Looking for new business oportunities

Kenneth Hawkins kjurkic at yahoo.ca
Mon Feb 23 18:06:42 UTC 2009

Howdy Darryl

Up front is just a bit of a rant, but please bear with me.

Just from my own experience, the tough part is and alway will be, the desktop & business apps. The sad factoid is that majority of people using computers DO NOT WANT TO LEARN! Especially after they have already invested time & effort into proficiency, or at least minimal competence in the applications they need to perform their job. They want to come in at 8AM, punch buttons in the order they have learned by rote, and clock out at 5PM.

I have seen too many articles over the past decade that go "Is Linux ready for the desktop?"....well it has been ready for over a decade, at least as far as business environments are concerned. The problem is that Microsh1ttm has too much of the public's mindshare. You can document and demonstrate how there is not a single task that staff perform that could not be done with the FOSS alternatives. Doesn't matter, not because they don't believe you, but because the folks in the trenches would be forced into an unfamiliar desktop, with unfamiliar applications, so they would actually have to think, and the one thing that humans in general DO NOT WANT TO DO, is think. They want to coast along on what they already know. The really sad part of all this is that these same people will eagerly run out and get the latest windows/office version, just to find that they will have to learn something new anyway......but thats OK, because "no one has ever been fired for
 buying Microsoft"

It is always easier to get linux into the server room, which I have accomplished with a few clients with better than anticipated success. The next step to address any centralisation issues they may be experiencing, such as document collaboration, shared calendars, and such; get them off of that Lookout! crapware, and onto a web interface for their email, calendars (esp group ones), To-do lists, and most importantly - document control. Get them used to using the browser to upload & download from a corporate repository/library where tracking and revisioning can be managed centrally. Create easy to access containers for standard forms, etc. Try and migrate any Access or other local DB's that people have on their desktops to a central server running a true multi-user SQL/DB. Its not about getting linux into the environment; its about solving problems, making the workflow easier, and keeping the customer happy.

Then you can start with a staged migration of some of the workstations that are very generic. Reception staff, non-specialised office staff, some power users who might be willing to buy-in. Give them a linux distribution that is very targetted to their job, has only the apps they need, and won't block them with security glitches; ie make sure the user can do their job WITHOUT having to call you for anything other than basic "How do I..." instructions. Set the desktop to look as much like XP as you possibly can, so that that users aren't frustrated with an unfamiliar layout. Set all the apps document format defaults to be Microsoft compatible.

I will detour here for a moment, but hope this anecdote helps. Years ago, a new instructor was hired at the college where I worked. This fellow had a PhD in math, and had completed it in near record time. He had skipped a few years in K-12, and still been straight A all throughout. The feeling of the other instructors, and management was "Great, now we have a first class Calculus course! Students will excell!". This instructor set a new record for failure & dropout rates in his courses. There was nothing special about his curricula, same as every year before him. He wasn't lazy, and he was sincere. The problem was that because it all came so easily to him, he could not understand how other people could not understand what he was teaching. He was unable to put himself in their shoes. 

The biggest barrier to the general adoption of linux has been, IMO, the fact that most of us who have adopted it are naturally curious and willing to endure some frustrations and problems to have a better end experience, or even just for the new experience, and we cannot grasp why everyone else doesn't feel/behave the same way.

Sorry this was so long; hope it was helpful

Good luck with your venture


From: Darryl Moore <darryl at moores.ca>
To: ubuntu-ca at lists.ubuntu.com
Sent: Monday, February 23, 2009 7:32:27 AM
Subject: Looking for new business oportunities

Hello list. I'm a frequent reader of this list, but alas not a huge

I am currently looking for new business opportunities for myself and the
people in this group may have some insight into some ideas I have, so if
you have a moment please read and comment on the following.

In my previous business I built vehicle tracking hardware that ran on
satellite and cellular networks. The hardware I built typically were not
linux based (too small) but they did sport a POSIX API. I did develop
one ARM based device which ran linux but that product was not completed
before my departure.

I built the company IT infrustructure on linux, and all my home PC's run
linux as well, so I do have some basic Linux sys admin as well as
programming skills.

I have developed a bit of a FLOSS obsession over the last few years and
have been wondering if I could turn this into a business. What I'd like
to do is target local companies that are big enough to have purchased MS
volume licenses, but small enough that a small IT company could
reasonably support, (Say 10-100 machines) and help them save money by
converting their IT infrastructure over to Linux. Either the entire
network, or simply their servers, what ever they are more comfortable
with. I would take my pay as a fraction of what they save by being able
to cancel their MS business agreement.

There are gaps in my knowledge of course which I would have to fill, but
there is an Ubuntu partner in Montreal which offers training. As well,
I'd have to get some reasonable estimates of what MS business licenses
typically cost (currently I have no idea). Everything I've found online
is suitably vague. One must call a MS rep before getting any real

Mark Shuttleworth is currently working hard to get Ubuntu onto business
desktops, and with the current economic downturn, it seems to me that
there should be a ripe market of small companies looking to reduce costs
whereever they can. This is a niche that will a bit of training and
marketing, I think I can fill.

I would be looking (at least initially) at companies with simple needs;
office productivity, email, file servers, web servers, and supporting
both Windows and Linux based work stations.

If anybody here has technical or business advice on this idea, I'd
dearly like to hear from you.

Darryl Moore

ubuntu-ca mailing list
ubuntu-ca at lists.ubuntu.com
-------------- next part --------------
An HTML attachment was scrubbed...
URL: <https://lists.ubuntu.com/archives/ubuntu-ca/attachments/20090223/279252fb/attachment.html>

More information about the ubuntu-ca mailing list