The gap to a successful corporate desktop system.

James Wilkinson ubuntu at
Thu May 19 12:23:41 UTC 2005

Magnus Therning wrote:
> Yes. You know that, I know that. I'd argue everyone knows that. But I
> don't think it'll happen. Corporations are conservative, getting them to
> take a chance won't happen unless M$ plays their cards horribly. Now,
> they have been making some blunders with their licensing, but they won't
> sit idly by and watch their dominance in corporate computing disappear.

It depends on the corporation, the number of desktops, the projected
savings, and the importance of those desktops.

Many corporations have thousands of data entry terminals. In the old
days, they'd have been green-screen terminals (which are a *lot* easier
to manage). The cost to the company if one of those goes down is not
often so great. The users are only supposed to be running a limited
subset of programs.

There are some organisations (frequently those that are challenged for
funding) that calculate there is a significant potential saving and are
prepared to take the plunge. At the moment, what is happening is that
they are gaining experience, and finding out whether Linux can cut it

But what is going to happen is what happened in the server world five to
ten years ago. They are going to find "yes, it works well," the word is
going to get out, and other organisations are going to see it as less of
a risk. If lots of other companies have been doing something and getting
away with it, executives are a lot happier with the idea.

> The way to go is to take the back door into the corporate world. Get
> home users to install and use Linux for all their non-gaming activities,
> sooner or later people will want to use the same system at work, since
> that's what they know. This is already happening to some extent, since
> Linux is the choice of most CS students for their home computing. I've
> installed Linux on a computer on the first day of work at every employer
> I've had (only two so far), and I see the same behaviour from many
> others, all are under 30. Just wait until they work their way up the
> food chain of corporations and you'll see.

Depends. The choice of desktop tends to have to go past high-ranking
non-technical officers. I suspect that most of these will be unlikely to
be running Linux at home.

They also won't understand the technology and be intimidated by it. That
does tend to make people want to stick with what they know, and what
they think is proven in an organisational setting.

> I don't quite see how Window's inability to deal with malware is more
> acceptable in corporate settings. It might even be a worse fit there.
> But as you said, it all comes down to applications and if you depend on
> an application that is available only on Windows you are stuck... unless
> it runs on Wine of course :-)

It is possible to lock Windows down. A suitably paranoid administrator,
who doesn't go around installing everything under the sun, who ensures
that updates are applied regularly, and who has decent anti-virus
protection installed can keep the malware off. This is possible in
organisations who can hire competent administrations, but a large
proportion of non-technical home computer owners don't appreciate what
is needed.

E-mail address: james | "OK, so your monitor is not working, the screen is  | blank, and no matter what you do it stays blank? Do
                      | you see that button on the bottom right hand side of
                      | the screen? Press it. . . ."

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