Move Your Business from Windows to Linux
Posted 07 July 2008 - 06:09 AM
Linux insists on no binary driver API and HW vendors just can't support the many different distro's (each with its own kernel). Its a rock vs a hard place.
Folks can argue forever as to who is at "fault", the net result remains the same. Getting new HW supported on Linux can be impossible. Even when source exists, the "compile to install" fails as a popular desktop solution.
Linux could be a killer mainstream OS, it choses not to be.
Posted 07 July 2008 - 06:36 AM
Those of us who use Linux every day, especially those of us who use Linux to build embedded and non-embedded vertical market solutions, know perfectly well that the state of Linux driver development is, to say the least, far beyond adequate. My business is Linux restaurant software, POS, and I continue to marvel at the pleasure of being able to use the latest hardware of every kind. I can't even remember the last time that I couldn't use a device because there was no driver support for it.
Often, new equipment, such as the Microsoft 7000 bluetooth keyboard and mouse, worked right out of the box. I left the Microsoft installation CD in its envelope! Thanks to CUPS (the common Unix Printing System) the Star Micronics POS TSP 100 USB printer also worked right out of the box, printing receipts in PostScript and/or PDF! Google readily found for me a Perl script someone had created in less than a day for discovering and configuring the IP for Bixolon's ethernet printer interface. I was able to freely copy the script to my Linux compact flash and to invoke from the POS GUI to make ethernet POS printer setup a breeze! I've never taken any Microtouch M170 touchscreen software installation CD out of its envelope - on Linux you just plug these in and they work, thanks to 'X' (The X Window System). Drivers for secure remote display of the touchscreen graphical POS interfaces across the Internet are also provided by X and make support as easy as pie; the display/input system is based upon TCP ! I have such an array of advantages over companies offering Windows-based POS that it's almost embarrassing to admit it.
Posted 07 July 2008 - 09:42 AM
Obviously that someone else lives in a narrow world, POS terminals are an appliance, as are most servers. Obviously they haven't tried a Kodak printers,Minolta scanners and much other hardware. Anybody who has use Linux very long and diversely, must have been aware of the wireless nightmare that existed for years. Video card drivers (with acceleration) are just finally becoming rational. None of that affects the narrow world of POS or other embeded appliances.
Linux certainly has it's strengths, it is fantastic for many appliances (including desktop appliances).
The main article was GENERAL and even mentioned you may still need WINE, XP in a VM or even dual boot to "move" many offices to Linux. That is hardly "moving" to Linux.
Linux is a great OS, it has real world limitations (mostly due to lack of HW and SW support) that greatly limits it's adoption as a general purpose desktop OS. I am no MS fanboy and only wish I could change to Linux. I hope for the day this is resolved.
Posted 07 July 2008 - 11:22 AM
As far as printers/scanners are concerned, I had an easier time setting up my network ready printers with Ubuntu Linux than I did with Windows XP. Both Windows XP and Linux installed the correct drivers for my Brother HL1670N duplex laser. The Windows XP driver didn't allow access to many of the printers advanced features though, so I had to download and install the Brother drivers. The Linux drivers gave me access to most all the features without any trouble.
XP didn't even see my HP Photosmart 8450. I had to use the HP installation CD to get it to work, of course that also installed a ton of memory resident crap from HP. In Ubuntu Linux I went to add a networked printer, Ubuntu searched the network and listed it right along with the Brother HL1670N. I installed the driver from the list and the printer worked without issue...printed beautiful photos.
The third item is Brother MFC 640CW (Printer, Copy, Fax). Again XP couldn't even find it on the network and I had to use the install CD to get it to work. With Ubuntu Linux, I once again went to add a network printer and it was listed right there with the other two. The correct driver wasn't available so I did have to go and download it from the Brother website (website for linux drivers) but after that it worked perfectly. The MFC 640CW also scans and that setup went without a hitch on both XP and Linux.
Software...I don't use Photoshop (can't afford it) but I've been using GIMP for a while now. It has a lot of the same features (I didn't say all) that take care of my photo editing needs. OpenOffice, Evolution, Moneydance and more. I don't see myself going back to any Microsoft products anytime soon.
Posted 07 July 2008 - 12:05 PM
Every supporter talks about how great Linux is and that it is so much better than Windows, and has all these features, but then somewhere if it is a complete post, comes the BUT - you have to take this step, go into this program and modify this or that, (text based of course), enter this command or that.
The consumer wants to take a machine home and plug it in and use it. They don't mind inserting a CD and loading drivers, they hate having to go online and searching for them.
Listening to the supports of various flavors of Linux talk about their favorite with the support of another and each using different terms and nomenclature makes me wonder. I know they are both speaking english, but I don't understand either of them and I wonder if they understand each other. The developers of the various flavors of Linux are their own worst enemies.
