Crunch time on the Enterprise Desktop

Remember when Windows was the best desktop OS for business users?

Seems like a while ago. The rise of browser-based apps, an increasingly mobile workforce and the ever-present threat of malware mean few CIOs would choose Windows if it was launched today.

 

Yet many believe there’s no viable alternative.

We, of course, think there is. Ubuntu is an elegant, feature-rich OS already running on millions of workplace desktops around the world, with more organisations switching every day.

So we’ve looked into the subject and written a new e-book: Crunch time on the Enterprise Desktop. It’s a great, short introduction to why there’s never been a better time to include Ubuntu in your desktop strategy.

 

Download it now to discover:

* Seven trends changing your desktop strategy
* Eight reasons why Ubuntu is a great business choice
* The Canonical customers and what they’ve achieved
* How to get started with Ubuntu in your organisation

 

Migrating to Ubuntu already helps enterprises save millions – read the ebook to learn how.

And don’t be shy to share your views on the subject and the ebook: leave a comment below and let us know if it was useful for you or if you have more questions.

23 comments

  1. Jason Brower

    We uses Linux/Ubuntu almost exclusively at work. Infact, our Windows users feel left out at times because of the features in Ubuntu. Keep up the good work, we are happy here with Ubuntu Linux. :D

  2. Philipp Gassmann

    I like the agressive marketing of Linux on the Desktop. Canonical does a really great job on creating a pleasant user experience.

  3. arian

    Nice Ubuntu , I like it …..

  4. Shaun Hills

    If the e-book was produced using Linux tools, I think it would be a more (& probably very) effective demonstration of the viability of Linux on the desktop.

  5. Paolino Turone

    I use Ubuntu at home and have now introduced it in my business. It is an excellent option and works well without any real issue.

    The only problem is that it is not compatible with SAGE Accounts, and there are no linux alternatives at present.

    Therefore our main server is still Windows SBS, in order to run SAGE, and the Ubuntu users remote desktop in. Not the best option but a good work around.

    Ubuntu offers speed and reliability, but unfortunately some software developers are not attracted to open source, and do not write for linux. This leaves a hole, where for some a complete switch is just not viable, yet.

    However Ubuntu is under constant development and hopefully will attract a bigger interest.

  6. Clayton Dillard

    I’ve been using Linux on the desktop at work since 2002. I’ve seen major improvements and I really enjoy working in Linux as opposed to Windows. Compatibility with the majority (Windows/Microsoft) of applications in corporate environments has improved and Linux is obviously more secure. Being a long-time Linux user, I’ve had, and still have, my list of issues and complaints. Ubuntu and other distributions have gotten more stable over the years but there are still some significant issues in terms of corporate adoption.

    1. Video/Display: For laptop users this is a huge issue. Simple things like being able to switch from a single monitor to a dual setup (e.g. when connecting to a projector for giving a presentation) are not possible without jumping through hoops, especially if you’re using proprietary drivers, which Ubuntu now requires.

    2. Office Productivity: OpenOffice and LibreOffice are fine choices for creating documents but I’ve found that Calc is less stable and less capable than MS Office 2010. PowerPoint is simply great at making it very easy to create stunning presentations, while Impress just doesn’t cut it. Compatibility between Windows & Office and Linux & LibreOffice isn’t quite there. Try creating a presentation in one and sharing with the other. Fonts are hosed and simple things like keeping text inside the area of the slide doesn’t translate. Plus there are always font issues.

    3. No Visio: This is huge for many organizations who use Visio for everything from designing floor plans to creating network diagrams. Dia is a very poor alternative and Draw is no better.

    4. WebEx/GoToMeeting: Employees at corporations and small businesses want to take advantage of these technologies and they are not supported by Linux (or not supporting Linux). Linux users are forced to use a Windows computer or VM.

    I hope that improvements will keep coming. A growing share of the market will hopefully result in more and better applications that are on par with those mentioned above in the Windows world.

