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?
Mint 13 64bit Cinnamon
Asus U56E Laptop, Core i5-2410M, Intel graphics, 6GB RAM
Mint 9 64bit
Averatec 2573 Laptop, AMD Turion 64x2, ATI Graphics, Atheros wireless, 3GB RAM