Linux on the Desktop

July 1st, 2008

Later this month, I will be giving a talk at OSCon about Linux on the corporate desktop — something we have done where I work. I’ve been alloted a 45-minute timeslot. I will, of course, be posting my slides online and I think OSCon also posts videos of these things.

I’m wondering if readers of my blog would like to leave me some comments on what you’d like to see. What would you like to know about Linux on the corporate desktop? Is there anything that you’d like to make sure I discuss?

Categories: Desktop Linux

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  1. Damon

    I hear much noise about interoperability (i.e. .doc and such things from outside sources), how you fixed that would be useful. Also the so called “steep” learning curve of the end user, how did you make the users feel “at home” without panicking about the lack of a Big E on the desktop?

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  2. Joseph

    I hear a lot about ActiveDirectory and GPO’s. A bit about mass fat client management would probably be great, particularly tying into AD and running a Linux-based directory system that does GPO-like stuff.

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  3. cmot

    Running a Linux environment here we struggle most with data organisation: access rights to shared (NFS) filesystems, and with NFS performance (which, I suspect, is partly a problem of my lacking experience in configuring this beast.. :-(

    Integration of smartphones with the infrastructure is the second big topic here: unless you have an MS Exchange server and Outlook clients, no vendor will reasonably support you.

    Otherwise, Linux is pretty much accepted here.

    Looking forward to watching slides/video of your presentation!

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  4. Simple Country Physicist

    Two primary concerns: compatibility with other hardware, especially MS servers; and ease of staff updates and installs.

    Reply

  5. John Goerzen

    Thanks for the suggestions, everyone.

    To give a very brief idea of what we have done:

    For the learning curve, we configured Gnome to look and act very similar to windows. No focus follows mouse, no toolbar at the top of the screen, no desktop switcher or “hide the desktop” buttons by default. (People would accidentally click on them and panic.)

    We are running OpenOffice and Thunderbird. There are a few of the typical Office document compatibility issues (most notably in spreadsheets with extreme amounts of VBA), but it is uncommon enough or easily fixed enough that it isn’t a big deal. We have a laptop with MS Office on it for when we need it.

    We migrated from Netware directly to a Samba PDC, and have never used ActiveDirectory. There is another talk at OSCon about that though.

    We use SystemImager to manage the clients, and have three separate images that it runs.

    We are using NFSv4 and will likely implement Kerberos in the not-too-distant future. For calendaring, we are implementing eGroupWare, which can sync to Palm, Blackberry, Symbian, and Microsoft phones via third-party solutions.

    Hardware compatibility has surprisingly not been a big deal. We watch the video hardware so we don’t need to use proprietary drivers and that’s about it. It’s a bigger deal on laptops; we have lately taken to buying them from LinuxCertified and have had good experiences there.

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