Windows have been, uh, mixed. I don't like it. That's just me, though.

            OTOH, if I were managing a group of developers and one of them wanted to develop on Windows (a guy in our group learned his craft in a Windows IDE), I'd let them. (Of course, I'd insist on things like ISO compliant C++ instead of Windows-compliant C++, etc., but those issues of standards would be imposed across the board, on people who want to use MacOS X or OpenBSD. The OS, the editor, the compiler should be irrelevant.

            Let your people use what works for them and they'll work for you.

      • Re:Quit. (Score:4, Insightful)

        by jtheory ( 626492 ) on Wednesday February 25, 2004 @03:24AM (#8383728) Homepage Journal
        Quitting is always an option. It probably won't net you the same outcome, but I would never stay at such a blinded company.

        It probably won't net you the same *income*, either.

        Personally, I would advice against toughing it out for now (but start looking for another job in the meantime). For now, start making lists. Try to build up some valid numbers on what it will cost you and your group to switch over to locked-down Windows computers. Tally up the software that you use constantly (including your shell!) that either has no analog or only a poor substitute in the new environment. Discuss your development processes (now's the time to document, if you haven't), and how they will suffer, and what you will be losing.

        Once you've built your case, present it, give your strong recommendation, and wait a while. Don't bitch about the conversion, etc. (or they'll think you're perfectly capable of switching, but you're a whiner), just make sure they know you're concerned about the costs for sensible reasons.

        Chances are, they want you to use their standardized XP image because they want to manage everyone's anti-virus software centrally, ease trouble-shooting work for their sys admins, etc.. Maybe you need to firewall off your network segment to keep them happy, and sign a paper guaranteeing that you won't need their help to support your machines. :)

        You might gain some sort of an exemption for your group from the corporate standards... though often sense does NOT prevail, and you'll have to bail eventually.

        Good luck. [Apologies if this post is confused... I should be sleeping]
    • Re:Quit. (Score:3, Interesting)

      No, don't quit. Do what any other good capitalist would do in a situation where you believe there's going to be a lot of loss do to disefficiencies, try to bleed money out of the company. No need to quit when you can just drag it out for months or years. Maybe they'll realize what a huge mistake a sudden switch is.

      PS: I haven't a clue what the company all does, so maybe several of the desktop machines could be converted over without much retraining. I doubt there's any reason to switch though unless th
      • Re:Quit. (Score:4, Insightful)

        by MadAhab ( 40080 ) <slasher@nOSPaM.ahab.com> on Tuesday February 24, 2004 @11:33PM (#8382268) Homepage Journal
        The fact that the takeover dudes are mandating changes without thinking about the needs of their workers, that they are removing their ability to install software, is a damn good sign they are being take over by clueless fucks. Sure, the company was worth buying, but obviously they don't know what they're doing if they use linux. Yeah, right.

        Don't quit until you find a new job, but look now. This company is going to die a slow death if this is how they manage things.

    • Get a bunch of your coworkers (if there are enoiugh of you) to quit the company and start one together, competing directly with your previous employer.

      Prove that OSS is better ecomonically for your clients, as well as put those ill-informed bastards that forced Windows out of business. It should be a pretty big hit to your previous employer if a good chunk of you leave.

      Maybe that's just wishful thinking, but hey, it could happen.
    • Re:Quit. (Score:5, Funny)

      by Gyler St. James ( 637482 ) on Tuesday February 24, 2004 @10:38PM (#8381627)
      Don't listen to him. He just wants your job before it's shipped overseas. :D BTW, when you quit, where can I send my resume?
    • Re:Quit. (Score:4, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday February 24, 2004 @10:39PM (#8381645)

      No, really. If they're obligating you to change it's because they're morons and don't deserve having you as an employee...

      I couldn't have said it better myself. In this economy there's plenty of opportunities for programmers who tell management to fuck off over important issues like which OS you can use.

      Oh wait...

    • Re:Quit. (Score:3, Insightful)

      by sporty ( 27564 )
      Everything isn't black or white like that. He's asking advice for making the transition, so you have to assume either he can't quit or he wont' quit. Why he can't, may be family finances or contract. He may not want to due to loyalty to the company, and this is just a snag in the relationship.
    • My first thought exactly.

      It's a shame that MS has so much money that they can get away with this crap.

      Anyway, to address your question...
      Knoppix, a separate Linux server (hidden if need be), and Putty.

