Mint respin for business?

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Mint respin for business?

Postby gordon.cooke on Sun Jul 18, 2010 1:40 am

Id like to float an idea for a family of distro(s) and would love feedback or ideas from anyone. Im thinking of putting together a distro specifically aimed at small medium business. So no games, but good office suite, financial, strong security, out of the box VPN, etc.

Im actually imagining a family of three .iso's. All the same base but with some differences in the default configuration.
1) office desktop computer -- for doing work obviously, default is for multi-user and users are not root (unlike a home install) Havent thought of how, but might be a good idea if just a few computers with this install would work fine as a network if connected to a router/switch for a minimal office with no central server, but still have a configuration to work with shared resources of a server if used
2) small office server -- an install configured to be a single server in a small-medium office. Web server, central user management, network storage, DHCP?, maybe wiki, etc
3) Home desktop computer -- Got this idea from the concept where MS offered a special Home Use Discount for employees of companies that bought enterprise license schemes. The incentive being that employees could use the same software at home which a) makes them more familiar with the software and how to use it and b) makes it more likely, and easier, for employees to bring work home. So I imagine a copy of the same environment as (1) above but with games, the user is set up as root like a normal distro. maybe build in some VPN type connectivity for work from home? Just make it easy for the business to say 'Hey you want this for at home? Here you go."

I think such a project could start with just configuring what packages would be installed and setting up the config files and such. But I think a big improvement could be made by building some simple gui's and scripts to change/manage those configurations. An attempt to make it such that 1) at install or first startup, the installer could easily setup all the settings (IP range, name of company, passwords, services that are on/off etc) and 2) easily change/update latter. Not trivial I know, but would want to make the system tight and easy to administer.

I just love mint and think no matter what to use the mint-menu and the rest of the mint tools. Starting with mint as a base seems like a good choice, but I have two reservations. 1) would I need to strip out some of the mint support or use the US/japan version due to legal issues (guess the answer is yes) and 2) would it be better to start with CentOS as a base as business might be more comfortable with the Red Hat tie in? Does anyone know, do businesses have a preference for .rpm packages over .deb? Or would SMB be agnostic and just not care (or ignorant and not know). Not totally based on technical merit, but the perception is important to success.

With the current world economy it would seem a good time to focus on business users and linux. I would envision marketing to owners based on cost and a simple message of 'the same tech used by the most powerful computers', 'used by the largest enterprises' and 'used when reliability is important' (worded better of course) and market to IT specialist and consultants based on ease of administration and technical merits.

Anyone have any input on open source apps they have found successful in the office?
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Re: Mint respin for business?

Postby linuxviolin on Sun Jul 18, 2010 2:57 pm

I just going to repeat one of my post elsewhere in the forum here.

Ubuntu in enterprise? Humm, like Caitlyn Martin and many others, I say it is not a good idea. If you really want something correct, stable etc in enterprise, just use Red Hat Enterprise Linux (or one of its clones: CentOS, Scientific) It's really the best solution for enterprise/business servers.
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Re: Mint respin for business?

Postby thenewguy on Mon Jul 19, 2010 7:55 am

I tend to agree that Red Hat or CentOS is the way to go in a business environment. or Scientific Linux (which is based on Red Hat) is great for home use. I like Mint, but I don't think it's a better choice for home users than for office/enterprise work.
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Re: Mint respin for business?

Postby ichat on Thu Sep 02, 2010 11:42 am

to be honnest i think that the arguments about Rhell ar really false,

ive been working with Rhell in corp use for a while and in many ways i find it not beter than any other linux distro ... also Cononical has already shown that ubuntu is to be taken sirriously, with the Ubuntu addon to the LPI-course they have also shown that ubuntu is usable in ways that depend on skilled system admins, also with the landscape and subscription services they are committed to make ubuntu an easy to use yet verry capable linux flavor.

if someone here is willing to create a ubuntu or linux mint spinoff that is geared to the more productive desktop ... id be more than willing to help as mutch as i can

hoverver i do NOT think that is should be about the desktop ONLY, in my view it should also add a server that serv as a network server, file server print server and groupware server. - one easy possibillity could be to use Ebox for it. as it is allready based on ubuntu - and even though not perfect, it would still be verry easy to setup and it runs on quite low specs

i had it run on an amd athlon xp 1,3ghz + 768mb ddr1 2 nic's, and a few old 120gb pata disk. but i think it could also run on something as simple and cheap as an intel Atom 330 mITX if you add the most cheap version of hardware-raid you can find with either raid 3 or raid5 - you could still make it run close to gbit speeds.
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Re: Mint respin for business?

