Linux in Exile has a new post on the approach an organization may take in moving to Linux. The post is here, and I recommend reading it.
I have a few comments on JH’s commentary. I won’t quote what he says (you should just go there and look at it), but my responses correspond to his numbering system.
1. I disagree, despite JH’s experience, that video and wireless cards are a problem in migrating to Linux. If one is looking for pure FOSS approach, then yes, but otherwise, there really should not be much difficulty. But yes, an inventory of these issues is worthwhile, and when doing so, remember that replacing a video or network card is actually not that expensive .
Most likely, the lower-end computers that Microsoft is putting out of business can be resurrected with a Linux move, which will offset other costs of migration.
2. I agree with everything JH says about file formats, but I would add this: Linux does have significantly expanded, deployed, and very cool text processing capabilities that are hard to replicate in Windows (without, essentially, installing the GNU operating system on the Windows machines). It is possible to write a document that has headings, text formatting (bold, italics, etc.) that can be exported to HTML (for the web) or PDF (for printing and sending as attachments) and all that, using outlines, and numerous other features in a run of the mill Linux text editor. The text editor starts up in seconds (much faster than any word processor) and the files are plain text, and thus not mess-upable. The text files are also a fraction of the size even compared to text-based XML type files which are full of formatting codes.
Given that so much processing actually happens on web sites anyway, and users producing text are actually using a simple text editor to fill in the boxes, teaching users to use stand alone text editors would be easy and simple.
So, in considering step 2, I’d also consider the benefits of training employees to open a quick and dirty text editor for most of their day to day tasks. They already are, in email and web applications. Extend that to the interoffice memo, personal notes and to-do lists, etc.
3. All I have to say about this is, yeah. For the most part, you have two choices. Use a 200 dollar operating system on hardware that must be up to date to run that operating system to open the web page, or use a free operating system on a free computer (because you can use your older hardware) to open the web page. Duh. (That duh was not for JH. It was for all those corporate execs who still don’t get this!!!)
4. Excellent idea. Actually, all enterprises should do this even if they are not moving to Linux.
5. No comment.
6. Yes, and indeed, diversify. Nothing wrong with having a windows box (preferably virtualized on a Linux server) and a couple of Mac’s laying around, when all is said and done, depending on what the enterprise is. From the end user point of view, this often makes more sense than it does from the IT manager point of view, but the IT manager is not the reason the enterprise exists.