Feeds

Getting real about Linux on the desktop

Selective targeting is key

The smart choice: opportunity from uncertainty

Ths short answer is

The short answer is no, but primarily because this is the wrong question to ask. The trick when considering the relevance of desktop Linux in the mainstream business context is to avoid such black and white thinking and focus on where Linux might fit as just part of the equation – i.e. consider the value of creating a mixed estate of Windows, Linux and possibly even Mac.

This view came across very strongly in a recent study conducted with input from Reg readers. Sponsored by IBM, but designed and analysed independently by Reg analyst partner Freeform Dynamics, respondents with experience identified general professional users and transaction workers as the most appropriate primary targets for Linux deployments.

The view was that the relatively light and predictable requirements of users such as these meant fewer gotchas in terms of application availability and compatibility.

Furthermore, such users often regard the PC on their desk as simply a tool for getting their job done, so don’t have strong feelings about the flavour of operating system or application software they use. These attributes mean a relatively straightforward migration, allowing the claimed TCO benefits of Linux to be unlocked without prohibitively high overhead and risk.

Unacceptable compromise

Participants in the study identified other groups,such as Windows power users, highly mobile professionals and creative workers, as being much more questionable in terms of targeting with Linux. This is because the number, type and mix of applications upon which such groups are dependent often translates to either high migration costs or an unacceptable degree of compromise in terms of end user capability or experience.

With such factors in mind, the prevailing view is therefore that one of the main keys to success when considering desktop Linux is to analyse user needs, segment users accordingly, and target deployments selectively.

Obvious, perhaps, but it was clear from some of the feedback thata common reason for desktop Linux initiatives stalling has been push-back from users who should probably never have had Linux thrust upon them in the first place, creating a generally negative political climate.

So, while looking at alternatives to the Windows desktop will not be high on the list of priorities for many IT departments, it might be worth at least considering the role Linux might play for less demanding users in particular.

For more insights into the practicalities of desktop Linux deployment in general, we hope you’ll find the report from our study useful, which can be downloaded from the Reg Library.

Securing Web Applications Made Simple and Scalable

More from The Register

next story
NO MORE ALL CAPS and other pleasures of Visual Studio 14
Unpicking a packed preview that breaks down ASP.NET
Cheer up, Nokia fans. It can start making mobes again in 18 months
The real winner of the Nokia sale is *drumroll* ... Nokia
DARPA-derived secure microkernel goes open source tomorrow
Hacker-repelling, drone-protecting code will soon be yours to tweak as you see fit
Put down that Oracle database patch: It could cost $23,000 per CPU
On-by-default INMEMORY tech a boon for developers ... as long as they can afford it
Google shows off new Chrome OS look
Athena springs full-grown from Chromium project's head
Apple: We'll unleash OS X Yosemite beta on the MASSES on 24 July
Starting today, regular fanbois will be guinea pigs, it tells Reg
HIDDEN packet sniffer spy tech in MILLIONS of iPhones, iPads – expert
Don't panic though – Apple's backdoor is not wide open to all, guru tells us
prev story

Whitepapers

Designing a Defense for Mobile Applications
Learn about the various considerations for defending mobile applications - from the application architecture itself to the myriad testing technologies.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Top 8 considerations to enable and simplify mobility
In this whitepaper learn how to successfully add mobile capabilities simply and cost effectively.
Seven Steps to Software Security
Seven practical steps you can begin to take today to secure your applications and prevent the damages a successful cyber-attack can cause.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.