Linked by Alex Chejlyk on Wed 23rd Jul 2003 18:25 UTC
Editorial Small business owners now have a software choice. Just a few years ago the only business choice was to either run legitimate or pirated versions of proprietary software. Open source is now in a position to challenge proprietary software on the business and home desktop.
Order by: Score:
Nice, but.........
by jon on Wed 23rd Jul 2003 19:05 UTC

This is only good if you dont depend any propritary software to get the job dont other then generic software (text editors, speadsheets, etc.)where I work we use a propritary Catalog management system only availible for windows and on top of that it uses the MS Foxpro libibrarys. I could rewrite the thing in Mysql but that would take years cuz i dont know one thing about sql. So sadly i dont have (and prob. never will) any OSS desktops for work.

Wow..
by Anonymous on Wed 23rd Jul 2003 19:07 UTC

"I could rewrite the thing in Mysql but (...) i dont know one thing about sql."

It's not like you lack self-confidence or something, only, I would hate to have anything written by you... ;-)

Anonymous (IP: ---.dip.t-dialin.net)
by Anonymous on Wed 23rd Jul 2003 19:14 UTC

im sorry...but your retarded.....

He has a point.....I mean....As much as I hate a lot of the windows packages.....there are plenty of small busineses that have been running these packages for years and don't have the time or the money to migrate to other packages....

For example....

Goldmine
Macola
Citrix
Exchange
etc....


Wellcome to the club...
by Anonymous on Wed 23rd Jul 2003 19:24 UTC

You are retarded as well -- did you actually grasp what's written there..? Someone claiming he has no knowledge about SQL claims he can write something in SQL... well, you'll get over it.

hmmm,
by wlsb on Wed 23rd Jul 2003 19:24 UTC

I would hate to have anything written by you...

hehe, but he's more or less right. niche markets are definately a dificult place to find suitable OSS replacement sometimes. the author neglected to mention what industry he's in, but his needs look pretty general.

good article, but since we are talking about small businesses, he should have looked at MS's SBS for his licensing cost. it would have been roughly $1299-1499 for Win2K Server Exchange/SQL with 5 CALs, with extra license packs around $300 per 5 users.

anyway, when the new groupware packages get finished, there won't be any need for MS Servers in any small business, except for the occasional MSSQL app.

Regarding Konqueror file manager vs. Explorer file manager (not IE)...

*rant*

Someone please explain to me why, even in a "stable" version of Windows like 2K, which I run (and happen to think is pretty darn OK despite umpteen security problems), that explorer.exe is the biggest piece of !@%U&^%*(%$$#$#@!!! software I have seen in a long long while? Can't the giant omnipotent Microsoft even write a simple file manager that doesn't crash and burn AT LEAST once per day (and take the taskbar and who knows what else with it)? This explorer.exe is a @!#$#@%#^%$@!#@# abomination of software. It is why, on some days, I just throw up my hands, turn off my PC, and go do something else. Funny thing, though. This never happens in Linux with Konqueror (kfm) these days. Sure, in the past, I've seen kfm blink off the desktop but geez at least it didn't take anything else with it. Explorer sucks performance wise too. I put a CD in one of my drives and Explorer is so slow, it doesn't even open until a good 3 or 4 seconds after the CD drive has spun up. What is it with explorer and removable media drives? It chokes on everything from floppies to zip disks, CDs, DVDs, etc ad nauseum. It's ability to refresh directory listings is just pathetic. F5, F5, F5, hello? I'm hitting F5 and nothing is (*&^%$#@! happening!

The programmer at Microsoft who wrote explorer.exe needs a good swift kick in the head and then needs to download the source code for Konqueror, study it, and buy a copy of C Programming For Dummies as well. Geesh! Hey! Where's winfile.exe? Arghhh!!!

*end rant*

As a developer, opensource, period.
by reduz on Wed 23rd Jul 2003 19:43 UTC

For programming in C++/Python/etc, opensource is the best. By far the best tools one can find. But more specifically, they work! At my past job we had freedom to use either Winxp/vs.net 2003 or simply gnu tools. And even when vs.net does have some certain advantages (faster link time/saner link process). We did realtime graphics programming on opengl. The linux+gcc setup was great in the sense that all the tools work, and all as expected.
Some examples.. vs.net produced buggy code a few times for us, it complains about malformed templates when they are fine, it produces weird errors that needs even weirder workarounds, and from time to time it produces internal compiler errors. The STL that comes with it is horrible (we ended using STLport) too. At run time we suffered from the usual works-in-debug-mode / crashes-in-retail-mode which makes errors impossible to debug properly unless you start adding printfs recursively ;) . The IDE only lets you see the in-project files, and any attempt to generate a project file from a script remains in failure (I dont think it parses XML in a standard way). Also, the IDE lacks support for any non-microsoft format, and even wont recognize a c++ file with .cc extension.. so even talk about editing shellscript/lua/python code on it!
A lot of behaviors of it are harcoded and it asks for a lot of useless dialogs on things that need to be recomputed/recreated/etc when they dont.
We finally managed to fit the SCONS build system, an opensource build system that works on unixes/windows and it's written in python, and that was marvelous! It even generates proper vs.net project files from the build.
The debugger many times screws up or doesnt give proper information (and i'm not even talking about callstack corruption), so windows programmers usually need to ask linux ones to debug/valgrind errors for them.
Not to mention several XP freezes on debug, or weird behaviours when using directinput, having to enable debug mode in libraries (?) and all kind of things that show what kind of hardcoded weirdness windows is internally
and how microsoft program designers overcomplicate every single aspect of creating an OS.
Want to know about the apis? The docummentation on microsoft APIs is truly horrible (MSDN), but I mean more specifically the base winapi32 or DirectX. (To anyone that has programmed that, knows what I mean) Being heavily callback based, you have first find out what the callback does and what the parameters are (since they use the same callback definition type for everything), what functions you can or cant call from within the callback or lock (because of deadlocks) in a long long list, etc.
Because of such, we found out that it is much simpler to use portable wrappers or libraries such as libSDL,OpenGL,RtAudio which have much nicer apis. The same I can recommend for toolkit programming!

