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Linux Adoption in the Workplace

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supermike's picture
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Joined: 2006-02-17

One author, Mimi Yeh, states her (his?) opinion here:

http://lxer.com/module/newswire/ext_link.php?rid=55054

However, I have a sneakier approach. The trick is to get users used to using OpenOffice.org on Windows instead of MS Office, first. Then, harp on the fact that this is free. Once they get used to it, you'll start to hear people brag about how OpenOffice.org is so user-friendly, while others may still dislike it. You then try to work with those folks to share your knowledge on overcoming obstacles.

Then, you start to look for Linux equivalents to all the apps the business uses and you ramp that up and test it to see if you think users would be willing to make the switch.

Once this is achieved, it's easier to switch users to a slightly locked-down version of Ubuntu if you customize it to look as much as possible to look exactly like Windows. (In fact, I once made GNOME look almost 100% identical to Windows XP's default desktop, although when you clicked the menus it started to look a little different.)

But to pull that off, it has to come from the top down on the benefits of cost and security from viruses, spyware, exploits, spam, etc.

Your best bet is small to mid-sized businesses -- forget about the Fortune 1000 for now. When the small and mid-sized businesses start to tilt the meter, the Fortune 1000 can be attacked a lot easier.

However, have I pulled this off? No, but I did switch a small company to OpenOffice.org on Windows and they love it much better than MS Office. They also like the fact that it's free, of course. The business is a carpet business and unfortunately they are in love with a DOS-based app specifically designed for carpet stores that interacts with a Windows-based database backend. They do, however, hate spyware, viruses, and so on, and I've not been able to keep their Windows rock solid.

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Joined: 2005-12-21

One word comes to mind in this whole regard: Samba. Smiling

As for Linux desktops, it's another matter entirely. I find personally, and although I have never worked in an office workplace (I'm a student), it is hard to get people to move from a specific technology to another. I think though that easily applies for almost all forms of change.

I've seen this topic discussed and argued over many times before, and I think I come to conclude that in many cases the workplace and company is just as important as the workers that make it up. Now if the company needs to pay thousands of dollars in Microsoft Windows, Word, ... license fees each and every year, I, as the CEO would definitely consider moving to an alternative that is in my opinion better and could at least get the job done, essentially just as efficiently. That having been said, I think it would be a good trait of an employee to be able to accept changes in the workplace, including the software that it uses and also accept the fac that they might need to learn something new for a change. No point just learning how to use application X in high school and then use it for the rest of your life in a work environment when application Y does the same thing and much more, better. Now add that it's free and bingo we have something that would be awesome in a work environment.

If the employees are not willing to learn new things to get stuff done more effectively then it affects the company. If they are not willing to learn and appreciate new technologies then I think they may need to consider their position.

I like what the LugRadio guys came up with at the end of one of these discussions: just wait till all the employees are gone Friday evening, come in, replace everything with quality free software and when the come back Monday present them their new systems. Sticking out tongue

supermike's picture
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Joined: 2006-02-17
"klepas" wrote:

One word comes to mind in this whole regard: Samba.

First, Samba is awesome. I also like the fact that Samba can now emulate an NT4 PDC so that you don't need expensive PDC/BDC/AD and/or Windows File/Print Servers whatsoever in an office unless you have dopey admins who don't want to learn the power of Linux and Bash scripts. Plus, you can implement a far tougher firewall on Linux, plus do net card aggregation for increased bandwidth, and serve up DHCP, Samba WINS, and DNS.

However, there are a few small, recoverable problems with Samba file sharing:

* Unless you do a mapped drive, I found that UNC pathing causes some weird issues in Explorer in both XP and 2K. If you connect on UNC pathing to the share, you can create new folders and files and immediately see them. You can also rename them and see them renamed. But if you close that window and open it again, you can't see these changes unless you hit the refresh button or press F5. Key point? Stick with mapped drives for now to Samba shares because these do not exhibit this problem. As for why this occurs? I have no idea.

* End users can't use Explorer to change the security even if you wanted to let them do this. You, as the sysop, would have to do that with chown and chmod commands.

* I found that even though I could have passthru authentication to the Windows AD domain (which, by the way, is not easy to setup by any means without a FAQ), I still had to use useradd to add the same AD domain username to the Linux system. (Note that password is not checked -- no need to care about password because it uses the AD domain.) To me, that's great and allows me to now utilize that with chmod and chown scripts. However, to others, they may want a little more flexibility and not have to add the user locally.

* I still don't know how to map Windows AD group security to Samba folders on Linux. I wonder if I have to add a group with the same name using groupadd, and then use chown and chmod based on that. I will have to experiment with this.

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Joined: 2005-12-21

Still better and more cost effective than using a Windows server. Smiling
Have you seen Samba 4 previews and Vampire?

supermike's picture
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Joined: 2006-02-17

No, I hadn't read about Samba 4 and Vampire, but I found it here:

http://www.zdnet.com.au/news/software/soa/New_Samba_targets_Active_Directory/0,2000061733,39234687,00.htm

So Vampire essentially is a cool tool where I can suck the life out of a W2K or W2K3 and pull all the AD information into winbind on Linux. The story said the audience had a lot of oohs and aahs over this. I imagine so!

The article implies also that Samba 4, instead of one having to use a separate Kerberos and mess with the PAM in a convoluted method, may include this and make it far simpler to connect a Samba share to AD. That's good news. I used Samba 3 and like I posted here, hooking this up is a real bear!

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Joined: 2005-12-21
"supermike" wrote:

No, I hadn't read about Samba 4 and Vampire, but I found it here:

http://www.zdnet.com.au/news/software/soa/New_Samba_targets_Active_Directory/0,2000061733,39234687,00.htm

So Vampire essentially is a cool tool where I can suck the life out of a W2K or W2K3 and pull all the AD information into winbind on Linux. The story said the audience had a lot of oohs and aahs over this. I imagine so!

The article implies also that Samba 4, instead of one having to use a separate Kerberos and mess with the PAM in a convoluted method, may include this and make it far simpler to connect a Samba share to AD. That's good news. I used Samba 3 and like I posted here, hooking this up is a real bear!

I live in Canberra, same place where Tridge lives (Andrew Tridgdell). It's really cool having essentially the father of Samba in our LUG. Makes for awesome Samba presentations too.

Actually, we have two members of the Samba team down here in Canberra. Andrew Bartlett is the other and he's currently my sys adming at my college. :smiling:

libervisco's picture
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Joined: 2006-05-04

Yeah, klepas, you're our samba insider. Eye

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Joined: 2005-12-21
"libervisco" wrote:

Yeah, klepas, you're our samba insider. Eye

Tonight! On Inside Samba we feature the stunning news that Samba 4 will be completely configurable via an ordinary web browser in an AJAX-like environment using Javascript!

:bigsmile:

Which it will be by the way. Blew our LUG away when Tridge showed us that. We were the first to see it outside the direct team. :smiling: