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PostHeaderIcon Is Your Business Linux-Ready?

Tech Republic blogger Jack Wallen is in favor of migrating to Linux, but urges caution. Yesterday he gave a 10-point list of things to think about before making the move.

I confess, he gave me a few things to think about, but, as someone who is considering making the switch personally, it doesn’t come close to answering all my questions.

  • I use Open Office, and it’s okay, but it is U-G-L-Y and, frankly, as a longtime MS user, kind of a PITA to navigate. If they would just put a little more effort into making super common functions easier to locate, that would rock. Plus, I just spent a ton of cash upgrading to Office 2007 5 months ago–is there a way to make the kids play nice so I can still use it?
  • I am an iTunes junkie. How does this work with something like Ubuntu? Does it?
  • Still haven’t found an open source equivalent to MS Publisher. I know, I know, it’s desktop publishing for dummies, but it’s what I know how to use and I can make it sing when I’m in the groove.

I’m sure there’s more, but those are just what kind to mind immediately. Think you (or your business) are ready to go The Way of the Penguin? Check out the article above and let us know what you think.

2 Responses to “Is Your Business Linux-Ready?”

  • Justin says:

    An answer or two:

    OpenOffice, like many if not most other Open Source products, doesn't have "an interface" so much as "a default interface." Just about everything is customizable; look under Tools -> Options -> OpenOffice.org -> Appearance. From there you can change all the colors of the interface; there is a Fonts menu just above it. If you choose Customize in the Tools menu, it will give you the opportunity to change all of the menus, including the icons used for the various options. (Note: I use the Linux version, so your menu titles might be slightly different.)

    As for MS Office, no, you can't just use it out of the box under Linux – because Microsoft doesn't want you to, and they, not you, get to decide what can and can't be done with your copy of Office. Some people have good luck running Office under WINE (a Windows emulator that helps Windows software to run under Linux) while others have bad luck. My position, personally, is to install VirtualBox, a free virtualization platform from Sun, and install a virtual Windows machine in it, provided you have the install disks and licensing codes for the copy of Windows you already have. Then, if you need to run something under Windows – like Office – you can, because it's a real Windows install right there on your Linux machine. I use it, though with time, I've found I use it less and less.

    I don't really do a lot of music on my system, and I have an open MP3 player that doesn't use DRM, so I can't really speak with authority on the subject of iTunes. What I do know is that some people have been able to install iTunes through WINE, and there is no shortage of tutorials on for how to do so. I also know a lot of people use alternative players with their iPods, so there are certainly options out there.

    As for Publisher, again, I can't speak with authority because I don't do a lot of desktop publishing, but I'm sure there's something out there that approximates. (And, of course, it can always be run through virtualization.) A Google search for "Linux Publisher software" or just searching around in the Ubuntu Forums would probably uncover some options.

    I can't say that everything is going to be exactly the same, because it isn't. It's no different than the new car that has the headlight switch on the other side of the dash or the remodeled house with the bathroom across the hall – it takes some time to get used to, but with time, you become as attached to it as you were to the old way. Linux isn't for everyone – some people will gladly accept being told what and how to do and pay out the wazoo to keep everything the same – but personally, I think it's a lot like saying "I'm not picking up that million dollars – I'd have to bend down!"

  • ThomasBP says:

    You should really take a look at Open Source Alternative. Here you can find alternatives for Publisher – and lots of other products.

    So check out osalt.com.

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