Postby DrHu on Thu Sep 02, 2010 1:45 pm

gordon.cooke wrote:Id like to float an idea for a family of distro(s) ...
Im actually imagining a family of three .iso's. All the same base but with some differences in the default configuration.

I am glad you noticed that there is so little distinction between a server OS and a desktop/workstation OS as to be insignificant
--only requiring some reconfiguration of the system software for more security: usually

That idea of a family of OSs' for various differently appearing operations is merely Microsoft's idea to sell the same OS multiple times (like coke and coke classic), no matter how little change is needed.
    Nevertheless, it is quite obviously a business model that seems to work
--Apple also sells a server OS, mainly to deal with server issues/applications: what Apple thinks a network of connected computers (to a server) would require.

Also any Linux OS could be used as a server: in fact that is already being done
--various groups/people run their web systems/Internet applications on other than the standard Red Hat system, Debian is of course a popular choice.
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Re: Mint respin for business?

Postby ichat on Thu Sep 02, 2010 2:33 pm

thats only try if for example you would sell the pro-version for more $$ than the home version, listen to yourself, in your words we should also NOT distribute a gnone kde ore xfce version as its all just away to make more monney. ;)


no his idea sounds genuine, - meaning - you can perfecly 'modify' linux mint to be more geared to buissness use, - meaning more scripts to manage office tasks and other functions. it has nothing to do with $$ but only with use...
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Re: Mint respin for business?

Postby linuxviolin on Thu Sep 02, 2010 11:20 pm

ichat wrote:to be honnest i think that the arguments about Rhell ar really false

No

ichat wrote:in many ways i find it not beter than any other linux distro ...

For business, though. You have RHEL or SUSE as choice. For the last, there are other "problems", so my choice goes to RHEL, (almost) unhesitatingly. Debian, but Stable, can be also possible of course, but for some reasons, I rather would recommend RHEL. Debian doesn't offer quite what RHEL offers.


ichat wrote:also Cononical has already shown that ubuntu is to be taken sirriously, with the Ubuntu addon to the LPI-course they have also shown that ubuntu is usable in ways that depend on skilled system admins, also with the landscape and subscription services they are committed to make ubuntu an easy to use yet verry capable linux flavor.

I'm sorry but Ubuntu for business is a bad idea. Ubuntu is buggy, unreliable, not really stable etc. I would not trust in Ubuntu for business...

DrHu wrote:only requiring some reconfiguration of the system software for more security: usually

Not just that. e.g. an enterprise has need for services, some infrastructure with and behind its system, big/great stability and support for long years, rock solid etc not just, like a home user, a burn-install-then use distro for some months, if you see what I mean... RHEL provides this, Microsoft provides this, *any* distro, no.
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Re: Mint respin for business?

Postby gordon.cooke on Fri Sep 03, 2010 5:29 pm

Glad to read all the comments and discussion.

Ref RHEL- as I see it, there are two separate discussion points. One is technological. Is a Red Hat base technically superior to.. say Debian Stable? Maybe not. Is it superior to... say Ubuntu? Maybe yes. Technically the stability of the base is obviously important, but there are so many other technical aspects of an entire distro that I would think have a larger impact. (You can start with a rock solid base, poorly configure services, screw up installs, and ignore basic security, and you will have a very poor distro) The second discussion point is political (maybe thats not the best word but I dont know how else to put it). Would the business community be more likely to accept a Red Hat based distro? For me this is an important point and the original one I was referring to. A succesful distro requires a user base. Therefore, technology being equal, the base with a better acceptance and image to the business community is a better choice for a base. I love Mint. Id use it for all the computers on my separate work network if I could (ie if management would let me). But is the Ubuntu base negative baggage in the eyes of business adopters?

On the topic of base system- perhaps the more important technical consideration is .deb vs .rpm. .rpm is supposed to be the linux standard base. RH fulfills LSB and Debian doesn't. Is this an issue in business? Of course the current trend is to ensure compatibility with Ubuntu as the common denominator. So for me its a toss up.

@ichat--
Ref server and desktop. Yes I agree. Thats why my original idea above is 1) desktop for work 2) server for work 3) desktop for home. Im only proposing SMB level server as its more appropriate for an all server tasks on one piece of hardware. Large business with multiple dedicated servers have a lot of individual setup. You cant package that on a live install iso.