      Don't lose your tools.

    • If they don't trust you enough to even give you Admin privileges, and you're developers (I assume you're developers if you're using Linux, and not tech typists), that means they don't value you much. They'll cut you eventually; try to find another job first and dump them.
  • hahaha! (Score:4, Insightful)

    by yorgasor ( 109984 ) <ron.tritechs@net> on Tuesday February 24, 2004 @10:16PM (#8381366) Homepage
    You're the Net/Sys Admins and you won't even have admin access to your own boxes?! Come on, I know the job market is bad, but please, have some dignity.
    • Re:hahaha! (Score:2, Interesting)

      by spooky_nerd ( 646914 )
      Admin access is easy to get in most places. I work in Desktop Support at a large company, so I have admin access to most systems. Just do this: 1. Call the help desk because you want to make some small system change that requires admin rights. 2. When the desktop support guy comes over mention how easy it would be for you to make the change yourself, if you just had admin rights. 3. Repeat as necessary. If you aren't a jerk, and the desktop support guy thinks you have a clue about what you're doing,
      • Been there, done that. There is certainly no need to be a jerk about it, nor to even mention how much easier it would be if you had admin rights on your own box. After the Nth time of coming over to your machine, someone sees the light.

        It's really just a financial decision - it's too expensive to keep paying an IT guy to spend many minutes on something a developer could do in 1 minute, and way too expensive to pay the developer to sit idle from time to time waiting for someone else to come make some conf
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday February 24, 2004 @10:17PM (#8381376)

    I recommend this excellent title [amazon.com].

    Think of it as a "howto" for your specific needs.

    It actually contains some excellent humor, espescially considering the subject matter.

    *posted anonymously for obvious reasons*
  • by Red Pointy Tail ( 127601 ) on Tuesday February 24, 2004 @10:17PM (#8381377)
    ...is this book [bible.org].

    But don't worry, I shall be praying for you as well!
  • by Endive4Ever ( 742304 ) on Tuesday February 24, 2004 @10:17PM (#8381385)
    Just get the suits to spring for a fresh new copy of Hummingbird Exceed for each desktop. Stuff a Linux box with reasonable power under somebody's desk or in the server room.

    You can cope with Windows if you treat it like a big semi-dumb terminal. It's a damned powerful terminal, and pretty stable if that's all you use it for, plus whatever desktop software they shovel at you.
  • ...before editorializing. Click the install link - it goes to the Knoppix page. I know that it's not installing, but it's the suits you need to talk to.
  • by Piquan ( 49943 ) on Tuesday February 24, 2004 @10:23PM (#8381443)
    You can find what you need at monster.com [monster.com].
    • Actually use the "Tech Jobs" link to your left!
      Dice.com seems to have a better selection of highly specific IT jobs as opposed to Monster's WinAdmin generics.
  • Tips... (Score:5, Informative)

    by Anaxagor ( 211917 ) on Tuesday February 24, 2004 @10:24PM (#8381461)
    #1: Learn to love the hourglass icon, 'cos you're going to be seeing a lot of it from now on.

    #2: Get used to extension-based file typing, and remember that not everything ending in .scr is a screensaver.

    #3: Develop a healthy sense of paranoia - they are out to get you, especially the ones that send e-mail with subjects like "Hello"

    #4: Give thanks for the guys who develop Win32 ports of Perl, Python, Apache etc because they are the thin geek line that stands between you and Visual Basic, Windows Scripting Host and (ugh) Internet Information Services.

    #5: Get hold of Mozilla, Evolution, and OpenOffice. Man cannot live on IE, Outlook and Office alone.

    #6: Head on over to PacketStorm [packetstormsecurity.org] and stock up on some local admin exploits and the excellent Cain&Abel so you can take back the rights these no-good dirt-farming MCSE's are going to try to take away from you.

    That should get you started.
  • Windows Tools (Score:5, Interesting)

    by JLester ( 9518 ) on Tuesday February 24, 2004 @10:27PM (#8381495)
    I haven't made a change from Linux to Windows, but here is what I use to admin all our linux boxes and network equipment:
    • SSH for Windows [ssh.com] - works great for terminal access and secure file transfers.
    • Teraterm [vector.co.jp] - network device access via either telnet or serial port. There is an SSH add-on, but I prefer the "real" SSH client above.
    • TightVNC [tightvnc.com] - for your Windows boxes
    • Superscan [foundstone.com] - great port scanner and all around TCP/IP utility
    • Cygwin [cygwin.com] - for all your real *nix shell and utility needs
    Those are the ones I use most of the time. I have them on my main computer at work, my home computer, and the laptop I keep in my work van.

