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I read a fascinating article in The Inquirer (not the one from Florida, the one from the U.K.) last week. In it, IT gadfly Nick Farrell documents his attempts to install SuSE Linux 9.3 on his home computer (see editorial links below). You'll appreciate it, because it will reflect the opinion of many of your users should you install the full bore of Novell Linux Desktop on their machines. (Your more intelligent users, that is. The rest will just keep looking for "Clippy" - http://www.microsoft.com/presspass/features/2001/apr01/04-11clippy.asp - most likely.)
Farrell, with a bit of a light touch, determines that there's simply no way SuSE Linux 9.3 could ever be a home user's operating system. As he says: "SuSE has no useful help material, no wizards, and it does some bizarre things that I have no idea how to fix. For example, even when I shut the thing down, it insisted on rebooting itself."
Now I'm not expecting that you would have recommended SuSE for your maiden aunt's e-mail, Web browsing and recipe-printing 386 PC. But Novell would like you to think about using it for your marketing and sales people, the accountants and everyone else in your organization. Well, Novell would like you to think about it, but it really won't push too hard for you to do that - yet. The company is close to finishing its project to have Linux on every desktop throughout the organization, and its experience should be very useful to you. I hope that, soon, the company will publish a paper on what it learned while rolling out Linux on the desktop and what it would do differently the next time around.
Fortunately, you don't have to make a choice of a single desktop environment for your users. With Open Enterprise Server (OES) as the heart of your network, you can have Linux, Windows, Macintosh, Solaris, Unix or a host of other operating systems on client machines. You can give people the client system they want or the one they feel most comfortable with. Or even better, you can look at what they do, help choose the best applications and services for them, and put it all on the platform that performs best with those apps. That has always been NetWare's strength, and it's still a strength of OES.
Now if you're really determined to get Linux on the desktop at the same time you put OES in the server room, Novell suggests (and I agree) that you might want to first read "Windows to Linux: A Beginner's Guide" by Mark Rais, author of "Linux for the Rest of Us 2nd Ed.," and senior editor for reallylinux.com (see editorial link below). Maybe if Nick Farrell had read this article first, he wouldn't have had so much trouble with SuSE!
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