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Surprised this news hasn't shownup on /. already

UPDATE - Microsoft loses city of Munich deal to Linux
http://biz.yahoo.com/rc/030528/tech_munich_microsoft_2.html

I have zero experience with Linux.

Can organizations and businesses that decide to switch to a Linux OS run Microsoft software products (i.e. Microsoft Office) and existing custom built software applications (i.e. apps written in VB or Visual C++)?

One Programmer's Opinion
Wednesday, May 28, 2003

http://slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=03/05/26/1855225
http://slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=03/05/24/2033228

Very old news. ;)

anonymous
Wednesday, May 28, 2003

Thanks for the URL.

I checked slashdot.org ealier today and didn't see squat.

One Programmer's Opinion
Thursday, May 29, 2003

"Can organizations and businesses that decide to switch to a Linux OS run Microsoft software products (i.e. Microsoft Office)" -- apparently, using http://www.codeweavers.com/products/office/ -- I can't vouch for how effective, nor stable it is though.

"and existing custom built software applications (i.e. apps written in VB or Visual C++)?" --  depends on the app I suppose but you could potentially using WINE http://www.winehq.com/

Duncan Smart
Thursday, May 29, 2003

There are those emulators but running Windows apps on Linux after switching to that system strikes me as pointless -- you're still dependent on MS, after all; you're still locked into the Word/Excel file formats, and you're still exposed to whatever security holes you fear.

Come to think of it, running Linux instead of Windows on non-developer systems is actually a great idea, not just for the purpose of avoiding Microsoft, as long as you can afford a comprehensive maintenance contract and custom-written software that does all you need.

The employees on these systems literally can't do anything other than what they're supposed to do -- no computer games, no Outlook viruses, no porn downloads, no private work on company systems! In other words, switching to a more restrictive system with less available software might actually increase productivity...

Chris Nahr
Thursday, May 29, 2003

> The employees on these systems literally can't do
> anything other than what they're supposed to do

You can do the exact same thing with Win2K.

I'm making an experienc with my home PC (Win2K). I've created three users:
1) admin, which I seldom use
2) power user (almost admin), which I use when I'm offline
3) "don't touch this" user, which I use when I'm online. Can't do much of anything, except access a couple of apps (e.g., Opera, Star Downloader). Can't access much of the HD, can't change any system setting, etc.

So far (1 week of testing), things have been going OK. Granted, I'm not a very sophisticated web user, i.e., the stuff I do is pretty standard - web surf, downloads. No purchases or service usage.

--
"Suravye ninto manshima taishite (Peace favor your sword)" (Shienaran salute)
"Life is a dream from which we all must wake before we can dream again" (Amys, Aiel Wise One)

Paulo Caetano
Thursday, May 29, 2003

Chris,
          Have you seen the number of free games that come as standard with a normal Linux distro? Most of them let you play one while installing. And guess what? Linux machines can connect to the Internet to download porn. Or perhaps you though all those Linux developers used carrier penguins to waddle along to Linux.org with the latest patches.

          A Linux desktop will allow you to do most of what users do on the desktop; that is write letters, surf the net, send email, play movies, do their accounts, and alter their photos.

          If you are a company then you will possible have custom apps. These will have to be developed whether you use Windows, the MacOs or Linux. If they are fairly limited in scope and need writing from scratch, then there is no overhead with using Linux. Also there is the possibility that a similar government body has produced more or less what you need and it is available on the GPL. On the other hand if you want to use something that can be developed by extending MS Office or written in VB then the increased speed of development these tools provide wins out.

Whatever it is it is stupid to run things on an emulated OS. Simply get Windows pre-intalled, or use your already existing licenses, and dual boot.

[I do agree with you, however, in that there will be a short term gain  in productivity until the users learn how to install solitaire under Linux]

         

         

Stephen Jones
Thursday, May 29, 2003

Stephen: He's not talking about Linux.  He's talking about a canned Linux Win emulator.  Really he's talking about giving the plebs a shell, any shell, that in one way is familiar to them (so they don't need retraining), but in another way is utterly featureless unless options have been positively / deliberately enabled by The Powers That Be...

I once worked for a company that freely provided machines to their minions but operated using the more obvious reverse case... that is they used CITRIX to emulate Windows for chosen apps while being intrinsically incapable of doing dangerous Windows-ish things.

Anyhow, for some confused respondents, the point is: not that the emulated OS wouldn't allow them to play games were they running natively, but that the bare bones emulation system didn't allow you to do anything that wasn't specifically enabled.

John Aitken
Thursday, May 29, 2003

I hope linux catches on more.  It will bring server based computing back instead of having mini-computers at everyones feet.

Mike
Thursday, May 29, 2003

Mike - and you think netpc's are a good idea because it's a good thing to have the office sitting around doing nothing when the network is down?

A good "minicomputer" can be had for about $500 these days. I don't think you're gonna find NetPC's much cheaper.

Philo

Philo
Thursday, May 29, 2003

Not that I agree with the big iron/dumb terminal philosophy, but when was the last time your hard-wired network went down? Seriously, if that happens a lot, maybe you should get some new IT people. :-p

Brad Wilson (dotnetguy.techieswithcats.com)
Thursday, May 29, 2003

As Paulo said you can limit what people can use on windows just as you can on Linux.

