Moving from Windows to Mint Linux

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Moving from Windows to Mint Linux

Postby CarlEOgden on Wed Apr 24, 2013 6:51 am

Hi,

I'm considering the jump for our office from Windows XP/VB.NET developed order processing system and taking the whole office over to Linux desktops (not sure on Server as yet - but might look at a NAS device with offsite backup). I like the Mint interface and how it runs!

We only use email, which is a bit of an issue as Outlook is good with email and calendar integration - so looking for replacement program(s), Word/Excel (basic functions - no programming) and then we've currently a VB6 developed application that updates 2 x MySQL Databases, prints forms and invoices, this is being updated to VB.NET.

As I am brand new to developing apps in Linux and just studying videos on YouTube regarding programming in KDevelop, I was wondering if anyone on here has experience of:-

Reading/Writing to MySQL from Kdevelop - is it easy to do? Is it easy to deploy to other desktops?
Printing - Is it easy to control a print page with Kdevelop? VB.NET is ok with 1 page but becomes a headache for multiple pages (or it does with how I am doing it)?

Anything else anyone would recommend when switching environments.

My current config is:-

1 x SBS 2003 Server running Exchange Server/MySQL/Avast AV Suite/File Storage
3 x Windows XP Pro using either Office 2003 or Office 2007
2 x Windows 7 using Office 2010

If we exclude our need for a bespoke app to process orders and look to replace server/pc's/microsoft, what would you have as your setup?

Thanks for any and all information you give in advance.

Cheers
Carl.
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Re: Moving from Windows to Mint Linux

Postby xenopeek on Wed Apr 24, 2013 4:12 pm

Sounds awesome :D How is the rest of the office prepared for this though, not everybody might be willing to invest some time to get to know a new operating system and new applications.
CarlEOgden wrote:I like the Mint interface and how it runs!

Good :D But which one? Linux Mint with Cinnamon, MATE, Xfce or KDE? Those are the four so called "desktop environments" that Linux Mint offers as a default, though there are others you can choose. A desktop environment is basically the user interface to your operating system, so it is the start menu, the task bar at the bottom, the way the windows look and the controls they have, and the standard programs like your file manager, text editor, calculator, and so on. Though underneath all are Linux Mint and all can run all applications, it's good to know which one caught your eye so we can perhaps tune advice to that :)

CarlEOgden wrote:We only use email, which is a bit of an issue as Outlook is good with email and calendar integration - so looking for replacement program(s)

You want to continue to use Exchange? This article lists the common alternatives to Outlook, though the author is advising on replacing Exchange with something else (like you can have Gmail manage your email domain and just use Gmail): http://www.datamation.com/open-source/m ... ice-1.html. It's a bit of a gloomy post and I hope it's not all that bad. Have you considered Outlook Web Access? I gather it's included with Exchange 5.0 or newer. I'm using that often when working from home for my corporate email and calendar and it works just fine from a browser. Or perhaps have that in place as a fall back.

CarlEOgden wrote:Word/Excel (basic functions - no programming)

LibreOffice is a full featured office suite and comes installed on Linux Mint. Apache OpenOffice is similar. Calligra Office is a common alternative for KDE. You may also consider Abiword + Gnumeric as a more lightweight and faster alternative to Word and Excel. Each has its strengths and weaknesses, though all should satisfy basic needs. If you need to share documents with people outside of your office that's not a problem if you can publish those documents as PDF (built in to most office suites), but formatting might not be 100% equal when you author a document in a Linux office suite and then open it in Microsoft Office (or vice versa).

CarlEOgden wrote:we've currently a VB6 developed application that updates 2 x MySQL Databases, prints forms and invoices, this is being updated to VB.NET

There is something called Mono, which is an implementation of the .NET libraries for Linux. So you can run .NET applications on Linux. Might take some modifcations. I have no experience with it myself, but I've used .NET games on Linux with Mono. Here is a page about VB.NET support in Mono: http://www.mono-project.com/VisualBasic.NET_support.

Gambas is a Visual BASIC like language for Linux, might be worth a look: http://gambas.sourceforge.net/en/main.html

KDevelop is the development suite for KDE applications (which you can use on any of the Linux Mint desktop environments). There is an extensive wiki for it, called TechBase: http://techbase.kde.org/Welcome_to_KDE_TechBase. You may instead of KDevelop also look at the more full featured (as compared to Visual Studio) QT Creator, which you can also use to develop KDE applications--or others. I'm a Python and BASH programmer mostly these days, so can't be much more help here with your questions about MySQL or Printing.

CarlEOgden wrote:Anything else anyone would recommend when switching environments.

Depending on the other users in your office, you might start the migration by switching to another office suite and web browser while still on Windows. Most office suites and web browsers for Linux also work on Windows. So once you have everything in place to switch to Linux, users will have that familiarity with some of the programs they already were using.
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