Linked by Thom Holwerda on Tue 11th Apr 2006 17:34 UTC, submitted by george
Novell and Ximian Novell may be passionately evangelising Linux and Open Office on the desktop but more than half of its own employees can still boot Windows and Office if they wish. Ron Hovsepian, Novell's president, speaking at a press event in Sydney, conceded that "about 2000 employees right now out of 5000 are single-boot only, which is Linux only, the rest are dual-boot." He said that a project to migrate the 3000 dual-boot workers to open source is likely to be completed over the next year or so.
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Not a surprise
by DrillSgt on Tue 11th Apr 2006 17:56 UTC
DrillSgt
Member since:
2005-12-02

This should not be a surprise to anyone. Windows is still the biggest player in business. When it comes to some of the more specialized apps there will still probably be at least 200 or so people on windows even when the migration is over. That can be corrected with wine of course, should they decide to put the resources to it.

Reply Score: 3

RE: Not a surprise
by Wrawrat on Tue 11th Apr 2006 20:04 UTC in reply to "Not a surprise"
Wrawrat Member since:
2005-06-30

But why should they bother to mess up and waste their time with Wine when they can run their software on the real thing?

It's just a question of efficiency. Novell is a business, not some kind of sect.

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: Not a surprise
by DrillSgt on Tue 11th Apr 2006 20:18 UTC in reply to "RE: Not a surprise"
DrillSgt Member since:
2005-12-02

Agreed. I only mentioned wine as an alternative if they were really hardcore about needing to switch. Personally I prefer the right tool for the job, be it windows, osx, linux, etc.

Reply Score: 1

Focus on the negative
by Tyr. on Tue 11th Apr 2006 18:01 UTC
Tyr.
Member since:
2005-07-06

Why not focus on the positive and say they have 2000 Linux-only desktops, with the rest all being dual-boot setups ? That's more than others have.

I'm glad their getting their money's worth out of their MS licenses before dumping them.

Reply Score: 5

RE: Focus on the negative
by ma_d on Tue 11th Apr 2006 18:30 UTC in reply to "Focus on the negative"
ma_d Member since:
2005-06-29

Because we've left the "go linux" fad and entered the "boo linux" fad.

Reply Score: 2

RE: Focus on the negative
by TaterSalad on Tue 11th Apr 2006 18:45 UTC in reply to "Focus on the negative"
TaterSalad Member since:
2005-07-06

Because in the tech world there is a lot of "eat your own dog food." Novell is not really doing this at the moment despite all the press Suse 10 is getting and their claims linux desktop taking off in mainstream in 12 - 18 months.

Reply Score: 1

Single-boot
by fretinator on Tue 11th Apr 2006 18:03 UTC
fretinator
Member since:
2005-07-06

If my company caught me with Linux on my computer, they would have a single-boot policy - ME!

Reply Score: 3

RE: Single-boot policy
by aGNUstic on Tue 11th Apr 2006 19:45 UTC in reply to "Single-boot"
aGNUstic Member since:
2005-07-28

"If my company caught me with Linux on my computer, they would have a single-boot policy - ME!"

How sad. Can't do that here without a major stink since I am the campus Linux person and was hired for that very reason.

I wish you stealth.

Reply Score: 1

...
by sardonic on Tue 11th Apr 2006 18:03 UTC
sardonic
Member since:
2006-04-04

question is do they dual boot? or do they always use linux?

Reply Score: 2

LAME.
by Adam S on Tue 11th Apr 2006 18:06 UTC
Adam S
Member since:
2005-04-01

This is lame. Of course Novell runs Linux. First off, they DEVELOP apps that run on Windows. Secondly, they already own the licenses.

That Linux is rolled out to everyone, even in a dual boot scenario, is impressive. That they have moved to OpenOffice.org is very impressive. That they are dual booting to use Windows at times? Not even really news.