Employees
by Mario Morales on Wed 23rd Jul 2003 20:01 UTC


I like your article, like you, I enjoy all about computers, OS etc. I am sure open source is good enough to make the switch, but one problem I saw, is that people are afraid to change.
By example my brother do not even try Linux at home he is ok with Win98 and with all its problems. In your business your employees do not have a choice, you made the change. How your people react to their new desktop?

OSS / Small Businesses
by Too lazy on Wed 23rd Jul 2003 20:09 UTC

We have been contemplating switching from MS to another OS, mainly because I find even SBS to be unreasonable for our needs.

A couple things have slowed us down:
1) The usual expense in proprietary software. Office to some degree (ppt), but mainly statistical and other packages.

2) Printing. We installed a FreeBSD / CUPS server, and the printouts from KDE via CUPS are lousy compared to the printouts from the Windows machines.

We are using FreeBSD where is makes sense, but dumping MS doesn't make sense for us now. Might consider Macs and FreeBSD or Linux servers instead.

Re: Sorry this is sorta off-topic but...
by Ian Christie on Wed 23rd Jul 2003 20:10 UTC

"Someone please explain to me why, even in a "stable" version of Windows like 2K, which I run (and happen to think is pretty darn OK despite umpteen security problems), that explorer.exe is the biggest piece of !@%U&^%*(%$$#$#@!!! software I have seen in a long long while? Can't the giant omnipotent Microsoft even write a simple file manager that doesn't crash and burn AT LEAST once per day (and take the taskbar and who knows what else with it)?"

I think MS figured the best thing to do was make explorer more than just the file manager to make life a pain for everybody. It is basically the window manager, I believe. That's my interpretation from the fact that explorer.exe has crashed when there were no other programs running and the file manager wasn't even open.

Re:
by brando on Wed 23rd Jul 2003 20:11 UTC

Its true, Just downloading a distro of linux and you can find everything you would need to do. Linux might not have everything, but there is a program for MS, there is or will be a program just like it that is open source that can be used on all platforms.

only problem, 5 minutes for gaim... should only take the amount of time to put in your buddy names

Re: Nice, butt .....
by psilo on Wed 23rd Jul 2003 20:13 UTC

Wasn't there an article some months ago about a Fox Pro enthusiast who runs Fox Pro on linux and wasn't allowed to show this to the world? Don't remember the details, but I do know for sure someone out there runs Fox Pro on linux. Microsoft is slowly killing Fox Pro because it gives to much power for less money than all the .net solutions they want to push.

Re: Employees
by Victor on Wed 23rd Jul 2003 20:21 UTC


I like your article, like you, I enjoy all about computers, OS etc. I am sure open source is good enough to make the switch, but one problem I saw, is that people are afraid to change.
By example my brother do not even try Linux at home he is ok with Win98 and with all its problems. In your business your employees do not have a choice, you made the change. How your people react to their new desktop?


Now, that is very good point. People are too afraid of changing, i cannot understand why! So many times i feel frustrated because i'd like someone to try some other software (that i think is better), but no one wants to change... sometimes, if you give more good features, people even complain about it ("i don't need this", etc), jesus, what a closed mind... and i never have good enough arguments to convince people to switch (because they don't want anything better - it's excellent the way it is!). People *suck*.

Victor.

So bored to death with the whole OSS argument
by bobjohnson on Wed 23rd Jul 2003 20:23 UTC

I mean really, do people have nothing better to do than keep evangelizing this stuff? OSS, or proprietary who cares anymore: why don't you just do some work with the software instead of constantly writing the boring articles.

Don't come to a website about operating systems if you're bored of reading about OSS. There are plenty of other articles on the front page, so why bitch?

And meanwhile....
by Brad C on Wed 23rd Jul 2003 20:46 UTC

some small businesses continue to thrive, using old DOS based programs on "ancient" hardware.

If it does the job, why change it?

ah yeah
by James Warkentin on Wed 23rd Jul 2003 20:47 UTC

I use proprietary and open source software on Windows. Why switch to Linux when I have a far broader range of stable software? Win2K doesn't crash. Linux is slow and clumsy - Konqueror still isn't optimized for speed, and Xfree is a buggy piece of shat. Everything worthwhile that runs on Linux has a Win32 counterpart; the cost of the OS alone isn't enough to switch anybody over these days, because Windows comes preloaded on most computers. The author of the article could have used OpenOffice (world's slowest program?) on a Windows machine if he'd wanted to.

Explore.exe
by ... on Wed 23rd Jul 2003 21:17 UTC

Problem is network/internet integraration.
explore exe is only "face" or top of iceberg over huge collection of components shared with InternetExplorer.

Re: brando
by Darius on Wed 23rd Jul 2003 21:24 UTC

Its true, Just downloading a distro of linux and you can find everything you would need to do .... only problem, 5 minutes for gaim... should only take the amount of time to put in your buddy names

Ok, then how does one do voice/video chat with other users in Yahoo with Linux? Not that I care about this, but I have a friend who keeps a Windows partition around for this very reason.
What is trivial to one person is another person's killer app. So when it comes to both OSS and proprietary software, one size NEVER fits all. My philosophy is to use open source when I can, but use proprietary when open source doesn't do the job.
I personally love OSS and use it every day, but there are certain times when OSS comes up short.