    1. Sonia Ouarti

      Clayton, thanks for this long comment. This is a response from Boris Devouge, our Sales Engineer Manager at Canonical to each of your point:

      1 – Not all video drivers are proprietary, but you are right that this has been a spotty area. It is also important to mention that issues are most of the time hardware related.
      Since a majority of laptops and netbooks (low and medium specs) use ‘integrated’ GPUs like Intel GMA’s series or newer Sandy Bridge architecture, and Intel is contributing an open source driver, those have offered very satisfying results, and I personally, using Ubuntu 100% of the time, have had literally zero issues displaying to external projectors. The advances of Xrandr extensions in the X server have helped a great deal.

      It is unfortunately a mixed area for certain proprietary video hardware (Nvidia, ATI etc) as you mention, but it is also true that the proprietary drivers they provide have significantly improved. There is however no guaranties out of the box.
      We also recommend checking the hardware certification that canonical performs for many machines: http://www.ubuntu.com/certification

      2 – Agreed, and LibreOffice doesn’t target yet advanced or experienced users of MS Office, it however provide a very good office suite for the price, and does translate majority of things from the closed formats where certain artefacts or fonts are not 100% accurate. The same things happens if a company decide to adopt ODF internally ans uses the MS Office ODF plugin to translate documents: what looked great in Impress will not look like the same in Powerpoint.

      3 – Tried yEd? ;-)
      http://www.yworks.com/en/products_yed_applicationfeatures.html

      4 – WebEx works very well out of the box on Ubuntu Desktop Edition in Firefox and OpenJDK JRE Plugin ;-) Several corporate customers of Canonical are using it in production.

      GoToMeeting has never supported many platfroms, so agreed, this will require access to another Operating System.

      We fully agree and hope Canonical and Ubuntu will lead the way for more and more end user using Linux on their Desktop for work everyday.
      Thank you for your comments.

  7. George Kostopoulos

    We are using Ubuntu (Desktop and Server) for everything in our company. Our business platform runs on Ubuntu Server and CUPS makes local or network printing a piece of cake! I don’t need to mention that there are updates every day, no viruses, a stable OS that we can trust. Ubuntu server by the way it’s the first command line linux server that is really friendly! I don’t know how you have done it, but it feels really friendly (to anyone that is used to systems like that).

  8. Angel Mota

    In my job I use tree(3) computer two(2) with ubuntu and one with windows XP. We have two(2) Main server one with windows 2003 and the other with ubuntu server 10.4.3 LTS. The ubuntu server never restated, never restart the apache and mysql server forget about is the best, with windows every week we have to restart the apache and the sql-sever too.I work in Boston MA,USA, and my natural languaje is spanish.

  9. Werner Prinsloo

    I have been using Ubuntu Desktop in a company that exclusively runs MS for the past 3 years. This started out a a test since i am the IT manager. Its stable, feature rich and there is no reason enterprise should not us Ubuntu as a desktop. I do sometime feel that we are preaching to the wrong people, we are marketing Linux and open source to Linux users and we need to concentrate on corporate users that use the MS systems.

  10. Matthijs ten Kate

    Boris, you finish your response with stating that you *hope* that Canonical will lead the way… Coming from someone in Sales, that doesn’t sound very confident. I trust, no I fully expect Canonical to do so. And heck, I’m not even a Canonical employee :-)

    As for the company I work for, even though we’re producing open source software based on Linux ourselves, the desktop is just a whole different ballgame. There are applications that require Windows (e.g. financial, graphical) and a substantial amount of users (most of them in management) who simply loathe anything else on the desktop than Windows + MS Office. Getting them to use Free Software (let alone Linux) for their daily work is probably lightyears away from becoming feasible.
    On the other hand, there is a slowly growing group of Linux users (most of them Ubuntu) who think exactly the opposite. And as can be predicted, collaborating between these two groups can become very troublesome (especially when dealing with presentations and other office documents).
    Too bad the existing open standards have been so poorly (or differently?) implemented by different applications. ODF doesn’t work properly on MS Office, MSOOXML works terribly bad on Libre Office.
    Ironically, the old proprietary Office formats seem to work best on both suites…

