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Old 21st March 2017, 11:31 AM   #16
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Office365 means you can have a little bit of them in a browser if you still can't go cold turkey, and need that last hit of smack just to get you through the tough times.
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Old 21st March 2017, 11:37 AM   #17
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hah!
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Old 21st March 2017, 11:37 AM   #18
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Elvis, if it makes you feel any better, we have sold a record number of Linux computers this year.
I don't know if it makes me feel better. I'm less concerned with what stupid home users do, and more concerned with large business deployments these days.

On OCAU, if you say "Linux on the desktop" you get people screaming "PC Master Race! The Gameeezzzz!". That's cool for an enthusiast forum full of PC gamers, but very few businesses are using PCs for games (excluding people who make/play games for a business, obviously). In those environments, I'm at a loss as to why people feel they're stuck in a Windows world (again, "MS Word" is becoming a really, really thin excuse as to why your whole ecosystem needs to be dictated by a fucking word processing package).

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Windows obviously has its place.
Sure it does. I fucking love XBox.
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Old 21st March 2017, 12:09 PM   #19
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In those environments, I'm at a loss as to why people feel they're stuck in a Windows world (again, "MS Word" is becoming a really, really thin excuse as to why your whole ecosystem needs to be dictated by a fucking word processing package).
This is an interesting point. Our business relies heavily on Windows 10 / Office 2013/2016. We are an engineering services provider to a couple of the larger oil and gas operators in town (Chevron/Woodside/Inpex) so we tend to push a lot of data around on excel documents and access databases, not to mention the breadth of drafting packages that we must use (AutoCAD, uStation, SPI. SPPID, PDS, PDMS, SP3D, Aveva P&ID etc).

How easily could our business move across to Linux when our clients are strictly windows based?

What Linux based applications would allow us to create functional project databases with neat front ends for projects, and get them up in a matter of days?

What database driven design packages are available for Linux that are completely interoperable with one another?

We are not an individual little snowflake either - any service provider for these businesses is going to be using Windows, as this is completely dictacted by the applications and computing requirements for the entire industry. I think your statement is a little short sighted to suggest that businesses are locked into "MS Word" and are too dumb to do anything about it.

In our environment, we have a couple of 'hacks' that double as IT helpdesk types, and can solve 90% of our IT related issues. If that fails we have an IT service provider that provides support when required. We would lose that wonderful cost saving moving to a Linux environment, and would likely require an IT Support guy full time to manage issues. In times when everyone is doing their level best to send work offshore, sticking with a tried and true OS that is simple enough for a hack to manage makes a lot of sense to a lot of SMB's.
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Old 21st March 2017, 12:46 PM   #20
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Microsoft are making it pretty clear who owns the computer now. Hint- it isn't you.

I've already converted a few friends / family to Ubuntu or Mint, looks like there will be more.

Edit: has also prompted me to start looking for Windows Explorer drop-in replacements. Something I haven't thought about for years.
Directory Opus has been around since the Amiga days and is a good replacement for windows explorer, if a little expensive for home user. Still an Australian company/product too.
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Old 21st March 2017, 12:50 PM   #21
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I don't know if it makes me feel better. I'm less concerned with what stupid home users do, and more concerned with large business deployments these days.

On OCAU, if you say "Linux on the desktop" you get people screaming "PC Master Race! The Gameeezzzz!". That's cool for an enthusiast forum full of PC gamers, but very few businesses are using PCs for games (excluding people who make/play games for a business, obviously). In those environments, I'm at a loss as to why people feel they're stuck in a Windows world (again, "MS Word" is becoming a really, really thin excuse as to why your whole ecosystem needs to be dictated by a fucking word processing package).


Sure it does. I fucking love XBox.

Have to solidly agree with Elvis. Have run linux servers for decades (I was an early adopter), but swapped to a linux desktop full time back in October, haven't missed Windows.

Have Xbox One S for some games. It works and boy is Forza pretty in 4k HDR.
And while it has intertube access, it's firewalled off from the rest of my network. MS be damned.
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Old 21st March 2017, 1:16 PM   #22
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Not to mention the fact that most Western military platforms / combat systems are run with highly customised versions of Windows.

I can picture it...

Scene: The skies over (insert Middle Eastern country of choice)....

F-35 pilot. Hit toggle, deploy missile - fire.

"Thank you for firing a missile, Before the missile launch please watch this short 15 second video..."
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Old 21st March 2017, 1:34 PM   #23
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What Linux based applications would allow us to create functional project databases with neat front ends for projects, and get them up in a matter of days?

What database driven design packages are available for Linux that are completely interoperable with one another?
Every single application you can think of has an alternative. Can you switch over trivially? Of course not. But now you've got to make the hard choice - are you going to stick with the current ecosystem, with all the privacy concerns and ads forced down your throat? Or are you going to put the effort in to take control of your own systems? I can't answer that for you. Only you can, specific to your business. Likewise don't lie to yourself that there is no alternative. There are plenty, you just have to weigh up whether they're worth it now, later, or never, and accept the consequences (short and long term) of that decision.

