Canadian Government Computers to be upgraded Go Ubuntu

Russell McOrmond russell at
Wed Apr 21 21:56:20 UTC 2010

Chris wrote:
> When I think about it, you are all right.
> The people I have switched from winblows to Ubuntu are always calling me.
> They also called me all the time for windows.
> I think they are just too lazy to learn.
> My intentions were good.

   I'm finding the responses here interesting.  I don't find the "users 
are dumb" comment to be all that useful or even accurate given this is 
an Ubuntu *users* community mailing list and clearly the list members 
here have figured Ubuntu out enough to want to be here.

   The reality is that computing moves forward, and whether an end-user 
wants to move forward or not isn't their choice in a corporate 
environment.   Change will happen, and a change from Windows 98 to 
Windows XP, or from operator-managed desktops to machines managed 
centrally as part of a corporate network (domain logins/etc), are 
realistically no harder than a change from Windows XP to Ubuntu. 
Clearly it is change, but that change is already happening.

   The very things that people complain about not being able to do on 
Ubuntu are the types of things that many corporate networks (and 
government departments) are attempting to clamp down on anyway.   Users 
being able to download random software from the Internet (or bring CDs 
from home, etc) and install on their work computers is a bug, not a feature.

   The core issue is managing change -- you don't switch an entire 
organisation over instantly if you want the migration to be smooth.  You 
have a migration plan that may span multiple years for a large 
organisation.  You start with the lowest-hanging fruit, which are people 
who already wanted to switch but were denied permission.  Then people 
who already have experience with the new technology in some other aspect 
of their life, and so-on until the organisation is left with those few 
who reject any change no matter what it is.   The existing people who 
migrate are then proof that things work well to those who are sceptical 
of the change.  You may find more and more people wanting to be early 
adopters as existing adopters may become evangelists for the advantages.

   I'm ending a contract at Agriculture Canada at the end of the month. 
(2'nd multi-month contract with them in as many years, 14 months total). 
  I've been using CentOS5 on my desktop, connecting to a Citrix server 
to run Outlook and a few other Windows-only applications necessary for 
my job.   While I'm hired as an IT consultant to do system 
administration and related work, it is not unusual to already have Linux 
on the desktop in various government departments.   Those of us that us 
Linux on the desktop (and I am far from the only one) do not get desktop 
support from AgriHelp who does the Windows support for the less 
technical user base. If the department decided to migrate further it 
would beef up AgriHelp to handle both the legacy platform and the new 
platform during that migration.

   Even if a user was only using Windows applications there would be 
benefits to having them using a Linux desktop.  I fully expect to see 
things like Chromium OS with the Citrix client become popular in 
corporate environments to massively simplify management of Windows 
applications running from the server.

  Russell McOrmond, Internet Consultant: <>
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