Reply Score: 5

RE: LAME.
by kaiwai on Tue 11th Apr 2006 18:17 UTC in reply to "LAME."
kaiwai Member since:
2005-07-06

That Linux is rolled out to everyone, even in a dual boot scenario, is impressive. That they have moved to OpenOffice.org is very impressive. That they are dual booting to use Windows at times? Not even really news.

I think a better question to ask is how oftern do they dual boot back into Windows and what applications are actually missing; atleast then we can have a true illustration on the situation rather than guessing as to why they're dual booting.

With that being said, it does however, raise the question as to why they'r enot using VMWare or some other virtualisation rather than dual booting.

Reply Score: 3

RE[2]: LAME.
by Adam S on Tue 11th Apr 2006 18:20 UTC in reply to "RE: LAME."
Adam S Member since:
2005-04-01

Good point. Of course, what they ought to be using is Xen, since they integrated it into their own SuSE product.

Reply Score: 5

RE[3]: LAME.
by kamper on Tue 11th Apr 2006 19:20 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: LAME."
kamper Member since:
2005-08-20

Good point. Of course, what they ought to be using is Xen, since they integrated it into their own SuSE product.

You can't run windows on xen without 1) the new processors with virtualization support and 2) xen 3 (xen 2 still requires a modified kernel).

#1 would require rolling out new hardware to all their customers which would be a waste of money when they could just dual boot.

#2 isn't ready yet. I believe xensource are the only ones who have gotten windows running on xen and it certainly wasn't an option when they started the conversion.

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: LAME.
by chemical_scum on Tue 11th Apr 2006 18:31 UTC in reply to "RE: LAME."
chemical_scum Member since:
2005-11-02

With that being said, it does however, raise the question as to why they'r enot using VMWare or some other virtualisation rather than dual booting.

I in large part agree, but I think that for ordinary office workers that may have a need for a particular legacy Windows application the best approach is to get them on a single boot Linux box and provide the application to those and only those that need it, via rdesktop, VNC or Citrix from a Windows server.

For people developing Windows applications and working on Windows integration it may be best for some of them at least to have access to systems running Windows on bare metal.

Edited 2006-04-11 18:39

Reply Score: 2

RE[3]: LAME.
by kaiwai on Wed 12th Apr 2006 01:30 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: LAME."
kaiwai Member since:
2005-07-06

I in large part agree, but I think that for ordinary office workers that may have a need for a particular legacy Windows application the best approach is to get them on a single boot Linux box and provide the application to those and only those that need it, via rdesktop, VNC or Citrix from a Windows server.

True, but with Novell, this is the perfect opportunity to say which applications they require, which they're searching for a Linux replacement.

If, lets hypothetically say, they're waiting on Framemaker or a framemaker clone, as their documentation and help files are done in Framemaker, this is the perfect opportunity to 'name and shame' companies who aren't providing Linux compatible applications, and praise those companies who are.

Its about patting those software companies on the back who have made their products available on Linux, and giving those who haven't, a bloody good jab in the back with something sharp.

Reply Score: 1

Time, lot of time...
by JacobMunoz on Tue 11th Apr 2006 18:20 UTC
JacobMunoz
Member since:
2006-03-17

It takes quite a bit of energy and patience to move thousands of desktop users to a completely different platform. Patience is important because it's very easy to get frustrated with the new system and just revert back to the old one. And since we don't know exactly how experienced these thousands of users are, we can assume that many (if not most) have absolutely no idea what the differences between Windows and Linux are (it's very tiresome to have to explain that over and over). And because they don't know the difference, they assume their old programs will all still work (and don't understand the fundamental difference between why an EXE won't work and an MP3 or PDF will). Dual-booting is a fair compromise for the transition, but it become quite clumsy very quickly when they don't know where their files were saved. It takes time, but in the end - it is well worth it. You'll have better-educated, more technical, self-helping employees once all the screaming and crying (and smashing, and breaking, and burning, and throwing of cpu's) is over.