You *do* have alternatives. Whether they're worth the cost and effort is only something you can decide. But understand that you're making a compromise either way. Don't lie to yourself and say that you're not compromising buy staying in a bad business relationship.

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In our environment, we have a couple of 'hacks' that double as IT helpdesk types, and can solve 90% of our IT related issues. If that fails we have an IT service provider that provides support when required. We would lose that wonderful cost saving moving to a Linux environment
In isolation, this is somewhat of a false economy. With better IT people you'll get better automations, and find enormous cost savings in other areas. You mention CAD above - I worked for the largest architecture firm in the world back in 2001. They had a team of very competent developers who did things like automate the seating plan generation for large venues. When standards changed (say, chair width specifications were different country to country), they could bash a couple of numbers into a script, and it would go and generate a new seating plan and CAD drawings for a 110,000 seat stadium in seconds. That was thousands of man-hours of labour saved, not to mention countless mistakes that were caused by humans.

*Everything* is going scripted and automated these days. Better IT means better automation means better savings. Stop looking at wages in isolation, start looking at what automation can bring your business.

Outside of that, as in the first part of this post, you need to make a hard choice. Do you want to keep plowing forwards with the current bad relationship you have with Microsoft? Or do you want to change? Don't kid yourself that the current relationship is "good". It might be "cheap", but you're compromising in other areas, and you need to acknowledge that. Whether it's financially viable for you to change to something else is a question only you can answer specific to your business. But quite bluntly, if you choose to stay, you have little right to bitch about the current system when then only language your vendor understands is to change vendors, and take your money elsewhere.

In 25 years Microsoft have proven that they don't listen to complaints, they don't listen to people pissing and moaning on forums, they don't listen to your whining to your mates down at the pub. They care about subscriptions, and when you pay the bill, you're telling them "thank you very much, please continue doing what you're doing" with a big smile on your face.

If that's not how you feel, then find a way to get that message across in a language they understand.
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Old 21st March 2017, 2:08 PM   #24
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Every single application you can think of has an alternative. Can you switch over trivially? Of course not. But now you've got to make the hard choice - are you going to stick with the current ecosystem, with all the privacy concerns and ads forced down your throat? Or are you going to put the effort in to take control of your own systems? I can't answer that for you. Only you can, specific to your business. Likewise don't lie to yourself that there is no alternative. There are plenty, you just have to weigh up whether they're worth it now, later, or never, and accept the consequences (short and long term) of that decision.

You *do* have alternatives. Whether they're worth the cost and effort is only something you can decide. But understand that you're making a compromise either way. Don't lie to yourself and say that you're not compromising buy staying in a bad business relationship.
I think you may have missed my point a little. Philosophically there are alternatives, I'm sure someone has written some kind of database software that integrates with MySQL or similar. Or there's an excel type program out there waiting to be filled with numbers. I really should have pointed out the technical aspect - how will an SMB maintain interoperability with a client or its vendors who are completely windows based? How do we produce deliverables on a Linux alternative that a person using a Windows PC can pick up and use? I don't know enough about Linux to answer that question wholly, only that what I've seen would not even let me entertain the idea with management let alone move across.


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In isolation, this is somewhat of a false economy. With better IT people you'll get better automations, and find enormous cost savings in other areas. You mention CAD above - I worked for the largest architecture firm in the world back in 2001. They had a team of very competent developers who did things like automate the seating plan generation for large venues. When standards changed (say, chair width specifications were different country to country), they could bash a couple of numbers into a script, and it would go and generate a new seating plan and CAD drawings for a 110,000 seat stadium in seconds. That was thousands of man-hours of labour saved, not to mention countless mistakes that were caused by humans.

*Everything* is going scripted and automated these days. Better IT means better automation means better savings. Stop looking at wages in isolation, start looking at what automation can bring your business.
I've heard this argument before, however the IT people that I've come across have difficulty understanding the content of what we're doing. It's a bit of a double edged sword TBH. Most of our people are reasonably proficient with scripting, we would not be competitive otherwise. It is much easier to teach a technical person how to write scripts in a language to do a job, than it is to teach an IT grad process engineering.

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Outside of that, as in the first part of this post, you need to make a hard choice. Do you want to keep plowing forwards with the current bad relationship you have with Microsoft? Or do you want to change? Don't kid yourself that the current relationship is "good". It might be "cheap", but you're compromising in other areas, and you need to acknowledge that. Whether it's financially viable for you to change to something else is a question only you can answer specific to your business. But quite bluntly, if you choose to stay, you have little right to bitch about the current system when then only language your vendor understands is to change vendors, and take your money elsewhere.

In 25 years Microsoft have proven that they don't listen to complaints, they don't listen to people pissing and moaning on forums, they don't listen to your whining to your mates down at the pub. They care about subscriptions, and when you pay the bill, you're telling them "thank you very much, please continue doing what you're doing" with a big smile on your face.