And, then to try to foist that off on a user in business environment? POS is easy, scan, click, print. Thats simpler than using a calculator. Anything can be used there. When you get to real users interacting with outside entities and exchanging files things start to get a little more dicey. Receiving a notice in the docx format for example, or maybe autocad files that won't open. It's not as easy as some would have us believe. There is a real reason that MS has more than a 90% market share - with the warts and all - people using common software to solve common problems and using common terms. It's what gave DOS the early lead and it hasn't changed. Linux is like CP/M - coulda been a contender.
Posted 07 July 2008 - 12:52 PM
I have found a replacement foe every single app that i use in windows within the open source software lists. The current versions of linux - Debian, Fedora, Ubuntu, Kubuntu, Gentoo, PClinuxos, etc all very good os's. They are equal to windows in the office use ( e-mail checker and word processor ), and the total cost for software is almost $ 0.00.
As was mentioned in an earlier post for the most part the linux os forums usually can give you a answer on how to fix your problem. they are not perfect nor is Microsoft perfect they don't solve all problems with windows either.
All in all if you have used a current version of linux you would have seen that they are in fact a good replacement for windows.
Posted 07 July 2008 - 01:00 PM
I never suggested some system are well supported in Linux. I happen to regularly use Kunbuntu and XP. I fail to understand why , just because your HW has support nobody has a problem??? I gave some specific examples, some current, some dated which I happen to be aware of wince I have used Linux continually for 8 years,
I never suggested I use Photoshop! GIMP happens to have the most user hostile UI I've ever seen A shame since it can do almost everything.
Since Linux is free, why does it have such a tiny desktop share? There must be SOME reason. I don't buy the "MS monopoly" theory, a superior product would win. I happen to believe drivers (from 8 years experience) are a major problem. Diverse incompatible package managers/systems doesn't help much either.
I repeat, I would very much like Linux to become a major general desktop player . Something other than a "monopnoly' is stiopping that from hapapening.
Perhaps someone can explain why a superior OS has such low desktop market share? Perhaps someone can tell me where to get Linux drivers for my Kodak, Olympus and Minolta equipment?
Posted 07 July 2008 - 01:00 PM
I remember one occasion when a fellow came on the chat complaining it was too hard and going back to windows and this fell claimed to have a university degree in computers ... sure made this old fellow proud to know he was smarter then a big headed university grad.
But again linux isn't for lazy people and people that don't know how to use the brain that God put in their heads.
Posted 07 July 2008 - 02:43 PM
Linux is like a car with manual transmission. You pay less and you can change the gear as much as you wish.
But do I want to pay $2000 for every 3 to 5 years plus other stuff?
Not me, I got Ubuntu.
Posted 07 July 2008 - 03:46 PM
Yes, we all know Linux has made great strides. It is much more stable than it used to be...so what? So is Windows and so is Mac OS X. That Linux is free would not matter much to many corporations as much as replacing the applications that run on that operating system AND the necessary retraining to use the operating system and the replacement applications. And, please, Ubuntu/Xandros/Linspire...they are all sufficiently different that there will NEED to be retraining. Not everyone is a techie. Not everyone has that special grandma that picked up on Ubuntu after only five seconds of use.
Posted 07 July 2008 - 06:22 PM
In the case of automobiles, people pay $1,000 about every three years for a car with an automatic transmission because it is more comfortable. Most people only move to Vista with a new machine. And it doesn't cost them $2,000 to move, unless you count the cost of the machine. They are buying the new machine because they either want or need a new machine and it happens to come with Vista.
My scanner was all I had to replace - $169 for a new AIO that not only replaced the scanner but also got me a wireless printer to boot. I also had to replace my mono laserjet - oh - but that was because my old LJ4100 died. Oh, Vista supports some HP laserjets going back 24 years to the old Laserjet II circa 1984. Or more accurately, the Printer Control Language that HP uses supports all the mid to high level Laserjets from 1984 to 2008, thus the Universal Printer Driver for Vista supports them all.
Posted 07 July 2008 - 10:36 PM
We did that jump a long time ago, when Linux wasn't as user-friendly as it's today. We had some problems, that were solved with some training. After 7 years we haven't had downtime at all due to virii, faulty updates, or anything like that. And very important, the system's performance does not degrade with time as happens with windows, and we didn't pay for a "cache and temp file cleaner". Linux does it all for no additional fee.
I'm writing this after we EXPERIENCED the change. It's been worth many times the original cost and we'd do it all again... and it would be far easier now!