Re: Sorry this is sorta off-topic but...
by Sagres on Wed 23rd Jul 2003 21:30 UTC

explorer.exe does a number of things, it works as a file manager, but it's also the windows shell (that why you can replace it with litestep, geoshell, etc). If it crashes several time a day, then you have some sort of configuration problem, i find it more reliable and fast than their kde/gnome counterparts.
the slow cd thingy can happen because:
1) are your cd drives in dma mode?
2) do you have autoplay on?
3) are using 'classic windows folders' or the default folder options menu in explorer)?
4) it takes time for the cd to start spinning
5) thumbnails view can cause problems with divx movie cd's (especially not fully downloaded from kazaa .avi's)

re: Darius
by hmmm on Wed 23rd Jul 2003 22:34 UTC

2 things.

1. I think that's a very good question. Why don't we ask Yahoo about it. I really don't think this is a good example of OSS coming up short.

2. How lost would we be without a computer these days?

i'm very particular about what gets installed in Win2K
precisely because it's a Microsoft operating system
and I know it can get hosed up easily. I've been using
Windows since 2.1 in one form or another.

1) yep, both drives in DMA mode
2) nope, turned that "feature" *cough* *cough* off
immediately after installing 2K
3) classic folders all the way. none of that web folders
crap.
4) yeah, i noticed
5) never use the thumbnails view in explorer. detailed
view is bad enough.

guess I'll look for a more stable and more functional
replacement for exploder.exe...

I won't touch XP with a 10 foot pole. WPA? No thanks!


*sigh*

I started liking this article, but in the end it went too much "Installed this, looked at it and an hour later we were making money with it".

It leaves a bunch of questions that people advocating Linux and other OSS tend to never explain.

How did you integrate your Linux Desktops with the file servers? You did mention you used Samba. Did you use it for central user management & authentication? If not, how did you do this?

You used Postfix: that's just an MTA. Well, I suppose you installed a POP3 server also. So your workstations downloaded mail locally. How did you manage to have decent backups for your co-workers mailboxes? Hmm. Maybe IMAP then? But IMAP still gives your mailclient the need for those stupid local folders.

In the end you don't even mention using any file serving techology. Where do you keep those nice Scribus files so everybody can access them??

Hmm.
In the beginning you mentioned NFS. Maybe that's it. care to share how you configured and deployed your clients easily so they use NFS?

Oh BTW: did you hear NFS is buggy as hell? I'd rathe ruse Samba. Even NFSv2 or whatever it is called seems to be rarely use.

Integration. Nice management tools. That's what linux distro's are missing IMHO.

Advice to people who want to write such articles: put up a best Practices websites and share you knowledge about Linux deplyments. And make that something concrete. Maybe then you'll convince more people.

BTW: using full W2K licenses to compare prices is indeed stupid. SBS is what you want to compare with. Although SBS sucks even more than plain Windows :-p

I also do not see the point of comparing Postfix plus a WEBDAV server with MS Exchange. Compare with NTMAIL or Pegasus Mail server or whatever nice little mail server. You probably could find one for free as in beer. Heck you could use phpgroupware on IIS.

SANE? Sane works indeed. But color corrections sux. And no logic which automagically rotates your scan if you didn't put it well straight on the flat bed.

Note: I'm not bragging on OSS here. I'm bragging on those "Linux is easy" articles which are SO superficial.
Those matters aren't black or white, if you get my point.

Gnome meeting
by Best on Wed 23rd Jul 2003 22:39 UTC

Well, there is gnome meeting for video conferencing. While the Yahoo voice/video chat may not have been incorporated into any free software yet, you can bet good money that there are people who are working on making it work.

Sorry: this is Copyleft 2003 by Hendrik De Vloed:

SANE? Sane works indeed. But color corrections sux. And no logic which automagically rotates your scan if you didn't put it well straight on the flat bed.

thx :-p

Linux in the small business...
by Chewy509 on Wed 23rd Jul 2003 22:46 UTC

As a Sysadmin, I've been keeping up with the current Linux trend (been using Linux at home since Redhat 5.0), and for the businesses that I look after, there has been 2 major problems that stop moving over to OSS.
1. Custom software that only runs on Windows, (MRP/ERP type stuff NOT Access crap but MSSQL),
2. and the lack of complete multiligual support. To clarify on the multiligual bit, how do you set up X to suppot multiple language inputs, ie switch from English, to Japanese and then to Chinese, and then back to English? (I can get everything working to read multiligual, but cant work how to input multiligual)...

Just my 2cents

use oss where you can, stick with proprietary for the rest
by Anonymous on Wed 23rd Jul 2003 22:50 UTC

the trick is KNOWNING where the most bang for your buck will come from.

-an mcse/rhce

Re: RE: Re: Sorry this is sorta off-topic but...
by Sagres on Wed 23rd Jul 2003 22:59 UTC

What ASPI drivers are you using BTW?

I think the author describes one of the strong reasons of the appeal of OSS that it is "Free as in Beer". Personally I wouldn't be opposed to seeing Microsoft go away but in our Small business the vast majority of software purchases go to non microsoft workstation applications I really can't get worked up about $150 for Windows XP Professional (OEM Price) and $225 for Office XP SBE (OEM Price)when I take that new workstation and install $8000 and up worth of other applications that have no real OSS competitors at this point. I really wish I could see some unbiased Small Business case studies that did not leave the reader with the that the author had "drank the koolaid".

c:winntsystem32wnaspi32.dll version 4.6.0.1021
c:winntsystemwinaspi.dll version 4.6.0.1021
c:winntsystem32driversaspi32.sys version 4.6.0.1021
c:winntsystemwowpost.exe version 4.6.0.1021

Installed with ForceASPI 1.7

Advocacy
by Will on Wed 23rd Jul 2003 23:29 UTC

While perhaps light on details, this article just shows how a company was pretty much able to successfully "switch". It was a small company, so it wasn't as difficult as it could be. It's most specialized application appeared to be "Quickbooks", and they were able to find suitable replacement.