    Jason

  • by orthogonal ( 588627 ) on Tuesday February 24, 2004 @10:27PM (#8381496) Journal
    I work in the Network/System Admin team for an ISP. Our firm was recently bought by another company that has mandated that my team's desktops be switched over from Linux to Windows XP in the next few weeks.... We don't yet know if the company will provide us with tools such as Cygwin or Windows Services for UNIX but we won't be allowed to install random programs and may not have admin access.

    Try installing this program: "Boss, I'm a professional. So is everybody else on the team. We've all been hired to do a job, a job that requires professional judgement and professional tools. (God know you tell us we're professionals using our judgment when it justifies denying us overtime.) Nevertheless, you're paying us good money to get a job done.

    "But now you've decide after shelling out for our experience and our judgment, you're going to ignore it, and actually deny us the tools we tell you we require to perform our work at the level of quality you've come to expect.

    "We know our jobs. We know the tools we need. We know how to procure and maintain our tools, so there's limit hidden costs here. So why the political decision to hamstring us?

    "Boss, this is really confusing: is the company's goal to get the job done, or is it to produce memos detailing the how much micro-management it's possible to cram down people's throats before they become completely dispirited, unmotivated drones useless to themselves and their company?

    "Or is that the point: to get us to quit so the company doesn't have to cop to down-sizing us?"
  • Leave (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Kris_J ( 10111 ) * on Tuesday February 24, 2004 @10:27PM (#8381501) Homepage Journal
    Arbitrary changes like this point to serious management problems or directors with questionable motives. If you can't stop the change, start looking for work somewhere that appreciates the skills that you have.
    • Re:Leave (Score:4, Informative)

      by frAme57 ( 145879 ) <snakefeet.gmail@com> on Tuesday February 24, 2004 @11:27PM (#8382202) Homepage
      Yeah, what he said!

      But seriously, I admire your efforts to adapt to the changes the new owners want to impose on you. I do hope you find a way to get your job done and that you can continue in your job without undue restrictions.

      But think long and hard about this new company. Will your work with them help take your career in the direction you want, or will you forever be pigeon-holed in the company as "one of those lunix freaks from that company we bought a while ago"? What other changes will they bring to your workplace?

      If you can't see yourself working happily for them in five or even two years, start looking now. Take the time to put together a nice, tight resume; maybe even read up on current job-related news, refresh your interviewing techniques, maybe even read a bit about management skills, and start making contacts - all the time keeping your poker face on at work.

      It is much easier to find a job while you have a job. Its a stronger bargaining position for you and it is proof to the interviwer that you are employable.

      • Seriously, I had the same kind of silly job changes about 9 months ago....for some reason the boss tried to make the same kind of "lock everything down" sweeping changes. Just like this poor guy I was SUPPOSED to be the Sys Admin for the shop....I tried for 2 months to get by without Secofficer access, but finally ended up with my boss simply let me have what I needed.

        Thing is that if the management is going to make sweeping changes to the core of your job without any input from you what ELSE are they

  • One word: (Score:4, Funny)

    by El ( 94934 ) on Tuesday February 24, 2004 @10:28PM (#8381508)
    Lobotomy. Yeah, you don't need one to move from Linux to Windows... but it helps.
  • My tips/software (Score:2, Informative)

    by kcb93x ( 562075 )
    Get yourself some free modification utilities, and etc.

    Also, I don't know what kind of access you guys will have, but this is assuming you're in fair control of your systems:

    Some that I use:

    ZoneAlarm (Firewall) http://www.zonealarm.com
    Get the free version - does enough if you don't want parts of XP phoning home, or have trouble with LAN virii. I also use it when setting up a new machine, especially when directly connected to the 'Net. Stops most viruses from getting in, especially Blaster and the
  • ...is to start drinking heavily.
    You should listen to me, I was pre-med!
    I thought I was pre-law.
    Pre-med, pre-law, what's the difference?
  • One of the things that amazed me was cywin has a full xserver! It does not come as a 'default' install, but if you expand out the install options, you can type startx and away you go. This has saved my but many a time.... There is far more than just grep, tar, and tail in there if you poke about in the install options.
  • You use linux because it works better for you, right? Why do you want to sheild management from this reality? Let them see your frustration, and keep making the case "this used to work, why is this so hard?".

