In need of frank advice

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SamJourno
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In need of frank advice

Post by SamJourno »

Hi all.

I'd appreciate some frank advice here. I'm setting up a new office and someone has advised me to go with Linux Mint on all PCs and notebook. Most of my employees are used to Windows and have no knowledge of Linux at all. Most of our work involves word processing and some graphics.

What are the issues that I might face in trying to use Linux in our office?

Would I be better off sticking to Windows?

Thanks very much in advance! Would appreciate thoughtful and candid answers.

Best,
Sam
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cogier
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Re: In need of frank advice

Post by cogier »

You could try Mint in your office and see what happens. There would be no cost (unlike Windows). Mint comes with Libreoffice for word processing - You would need to purchase MS Office for Windows. I am sure there will be some who complain as they are familiar with Windows. You don't say what type of graphics but there are a host of free graphic programs available from the Software Centre.

Simply put, you can try Mint for free and if it does not work out you can install Windows on each machine at (£80 to £125), Word (£60-£90), PaintShop Pro (£50) etc.....
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daveinuk
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Re: In need of frank advice

Post by daveinuk »

You're not giving many clues as to what it is you do, this may help in answering your question better, but as a ball park answer . . . . .

Hardware compatibility first, I'd suggest burning some live CD/DVD's and bench test your machines to see if they work 'out of the box' before finding problems . . . .
Make sure there are no windows programs you can't live without, or at least look at the open source alternatives and see if they meet your needs, chances are there'll be
bench tests somewhere on the net against a lot of propriertary software, open office/ libre office deals with anything MS office can throw at it as far as I know, I use libre daily and prefer it to MS office.

Staff . . ? well . . getting used to the difference in the offfice programs is fairly easy, but I'm talking from my personal experience with it, if it was substituting photo shop for GIMP then I don't know, and I use GIMP too, there's going to be lots of 'differences' either way you look at it, and a learning curve thrown in for all of you, if you can work all that into daily working life without losing out on too much productivity then great. Do your homework and run some trials, that's as good as i can advise you, I don't see any good reason why you shouldn't be able to do what you want to do, but, it all depends on how willing and able you all are to adapt to some change and some learning.
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DrHu
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Re: In need of frank advice

Post by DrHu »

SamJourno wrote:Most of my employees are used to Windows and have no knowledge of Linux at all. Most of our work involves word processing and some graphics.
They are your employees?
--perhaps you can push them in the direction you want them to go

The first issue will obviously be employee complaints about the applications being different and the OS being unfamiliar.

The truth (or frankness) for most offices is that they buy too much application for their needs
  • You say mainly word processing, one presumes mostly text + some graphics
An office that was operating on an efficiency scale might decide that all they really need is a reasonable RTF editor, or if they felt the need for a word process (perhaps because of spell checking etc), to move to such an application and not necessarily bother about upgrading at every spasm of NEW that the vendor offers.

You also don't say that you want anything else; except most offices even small ones will at least use a calendar, a spreadsheet, a DB (DataBase, possibly), so that sometimes an office suite that combines some of those requirements answers their call.

Another option is online services, such as Google docs or Microsoft's Live
https://accounts.google.com/ServiceLogi ... l=homepage

So to be frank and clear, issues will come up if you use an OS users don't know (even if it is pretty similar in most operations as most desktop OSs' are!)
  • You can do it in Linux, no doubt: it is just a matter of employee training, just as it would be for each new iteration of MsOffice suite(s)
    --so my guess, in the end no big deal either way: it's your business after all
I always like to suggest something like jolicloud for people running offices and wanting efficient use of resources..
http://www.jolicloud.com/
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xenopeek
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Re: In need of frank advice

Post by xenopeek »

I wouldn't personally move forward on this without making sure, as noted by others, the hardware runs Linux Mint without problems, suitable programs are available on Linux to do the work the team needs to do (and those programs can read the files created on Windows), and you have completed a successful pilot with a few team members (thereby establishing, no matter how limited, a few "experts" that can give a basic training to the rest of the team and that can answer question that arise in the early days of other team members getting stuck :wink:).

From personal experience, having in the past pushed my team members outside their comfort zone by switching programs or methods used for office work, I can't stress enough having some pioneers that have done a pilot to ease the rest of the team into the new way of working. Most team members will likely want to be trained in your time, and won't be eager to learn it all themselves in their own time...
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I2k4
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Re: In need of frank advice

Post by I2k4 »

I'd be very cautious about enterprise use for a couple of reasons. First, though, be aware that you can pretty thoroughly test out Mint and most other Linux distributions via Persistent Live USB using the Pendrive or a similar installer:

http://www.pendrivelinux.com/universal- ... -as-1-2-3/

The Persistence permits saving settings on the USB drive between reboots. I'd suggest testing all the software and connectivity of the operating system with your hardware by installing on a 4GB or larger USB drive.

My concerns would be

a) compatibility of LibreOffice, OpenOffice, etc. with Microsoft Office documents. The Linux office software is very sophisticated and capable in and for itself and for producing spreadsheets, slide presentations, etc. but it is not adequate for exchanging or opening sophisticated MS Office spreadsheets, PowerPoint presentations, etc.

b) LAN networking in Mint and other Linux environments is not nearly as intuitive and easy to set up via "Wizards" as it is in Windows - if your office network requires Samba you had better take a hard serious look at Samba and its documentation before assuming that you will be able to link network computers, external drives, printers, etc. as easily as you can in Windows.

As above, there is a lot of very good Linux/Mint usable office software. In my mind, the local networking crudeness of Linux, including Mint, and the file compatibility problems of dealing with clients, vendors and collaborators who use MS Office are the main obstacles to setting up a business on Linux. (The other obvious problem would be if your business has "legacy" documents or files originated in MS Office or some other Windows software.)
TRUST BUT VERIFY any advice from anybody, including me. Mint/Ubuntu user since 10.04 LTS. LM20 64 bit XFCE (Dell 1520). Dual booting LM20 XFCE / Win7 (Lenovo desktop and Acer netbook).
mintybits
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Re: In need of frank advice

Post by mintybits »

Vincent Vermeulen wrote:I wouldn't personally move forward on this without making sure, as noted by others, the hardware runs Linux Mint without problems, suitable programs are available on Linux to do the work the team needs to do (and those programs can read the files created on Windows), and you have completed a successful pilot with a few team members (thereby establishing, no matter how limited, a few "experts" that can give a basic training to the rest of the team and that can answer question that arise in the early days of other team members getting stuck :wink:).

From personal experience, having in the past pushed my team members outside their comfort zone by switching programs or methods used for office work, I can't stress enough having some pioneers that have done a pilot to ease the rest of the team into the new way of working. Most team members will likely want to be trained in your time, and won't be eager to learn it all themselves in their own time...
Agree strongly.
Also, have you a linux administrator or are you going to be one...there are likely to be a lot of teething problems.
The confidence and attitude of the users will make or break the transition.

Why do you want to change to linux? IME I would not do it to save license fees alone because the costs in your time and blood pressure will far exceed it. I would want to convince myself that, once the transition is made, linux will significantly improve productivity in some way. If not stick with Windows.
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