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Six tips for Linux, open source desktop migrations

Experts and users share ideas, strategies for transitions of any size

By Phil Hochmuth, Network World
March 23, 2007 11:25 AM ET

Network World - Planning a migration from Windows PCs to Linux-based desktops is no small task. Here are six issues and strategies to consider before getting started.

1. Before Windows, go after Office first

Before you even consider Linux as a desktop operating system, install the OpenOffice application suite on end-users' desktops to give them a taste of open source software. Because Office productivity tools are the most common applications used by most corporate employees, it is more important to for users to get used to a new Office platform than a new desktop environment.

"Office users are certainly the low-hanging fruit" when it comes to picking out a user base to move to a Linux desktop," says Chris Tyler, a computer science professor at Seneca College in Toronto, and author of Fedora Linux: A Complete Guide to Red Hat's Community Distribution.

Users of Microsoft Office should have few problems getting used to OpenOffice equivalents of Word, Excel and PowerPoint. Considering the recent redesign of Microsoft Office, "the learning curve of moving from older Office versions to OpenOffice is probably less than the learning curve if switching to the new Vista version of Office," Tyler adds.

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