What makes an article like this actually important is that it shows it can be successfully done, and perhaps gives impetus to ISVs to build portable backoffice vertical applications.

There are a LOT of these little verticals out there written in VB and FoxPro and the like. It would be nice if a more portable system started gaining traction, something that gives a nice client both on Windows and an X desktop. Something that can deal with both Linux hosted printers and Windows printers. Back in the days of the ever capable dot matrix, stuff it on the parallel port printers, this was less of an issue.

Small business is the real heartland for OSS based solutions. Big business gets the press, but there are a lot more 10 man shops out there than 10,000 person corporations. They all have unique needs, minimal staff, and minimal budget.

Get some a good system that runs on both Windows and Linux, and the few that must have Windows can use those workstations (like accountants interacting with auditors, or sales staff perhaps), while the back office folks can use Linux based machines.

Lots of value and flexibility in that kind of solution.

Linux : The invisible competitor
by Martin on Wed 23rd Jul 2003 23:49 UTC

I am seeing more and more that linux is 'stealthing' in to the various companies more and more. Tasks such as File/Printer Sharing, DHCP, Mail, Web (Especially web) and DNS are all getting Linux being used well. I personally don't think Linux on the desktop will be mature enough until a year or so. Within the previous years huge steps have been made - KDE3, Gnome2, XFT and all sorts of small upgrades. Next year will have more and more inovations - KDE3.2, Gnome 2.4, Kernel 2.6. Personally all linux needs IMO:

A slightly better packaging system - one like installshield where i can tick 'install desktop shortcut' etc.

More config tools - big boons in this area latley but a few more would be nice.

More money (developers salaries)

Better intergration of the WM (KDE/Gnome) with linux itself.

These are all easily reachable goals and I can't see it taking more than a year for those too fully mature.

Quicken
by SMK on Thu 24th Jul 2003 00:07 UTC

Can you run this on Linux yet?

open source
by Anonymous on Thu 24th Jul 2003 00:49 UTC

if the company is ran by "geeks" and open source is an option, it's probably the best way to go. since most advanced computer users don't need technical support, they figure everything out themself, or visit google. for a small business in general, money is usually tight, so i assume open source is going to become more popular, in time.

Re: Employees
by haha on Thu 24th Jul 2003 01:27 UTC

"Now, that is very good point. People are too afraid of changing, i cannot understand why! So many times i feel frustrated because i'd like someone to try some other software (that i think is better), but no one wants to change... sometimes, if you give more good features, people even complain about it ("i don't need this", etc), jesus, what a closed mind... and i never have good enough arguments to convince people to switch (because they don't want anything better - it's excellent the way it is!)."

The number one reason why people are adamant to changing to OSS is because of lack of in depth skills or knowledge how to configure and maintain the system. They have just no time to learn it themselves. Their main concern is always productivity. A good businessman is the person who can convince this kind of attitude by looking and serving at what they want.



Re:
by Anonymous on Thu 24th Jul 2003 01:51 UTC

"Its true, Just downloading a distro of linux and you can find everything you would need to do. Linux might not have everything, but there is a program for MS, there is or will be a program just like it that is open source that can be used on all platforms."

I am an attorney so please, point me to where there exists an open source case management app ala LawBase, Time Matters, or even PracticeMaster.

Guess what - there isn't one.

If there ever was a "killer app" for Linux - it would be case management. You want Linux on the desktop? Make it so lawyers will use it.

As for now, I'm stuck using MS since NO ONE has written case management for Linux.

Re: Quicken
by chemicalscum on Thu 24th Jul 2003 02:00 UTC

"Can you run this on Linux yet?"

I think you can run it on Crossover Office now.

re: case management programs
by non lawyer on Thu 24th Jul 2003 03:11 UTC

"If there ever was a "killer app" for Linux - it would be case management. You want Linux on the desktop? Make it so lawyers will use it."

I didn't realize the world revolves around lawyers so much that programs must work for THEM in order to be universally successful. Case management a "killer app?" Are we talking this planet or bizzaro world? I figure a lawyer joke generating program would be more of a killer app!

You're talking about REALLY niche stuff. I don't think Brando was referring to that. And yes, there are WAY too many lawyers around, but in the general population, they are a small minority, thus the term "niche."

Re: non lawyer
by Darius on Thu 24th Jul 2003 03:28 UTC

You're talking about REALLY niche stuff. I don't think Brando was referring to that. And yes, there are WAY too many lawyers around, but in the general population, they are a small minority, thus the term "niche."

I'm not a lawyer and don't need case management software, but I *am* an audiophile and hobby musician, and I'm still waiting for my Reason equivalent and a half dozen other audio creation/editing software & softsynths. And if you were to say this was a 'niche' market, and you're right.

But the thing is the guy told you his 'killer app' and you laughed at him, because you think 'well, hardly anybody does that, so it's not that important!' And you would say the same thing to me, and to my friend who desires voice/video chat with other Yahoo users. Sure, hardly anybody does that, right? People like you think that most people just use their computers to program, surf the web, and write letters.

But there is a great expanse beyond the 'sandbox' you try to keep people in to try and limit their needs and expectations so that your knockoff 'alternative' OS can fill them. If you were to look at the grand scheme of things, there are literally hunders (if not THOUSANDS) if 'niche' programs out there and all of them by themselves don't amount to much. But if you put them altogether, you will see that there is a huge void that OSS simply does not yet fill.
And don't even get me started on hardware ;)

re: case management programs
by Richard James on Thu 24th Jul 2003 03:47 UTC

Have you looked at this program?

http://www.blueprophecy.com/bryan/

Or does it suck?

case management
by victoria on Thu 24th Jul 2003 04:13 UTC

I'd of though legal offices were a very large market indeed. OSS for these offices would be well worth pursuing.

re: Darius
by Anonymous on Thu 24th Jul 2003 04:52 UTC

"But the thing is the guy told you his 'killer app' and you laughed at him, because you think 'well, hardly anybody does that, so it's not that important!'"

