Linux distributor SuSE is hoping to get desktop users to switch to its operating system with a new edition of its software specifically designed for office workers–including software that allows it to run Microsoft Office and other Windows applications. Read the report at ZDNews.
SuSE Opens Linux Desktop for Windows
2002-10-29 SuSE, openSUSE 12 Comments
…beat them another way. What with Xandros and now Suse offering desktops that “does Windows” in a sense–runs Windows applications–we now see an interesting “Plan B” to undercut the MS juggernaut. Interesting strategy, and it might work in one sense: it might encourage migration. I suspect that what stops many Windows users from switching to some flavor of Linux is the application problem. I’d bet that plenty of people–and businesses, too–would welcome a stable Linux OS that’s 1. cheaper and 2. stable. And if the Windows apps can run on top of the Linux core, then end-users who won’t/can’t use non MS appls will be happy.
Of course, this might also somewhat undercut the motive to develop alternative apps native to Linux.
This sure is an interesting time in Linux distros…(thanks for that link, Eugenia).
If Apple decides to write a native Quicktime for Linux, then Crossover Plugin will be no longer need. I haven’t tried OpenOffice.org, yet. How does it compares to M$ Office 2k/XP?
I would say they compare very favorably on a feature by feature basis. I am still partial to Gnumeric for spreadsheets because the UI is clean and easy to navigate especially in the GTK2 version. I love the Abiword interface but the feature match and import tools are just not there. There is nothing that comes even close to the kind of features and compatibility you get with OpenOffice out there for linux.
Everyone focuses too much on office suite compatibility. There are very few docs or spreadsheets I encounter from corporate that I cannot open with no extra editing needed on my linux workstation. Yes, I use linux in the office every day of the week.
The real problem is a good Visio counterpart for my line of work — sysadmins occasionally have to map out server farms and such. Also, Mr project is coming along very well but it is still not a good enough replacement in terms of feature by feature match to MS project.
Also, nobody talks about it but the Presentation tool in OpenOffice is very good and the graphical html editor is very nice for folks who 1) are not native enough in html to use bluefish or another base editor or 2) they don’t like Mozilla or Netscape’s graphical html editors.
I think it’s great. Clients often ask what is a nice low-cost alternative to M$ Office and this just might be it. Just curious, anyone know whether KDE 3.1 will be included or am I getting ahead of myself….
Many Linux companies seem to start the creation of desktop oriented distros. Red Hat became a desktop distro with their version 8 (as well as a server one), now UnitedLinux and Suse, and then the others, Lindows, XandrOS, Lycoris and Elx but these started nativly as a desktop focused/based distros I assume. However we also have Sun. It’s gonna be interesting to see what will happen but these copmanies are finally waking up and starting to strike back. Only time will tell if they are successful.
Well, this sounds like a good move. Anyone at work wanting to switch to Linux has a choice whether to use MS Office or an open source alternative. And I would say from the looks of things, Linux is almost ready for the office user. The installation has been made quite simple, font rendering is decent, and the GUI is workable.
Only roadblocks I see for the Office user are:
1) Hardware detection – Sure, Linux will detect a new printer, but how far does it go? I got a new printer over the weekend and the software (for Windows) has a nifty little feature that tells me approximately how much ink is left in the cartridge. Just the little touches here and there … not sure how much the office user would care or if Linux can do those, but it’s still nice to have.
2) Applictions – How easy are things to install outisde of the sandbox ‘click and install’ interfaces that many distros are providing today?
3) How easy is it to network with other Windows users? Usually in a smaller office enviroment, there’s one person assigned to the computer stuff and this guy/gal is ‘kind of’ computer literate .. could they set it up? The ease at which this can be done seems to vary across distros
4) Many people I know in the office use Outlook religiously. Is it possible (and how hard is it to do so) to export their email, calendar(s), contact(s), etc from Outlook to an open source alternative? If it were possible, someone would probably have to burn all the data to a CD and transfer it across if it were too large to fit on a floppy.
Well, besides those issues, I’d say it’ll probably work.
Also, to the guy looking for a Visio alternative, I was under the assumption tha Visio would run under Crossover Office?
One has to wonder if the Palladium project will eventually encompass applications too. This would give MS the legal power to de-Linux their software..
..I hope I haven’t given them ideas.