So limiting what people can do is not an OS choice, and nor is it a thin client/fat client choice. You can even tie down win 98 boxes so that people can only use the chosen apps.

The main problem with dumb terminals is that they only allow dumb working. If the user has to do anything outside of using the chosen program he's going to need access to a PC. And once you've excluded all your secretaries, teachers, managers, receptionists, salesmen, and so on, there often aren't that many people left to give the dumb terminals too.

Citrix is generally used for a very different reason, often to do with bandwidth when dealing with remote locations.

Stephen Jones
Thursday, May 29, 2003

I seriously doubt that Munich has any intention of running *any* MSFT applications - emulated or not.  Contrary to the view in the states, Europe does not see office desktop applications as the Holy Grail oc computing. 

Additionally, OpenOffice works very nicely on MSFT generated documents.  But, if you ask me, ooffice is not their first choice.  It seems they are inclined to back the KDE desktop and supported applications.

Culturally, Germans have an NIH (not inviented here) attitude.  In the wrong context, it can be like working for zeh Fuhrer hisself.  And when given a choice regarding something which they can control, they'll take it.  KDE offers them that.  KDE already maintains a Euro-ish mindset, which starts with priorities:

1. Design specifications which are fairly rigid.
2. Stability over features.

This is where I think Munich and other Euro-state support is heading with respect to the desktop.  Don't expect to see much emphasis with respect to MSFT compatability - certainly not in the long term.

Nat Ersoz
Thursday, May 29, 2003

I don't know about NIH.  We're perfectly happy letting Google and Adobe kick the crap out of anything here.  And just listen to the music; often US pop.  Asus motherboards, Samsung monitors...  What you may be noticiing though is the German tendency to define oneself by a profession, so you end up depending on others to do their jobs stably.  (Like that always works...)  Compartmentalizing.  It's just scary to think some mad computer can trash your entire week because you were curious enough to see who sent you a love email.  That's not how things should work.

Less Slashdot, more c't though.

anonymous
Thursday, May 29, 2003

I definitely made a broad swipe there, sorry.  It has been my experience that German management can be quite rigid in their acceptance of things foreign - especially when not standing alone, but being integrated into something they consider "theirs".  If you intend to integrate something of yours with something of theirs, then there _will be_ documentation, likely an ISO or ITU standard or equivalent.  That's a completely contrary world view as one held by MSFT (embrace and extend - secretly).

I have been on the receiving end of German managers - it can be great or awful.  It all depends on whether they see you as a threat or an enabler.

NIH was probably the wrong term.  Regardless, more power to 'em.  I expect they won't take MSFT compatability into account.  Now Linux and company now generating its own gravity.

Nat Ersoz
Thursday, May 29, 2003

At one place I worked at in Spain the parent company, Unilever, promoted the Sales manager to a position in Germany. He came back on holiday after three months and  we asked him, somewhat concerned, if the German work ethic hadn't left him drained.

"Quite the opposite," he said, "I've never worked less in my life. I go in at nine and by four everything's finished; not like here in Spain where you can work through till eight or nine." We were puzzled so he explained. "You see, in Germany, if a lorry has to go out at 11.00  at 10,58 it's at the gate with all its papers in order. Here I would wait to see if he turned up before twelve, and if he hadn't then send out word to look for a forty ton articlated lorry parked outside one of the cafes in the area. Then I would go over to the driver, have a couple of drinks with him to keep him in a good mood, and have to decide if he could be sobered up or if I needed to find a replacement. Only problem with Germany is I find my mind atrophying for lack of problems to apply it to"

German Managers  "end up depending on others to do their jobs stably.  (Like that always works...)  Compartmentalizing. " because in Germany that normally does not present a problem. It's when the rest of the world doesn't lifve up to this expedation that you see the German manager looking like a drowned rat or a fish out of water.

Stephen Jones
Thursday, May 29, 2003

Answer: government organisations that switch to Linux or countenance doing it generally don't understand that there is a lot of custom software that runs on and requires a Windows environment.

It's an issue that hasn't been thought through and will cause big problems. The idea of running such apps, in a production environment, on various emulators is a joke.

Just watch the news from about mid 2004.

.
Thursday, May 29, 2003

Dear dot anon,
                      I don't think even governments are as stupid as you make them out to be.

                      Where they have software that requires Windows they will run it on er, Windows. They may buy new licenses but in most cases can simply use the ones they already have. That way they won't even have headaches with upgrading.

                      What to do if people require access to both legacy windows apps and the new Linux ones? Dual booting.

                      Lack of drivers can be a problem, but the main problems occur with winmodems, hardly a problem in a large government office wheire they will connect to the internet through the LAN, and soundcards, which will require those who like to listen to music while they work to invest in a Walkman. Neither of these situations are likely to cause a new storming of the Bastille.

                          Anyway I must log off now. My Mandrake starter manual has nearly finished printing and I'm going to install Linux on a spare partition.

Stephen Jones
Thursday, May 29, 2003

I would expect the decision process goes something like this...

  ms    = users * (win2k + Office + support) + dev_costs
  linux = (users * support) + redev_apps + retraining

  if ms <= linux:
    return ms
  else:
    return linux

I should imagine that if you're looking to overhaul your IT anyway, then the cost of licences over the long-term would exceed the cost of rewriting your custom apps.

Thomas Barker ( http://thomasbarker.com )
Sunday, June 01, 2003

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