    Remember, managment doesn't like windows, they like money.

    Why people are so willing to take the hit for other people, I'll never understand.
    • If management has truly made up their mind on this issue, whining about it isn't probably the best option. If, after using Windows for some time, he thinks it's a step backwards (and he has REALLY given it a shot), he should write up a justification for switching back to Linux for management that includes the impact of the switch. If he screws around, whines all the time and then says "I want my Linux back", he's not going to have any credibility.
    • Let them see your frustration, and keep making the case "this used to work, why is this so hard?".

      That is a BAD idea. They see their secretary.. err sorry, Administrative Assistant, zooming through a word document and creating powerpoint presentations and think she is a whiz. She also makes a third of what you do.. what do you think they're thinking? "Geez, we paid all this money for these supposedly smart geeks, but they can't even find their way around Windows like our low paid secretary can. They m

      • by einTier ( 33752 ) on Tuesday February 24, 2004 @11:46PM (#8382391)
        Indeed, you need to learn, and learn fast. Believe me, they are just waiting to replace you, like they replaced all the UNIX machines.

        I don't agree with their decision, but I am pretty good at interfacing with managers. I can tell you how they are thinking (if they are so big as to be able to buy out other competitiors). Their first thought is that all branches of the company should use the same technology. This allows for a centralized support staff, and it allows for easy transitions from one branch to another. It's also easier to order equipment and hire personnel when everything is standard across the board.

        Please understand, this doesn't mean it's the best solution for all branches, but it is the best solution from the viewpoint of upper management, and they are the ones calling the shots. It can be good to have each division handling their own affairs and deciding which technology is best, but in my experience, this requires an amazing amount of competence and integrity out of your lower level managers, which is quite difficult to find.

        Now that they have switched your company over to Windows, you are now a liability. You are paid for your technical expertise, which is no longer needed. If you drag your feet and show that you are not proficient in Windows as well, you become an even bigger liability. At some point, they will ask themselves if it's worth paying to train a UNIX sysadmin to work with the Windows system, especially when they apparently don't want to. It would be cheaper and easier for them to hire Windows sysadmins, and you would probably be happier continuing your work with UNIX elsewhere. At least, that's how they'll justify your firing.

        If they've already switched another shop over and experienced these problems, then you may already have a target on your head. Just be thankful that it's fairly hard to fire employees and hire new ones in their place. So, they may just be waiting for you to trip up and show your incompetence and unwillingness to change as a reason for your dismissal.

        If you like, after you've adapted to the transition, you can write a document that shows the impact cost of switching over, and possibly this may sway their decisions the next time they take over a UNIX shop. If you want your desktop switched back to UNIX, you're also going to have to show that the switch back over to UNIX isn't going to cost them any money now (new hardware and software) or the future (do your own tech support) AND how it will directly benefit the company as a whole -- this means "how will it make us money" in business talk. Remember that everything in business ultimately boils down to cost and profit.

        Best of luck.

  • At least with XP. I agree with the previous poster that grabing an Xserver for the desktops is going to be a good thing, but the only other thing you NEED is a good telnet/ssh client. I suggest putty, since it's standalone (no dll's, no supporting files, etc. All it does is update some registry keys with host keys and the like). You can drop it in a temp folder, and just run it.

    The other thing is to keep a reasonably up to date knoppix CD lying around. If you can boot off the CDROM drive (and almost n
  • Amongst the trolls.. (Score:3, Interesting)

    by E_elven ( 600520 ) on Tuesday February 24, 2004 @10:41PM (#8381667) Journal
    Install Blackbox as the WM instead of Explorer! :) www.bb4win.org
  • How can you traceroute, ping, dig, whois, host, etc. Honestly, Windows is for users not gurus. Admittidly it's a good desktop, but it by no means is a power OS for administration of networked systems.

    Get a new job, better boss, more pay, more respect, etc.
    • by Anonymous Coward
      Traceroute and ping are included with Windows. Hell, finger is included too! Other things like whois, dig, etc. can be done on Windows the hardcore way. Put netcat [atstake.com] and some RFCs [faqs.org] (for reference) on a floppy and send straight protocol commands.
    • How can you traceroute, ping, dig, whois, host, etc. Honestly, Windows is for users not gurus. Admittidly it's a good desktop, but it by no means is a power OS for administration of networked systems.