Darius makes some good points. It indeed are those nifty little things that make a whole difference. Personally, being in touch al days with windows users, I do not believe Linux is ready for desktop – as far as ‘simple’ users are concerned. They have trouble enough with windows.
I would say even more (don’t shoot me): Linux on server side is not ready to replace Windows servers. What I never understood is that there ain’t no companies making a distribution who packages the software and the plain tools to _easily_ provide a simple alternative for a classic Windows file, print and domain server. Samba? yes but that’s NT4 domains.. not really an alternative for W2K. Think about kerberos, think single-sign-on, think integrated authentication when hoint through a proxy. Active Directory? Ok, LDAP. But The standard LDAP server provided with any distro is quite empty I… Why should I have to build my own schema? And what about replication? What about multi-master models? DFS?
Oops I’m getting out of scope here. Not that I like bashing on *nix solutions, but I’m getting frustrated of all those guys telling about “alternative solutions” without explaining all those practical differences who in fact are quit big….
I have a dream of that distro who makes me setup a “Small Business Server” as easy and as quickly and with really the same functionalities as MS SBS2000.
I could go on with those examples. People wanting to discuus that stuff, please mail me 🙂
1) Hardware detection –
Linux does not have some of the neato utilities that would require the HW manufacturer to actually release linux utilities. However, it was neat to plug in a USB mouse and see it autodetected and configured on SuSE or boot with a new network card and see the Network Interface Yast2 screen prompt me to set the interface up.
2) Applictions –
apt-get tools are the best way to handle this now for both rpm and deb based distros. However, since distros want you to many times pay for the Click and Install updates stuff they do not include this tools by default. Still, I find that the process of downloading apt, rpm -Uvh apt*.rpm and then apt-get -f install <whatever program I want> to be pretty smooth. There is also a GUI front-end to this called synaptic that is pretty good just not quite as slick-looking as some of the distro tools. The answer is too hard until someone smacks the distros with a clue-by-four.
3) How easy is it to network with other Windows users?
I have real world experience with this moving software engineers from Windows NT to SuSE linux. The answer is with LinNeighborhood installed it is damn easy.
Forget the built-in samba support in Nautilus or even Konqueror which is not a bad option IMO. The venerable LinNeighborhood has all the importing LMhosts default domain server and browse as user options to get your people connected. Hint, spend a couple of extra minutes talking your people and put some of their common network haunts up top of the host list by adding them as a favorite host and set their filemanager to open to that network mount automagically.
4) Many people I know in the office use Outlook religiously. Is it possible (and how hard is it to do so) to export their email, calendar(s), contact(s), etc from Outlook
Yes, you can do this with Evolution. Import options for Outlook, netscape and other formats are there.
The real question people should ask is who needs to use linux in the office?
If you have programmers, Unix admins, network admins and the like you constantly spend their days in a telnet session, exceed session or flipping between their PC and their Unix workstation then linux is for you.
If there was no market for this then companies like Exceed would cease to exist and companies would not make Unix workstations but they do and there is a market. A niche is still a market and can still make the linux distros big bucks.
If you just want to save some money from Microsoft then linux is not ready to be used by the secretaries and such yet. It is getting closer but it is still too geek and requires too much tuning even with Crossover.
Linux makes sense for an IT world surrounded by *NIX boxes. If you do not live in such a world you have to seriously consider why you really want to move people away from Windows beyond maybe a dislike for the company.
LOL makes me think of the movie “Antitrust” 😀
What’s in a name…
If only there was a way to fully run Photoshop 7 on Linux i’d be able to run linux almost exclusivly. I mean, I can already play UT 2003 on it so there wouldn’t be a need for me to reboot to play that game(only game I play) but what keeps me away from my Red Hat 8 partition is that I need to use photoshop all the time.
Though you do have a point about Photoshop (and I also usually bring up the arguement about the audio/music apps I run, along with several others), this probably isn’t going to be an issue for the office user, unless they are into graphics and such.
Personally, I think Linux is much closer to being ready for Joe Office User than it is for Joe Home User. At least at the office, Linux doesn’t have to contend as much with the $30-$40 Windows-only ‘Fisher Price’ apps that pollute the shelves of CompUSA, and some of the more ‘non-typical’ hardware such as mp3 players and digital cameras. This is a much bigger problem for the home user though.