Reply Score: 2

Eh...
by MastaShake57 on Tue 11th Apr 2006 18:24 UTC
MastaShake57
Member since:
2006-04-10

I would imagine you would still need Windows, to some extent, no? I mean, web browsing some websites STILL require Internet Explorer in order to be accessed. If you're running Linux, or at the very least, Firefox, you're still bound to Windows whether you like it or not.

Granted, some sites have gotten better, it's still not the norm. Windows will be around for a LONG time.

Reply Score: 2

RE: Eh...
by chemical_scum on Tue 11th Apr 2006 18:36 UTC in reply to "Eh..."
chemical_scum Member since:
2005-11-02

I mean, web browsing some websites STILL require Internet Explorer in order to be accessed. If you're running Linux, or at the very least, Firefox, you're still bound to Windows whether you like it or not.

Over the last year running Firefox on Windows at work and Firefox on Linux at home I have yet to hit a site that has required me to run IE. I am sure that there are some around including some dangerous Active-X sites that will preclude Linux but they must be very few and far between.

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: Eh...
by JacobMunoz on Tue 11th Apr 2006 18:44 UTC in reply to "RE: Eh..."
JacobMunoz Member since:
2006-03-17

" I am sure that there are some around including some dangerous Active-X sites that will preclude Linux but they must be very few and far between."

And we all know how safe Active-X is. right?

How many thousands of bugs and holes were found in the early days of Active-X? Almost every security tip I've found regarding dangerous sites said "turn OFF Active-X". Let's hope the open source world doesn't adopt anything this dangerous.

Reply Score: 1

RE[2]: Eh...
by TaterSalad on Tue 11th Apr 2006 18:54 UTC in reply to "RE: Eh..."
TaterSalad Member since:
2005-07-06

While I haven't run into any IE specific sites, I have run into a few sites that look better in IE than they do in Firefox. Here is one example from the NJ Transit site:

http://atisweb.njtransit.com/cgi-bin/itin_page.pl?resptype=U

View that in IE and Firefox. It works for both, but IE has the better formatting.

Reply Score: 2

RE: Eh...
by Felix on Wed 12th Apr 2006 09:28 UTC in reply to "Eh..."
Felix Member since:
2005-08-14

"I would imagine you would still need Windows, to some extent, no? I mean, web browsing some websites STILL require Internet Explorer in order to be accessed. If you're running Linux, or at the very least, Firefox, you're still bound to Windows whether you like it or not."

Not really - even a web designer can use Crossover Office which runs IE 6 fine. And Microsoft announced that IE 7 shall not be tightly integrated into Windows which means that IE 7 will also run with one of the next Crossover Office versions.

So no reason to use IE on Windows for web developing or web designing. And even if IE has not all functions like ActiveX or what ever MS specific stuff under Crossover Office: I would NEVER recommend someone to use these techniques for your web sites!

There are better standardized alternatives out there.

Reply Score: 1

Halfway done...
by JacobMunoz on Tue 11th Apr 2006 18:40 UTC
JacobMunoz
Member since:
2006-03-17

The major issue I've found with not completely migrating across is usually that 'one special program' that a user either things he needs or just 'thinks' he needs. And then there are the projects to make Win apps run on Linux natively - which almost work (and that's the problem). They ALL almost work, sure you can get Notepad or Paint working, but just try opening something large like Access or PowerPoint - and it fails. And while these (or similar) apps are available for Linux, they aren't identical to the originals and usually have unique bugs trying to open the old documents. OpenOffice is great - as long as you don't try to open an Office 2005 PowerPoint file (there's usually garbage everywhere) - you have to re-create the documents from scratch in the new system. This is mostly Microsoft's fault for not disclosing the formats and errata, but you can't sue them for that (yet). So until XML actually means something concrete (and doesn't get bastardized like MS has done), data and content will still be tied to the original application it was written on.

Reply Score: 2

Eat their own dog food
by sean batten on Tue 11th Apr 2006 20:23 UTC
sean batten
Member since:
2005-07-06

There was a news article earlier today where Novell president Ron Hovsepian said that desktop Linux will "begin taking off in mainstream markets in the next 12 to 18 months". Perhaps he should get his own company sorted before he starts making predictions about the rest of the market.

