Modern Middle Manager
Primarily my musings on the practical application of technology and management principles at a financial services company.
Another Switch

Tuesday, December 17, 2002  

The German city of Schwaebisch Hall has decided to replace its Microsoft software with an open source solution. Their network of 400 PC's will be running SuSE Linux and OpenOffice on the desktop and SuSE Linux Enterprise Server in the back-office, with savings around $102,300. I assume that figure means projected savings over 3-5 years summed up today. I've run similar projections for my company. Despite this and Fargo, FL's conversion I'm still wary of Linux at the desktop as a full-featured client.
My concerns in a nutshell:

1. Administering 400 users. Easier with Linux than AD? Doubt it.
2. Print services. I have yet to get this working as easily as Windows does it.
3. Internet Explorer. Looks like there are a number of websites that are very IE friendly and give Mozilla fits, including financial websites we use.
4. Desktop support. User training costs money and time. So does missing the ability to remote control a desktop. Does VNC solve this problem?
5. Vertical apps. We have probably a dozen vertical apps that have no Open Source equivalent.

Don't get me wrong -- I'm excited to see this kind of thing happening. I'm just unconvinced everything's in place for us to convert our desktops as they are. Competition in the OS and app markets are A Good Thing. I hope this continues and we don't have a situation like OS/2 or the Mac, where open-source implodes or remains marginalized.

posted by Henry Jenkins | 12/17/2002 10:53:00 AM

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