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Sat, 27 Nov 2004

Basic Open-Source Migration Path

Made a slashdot comment trying to help out someone who is trying to pitch a Linux solution to their business, specifically about the role of Open Office in the mix. I commented that it already has a non-animated version of clippy, thus you will automatically impress the people you are showing this to. :^)

Actually, in my experiences, Open Office support (not tech-support, but document support) is very solid. There are slight quirkisms (slightly different line-wrappings if fonts arent found, some UI choices are slightly different), but regardless of the maturity of the software, some important elements to your pitch must be:

  1. If you need Windows and MS Office we can still install it

  2. Default config should be Windows + OpenOffice + FireFox

  3. Some groups can use Linux + OpenOffice + FireFox + Evolution (vs. MS Outlook)

…if your organization is of any substantial size (more than 20), you have to check your advocacy at the door and recognize the practicalities.

Windows you practically get for free, and having that safety net of “Oh, and if it doesn’t work, you can just grab a copy of MS Office and install that”, is a great business advantage. Once your company realizes:

…you now have a great migration path over to Linux. It starts with choosing software on the Windows platform that is available on Linux. The goal is not to displace windows (well, actually it is), but the goal is to factor-out the operating system. If all your software runs over your Intranet and is cross-platform, then Windows will either be worth $300/seat, Macintosh will be worth the $300-500 hardware premium, or Linux will be “good enough” at $0-80/seat. Don’t try and make the business decision, make the business decision possible and let the guys with the $$$ make that decision.

If you can simultaneously get some insiders in the IT group (ie: to pave the way by making cross-platform compatible choices for infrastructure), then it could end up being a pretty straightforward switchover.

Best of luck, and don’t try to tackle it all at the same time.

13:32 CST | category / entries
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