Posted 08 July 2008 - 05:09 AM
Posted 08 July 2008 - 06:44 AM
Now, those days are behind us, but that investment in MS products is still paying divididends. The other item is the file structure and nomenclature. As much as some deride the "drive" designation on network structures around Windows, it is easier for people to understand. In Linux there is a term boot to root that is totally greek to the vast majority of computer users and I don't understand it either. If you have two drives in a Linux system, what are the drives called? This is basic stuff that just is ignored by the techies of the Linux crowd and is the great gulf of understanding between the vast consumer base and those that would have us thow away the familiar for something else without explaining what the real benefit is. And the technically proficient always underestimate the effort to change someone from one way of doing something to another. If Vista and Office 2007 is a steep learning curve, Linux and Open Office will be far steeper, far outweighing the aggregate corporate cost of conversion. The new machines arrive as a matter of course, so they really don't figure into the cost, and the site license is already built into the budget.
I remember an episode at another plant where I worked where the storeroom had about 10 starters for Ford V-8 engines for company vehicles in the storeroom. With the routine replacement of vehicles, these starter would not fit up properly to the new engins because of the bolt hole configurations. Because they had been in stock long enough, they were not returnable for credit, so they were tossed, brand new in the box into the dumpster. One employess commented on the waste, saying all they had to do was re-drill the holes. What he did not realize was that the set, and labor to redrill the holes in those starters was more than it cost to buy new ones. That's part of what some call FUD, it's many times cheaper to replace an old physical and operating system with a new one that is a slight change than go to one that is a big change.
Besides the great majority of people get their home OS already installed on the PC, so they don't really consider the OS as a cost, anymore than they consider the extra standard equipment on a car as part of the cost, it's already there so why worry about it.
Posted 08 July 2008 - 06:58 PM
@geogray: no - the far majority of businesses have not done the 'research' you claim. They go along to Kmart and buy the bloated, over-priced solutions. More convenient? Probably. Costing too much and forcing piracy? Yes.
(Please, no one use the "software costs so much because of piracy" argument. Microsoft used that for their OS's, and look where we are now.)
PS - I develop software for Linux and Windows.
Posted 08 July 2008 - 07:23 PM
Posted 08 July 2008 - 07:32 PM
Anyone who knows anything about computers knows that the first thing you need to do after getting a new Windows computer is install anti-virus software. Then a firewall. Then anti-adware/spyware. Then a second anti-adware/spyware program. And maybe an adware/spyware blocker. And all of those programs have to be kept up-to-date, and you have to keep up on your scans. This doesn't mean that your computer is safe, however.
And don't forget the monthly updates which install in the background and then force you to stop what you are doing so you can reboot your computer because the security hole that has existed for the last three years just now got patched and Windows can't stand to wait another five minutes before the update that probably didn't work can be applied.
Windows doesn't "just work", it takes a lot of work to get it to work. And small businesses (heck, large businesses, schools, governments, home users, etc.) can spend a lot of time (and money) dealing with these Windows issues on this system that "just works".
Yes, Linux can take some effort to set up, but then you can pretty much let it run. Even the regular security updates can be done without having to restart the computer.
"To mess up a Linux box, you need to work at it; to mess up your Windows box, you just have to work on it." - Scott Granneman, adjunct professor at Washington University in St. Louis
Posted 08 July 2008 - 08:10 PM
Linux has a geeky reputation, not helped by the image when user groups are in the press holding 'open days'. "Bring in your PC, we'll put Linux on it, and we'll totally confuse you within the hour". At least, that's what happens here in New Zealand. (Ever been here? It's nice - come down some time, I'll shout you a beer.)
I toatally agree with you about WINE - it's not a solution for all. For now, It's only for the brave and for the gamers. But I truely believe that many more companies can use Linux, OpenOffice.Org, and a smattering of other apps to have a well-run office. I've seen it work very successfully.
The last point that you bring up is interesting : it could be costly to change a large company/corporation to Linux, due to retraining, downtime, unfamiliarity, and that the apps just aren't available. I can relate. Upon saying that, we're going to be forced into using Office 2007. Why? "Because". That's why. Just "because".
Posted 08 July 2008 - 08:32 PM
For all the Windows machines, there is at our location, one install disc. That generated one install and then was imaged which is used to install the rest of the machines. Very little of this would work on Linux or Mac. At our location, the IT staff supports over 150 users. There is one old P3 that at one time was running Linux as a curious experiment several years back. However, the programmer that was experimenting with it left. He did determine that none of our critical applications would run on it.
When a company spends millions of dollars to develop an application, they are not about to spend it again to save a hundred thousand.
Oh, and where do we get our machines, when you issue a purchase order for 1,000 machines delivered over the next twelve months, you deal directly with the manufacturer.