      Just insist you need a Solaris box to run CiscoWorks 2000 on and then everyone can run Cygwin's XFree86 port. Then run your apps off the Solaris box while exporting your displays to the Windows box. Management sees your using Windows on your desktop, you're using UNIX, everyone is happy. Of course, this

    • How can you traceroute, ping, dig, whois, host, etc. Honestly

      Are you trolling? I already do all that from a Windows box. So, some of those utils are not part of the default install, easily remedied with a couple of downloads. Heck my old Solaris workstation didn't have traceroute by default.

      Get a new job, better boss, more pay, more respect, etc.

      Oh, I get it! You are joking. The lack of smiley threw me off.
  • So I will throw my two bits in, if you truly are network administrators and you won't even have the appropriate permissions to customize your box to be able to comfortably and quickly perform your job, just start looking for another one. It means that someone who does not have the best interests of neither you or your company in mind.

    That being said, I am going to hope it isn't quite that bad. I am a developer who works on a Windows XP desktop primarily. I have a Linux box at home and a Linux server tha
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday February 24, 2004 @10:44PM (#8381691)
    The best link you could possibly find:
    • Simon's Win32 Cheat-Sheet [microsoft.com] - Written by a Unix fan who has moved to Windows when he started working for Microsoft.
    And some software that I use on Windows:
    • PuTTY [greenend.org.uk] - Probably the best Windows telnet / SSH terminal.
    • NMap [insecure.org] - yes, there's a Windows version of this port scanning / network security tool
    • Windows XP Powertoys [microsoft.com] - the TweakUI control panel toy is probably the most valuable - it lets you set up X-Window like focus that follows the mouse
    Finally, read The Unix-Hater's Handbook [microsoft.com].
    • Beware of the X-Window focus option in XP Powertoys.

      It is incompatible with some applications, and can lead to hard to diagnose problems. I was very puzzled as to why I could never get the properties window to come up in MS Developer Studio. I eventually came to the conclusion that my installation was hosed. But re-installing didn't help.

      It was much later that I discovered it was the X-Windows focus causing the problem. The properties dialog closes as soon as it loses focus, unless it is pinned. But you c
  • Set up one or two Linux boxes in a corner that you can putty (ssh) and WinSCP (scp) into. Having a couple of good Linux servers on the network with fairly open access is almost as good as having you're own machine. I'm a programmer, so this may not work for you.

    Worse case scenario. Set up a linux box at someones house that you can remotely ssh into. Hopefully, they won't clamp down on the firewall. Not only do you have the luxury of a linux server, but it's outside the corporate network.*

    Frankly, I'v
  • With cygwin you'll feel closer to home. You can even run xfree86 rootless using cygwin.

    You'll have perl, pythong, cron, bash and hundreds (thousands?) of other unix goodies.

    It's still windows but cygwin almost makes MS Windows usable.
    • It's still windows but cygwin almost makes MS Windows usable.

      So you get the usability of UNIX with the stability of a Windows NT kernel? Wouldn't it be easier to just boot off a Knoppix CD?

  • by Gyler St. James ( 637482 ) on Tuesday February 24, 2004 @10:55PM (#8381816)
    All these people that tell you to quit or try to convince the bosses otherwise aren't giving you sound advice. I am proficient with both Linux variants and Windows. What does that mean? I'm a professional who isn't afraid to learn a new evironment and that I can find more jobs than someone who refuses to learn the other camp's tools and trade. Reality is, you never know when management will ask you to learn something new and you should see that as a challenge.

    Now, as for learning Windows, take the good advice of some of the other posts and install, learn, rinse, repeat until you have a better understading of Windows. It wonn't be fun, but it is worth it. Knowledge has always been key to advancement at anything and you should see this as our opportunity grow as a professional and as a person. Griping about it will not help your situation and as the saying goes: "If you can't take the heat, get out of the kitchen".

    • All these people that tell you to quit or try to convince the bosses otherwise aren't giving you sound advice.

      I think you've overlooked a some key points. The dude is, according to the post, system administrator at an ISP. There are few positions that require a deeper knowledge of installing and maintaining operating systems and software. Yet, he's not even been given admin access to his own desktop.
      The "screw your boss" advice you've seen is not (only) founded on the standard linux fanaticism. It is, at
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday February 24, 2004 @11:06PM (#8381965)
    Based on the submitter's resume [darkmere.gen.nz], the ISP he's working for is ihug [ihug.co.nz]. And based on a Google search, the buying company [theage.com.au] is iiNet [iinet.net.au] (confirmed in iiNet's own press release [iinet.net.au]).