If that's not how you feel, then find a way to get that message across in a language they understand.
I agree with this wholeheartedly. Unfortunately our problem isn't a training problem, or even a financial one. Its an industry wide issue where everyone is sending data back and forth using Windows based filetypes and standards. Unfortunately for Linux and its applications, for it to be a worthy adversary in business, it will need to be able to seamlessly integrate with these filetypes and standards out of the box, in order for businesses to be able to continue to operate with vendors and clients that are not Linux based. (Maybe it already does?) My limited use cases have seen me delving deep into the terminal to perform basic windows tasks, let alone opening an *.accdb from a client or performing any sort of database driven design.

Linux may have matured to the point of home users being able to work efficiently with it, but I'll eat my hat if an SMB is in the same boat for businesses that rely on interoperability.
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Old 21st March 2017, 2:24 PM   #25
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Have been using Total Commander since forever. Norton Commander prior to that and Xtree Pro prior to that.
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Old 21st March 2017, 2:45 PM   #26
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I think you may have missed my point a little.
I don't think so. The point is clear. You want an itemised list on how to break free, and I can't give that to you without knowing your business in and out.

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how will an SMB maintain interoperability with a client or its vendors who are completely windows based? How do we produce deliverables on a Linux alternative that a person using a Windows PC can pick up and use?
These are not OS questions. These are application questions. I work for a media company that uses Linux to deliver to clients who are WIndows and Mac. We can do it, because we put the time into making the workflow specific to our application base. You need to investigate the same thing for your business (or hire someone to do it).

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Unfortunately our problem isn't a training problem, or even a financial one. Its an industry wide issue where everyone is sending data back and forth using Windows based filetypes and standards.
There are no "Windows file types". Your applications make files, not your OS. If you want to change, you need to look at the applications you use and why. You need to see if they are available on other OSes (the answer may surprise you - and sometimes you'll find vendors supporting other OSes on internal builds, and they'll gladly let you test them as an early adopter - it happened to us!), or if competitors in the market exist to do the same tasks on different operating systems.

Plenty of people get caught up in the "I can't run AutoCAD for Linux" narrow mindset, forgetting that "AutoCAD" is not the one and only CAD program in the entire world. What you want do do is make technical drawings, and there are literally thousands of packages that do that. Can you switch to them? I dunno, and neither do you right now, until you do some serious investigation.

The important point is - your business is a collection of tasks. Your computers digitally represent those tasks. Stop thinking brands of software, and start thinking about tasks. We're all falling into a trap of confusing brand names with things. I don't want "a Kleenex". I want to blow my nose. I don't want "to Xerox this document", I want to make a digital copy of something physical to reproduce it later. Tasks, not brands.

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Unfortunately for Linux and its applications, for it to be a worthy adversary in business, it will need to be able to seamlessly integrate with these filetypes and standards out of the box
Rubbish. And I don't mean to be offensive or aggressive, but you're being terribly short sighted here.

20 years ago the business you're in now existed, and did so without the software you run today. 20 years in the history of your industry is nothing. What changed in that time? Lots. More than most people can even fathom. It didn't happen overnight, but it happened. For every person who tells me they can't change the software their business uses can never change, I can show you an equal and opposite case where people did exactly that. Again, it might not suit your business. I can't tell from across the Internet. But I have a feeling you haven't done the due diligence yourself either to objectively say so (if you can't name at least 5 alternative vendors for every single software product you use in your business, that's a good indication you haven't done the adequate research).

Again, don't take this as aggression on my behalf. Whether you change or not is your call. But please don't fool yourself into thinking change is impossible. And if you don't want to change, then the results of the inaction are on you, and that includes your current vendors taking you for a ride (because they will, because that's what they do).

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I'll eat my hat if an SMB is in the same boat for businesses that rely on interoperability.
Bigger picture - what risk are you bringing to your business by buying into formats that have no alternative? What happens when (not if) your vendors screw you over? What happens if your vendors suddenly decided to triple their prices over night? What level of control do you have right now over any of this?

Look outside software. You want cheaper business insurance - what do you do? You shop around, change vendors. If I told you that you had to buy business insurance at a fixed price from one vendor, and that one vendor controlled the price that they charged, what would you say?

Business tends to be ruthless in their search for lower prices everywhere BUT software. In every other aspect of your business you'll seek out vendors who do more for your dollar, except in software where you feel trapped and bound to a foreign company. That doesn't sit right with me in my business. You need to have a good hard look at your business and ask yourself if you feel comfortable with it in yours. (And maybe you do, which is cool if you do, but don't complain about ads in your file explorer).
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Old 21st March 2017, 6:53 PM   #27
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my my elvis is some ranty today
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Old 21st March 2017, 7:00 PM   #28
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Microsoft are making it pretty clear who owns the computer now. Hint- it isn't you.

I've already converted a few friends / family to Ubuntu or Mint, looks like there will be more.

Edit: has also prompted me to start looking for Windows Explorer drop-in replacements. Something I haven't thought about for years.
I heartily recommend x2plorer free. It's the best. Dual file explorer tabs save more time than I can even.
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Old 21st March 2017, 8:00 PM   #29
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my my elvis is some ranty today
Fuck vendors. Fuck 'em all.
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Old 21st March 2017, 8:01 PM   #30
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Fuck vendors. Fuck 'em all.
I had a healthy dose of this today.
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