  11. Matthijs ten Kate

    Boris, you finish your response with stating that you *hope* that Canonical will lead the way… Coming from someone in Canonical Sales, that doesn’t sound very confident. I trust, no I *fully expect* Canonical to do so. And heck, I’m not even a Canonical employee :-)

    As for the company I work for, even though we’re producing open source software based on Linux ourselves, the desktop is just a whole different ballgame. There are applications that require Windows (e.g. financial, graphical) and there’s a substantial amount of users (most of them in management) who simply loathe anything else on the desktop than Windows + MS Office. Getting them to use Free Software (let alone Linux) for their daily work is probably lightyears away from becoming feasible.
    On the other hand, there is a slowly growing group of Linux users (most of them Ubuntu) who think exactly the opposite. And as can be predicted, collaboration between these two groups can become very troublesome (especially when dealing with presentations and other office documents).
    Too bad the existing open standards have been so poorly (or differently?) implemented by different applications. ODF doesn’t work properly on MS Office, MSOOXML works terribly bad on Libre Office.
    Ironically, the old proprietary Office formats seem to work best on both suites…

  12. Bill Stewart

    Our customers like Ubuntu fine, however the key is giving it to them as a Virtual Desktop. Using any NX based solution, with NoMachine’s being the most enterprise ready, you can project Ubuntu desktop right around the world. It solves almost all the problems, and opens up huge new opportunities,

    In our company we built an all open source enterprise Intranet, put Ubuntu Virtual desktops on it, and added the best applications we could find. Think about it – this means the cost of deployment of a fully configured Ubuntu desktop, from working email to single-sign-on to a range of collaboration software, can (with our automated technology) be reduced to effectively zero – click the create button and wait 15 minutes.

    Our customers have all sorts of local machines, but no longer have to do anything with them, except maintain securirty software and access to the Internet. This is how to get Ubuntu, and excellent open source applications, out there easily and cost effectively. And show those old-style browser applications what a real cloud user interface should look like – Ubuntu desktop.

    The question has never been Ubuntu – we’ve proven it works in business. The question has been, how do you grow a scalable business that can practically install, service, and support large numbers of an unfamiliar operating system, and somehow without scaring people by taking things away from them. The answer is the cloud, which for Ubuntu desktop is another way of saying Virtual Desktops.

    Cheers,
    Bill

  13. Pete

    The book is interesting, but I wonder if you might do the same for smaller businesses. I’ve been crafting a plan to move my 20-person office from an OSX platform to Ubuntu, primarily because of the cost of replacing OSX hardware. I’ve found we can save around 40 percent on hardware replacement, not even factoring in the fact that Linux stays fresh on hardware for a lot longer.

    With smaller offices, the total price savings will be less, however, because my business depends on much less proprietary software, a switch is not as painful — its simply a matter of moving people from MS Office and a workstation or two with Quick Books. I can see a lot of small businesses finding a switch to Ubuntu really compelling.

    The main issue for small businesses will be that many really don’t have IT support. They need to know where and how they can buy Ubuntu pre-installed and how and where they can get that hardware serviced and repaired. Perhaps access to a directory of people who can service linux servers and software.

    I’m contemplating this move, because I know how to do this stuf. If I weren’te here, though, my business wouldn’t even know Ubuntu existed.

  14. Hector Daniel Vargas

    i’ve been using Ubuntu since 8.10 version. And is just all i need for work. I recommend it to all people in the city i live and now with my business i will use as one of my tools. Really i don’t need to use Windows. Ubuntu has alot of apps that replace windows software.

  15. Hector Daniel Vargas

    Ubuntu Linux is fast, safe, etc. I will open a new company in my city and Ubuntu is the best choise i can do for my company that is based on technology and business services, Ubuntu has all the software we need to work.

