Feeds

Getting real about Linux on the desktop

Selective targeting is key

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

Reg Tech Panel Few topics in the IT industry are more contentious than the prospect of putting Linux on the corporate desktop. Opinions range from the religious view at one end, promoting a fundamentalist belief in open source as the saviour of mankind, to the reaction of corporate conservatives at the other, dismissing Linux as irrelevant to serious end user computing.

To date, the latter view has predominated, based largely on the assumption that migration of Windows user bases to Linux is generally more trouble than it’s worth. This has in turn perpetuated the significant inertia traditionally associated with the Microsoft dominated status quo.

Quite a bit has happened over the past couple of years, however, that arguably brings the desktop Linux discussion into more mainstream focus. Against the backdrop of initial goodwill from business users, Microsoft fumbled the ball quite badly with Vista, and while it soon to be releases successor Windows 7 is now being pretty well received, the whole experience has broken the Windows spell. For the first time, even the most loyal and accepting Microsoft shops have started to question the logic of simply moving automatically from one Windows version to the next.

We then have some interesting developments in the way applications are delivered to the desktop. With more and more interfaces to corporate systems and online services now being browser or RIA based, and the concept of virtualisation starting to bleed over from the server to the client side of the equation, the logic of the traditional ‘windowing fat client’ is being challenged in general.

It is ironic then that another pertinent development, namely the Mac chipping away at the edges of Windows estates, is actually a backwards step in architectural terms. The Mac desktop perpetuates the fat windowing client model of computing in an even more restrictive way by tying the operating system to the hardware and blocking any thoughts of an open virtual desktop approach. Nevertheless, the entry of Apple into the business mainstream (beyond its historical strongholds) represents another disruptive factor.

IT's the User, stupid

Lastly, we have the whole netbook phenomenon. While the jury might still be out on whether Microsoft or the Open Source camp have won the battle around smaller form factor devices, activity here has raised the visibility of client-side Linux and provided a lot of experience in how to package and roll out Linux-based offerings on a mass commercial basis. Indeed, there has been a lot more focus within the Linux community around issues such as usability and user acceptance, which is quite a departure from the traditional emphasis on perceived technical superiority.

So with all this going on and many in the Linux camp claiming a recession-friendly lowering in the total cost of ownership (TCO) of the desktop environment, has the time now come for businesses to consider a wholesale switch from Windows to Linux clients as the evangelists would advocate?

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

Next page: Ths short answer is

More from The Register

next story
Microsoft on the Threshold of a new name for Windows next week
Rebranded OS reportedly set to be flung open by Redmond
'In... 15 feet... you will be HIT BY A TRAIN' Google patents the SPLAT-NAV
Alert system tips oblivious phone junkies to oncoming traffic
Apple: SO sorry for the iOS 8.0.1 UPDATE BUNGLE HORROR
Apple kills 'upgrade'. Hey, Microsoft. You sure you want to be like these guys?
SMASH the Bash bug! Apple and Red Hat scramble for patch batches
'Applying multiple security updates is extremely difficult'
ARM gives Internet of Things a piece of its mind – the Cortex-M7
32-bit core packs some DSP for VIP IoT CPU LOL
Lotus Notes inventor Ozzie invents app to talk to people on your phone
Imagine that. Startup floats with voice collab app for Win iPhone
'Google is NOT the gatekeeper to the web, as some claim'
Plus: 'Pretty sure iOS 8.0.2 will just turn the iPhone into a fax machine'
prev story

Whitepapers

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk
A single remote control platform for user support is be key to providing an efficient helpdesk. Retain full control over the way in which screen and keystroke data is transmitted.
Intelligent flash storage arrays
Tegile Intelligent Storage Arrays with IntelliFlash helps IT boost storage utilization and effciency while delivering unmatched storage savings and performance.
Beginner's guide to SSL certificates
De-mystify the technology involved and give you the information you need to make the best decision when considering your online security options.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.
Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops
Balancing user privacy and privileged access, in accordance with compliance frameworks and legislation. Evaluating any potential remote control choice.