As the year closes, the open source code successfully used in our office includes the following:
Ubuntu 5.10 with Linux kernel 2.6.12-10-386.
Open Office 2.0
Ubuntu is installed on my desktop and though XP Pro is installed on another partition, I do not need to boot it and have not booted it for most of the last quarter of 05.
The other machine in our office does run XP Pro and is networked to my machine with Samba.
Our calendar is managed by Evolution which we print out and review together at staff meetings. Open Office handles all legal and client drafting, bookkeeping of trust, client billing, receivables and payables and converting text and spreadsheeting from MS format. WordPerfect is still a problem.
Firefox obviously handles browsing which means legal, fact and background reference research. Nvu and Gimp are used to update content on the website.
Ubuntu is the best distro for my purposes that I've road tested. Over the past five years, I've also tested Mandriva, Red Hat and Slackware.
Technical support has been better for the reason that we find answers faster, the answers cost less money and there is no artificial shelf life on what we learn as existed with proprietary vendors who wipe out pieces of your learning with new upgrades, formats, tweaks, etc. I rely primarily on Ubuntu Forums for our technical support since installing Ubuntu.
Challenges which remain include the following:
Our accountant uses Quickbooks Pro, and I think it saves us money to accommodate them by keeping at least one version of our books in that format. My technical skill (and that of my staff) is not to the level that we've been able to find an open source solution to easily replace Quickbooks Pro. The problem is not so much a lack of candidates or other problem with the available code so much as my technical knowledge.
There is one piece of legacy code which is special for our jurisdiction that won't run with Linux. I have not tried it out with WINE and for the time being, we use the app with XP Pro when we need it which is not often.
There is no integrated client management package like Amicus Attorney or Kemp's, but I miss this far less than I expected. The spreadsheets I've made are easier to use and do actually do more. Learning to use the spreadsheet was a better investment of time than learning to use Amicus or Kemp's.
The printers are still working slowly. My suspicion currently is the driver. The attached printer is an hp laserjet 1200 and the printer across the network is an hp laserjet 4.
There is the added problem with the network printer that my smb.conf file is still pretty primitive. (I can post it if anyone is interested in trying to duplicate and improve this setup in their office.)
There is more to do in 2006. On my list is ssh, pgp and command line sytax for installation and configuration of new code. I have 50 books (and also links) to this information, but I simply haven't mastered the skills yet.