It's interesting that after being a Linux distro for so long they've only got 40% of their machines moved over to Linux...

Reply Score: 1

RE: Eat their own dog food
by OMRebel on Tue 11th Apr 2006 20:41 UTC in reply to "Eat their own dog food"
OMRebel Member since:
2005-11-14

"It's interesting that after being a Linux distro for so long they've only got 40% of their machines moved over to Linux..."

100% run Linux. 40% are Linux only, while 60% have the ability to run Windows if ever necessary.

The way you try to talk is that the 60% run Windows full time. Jumping to conclusions only make ya trollish.

Reply Score: 5

Time
by tony on Tue 11th Apr 2006 21:03 UTC
tony
Member since:
2005-07-06

Without knowing whether the 60 percent run Windows full, part, or very little, it does give some indication as to what people can realisticly expect.

It shows that companies can't switch from Windows to Linux all that quickly. Given they are a Linux company, with a special priority on Linux, this may be about as fast as you can expect a transition to occur.

A massive transition like this couldn't of course happen overnight, and a transition from any platform to another would likely take a somewhat similar amount of time.

But it does give CIOs of companies of similar size an idea of what they would be in store for. It's not necessarily discouraging, but it's not terribly encouraging, either.

Reply Score: 1

From a Novell Employee
by GoLinux on Tue 11th Apr 2006 22:08 UTC
GoLinux
Member since:
2005-08-08

I work for Novell, so I see how things are moving along. 90% of my team runs single boot Linux. We have one guy on our team who is not on Linux yet -- He's still on NT 4.0. He's a little older than the rest of us, and doesn't like change too much. We all have VMWare which we use for many OS's. For me, I have one Windows 2k in vmware, which I use about twice a week for an hour or so. Until the rest of the world gives up Windows, we'll still need to have Windows available to us.

My group is a technical group, so that explains why we're higher than the rest of the company. I know a lot of people in other less technical groups that dual-boot. In most cases, it's simply taking them longer to learn how to work in Linux. I think this is good for Novell, as it shows us where the general population will have issues. For a few dual-booters, they have to use Windows primarily due to 3rd party applications that require it.

I would imagine that once SLED 10 is released (most of us don't have our production desktops running beta software), most of us will begin switching over from VMware to XEN. I'm ready to do so.

Reply Score: 5

As Suspected
by segedunum on Tue 11th Apr 2006 22:53 UTC
segedunum
Member since:
2005-07-06

This is as I suspected, but it's not a major suprise. However, rather than chasing around trying to support Excel macros what Novell should be doing is converting those macros, using ODF and trying to push for wider support for the formats in the world they're going to need which will ensure the long-term survival of their desktop move.

If 2000 people are single-booting Linux, and they are using Open Office to simply pass around Microsoft Office documents saved with Open Office, then their desktop migration is doomed. Running around trying to support Windows Media, which they seem to be going after, will have exactly the same effect. The same with trying to make Mono as an equivalent to .Net. Novell can run a bath, but Microsoft controls the water supply.

In response to a question from ZDNet Australia on whether Novell had in fact been contracted for any sort of enterprise desktop Linux deployment down under, Hovsepian played it cool.

"None that we can chat about at this point," he said.


That's another phrase you could write a cron job for as well.

At this point in time the wheels have completely detached from the desktop Linux wagon. Even for those who are trying to do it they're sewing the seeds of failure by surrounding themselves with roadblocks that will ensure they stay in their small hole. Sad. Very sad.

Reply Score: 2

dogfood
by spikeb on Wed 12th Apr 2006 04:24 UTC
spikeb
Member since:
2006-01-18

you make it, you eat it. get on with it novell.

Reply Score: 1

RE: dogfood
by kramii on Wed 12th Apr 2006 11:13 UTC in reply to "dogfood"
kramii Member since:
2005-07-22

From the sound of it, they are.

Reply Score: 1