Uh, no. I was referring to Anonymous' response to a previous post, and I mentioned his name so that you could follow the line of reasoning. I laughed at him calling a niche application a "killer app" in general, and not to his specific area. The post seemed a little egocentric, so I posted a little condescending. I guess I was being childish. Sorry. I would not have referred to you in such a way if you mentioned that it was important to YOU, and that's why YOU didn't use OSS. Many other posters have said similar things.

"People like you think that most people just use their computers to program, surf the web, and write letters."

Yes, that's right. I would never say that's ALL people should do, but I DO think that's what MOST people DO do. Hey, you read my mind!

"But if you put them altogether, you will see that there is a huge void that OSS simply does not yet fill."

That's a good point. But it does stray from mine. My point is just that if you have a specific need that isn't met, it is certainly a good idea to stick with what works. But when other people talk in generalities, they're usually not talking about programs that a select few use, and the vast majority do not.

And you still HAVE TO ADMIT that there are WAY too many lawyers. Most of them are in my family too!

"But there is a great expanse beyond the 'sandbox' you try to keep people in to try and limit their needs and expectations so that your knockoff 'alternative' OS can fill them."

Don't worry. Limiting people's needs and expectations is MS's job, I don't have that sort of power. But that's a subject for another time. I like how you twisted the "proprietary lock in" argument around like that. Clever!

Speaking of Explorer...
by Anonymous on Thu 24th Jul 2003 07:26 UTC

I cannot understand (read: don't want to accept) that the simple action of copying files will hang/crash a system and may even render the files unusable/destroy them.

You can witness this on any Explorer if you are brave enough oi chose "too many" files at a time to copy around. I always warn the people of that. Unfortunately, people don't won't to swallow my wisdom. So recently a friend of mine cut almost the entire content of a partition via Crtl+X to put it somewhere else -- of course, W2K couldn't handle it, the system hung up. Data was not written but already cut out, deleted so to speak. She was getting herself a recovery software... *lol*

This is plain unacceptable in the 3rd millennium.

Re: Speaking of Explorer...
by Richard James on Thu 24th Jul 2003 08:18 UTC

I've copied every file in a windows98 system excluding the swap file at one time and never had such a crash. Is this specific to a later version of windows like 2000 o XP?

Re: Quicken
by Anonymous on Thu 24th Jul 2003 09:50 UTC

You could try GnuCash. It is very quicken like and is supposedly going to suport a Postgres backend and be multiuser *soon* (yeah - I know - they promise to fix it in the next release .....)

Killer apps
by Anonymous on Thu 24th Jul 2003 10:47 UTC

I always thought that "Killer Apps" were ones that compelled a large section of the population to buy a computer or move to a particular platform - for example, Visicalc appealed to virtually the entire business world, the web browser, email client and so on to the business world and home users and so on.

IMHO, the phrase killer app does not apply to relatively small shares of the market: rather 50% or more.

Let's face it: someone could say that KDE is a killer app for Linux/BSD/whatever because the users likes it and thay can't get it on Windows, but who seriously believes that?

Re: Anonymous
by Darius on Thu 24th Jul 2003 17:00 UTC

"People like you think that most people just use their computers to program, surf the web, and write letters."

Yes, that's right. I would never say that's ALL people should do, but I DO think that's what MOST people DO do. Hey, you read my mind!


If you truly believe this, I would say that you have a very loose grip on reality. Yes, most people DO do these things, but most of them also do more than that ... beyond CD burning ... beyond MP3s. In every single case where I think somebody is a potential candidate to migrate from Windows, there's ALWAYS those one or two 'niche' applications/hardware devices that makes it impossible. And this is where I think the problem lies - most people who advocate alternative OS's simply assume that people just live in their web browser and word processor and don't use anything else, which is really a bad assumption to begin with.

"But there is a great expanse beyond the 'sandbox' you try to keep people in to try and limit their needs and expectations so that your knockoff 'alternative' OS can fill them."

Don't worry. Limiting people's needs and expectations is MS's job, I don't have that sort of power. But that's a subject for another time.


It must be, because I have no idea what the hell you're talking about ;)
As for me, I use very few MS products - but the main one being the Windows OS, where I run a ton of non-MS apps. Face it - most of the better apps are either cross platform or made for Windows. Notice I did not say comes WITH Windows (for those zealots out there who like to compare Gimp with MS Paint or OpenOffice with Wordpad. Many also insist that OpenOffice is better than MS Office, but I have yet to see a feature-for-feature comparison from these people).

Openoffice.org
by Psilo on Thu 24th Jul 2003 17:29 UTC

Openoffice is better, not because it has more and better features than MS office, but because the whole experience has a lot less annoyances than MSoffice. My hate for MS Office is far deeper than my hate for Microsoft itself, because of these annoyances. Ever tried to merge a .doc from 8 different people , all 'thinking' they are capable Word-users? Somehow it is less frustrating to do so in OOo, despite of a few compatibility issues. No pictures jumping all over the pages. Easy style unification with the navigator and paragraph style tool. A seperate 'draw' program for charts and Word-art. Numbering and bulleting works the way you expect. And last but not least no clippy to suppress each time you encounter Word on someone elses computer and no occasional questions to reinsert your install media for some feature you apparently invoked (!!??? I do recommended installs! What's this about?)

@ Darius
by Anonymous on Thu 24th Jul 2003 17:33 UTC

btw , just found this one http://www.finalscratch.com ?

might cover one of your needs, im told there is a linux version.