    Are there any Linux / Unix-based New Zealand ISPs that feel like offering Simon a new job? (Assuming that posting his situation on Slashdot doesn't get him fired first?)
  • Admin-admins? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by yason ( 249474 )

    I work in the Network/System Admin team for an ISP. ... has mandated that my team's desktops be switched over from Linux to Windows XP in the next few weeks. ... we won't be allowed to install random programs ... may not have admin access.

    You're on the network/system admin team and you're not going to have root on your boxen? They have admin-administrators then, or what? Usually it takes a huge company to actually have separate departments for IT support/admin and network support/admin.

    We're not happ

    • I worked for a small sister company and when we were brought into the office of our mother company we had some troubles. You see we did the web for this mother company. So we wanted all sorts of crazy things. SSH access to the webservers. Reliable internet access. (their proxy was down constantly)

      I even got snide comments on how I wasted all my time surfing. They saw me having having a browser window open all the time. Well duh, that was the preview of the code I was editing on another screen.

      What I had t

      • -What I had to do to get a linux development box you wouldn't believe. Of course this wasted countless hours but that was of course not managements fault.

        Actually rephrased this could read 'What I had to do to get *the company to buy me* a linux development box you wouldn't believe.'

        There is plenty of security to keep you from walking out with a machine, and almost zero security to keep you from bringing one in. Any Linux hacker can build a nice box that looks exactly like the corporate boxes for under $
  • Deal with it... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by secolactico ( 519805 ) on Tuesday February 24, 2004 @11:39PM (#8382325) Journal
    For what is worth, here's my advice: deal with it.

    If management mandates that you *have* to use Windows XP (which is Win2k with fluff, and win2k is darn good) and that you *won't* have admin access to your desktop, you'll have to swallow the pill or go away.

    I assume you already talked it over with your bosses and failed to convince them to keep the current enviroment, so here's what you should do (assuming you decide not to quit):

    1. Make a list of all the applications you need and make sure they have them (ssh, X server, whatever) and make sure they provide them. They are your work tools and without them, you won't be able to do whatever it is they pay you to do.

    2. Learn to live with Windows. The quicker you adapt, the easier it will be. There are very little workstation related functions that you can do in Linux and not in Windows. The only difference is that you'll probably have to pay for add-ons, as I'm sure you told your bosses, but, hey, it's their call.

    3. Do you really need admin access to your workstation? If so, make your case and present it to them. Do you need to test/install new applications? Do you need to run an application that only runs in admin mode?

    4. Be wary of all those advices we are giving you here (yes, including me). For example, setting a rogue Linux box in a corner and working on it. Going around company policy might land you in hot water even if it's harmless.

    5. Lighten up. It's not the end of the world. If it really makes you that unconfortable, update your resume and try to land another gig.
    • All good advice. A couple comments...

      Over all, the 'Unix way' of doing things should be natural to you now. It is harder to do tasks under Windows using Unix methods, though you should be able to see where gaps are in the default Windows configuration and guess that there are Unix-style tools available to fill those holes. For the moment, try and avoid using those methods. You won't forget them, though...

      1. 2. Learn to live with Windows.

      The best way to learn something is to force yourself to do it

  • SecureCRT
    http://www.vandyke.com/ [vandyke.com]

    Indispensable window shell program, port redir, and serial terminal too (for jacking into a switch/router console port from your laptop)
  • by p4ul13 ( 560810 ) on Tuesday February 24, 2004 @11:47PM (#8382393) Homepage
    You're asking for advice on /. as to how to switch from Linux to MS Windows?

    All together now:
    You're new around here aren't you?

    =)

  • by Jerf ( 17166 ) on Wednesday February 25, 2004 @12:06AM (#8382558) Journal
    Based on the criteria as given, you've kind of talked yourself into a corner. If you're not allowed to install "random software", then most of the people here recommending various random software packages aren't going to help here. If you're thinking that you're not going to get any software support, then you're hosed; twiddling preferences in Windows just isn't going to do anything.

