Choosing a desktop OS
How do you do it correctly?
Webcast There are few topics in the IT industry that are more divisive than the option of putting anything other than Windows on the corporate desktop.
Too often opinions are focused on either transforming the entire desktop estate to Linux in a major upheaval or keeping Linux out completely.Yet when we look at how we buy hardware for business it's not a one size fits all approach. Instead it's common to buy different specifications and capabilities to suit different business needs.
So shouldn’t be the same when considering desktop operating systems?
On May 16th The Register’s Tim Phillips is your host for the live Regcast ‘The other enterprise desktop:Because Windows can’t be everything to everyone ’.He’s joined by Freeform Dynamic’s Andrew Buss, Boris Devouge and Paul Holt from Canonical to discuss how we can analyse:
- The desktop user needs
- Segment workgroups
- Targeting deployments to achieve both business value and user acceptance
If you can’t make the live show then sign up here for our on demand offering and we’ll let you know when it’s available.
Choose the one that sucks least
Really, all operating systems suck, and the task is choosing one that provides the least hairy-mouth experience for you users and IT staff. At the risk of stirring up the fanbois (and gurls) here is my take on it:
1) Windows XP has maturity, and best range of software and tools. Also the best range of maleware by far. On its way out, and the final death of IE6 will be a relief to all, including Microsoft..
2) Windows 7 shares most of XP, but less legacy software and hardware works with it. Needs more (i.e. modern) hardware to enjoy using it, and to get the best deal with the malware or the joke that is AV software.
3) Apple Mac solves a lot of the security issues, but less software support. And costs a lot more for hardware. Jobsian control freakery an issue long term, but most folk like it as a few key things like Office and Photoshop are available natively for it..
4) Linux has the security of Mac (if not better) and freedom (speech and beer), but not much in the way of mainstream tools work "just like that". Helps if you have a fez, and maybe a beard. Would help a lot if they could stop dicking around with the desktop and fixed known bugs - looking at you Canonical.
Training of your users is needed no matter what you do, and if you think going from XP to 7 is no problem for Joe Average (and not typical El Reg reader) you are a fool.
If you are dealing with reasonably staff, then mixing Linux or Mac for the host and running VM(s) of XP, etc, for legacy stuff works and makes security better, if a bit more involved to manage.
But don't trust my opinion, I don't have a fez.
Depends which segment of the job market you're looking at
For people who click away all day in spreadsheets and web-based apps and the like, then maybe you need "Windows skills".
If you're for instance a serious engineering company doing serious engineering work, forcing everyone to use Windows is idiotic. In my last job we were given Win XP because that was the done thing then spent weeks fighting with virtual machines and hacks like cygwin to build code for the embedded Linux device we were making. Eventually we persuaded the powers that be to let us install Linux on our development PCs and suddenly everything became a lot easier.
So you're actually recommending ...
... people read and study for themselves and make an informed decision based on their needs and what's offered?
What a novel idea. I always just thought it best to listen to the techno-geeky digital gurus and follow their advice. That way my computing life is always an adventure and I'm constantly surprised by things going in a direction I was never expecting.