Re: What is best Linux flavor for office use?
From: Ralph H. Stoos Jr. (rstoos_at_rochester.rr.com)
Date: Thu, 29 Jan 2004 01:15:35 GMT
After reading some of the responses you've gotten, I have to stick my
nose in here and relate what I have seen.
In the past 9 years, I have loaded pretty much every major distribution
So, here goes. For a small business, my experience has shown this.
Since most of your employees will spend more time running the
applications (word processing, spreadsheets, etc.) than actually using
the OS so the training should center around OpenOffice.org which is the
absolute best of the Linux office suites (right now).
The next consideration would be ease of install and ongoing support.
Installation is pretty easy for many of the distros as long as you let
them control disk partitioning. The distros in order of ease of
Lindows.Mandrake,Xandros,SuSE, Fedora (Redhat), Slackware, Debian.
Don't make the mistake of judging solely on ease of install alone,
because remember, you only install once but you need to
support/configure multiple times depending on your type of use. One of
your responses mentioned ease of RPM-based package management. RPM is
fading in popularity right now as a number of distros are using a tool
called apt-get to do upgrades and application installs. The reason for
this is that apt-get and it's GUI based counterparts (synaptic is the
most popular) solve the dependency problems that plague RPMs.
So, apt-get is a great support tool and helps with any ongoing desktop
or server support.
The next thing to consider is Window Managers. If you have been running
Redhat you are probably most familiar with GNOME and probably know it's
strengths and weaknesses. The other Window Manager that is most popular
is KDE. Right bow, more distros use KDE as their default Window
Manager than do use GNOME.
KDE has been around a lot longer than GNOME and is a bit more seasoned.
This will become important if you would like any servers and
desktop/laptop system to have the same "look and feel". This is a
tremendous training saver not to mention confusion preventer.
After all that analysis what it comes down to is this, pick a distro
that has the better package management and a KDE desktop (you can load
both that and GNOME if you wish), then get OpenOffice.org as the app
suite. The skill level of your IT staff (which may be you if it is a
really small company) will be of small issue for many distros.
OK, we're in the home stretch here.
My personal preference for a free distro is Mandrake but it does not
have apt-get yet. Lindows is easy to install, has apt-get (Click N Run
Warehouse) but is not free, Xandros is the most Windows-like and has a
killer File Manager that allows mounting of Windows shares and NFS
easily but is also not free.
I am typing and sending this message on my S.u.S.E 9.0 box which is
RPM-based, comes with virtually every app, is a breeze to configure, but
is also not free (actually you can download one version back for free
but the latest will cost you). I use a Debian-based distro called
Libranet which has KDE, is easy to install, uses apt-get, and is not free.
So, if you are willing to put up with a little pain on the initial
install, you can get real Debian, with apt-get, and it is free if you
burn you own CDs.
If cost is not that important (and remember once purchased, Linux can be
loaded on any number of workstations/servers) I would have to recommend
SuSE for desktops and servers. The only shortcoming is lack or apt-get
right now buy, there is a tool available call YUM that can help solve
dependencies in the RPM management scheme.
Linux will save you a lot of money in the long run. OpenOffice.org is
very much like Microsoft Office but is more optimized for usability and
can read/write Microsoft files (Word, Excel, Powerpoint) files. It will
not run Visual Basic scripts. It also contains an excellent precision
Good Luck in your quest and I think you are making a smart move.
Randy Allen wrote:
> I run a small business with about 10 desk top and 8 laptop computers. I am
> seriously considering converting to Linux on these computers. I have some
> questions about doing this.
> 1. What flavor is best suited for this application and why?
> 2. Which is easiest to install? The laptops have modems and I will need
> drivers for these.
> 3. Which will be most "Windows-like", hence easier to teach my employees?
> 4. I currently use Redhat 8 on my personal laptop and have never found a
> driver for the Brother fax/printer I use. Is there a way to overcome this
> or do I need to replace the printer so we'll be able to print?
> 5. Any advice will be appreciated, including suggestions on references to
> help with the conversion.
> Randy Allen