    What I would recommend is trying to dig deeper. Why aren't you being allowed to use your preferred environments? Do they need you to run on Outlook? If so, rather then buying everybody a full Office load + all the other Windows crap, buy everybody a copy of Ximian Connector and let everyone run Evolution. If it's Office compatibility, why don't you examine the documents the company is generating and see if they're doing crazy stuff with VBA and ActiveX, or if OpenOffice can cut it. If they want compatibility with other developers, see to what degree they are talking about.

    You need to talk their language, which is of course money, and you've got at least a certain degree of leverage in the fact that the company is going to have to buy a lot of software that will not be free. Ximian + OpenOffice is cheaper then a full Windows+Office+Support suite. Most free software is much cheaper and just fine.

    Moreover, once you find out why you're making the change, you can probably quantify the hidden costs of the transition... and potentially strategies to defray it, perhaps convincing them to purchase (or, in the case of things like Cygwin, allow) the other software. Personally, for instance, being stuck in the sorry excuse for a Windows desktop I'd lose 10% or 20% productivity off the top, because I've become very proficient with multiple desktops being a single keystroke away. (Yes, there is a Powertool that does this but it doesn't match my usage patterns; I want a "move right" key, not just a "Move to Desktop 2".)

    You may find they have legitimate reasons, or you may find that they have delusions. ("We develop in Windows so we want you to apply your Perl skills to our VBA apps."... yeah...) Either way, you'll be better off to talk turkey with them if you get more info. Assuming they've got good reasons, you'll know where to focus on for the software you want to ask for.

    Now, please read the following carefully so you know what I'm saying: If you're stonewalled and if you can simply not get more information of this nature, then it is time to start polishing the resume and looking for a new job unless there is some compelling reason not to. Not because they're forcing you to Windows, per se, which with support could eventually be livable (and a job's a job, right?), but because this is a clear and unambiguous sign that they are completely unwilling to support their developers and deal with them as professionals, rather then children who need to be protected from themselves. Now, if you're OK with being treated as children, that's OK, but I'd be surprised; Unix doesn't encourage that attitude. I am not saying that being forced to Windows is a reason to think seriously about leaving; I am saying to think seriously about leaving if the new company doesn't understand how to best utilize developers (which happens to be the same as keeping them happy, for the most part), and to use this issue as a touchstone. If you can't get this basic information at this stage, it's not going to get better, and it's extremely likely to get worse.
  • Try this (Score:4, Funny)

    by $exyNerdie ( 683214 ) on Wednesday February 25, 2004 @12:18AM (#8382640) Homepage Journal

    We've all got years of experience on Linux but running Windows day to day is a big challenge

    I got a sweet deal for you. My 68 year old grandma has been using Windows XP for a while and she is pretty good at it. She might give you many useful tips and tricks because when she started a year ago on computers, it took her a long 1 week to get comfortable on Windows XP. Anyway, if you want to find out how she did it, just call her (303-607-7527). She loves to talk to people. She is home all day bored. Caveat: She is in Denver and her number might be long distance for you and once she gets started talking, there is no stopping her!

    • Heh heh heh..

      Nice REJECTION number :-)
    • Admining windows is nothing like running windows!

      MS has their own sauce for EVERYTHING...espically stuff that is straight forward on *inx...is particularly fustrating on windows to track it all down again. for a competant Linux admin Windows administration would be absolute hell! It's opposite worlds...Windows is almost entirely GUI now...but the good people still use a dash of CLI... making you look like an idiot for not knowing it. And pro windows admins are even worse than Kernel hackers at RTFM!!!!


  • I satisfy my corporate requirement for Microsoft by running it under Linux in VMware [vmware.com].

    As a client or a host, Linux with VMware is a much better decision than cygwin with XP hacks to make the UI feel like Linux. It never completely satisfies.

    Michael. [michael-forman.com]
  • by jhoger ( 519683 ) on Wednesday February 25, 2004 @12:53AM (#8382957) Homepage
    I'm surprised they're keeping you being a Unix type admin to administer their Windows network. Basically you're getting an opportunity to learn a whole new environment and skillset on the job at the company's expense.

    Believe me, having a wide variety of skills will suit you best. Look at it as an opportunity and take advantage of it.

    And if you just can't cope with learning new stuff, go find a different industry to be in, because that's how this one works. We adapt given our circumstances. If the job just starts to totally suck quit for that reason.