Cost questions
by Steven Cardinal on Thu 24th Jul 2003 18:56 UTC

I didn't check out every product mentioned, but looking through the Sophos site, I don't see any mention of it being free. Now maybe they were already using it on Windows and were able to migrate for free?
Just curious.
Also, did you just rip and replace systems, or were there hardware costs due to migrations? (vs Windows allowing inplace upgrades)

Geeez, OSS not the issue, free software is
by XBe on Thu 24th Jul 2003 20:38 UTC

This article is completely written wrong I must say. The author doesn't have a clue what he's talking about.

The issue is not whether the software is OSS or not, it's whether it's Free or Not. Since 95%+ of all small businesses work with something else than developing software they don't care if the software is OSS or just Free but closed. So what's this OSS stuff about???

Besides, why not just use Windows which probably went with the computer and then add StarOffice on top of that? This is just another Linux hype article with no valuable content what so ever.... why we allways have to see this?

I could probably write an article on why to migrate to Windows from Linux, I can see a 100 reasons... TCO for one!

re: re: case management programs
by Anonymous on Fri 25th Jul 2003 00:29 UTC

"Have you looked at this program?

http://www.blueprophecy.com/bryan/

Or does it suck?"

Why yes, yes it does.

RE: case management
by Anonymous on Fri 25th Jul 2003 00:40 UTC

"I'd of though legal offices were a very large market indeed. OSS for these offices would be well worth pursuing."

Exactly. That's why Corel is still alive. Most lawyers I know use WordPerfect.

If anyone was serious about getting Linux on the desktop, you have to market to professionals who are going to use it, and give them the tools to use on it.
Business -- accounting/financial software
Legal -- case/document management
Medical -- billing/records management
Home -- email/wp/ games

And yes, for me, case management is a "killer app". It's how I get my work done. If there were something useable for Linux, I'd drop Windows in a heartbeat. But, since nothing's available, I'm stuck using Windows in my office, and at home.

To the puerile little brat who thinks that my concerns are laughable - you're the REAL problem w/Linux. You think in only the most limited, provincial terms. If Linux is depending on you to survive, or even just make it to the desktop in a serious manner, I'd say it's doomed.

Trying to answer to comments
by Alex Chejlyk on Fri 25th Jul 2003 01:48 UTC

First off, what happened to my formatting? I checked, before zipping, it in at least 4 different text editors including MS notepad! Anyway...

For the Angry Windows users: I mention running open source on Windows in closing. Whatever works for you. Open source operating systems offer a little more to me and my business, imho. Win32 Viruses are the biggest pain in the ass,I'm sure you'll agree.

The reason SBS isn't mentioned: I don't like having my fileserver and my Internet mail server on the same machine. Since seperating SBS is illegal (and impossible), it was not an option. One other thing.. I've always found it buggy/quirky compared to the seperate packages.

For the people wanting more tech info: This piece was about how we migrated, not about the tech. I didn't mention our firewall, our VPN and a ton of other things. This is about choices we now have. We are running mixed nfs and samba. nfs works pretty well for the hard wired clients. The wireless clients run better with samba. Since we are a small shop and don't move from pc to pc, I don't use LDAP for authentication. Um, the firewall is a cheapo Belkin. The VPN is good ol' ssh.
For backups we use tar/bz2 on peerless drives and once a week I have cdrecord burn three cd's of the really critical stuff with a cron job, want the script? email me. The mail is all run on the postfix/gunpop3d machine, it has all the mail saved on it. Makes backups easy. Everyones icon to kmail is actually a script for a ssh and remote X connection to the postfix server. It is a little slow on the wireless stations, but that is life.

For the amount of time needed to learn new packages: If I say type a letter to so and so, and it can be done easily, then productivity hasn't suffered. My employee's are all pretty decent learners, I hate winers and I am grumpy most the time so they all will bite the bullet and learn something without bitchin' too much. Yes I did hear that WIndows was easier, blah, blah but after two weeks that crap went away . Productivity hasn't really gone up or down, I alone have more time since the machines don't crash like they used to and the users don't reboot to "fix" something.

Yes we did a rip and install, no new hardware for the switch.

I have one client who has switched to Linux on the Desktops, his main app is a proprietary Windows based crash fest called Dentrix. We run it via Win4Lin and it is more stable than it used to be in Windows, I am 100% serious! We even have it running in a Raid 1 config which will not work in Windows (data was corrupted constantly), Dentrix warns that Raid is bad! Well we run Raid 1 and all is so good : ) Check out the Dentrix web site faq's about the raid no-no.

For the attorney: Try Win4Lin if you want to see a way out of Windows, yes you will be running Windows for that one app, but you can use opensource for the others. Virus threats are minimized, stability is increased and you will save money. Win4Lin running 98 is as stable as XP - really! Just don't use IE, OE, and file explorer, just use your main app. A '98 license can be had for $50usd and Win4Lin for $80usd. Together less than XPpro!

Yes I do have Win4lin and one '98 license on the server, I use this to check stuff for clients, like if they have a problem with some software I load it up in my Win4Lin session and check it out. I do not use Win4Lin and Windows for anything but checking stuff for clients, it saves me a trip to their office.

Thanks,

Alex

Trying to answer to comments
by Anonymous on Fri 25th Jul 2003 02:20 UTC

"For the attorney: Try Win4Lin if you want to see a way out of Windows, yes you will be running Windows for that one app, but you can use opensource for the others. Virus threats are minimized, stability is increased and you will save money. Win4Lin running 98 is as stable as XP - really! Just don't use IE, OE, and file explorer, just use your main app. A '98 license can be had for $50usd and Win4Lin for $80usd. Together less than XPpro!"