@DrHu--
Overall thanks for the great comments.
Family of different OS's in a proprietary model so you can resell the same code: Yes I agree this is an odd scheme when the different configurations have different cost (yet are the same code). But Im not looking to sell anything. I think its more a matter of packaging the three types of configurations so that a user can easily have each one without having to bother reconfiguring. If I worked hard enough I could install Debian and then do a lot of work to get Mint. But Id rather just download the iso and be done with it. And Im not sure I could actually do it right. (I think you know this, but just to answer the point for any readers that dont)


General Comment-
No this is not anything I have made any progress on. At this point Im just tossing the idea around. This type of discussion, I think, is the most important work at this point. Just fleshing out concept and requirements, then later go into planning, then you could actually start configuring something. I dont want to just, say, start with Mint because I like it (without much thought) and then run into problems down the road or worse get all the way to release and have the user base reject it.
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Re: Mint respin for business?

Postby gordon.cooke on Fri Sep 03, 2010 6:01 pm

Mini Manifesto

So reading the above it occurred to someone might wonder-- "WHY?"

So here is my little evangelical linux-fan idea: Linux adoption has remained low. For average computer users the barriers to entry are perceived as high. Users buy a computer and accept it as it comes- so they only ever see windows and have no ability/willingness to change it (I might mess it up and break my computer). Manufacturers see demand for linux is low and are timid in offering linux pre-installed. Consumers only see windows and therefore no dmand for linux. Yes it is a catch 22.

But linux has made in roads in business, where decisions are made more on pragmatic technical merit and more likely to invesigate alternatives. If more business would use linux on desktop, more people would be exposed. If a workers desktop linux is good, they will see the differences from windows and hopefully perceive it as better. "At work I never have an issue and I love working with [fav app here]. At home my machine crawls, and I keep getting blue screens. How do I get this at home?"

Right now is a time of opportunity- actually the peak of this opportunity may be past (probably the middle of the Vista debacle or last years peak of the recession). The economy is bad, everyone is tightening their belts and counting pennies to make it through. Small business is especially vulnerable and needs the most drastic measures as they likely have little capital to 'weather the storm' of recession. Im not talking about Linux being free vs windows $700 (or whatever it is now). But this situation creates an environment where management is carefully considering all expenditures and much more open to considering alternatives. Additionally, as the recession turns into recovery (around now) we should begin to see more small businesses starting up. At startup these new business owners will be procuring new IT infrastructure (even if it is only a 4 computer office). Based on lessons from other prior businesses- they may be looking to avoid to problems of lock in and exit costs of propriety models.

This leads to an environment ripe for linux adoption in the office. Greater office use can lead to increase public awareness, which (assuming a good distro and positive experince) leads to desire for adoption at home.

To capitalize on this opportunity requires a) a good server configuration that can be put on a sinle machine and provide service for a SMB office as an alternative to expensive windows server+cal+erp+ .... b) a good office desktop preconfigured for work (security, no games, domain login, VPN etc, user is not admin) that is mostly just install then a nice config wizard for IP address, server name etc. And c) a good home desktop that is the same desktop user experience but geared at single user account, some games, offcie suite but not the hard core business software etc.

Computer consultants or tech savvy owners could easily setup a whole server with a). All desktops in the office could be installed with b), optimized to work with he server and easier than setup Windows, install AV, reboot, install office, reboot, install.... Repeat for all, (oh wait this one is Vista that one is 7). Workers see its not hard to use and wan it at home. Install c).
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Re: Mint respin for business?

Postby ruler501 on Sat Aug 27, 2011 2:02 pm

One thing I saw that was missing from your iso list was one for business laptop iso's. It would be very important to have a laptop one that would be extremely secure and let you do most of your work
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Re: Mint respin for business?

Postby hellfire695 on Thu Jan 26, 2012 1:43 pm

Hrmm I like the the idea of enterprise desktop spin.
while i agree that redhat is deffinately better for servers, i can be a bit over a regular desk jockeys head

linux mint enterprise has a nice ring too it lol

here's my thought's

1. it would need to stripped down from the home use mint, and cantain mainly business oriented apps
2. a different release cycle, I say keep it 6 months behind the regular mint in order to insure packages are properly tested, and increase stability
3. the regular 18 support term may have to reevaluated and adapted to large enterprises
4. very thorough documentation is a must
5.support will be a issue
all in all i think this is an idea whose time as come with ms decreasing support for xp.

pm me I'd be glad to help with a project like this
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Re: Mint respin for business?

Postby Daikini on Sat Mar 10, 2012 3:27 am

I really like this idea.