    F/OSS will achieve TWD whether you have money to pay for rent and groceries or not. Take advantage of the opportunities as you find them.
    • Well of course they are...because he's probably making less money because it was a smaller ISP...small enough to get bought! He's now OVER qualified for their company...LOL...as long as his pay stays at small company pay they'll keep him.
      I do agree about learning new stuff at the companies expense...but usually, it cost you A LOT of personal time and stress...simply to keep what you got. And to always be second-class to the new bosses! The problem is that change by Fiat never works. Like the guy said
  • What is this from... Bizarro land?
  • In my experience any company that arbitrarily forces you to change especially in a working situation without any good reason is heading to the grave anyways. In fact it's more likely they want it that way so they can do remote admin so they wouldnt be needing you anyways. And the first time you get a nasty virus and your customers suffer becuase of it they're probably going to walk anyways.

  • Depending on what you feel management may tolerate, some options are:

    - VMWare.
    - A "server" that just happens to be your regular working environment. Use the magic of X.
    - Alternatively, use rdesktop and Windows Terminal Server.
    - A "development network"
    - OpenOffice + Outlook Web Access

    It would help to understand what the drivers are here for the new owners - that's what will help you build a case for preserving elements of your old environment, if that's what you want to do.

    Otherwise, I would recommend cyg
  • by kinnell ( 607819 ) on Wednesday February 25, 2004 @04:26AM (#8383941)
    You could start to acclimatise your coworkers by walking around pulling out they're power cords at random intervals while they're trying to do important work. That way when windows is rolled out, they'll appreciate the helpful blue message that tells them they're fscked, rather than just a blank screen.
  • startx (Score:2, Informative)

    Here is a tip from another *nix geek stuck with a windows desktop. Convince them to set you up with Cygwin (make sure you include the X server). Run ssh-keygen in cygwin to create a public/private keypair. Copy the public key to one of the linux boxes you admin that has an X server (it should be in $HOME/.ssh/authorized_keys). On the windows machine create a .xinitrc file in your cygwin home directory that contains the following line only:
    xterm -iconic -e ssh -X username@linuxbox "blackbox"

    Now all you

  • My Suggestions (Score:3, Insightful)

    by esme ( 17526 ) on Wednesday February 25, 2004 @06:16AM (#8384244) Homepage

    it's been a long time since i've used windows, but the best site at the time was called "windows annoyances". i think this is now www.annoyances.org [annoyances.org]. there are also books from the same content which i'd recommend as well, if you like the dead-tree format.

    but mainly, i'd suggest trying to work within the system to convince them to make an exception for sys/netadmins and developers. i was in a similar situation about four years ago where i was using linux and transferred into a department where everyone was forced to use windows. so i basically made the case that developers and admins are different, can be responsible for their own machines, and can choose their own tech if they take the responsibility for it. i think the first point is key: once they accept that developers and admins should be allowed to play by different rules, a lot of the resistance will fade.

    the other approach i'd consider would be just flying below the radar running linux. the reason i was using linux in the other dept was my department sysadmin didn't care. this is probably not an option for you with mandates from management and converting the whole department to xp. still, you might be able to repartition your hd and dual boot without getting noticed.

    -esme

  • by chrysalis ( 50680 ) on Wednesday February 25, 2004 @08:20AM (#8384689) Homepage
    The worse thing you will discover while switching to Windows is the default browser called Internet Explorer. If you are allowed to install only one random application, install another browser as soon as possible.

    First, by using Internet Explorer you will discover another side of web sites you are usually browsing. With flashing stuff everywhere, with pages that forces you to wait while watching ads, and with dozens of popups everywhere.

    Navigation with keyboard is impossible, so get a good optical mouse and a large screen if you want to preserve your nerves.

    Also there is no tabbed browsing, so you have to lose habits like opening every new link in a new tab or you will quickly end up with tons of windows everywhere.

    But the main problem is that if you don't browse only very trusted sites, strange things will happen. I never go to w4r3z web sites, but everytime I've used Internet Explorer, my system became a mess. Random windows (things about online Casinos, or odd search engines) appeared even while browsing Slashdot. My DNS settings were changed and things appeared in the service tray. I was never able to figure out what it was and how to remove this sort of annoyance, but it also happens all the time to other people I know who are using Windows, so this is probably normal.

  • Okay that makes no sence at all!!! Find a new job because these people are fools and will not last long at all.
  • Did you read the submission? he can't install Knoppix ( although using the word install is a bit wrong) so suggesting that he use a LiveCD distro, won't work.
  • mozilla http://www.monster.com/

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