[Ubuntu PA] Fwd: Ubuntu help for a business

Bret Fledderjohn freelancer317 at gmail.com
Mon Oct 27 00:16:17 GMT 2008

Ok, here's an interesting email.... Here's a guy who wants to move over his
business to  Ubuntu (out near Pittsburgh)... Read over this and comment.  I
want to talk to this guy about Virtual Box instead of VMware (especially
considering the problems below).  Realistically, I think that he'll have
more issues with CentOS than with Ubuntu (especially with hardware).
But I want to hear from as many people as possible before I respond.

In regards to the 6 mo. release schedule I will reinforce that he doesn't
have to move up with each release and that the long term support releases
are maintained for 3 years, so he doesn't have to upgrade (many businesses
are afraid of frequent upgrades for the below mentioned reasons.)

Overall, I want to give this guy a good reason to stick with Ubuntu (and
Linux and OSS).  The more feedback the better!

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Steve Raslevich
Date: 2008/10/26
Subject: Re: Ubuntu help for a business
To: Bret Fledderjohn <freelancer317 at gmail.com>

 Hello Bret,

I thought I would update you as to migrating my business from Windows to
Linux Ubuntu. It has been a challenging and expensive learning experience to
say the least.

First, I contracted Codeweavers, the makers of Crossover, last month to
attempt to get our main order entry system to run in Crossover (Wine).  I
sent them the software for evaluation. A few days later they told me that
their main programmer felt confident that he could get the application,
Lotus Approach, to run in Crossover. I cut them two decent sized checks
despite the fact that they do not guarantee success and that the money is
not refundable if they can't make it work. Short story is, I should have
spent the money on a nice vacation for two to Europe or the islands. They
couldn't make it work. Actually, I sent them several windows applications
that they could not get to work. I did receive a consolation prize for my
investment, 24 Crossover licenses.

During a conversation with the Codeweavers' sales manager, I asked if he
could refer me to someone who could help me with Linux and Ubuntu. He
referred me to a guy in Florida. At first, the guy in Florida was very
responsive and interested in my project. However, as time went on, my calls
and emails were gradually not being returned.

I then continued to spend the majority of my spare time reading threads and
searching for solutions. I was ready to give up and stick with Windows then
surprising I found the website of a local company who has a certified RedHat
programmer on staff. Last Friday, at $135.00/hr, this programmer came over
for training and to help me install VMware. It was not a cake walk to
install VMware. We had to look up posts on the internet on how to get VMware
to install and run in Ubuntu 8.04. After finding numerous posts from users
reporting their VMware stopped working when they upgraded Ubuntu from 7.10
to 8.04, we found a post that explained what package was missing and a few
files that needed copied over. It was so involved that I was unable to take
notes fast enough so that I could duplicate the install process myself.

I am not a programming guru however I am not totally computer illiterate
either. If I am having such difficulty, I would imagine that other business
owners would find migrating to Linux Ubuntu even more challenging if not
impossible without hiring an IT specialist.

One of my biggest issues with Windows is that every time there's an upgrade
or a new release, something breaks. I was under the impression that Ubuntu
was more consistent and did not follow this trend. Unfortunately the recent
posts on how the last change from 7.10 to 8.04 broke VMware is extremely
concerning and is causing me to reconsider if Ubuntu is the right choice for
my business. It is starting to appear to me that Ubuntu is great for the
computer hobbyist, someone who is really into writing code or to just sit
there and serve files to windows clients.

It is my opinion that if Ubuntu wants to promote and attract businesses,
more consideration needs given to making Ubuntu more out-of-the-box ready
for the average user. For instance, I had to do a lot of digging just to
find out how to mount a network share at bootup. I found no instructions in
the Ubuntu help files about creating a folder in the Media directory and how
to add a line in the fstab file to accomplish this. I would imagine that
mounting a network share is a basic need for many users and I found it very
un-user friendly that I had to waist time searching the internet for a post
that *correctly* explained how to do this.

The local IT guy, that I just paid $405.00 (3 hours) just to install VMware,
is suggesting I use CentOS, which is RedHat based, instead of Ubuntu. CentOS
has only had (3) releases since 2002 verses Ubuntu that changes things every
six months.

The good news is that between some Linux based apps I found, the ability to
run some of our windows apps in Crossover and the ability to run the
remainder of the windows apps we need in a virtual XP OS within VMware, I
have everything I need to completely migrate to Linux. I plan on making the
change by the end of the year. Unfortunately, I am finding myself faced with
a difficult decision. Stay with Ubuntu, which I have come to be somewhat
familiar with and pay the certified RedHat programmer to come in and install
VMware on all my Ubuntu machines, or switch to CentOS which may cost me even
more learning time.

Your feedback and any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.
Additionally, if you have any direct contact with the people in charge of
Ubuntu and it's releases, feel free to forward them this email.

Best Regards,
Steve Raslevich

Bret Fledderjohn wrote:

Hello Steve,

I'm so glad to hear that you are converting to Ubuntu for your enterprise!

The PA Local Community Team has some people out in your neck of the woods,
however, I'm not sure what expertise level they are.  Our strongest base
right now is Philly and Harrisburg.  There are a couple of people up near
Erie as well, but their full time jobs are pretty time consuming.  Have you
thought of a support contract with Canonical (the Commercial sponsor of
Ubuntu)?  Also, I will say that you can post support questions real time to
our irc channel (Freenode #ubuntu-us-pa) or in our forum (not real time)
http://pennsylvania.ubuntuforums.org/  That is all free for you.

If you give me permission, I will repost your email to our mailing list and
to the forums, so that if there is someone in your area, they can contact
you directly.

There are also Linux Users Groups around which are excellent for technical
questions and for reaching very talented and skilled people (many who use
Ubuntu on a regular basis).

As your company continues with this adoption, I'd love to hear more.
Perhaps we can get get a white paper together, which would help the
community, the more success stories that we can get the better!

Regardless,  thanks for your interest, and please let me know if there is
any other help that I can offer from my end (Harrisburg).

Best wishes,


2008/8/27 Steve Raslevich - Northern Sound & Light

> Hello Bret,
> I found the https://wiki.ubuntu.com/PennsylvaniaTeam  website which
> indicates that your groups focus in on expansion of your projects to
> schools, businesses and home users so I thought I would drop you an email.
> I am looking for someone in the Pittsburgh area to help me convert the
> workstations at my business from XP to Ubuntu.
> I have been running Ubuntu on 2 Dell servers with great success for over a
> year. They have been the file servers for a dozen or so WinXP workstations.
> I have been currently experimenting with Ubuntu 8.04 on a few PC's at home.
> However with running a business, I currently have limited time available to
> experiment and learn how to make things do what I need them to do. I have
> only learned enough to be dangerous and could really use some expert help.
> Are you aware of anyone in the Pittsburgh area who may freelance that can
> help me learn Ubuntu faster and help me configure the desktops?
> Best Regards,
> Steve Raslevich
>  --
> Steve Raslevich

- Bret
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