  16. Zia

    M$ Windows is not perfect, Linux is not perfect, Mac OS X is not perfect.
    Nothing is perfect but there are things that work better than others.
    MAC OS X and Linux work better than M$ Windows.
    The fuss around the apps working in Windows but not in Linux seems quite trivial and fed by a FUD propaganda.
    How many people, old fashion management included, are already using iPhone, Android and Blackberry devices and they do not complain about?
    For sure iPhone and Android devices use Unix-like operating systems and they have their apps store to get all the apps needed to work.
    All Linux distros have their apps store like place to get what’s needed to work and entertain.
    It is just a matter to keep open minds at every age.
    There is a say:
    Always learn. Do not let your brain to get lazy. A lazy mind is the house of the German. And the name of the German is Alzheimer!

  17. Robert Pogson

    I have been using GNU/Linux for more than a decade on the desktop and love it. Ubuntu GNU/Linux has some problems for the installations I like best, thin clients. One time I installed Ubuntu there was a widget that checked the print queue every second. That’s fine for a single-user system, but I had 153 on my terminal server. Another issue is the number of processes running to please a single user. It used to be that 50 MB of RAM on the terminal server was sufficient for one client machine, but now 100 MB is too little.

    Thin clients are “in”. I think Ubuntu should think how the distro can be tailored to make multi-user systems more lively. A good terminal server should be able to please 50 or more users and give them a much better experience than that other OS on a single hard drive. We should not have to tweak a system endlessly to tune up the distro for serving thin clients.

  18. Martin

    The problem today is the lack of development outside the circle of ubuntu or other linux-distros. The end-user connection between developing and daily office use is the weak link. The big dragons solved this by “free” education” and let the end-user pay when the party was over. I hope that the cost for tying the knot to a big company makes companies and others aware of the end-cost to be locked down to a solution with no other way than to pay the prize in new hardware and licenses.
    The curve for learning linux is a bit different, but in the end the same demands are for any buisness solution. Knowledge, safety and speed are essential.
    I have a recent example a whole school with not a “opensource”-based concept went down. Phones, computers website, platform for learning etc. And its all integrated and very vulnerable just cause “one” server went bezerk. I think this is were for example a divided solution between linux integrated with others can make a difference and avoid stuff like this, by having dual-systems which works as one, but if one went haywire the “other” system would back-up and let procedures work as normal whithout any formal visibility…

  19. Oliver Hext

    Hi,

    I agree with Bill Stewart. Virtual desktops are the way forward. We also need an easy way to migrate away from Windows based platforms. I come from a Microsoft background and I am a relatively new user of Linux. However, Linux has grabbed my attention and I have implemented it for home solutions. In the enterprise however, (excuse my ignorance) we need Linux based Active Directory for user and computer configurations, web based terminal services, FAT and thin client deployment solutions to name a few. I know in part they exist but to me as a newbie they still seem fragmented to me.

    Regards

    Oliver Hext

  20. Ed Driesen

    Hey, I’m deploying linux servers for soho use for several years now. That’s feasible for the moment. But no matter how good ubuntu might become (I’m convinced it’s a superior os), it will NEVER make it onto the enterprise desktop, unless you spend a lot of effort in marketing…. Thats just the way technology and everything else becomes “common sense” these days.

    So unless anyone is prepared to throw some major bucks against a Ubuntu marketing campaign (TV, magazine, radio ads full of slick businessman with extremely white teeth), the “year of the ubuntu desktop” will never come.

    As for ubuntu as “the” common server platform, you could make it happen with a good viral campaign among system administrators (think of it as having a cool “I administer ubuntu” bumpersticker).

    I know everything I have written so far has nothing to do with the technical competence of the ubuntu platform, but sadly, this is how people make up their mind on what to use… It has to be popular, and second it has to just work.

    And If users start using Ubuntu, software providers WILL follow (because that’s were the money will be for them).

    my .02€

  21. Zia

    I use Ubuntu at home and at work and I do not miss Windows problems at all.
    Windows = you work to make it work.
    Ubuntu = it works for you so you are free to do your stuff.
    This is how i feel the difference between Windows and Ubuntu.
    Also this is interesting:
    http://www.zdnet.com/the-truth-about-goobuntu-googles-in-house-desktop-ubuntu-linux-7000003462/

  22. PompanoBeachPlumber

    Good stuff, thank you for this. As a contractor this really helps keep me fresh…. Thanks Again…

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