Friday, June 20, 2008

Standing on the ledge - Part 2

Continued from this article. I apologize for the long time between postings.
I am still on the issue of making the jump to Linux and why you should do it for the right reasons. If you are trying Linux, this series may not be just for you yet. By all means, try it out and discover the world of Linux and Open Source software. Or rediscover the joy of discovery. That alone could be worth your effort. What I am trying to lay out are here are some things that are slightly different, things that affect people who are making the jump to Linux full-time.
Ask yourself, 'what is it that I do now on my computer'? Make a list of activities and the software you use for them. Be honest (because no one else is watching) and mark out programs that you use every day, occasionally/regularly and programs that you think you need and have installed but not touched it since then. The list is important because it could be a deal breaker in your jump to Linux. If you are doing this for your company, think about and talk to others and have them make their own list and combine their answers with yours.
Most of the time, we just do stuff and have very little time to plan. This is a great opportunity to think about what you have been doing and how you have been doing them. Is there a better way? Of do you want to stick with what you have now for a bit more? What is it that you wish you could do? If you have the time, try to improve things because if you can improve the way things are done, the more the move will be about something else than just an OS switch. If you don't or are doing this for a number of people, try it with the old way first because people accept change differently. You are lucky if you can convince them not only to change their OS but also change the way they work.
Now that you know what are the activities that you do and their frequency plus the software that you use now, you can find Linux programs or Open Source tools that match them. There is another article dedicated just for OpenOffice because it is the most likely replacement for MsOffice. But if you are willing to spend a bit more, Crossover Office make the transition easier by allowing you to run MsOffice on Linux. Trust me, some users only care about MsOffice. If there is a version for the dishwasher OS, the users won't blink an eye if you gave them a dishwasher. That runs MsOffice.
If you are dealing with a number of users, you may need to set aside time for training. There is always a hump, as I call it, when it comes to Linux. More on that later. In the meantime, keep you goals in sight.

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