But my whole point is, I don't want to use Windows of any flavor. I don't want my money to go to Microsoft. I mean, what's the point of using Linux, and running a Windows emulator to run a Windows app? You still have to pay for a license...it all seems like a huge kluge.

If it's not available natively, it's not worth it.

I can understand your stance but...
by Alex Chejlyk on Fri 25th Jul 2003 03:10 UTC

I used to think the same way, but that type of thinking won't convince a commercial software developer to create a product for any other OS. Why should they, in their eyes their clients are content with whatever OS they make their product for!
You are already running MS 2K or XP ($150 to MS), since Native '98 isn't stable enough. You have to contend with over 82,000 viruses. You must perform Windows updates allowing MS into your machine, which may or may not be an issue (I always hated that). If you are using MS Office, it may interst you to know that openoffice.org's default file format is 66% more compact then MS Office's doc format. That saves on space which saves money. There is alot of good open source software for Windows.
btw,
Win4Lin isn't an emulator, it runs a full '98 inside of Linux, stability is excellent. The stability may be because of the more stable memory management of Linux and or the Win4Lin "merge" drivers.
If I ever run into a law firm that is willing to pay for the development of an opensource legal system package, I'll try to convince them to market it!

The MTA would also die unexpectedly.
by Sikosis on Fri 25th Jul 2003 04:44 UTC

Hey I know what that is ... it's Microsoft's poor coding of Exchange 5.5

It evantually gets memory leaks and stops functioning.

I ended up writing a little app that stops and starts the MTA server on the hour, every hour.

Memory leaks are gone and Exchange 5.5 runs without a reboot for at least 3-4 months (on NT 4).

one thing that people always over look
by Sikosis on Fri 25th Jul 2003 05:00 UTC

It surprises me how many people always overlook this solution to replacing Windows on the desktop.

Run a Windows 2000/2003 Server with Terminal Services.

Then you can run whatever you please on your workstations such as Linux, BSD, BeOS, Mac or even Windows.

This way, you don't lost compatiblity with 95% of your apps and you'll have stabler/easier to maintain workstations.

Hell, if MS are going to give me the technology to replace their OS on the desktop, who am I to argue with it ;)

Business Desktop Linux?
by westyvw on Fri 25th Jul 2003 10:02 UTC

I use Linux to do ALL my business work. I like it better then windows. I do get annoyed at having to save a document for windows users, but for the most part I like to use Linux for business better.

HOWEVER: At home I am running mandrake 9.1? What ever the latest mandrake is. Its has forgotten my settings so many time I am pissed off. My wife prefers to surf and send email in linux. But with mandrake making so many mistakes I am not happy with it. I use Redhat Desktop at work, also running Redhat servers, also use gentoo on a box to grab files and do other tasks, and Suse on this laptop. But Mandrake has been a pain in the ass for me. Why is it forgetting all my settings?

Meanwhile back to the point: Aside from that annoyance at home, I use Linux 24 7 to put out reports, write documents for my clients, and in general dont like windows.

RE: I can understand your stance but...
by Anonymous on Fri 25th Jul 2003 10:53 UTC

"I used to think the same way, but that type of thinking won't convince a commercial software developer to create a product for any other OS. Why should they, in their eyes their clients are content with whatever OS they make their product for!"

Why does it have to be someone who already has a product?

"You are already running MS 2K or XP ($150 to MS), since Native '98 isn't stable enough."

No, I'm not. I'm still running 98.

"You have to contend with over 82,000 viruses."

Automated virus scanning really is no big deal, since I don't use Outlook (the virus magnet). I use Pegasus for email.

"You must perform Windows updates allowing MS into your machine, which may or may not be an issue (I always hated that)."

And how is that different from Red Hats's update procedure?

"If you are using MS Office, it may interst you to know that openoffice.org's default file format is 66% more compact then MS Office's doc format. That saves on space which saves money."

I use WordPerfect, which is still a far superior word processor. As for space considerations, documents really don't take up that much space on their own.

"There is alot of good open source software for Windows.
btw,"

That may be, but again, I don't want to use Windows.

"Win4Lin isn't an emulator, it runs a full '98 inside of Linux, stability is excellent. The stability may be because of the more stable memory management of Linux and or the Win4Lin "merge" drivers."

Again, what's the point? You don't seem to be listening - I DON'T WANT TO USE WINDOWS. I don't care if it's an emulator or a gremlin in a cage - you still have to license Windows to run Win4Lin.

"If I ever run into a law firm that is willing to pay for the development of an opensource legal system package, I'll try to convince them to market it!"

First, find a law firm running Linux period. If you think Linux is scarce on business desktops, you'll have your work cut out for you trying to find it running in a legal office.

Linux in lawfirms
by Eric on Fri 25th Jul 2003 11:58 UTC

I think that it was best summed up early in the thread. You have to determine where it is worth your while to go through the migration to linux.

I have a large lawfirm as a client, that when I started, they had two or three netware servers (one as oracle, two as file/print), an NT4 server running exchange, and a Citrix server. Since then, we have been migrating their business applications over to Linux wherever possible. They are now running their oracle instance on Linux, they run a squid-cache for web tracking and popup blocking, and they want to migrate off of Exchange 5.5.

There are firms out there that are doing it, it's just a slow process. And realistically, I don't know that it's worth the trouble to migrate away from windows on the desktop just yet. Much as I hate giving my money to MS, all you're going to do is make your own life miserable, if you're technical support.

Where's the answer about Free Software rather than OSS
by XBe on Fri 25th Jul 2003 13:26 UTC

I'm still waiting to hear what's the Linux/OSS zealoting about. Is the issue that it's OSS or that it's free?