This week I've gathered 8 donated XP pc's and loaded Mint 12 over all of them.

Next week I'll be handing them over to a non-profit organization for use in their education programs.

I would love to see this happen in SMB.

Let me know if I might be able to help somehow.
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Re: Mint respin for business?

Postby Pierre on Sun Mar 25, 2012 9:08 am

The same ISO could be used on all the PCs - with a little tweaking - for the actual purpose of that PC - after the install.

- could include a virtualbox - to run windows - in a sandbox that is *not* connected to the 'net.

a lot of business's already run two windows PCs - with one *not* 'net enabled - for obvious reasons :lol:
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Re: Mint respin for business?

Postby hellfire695 on Mon Apr 16, 2012 1:30 am

Pierre wrote:The same ISO could be used on all the PCs - with a little tweaking - for the actual purpose of that PC - after the install.

- could include a virtualbox - to run windows - in a sandbox that is *not* connected to the 'net.

a lot of business's already run two windows PCs - with one *not* 'net enabled - for obvious reasons :lol:


i think an lmde iso would be best for business
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Re: Mint respin for business?

Postby SurfaceUnits on Tue Dec 18, 2012 11:55 pm

You would necessarily need to use a LTS distro
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Re: Mint respin for business?

Postby SurfaceUnits on Sat Dec 22, 2012 12:56 pm

Ubuntu Desktop for Business

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Save both with Business Desktop Remix


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Pure remix of Ubuntu — uses the standard archives, kernel and updates
Available now with 12.04 LTS

http://www.ubuntu.com/business/desktop/remix
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Re: Mint respin for business?

Postby DrHu on Sat Dec 22, 2012 2:54 pm

One company I quite liked was linxcare (Levanata), but their difficulties (apart from any normal capitalization business model issues) simply show the difficulties found in trying to edge into business-as-usual models that predominate the landscape
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Levanta
    Company history
    Linuxcare was founded in San Francisco in 1998 by Dave Sifry, Arthur Tyde and Dave LaDuke. The company's initial goal was to be "the 800 number for Linux" and operate 24 hours a day. In the late 1990s, Linux was slowly gaining in popularity as both a desktop and server operating system. A common complaint was that Linux was inappropriate in business environments because obtaining support for Linux involved newsgroups, mailing lists, and websites operated by volunteers. Linuxcare intended to hire some of the disparate Linux experts and get them working together to provide reliable support, for which individuals and businesses would pay.

    It isn't quite true that if you build it, they will come
    --that's probably a myth or a fantasy..
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Re: Mint respin for business?

Postby unimatrix725 on Sat Feb 23, 2013 6:07 pm

I think this would be a great idea. Considering Mint has come so far (Even Ubuntu). I was checking out the forums for RemasterSys and stumbled across this. I know allot of people have chimed in negatively. I still have the book and Floppy for RHLE and still do not like it period! For the Stability crowd perhaps the Debian based Mint? I am running Mint 14 and am looking forward to version 15. Please by all means make the distro and post it on a torrent page. I would even give "cookie" an invite to torrentday if it were a serious effort. :D I have a small computer repair business and have been pushing allot of customers to linux and Mint where possible. I have had no complaints yet. Mostly praise not worrying about spyware and viruses. Most people cannot get over the fact that they can get software for just about any need for free and no worries about drivers either.

Of course I would only expect this to be a BYOS (Bring Your Own Support) Release.
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Re: Mint respin for business?

Postby MtnDewManiac on Tue Jul 02, 2013 11:19 am

I'd think for a distro to be seriously considered as a "for business use" - as opposed to any distro that can be used by a business - there'd have to be an infrastructure in place providing options for paid support. Many businesses are willing to pay for support... But when they need it, they expect to be able to pick up the telephone and speak to someone (and, depending on the level of support they are paying for and the severity of the problem (/capability of the business' staff), someone to come to their location and fix things).

For many people in the business world, the fact that support is provided by a community of volunteers - at their convenience - is severely off-putting.
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Re: Mint respin for business?

Postby Mvin2cloud on Sat Dec 28, 2013 9:01 pm

I'm Sure i am late to the game on this,

but has any progress been made is this area, i am in the process of testing barebones (nettops) PCs to run a linux distro on
the only thing i have found close enough is linux mint, coming with libre office which comes really really close to MS office suite.
the business world needs something like linux, my company is gearing up to start injecting linux into the small business world.
it's a great OS works stable there's an army of developers that contribute to it, any info on this would be appreciated thanx guys.
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