Microsoft Exchange Replacement
by labrat on Fri 25th Jul 2003 13:54 UTC

The Kroupware Project has a server (kolab) and the associated client plug-ins for the kmail client. This provides messaging and calendaring/scheduling features in the same vein as Microsoft Exchange. You can even perform busy-free lookups and respond to meeting requests. Try it, you'll like it!

I don't truly understand your question. Are you asking about free as in freedom or free as in beer? I assume you are asking about the latter. Saving money was a motivation, not a necessity. I could have blown the $12,000.00 on Windows, instead I bought a new street bike and a new dirt bike with the money I would have given to MS.
Open source software generally has been less expensive and or free. I believe in the open source model. Open source usually has open standards, closed source generally has proprietary or skewed versions of open standards. Getting data out of an open source program is usually less painful than a proprietary program, unless the proprietary program has the output you need. My company has donated to Mandrake, TightVNC, and Samba. We purchased Netraverse Win4Lin, CrossOver Office/Plugin and Netraverse Win4Lin Terminal Server. We have no problem running on open source software whether it is free or not. Spending money on great software is OK, spending money on crap is not.
If MS had products that warranted a $12,000 outlay then I may have used them. MS Windows is not worth $150~200.00, MS Windows Server is not worth $1200.00, and an Exchange setup is not worth $2000.00+.
Yes my laptop came with Windows XP home, it was crashing because of a poor Trident driver. Yes I could have used it by rebooting at every bsod and waited for the driver like 96% of the PC populace. Instead I gave up battery life for less crashes (powernow isn't supported by the Linux kernel yet).
I don't like Windows, mainly because of Instability, Viruses, XP Licensing, Licensing v6.0, Performance/Price Ratio. If you love Windows great, most my clients use it. I service it and it makes me money via its instability.
I chose open source because it is an option now. 5 years ago it wasn't a viable one. That is what the article was about, Choices!

Re: Re: Where's the answer about Free Software rather than OSS
by Anonymous on Fri 25th Jul 2003 16:25 UTC

Maybe I should explain again then. The whole articles focus was that it was cheaper to run OSS, but no point was given about why OSS is so good. Since the focus was on TCO, you could just have chosen free products which fulfills needs but still are free. So by giving the title about OSS is just showing zealotry.

Why would a small business care whether source code is open or not when their concern is money???? So if money is their concern the price of the software is the issue, and therefor Free software vs Paid software. Very big difference. BSPlayer for instance seems to be closed source but for free, same with Winamp...same with a huge amount of projects....

Small business don't give a flying **** about source, but cash. So next time you write an article how about being on subject?


Sure OSS often is cheap/Free... but free is what it's about in terms of cash (Note: This is not a BSD/GPL discussion I'm bringing up)

The answer about Free rather than OSS
by Alex Chejlyk on Fri 25th Jul 2003 17:58 UTC

Theoretically you are correct, I could have used Windows as the OS and chosen software to fulfill the necessary tasks. In the real world that isn't possible. Try to answer these questions:

Who makes a file server that is closed source and free?
What about free closed source shared calendars?
What about free closed source email contact lists? These also have to integrate into email clients.
What aboout a free proprietary office suite that reads and writes MS file formats and has hundred of features we've come to expect?

All the above are handled by OSS, whether or not it is free is irrelevant. Because it is free, the choice is much easier to make.

The article was about choice.

All businesses care about money. Money up front, known as cash outlay and money spent running, known as operating costs. If operating costs are lower, and cash outlay is lower, then the solution is better. OSS has done that for my company, Verizon, Pixar, IBM, Amazon.com, Wall Street, several of my clients and thousands of other companies.

In business money is always a concern. You choose something that will offer the best performance/price ratio. Cheap or free isn't always better. With Linux/Samba/Postfix we saved money, but we have a more stable environment. We saved money because we CHOSE open source and had the ability to learn new software. I looked at closed source free software, but couldn't find everything that would meet my business needs.

TCO:
Server administration times are down from a minimum of 8 hours (to apply patches, reboot, scandisk, defrag) a month on Windows to about 10 minutes on Linux (to check the logs).

The documents folder on the server is 1/3 the size compared to the proprietary software we used to use, are there proprietary software packages that can manage that and still read and write .xls and .doc? I didn't seen any when we made the switch.

We haven't been exposed to a virus that could infect us since the switch. Our email AV captures at least one virus a week. These are all win32 viruses. Is there a closed source OS that can do this at a decent price? I haven't heard of any.

Our workstations run for 24/5 without needing reboots. They are shutdown on weekends.

Next time you get a virus, remember that the current OSS operating systems can't get that virus or 82,000 of its kin. Your proprietary software is the reason you became infected. Call me a zealot, but my operating system spares me the headaches

You mention that small businesses don't care if it is OSS or closed only if it is free, this is also incorrect.

I have several clients that have had bad things happen and wished the code was open source. Ever try to retrieve a piece of information from a proprietary closed source database when it was too corrupt to run? I have and it is impossible. Intuit's QuickBooks database gets f***ed easily. For $750.00 Intuit will look at it, the fee is charged whether the data is salvageable or not. When a power cord was kicked out from our file server, in the middle of work log entry, the work log database was corrupted. I was able to open the file in MySQl and remove a string of garbage. I saved at least 2 hours of entry by using software that stored data in an open source based backend.
Businesses do care if sh*t happens, especially if there is no way to undo it. With OSS there is a way into the file or code.



Virtual Desktop for Windows XP
by Zach on Wed 30th Jul 2003 22:19 UTC

I am not a windows advocate but I just wanted to point out an error in the article. The article states there is no virtual desktop for windows. Actually if you go and download the PowerToys off Microsoft's website [http://www.microsoft.com/windowsxp/pro/downloads/powertoys.asp] you can download a virtual desktop for windows. Hope this clarifies. By the way all Linux versions are better the Windows.