Menu
Microsoft Office dependencies keep desktop Linux niche

Microsoft Office dependencies keep desktop Linux niche

IT managers considering the future of their organisation's desktops need to be wary of the amount of dependence workers have on Microsoft Office documents — which cause the most lock-in, according to one consultant.

Speaking at this year's linux.conf.au conference in Melbourne, independent Linux desktop and open source software consultant Lindsay Holmwood said the dependence on Office documents, particularly Excel spreadsheets can be so great some organisations have considered rolling back Linux deployments to cater for end-users.

"Some of the failures in the desktop Linux space include end-user acceptance of OpenOffice.org," Holmwood said. "For the company I work for there is a lot of end-user generation of Office documents and there was such a backlash they thought about rolling back the Linux deployment and using Office [on Windows]."

Holmwood worked with Kennards Hire to deploy Linux desktops for point-of-sale systems in its branch offices and said the backlash received was due to the consultant and company underestimating the role of Office documents within the organization.

"You can route around the problem of Office by using a web app but it is still a barrier to entry for Linux on the corporate desktop," he said, adding for knowledge workers it is a big issue and a huge sticking point.

"Technical problems are easily solved, but things that give us more contention are business and management decisions. To get desktop Linux into an organisation you need to bundle it with something else."

Holmwood said Kennards needed a new POS system and decided to go with Linux and the roll out is happening now after a few years of development.

So far Kennards has gone live with the POS system to 45 branches.

"The other reason they went with Linux was the former IT manager heard a lot about 'the year of the Linux desktop' and then evaluated it in comparison with Windows," Holmwood said. "The fact of the matter is it would have been cheaper to use Windows than Linux because of the project management issues and the whole learning experience."

However, Holmwood praised Kennards for taking the Linux desktop plunge. "For them Linux works really well, it's rock solid, and they don't have to worry about viruses and malware."

That said, Kennards is not going to move to Linux on the desktop in other parts of the organisation.

"That's a testament to the variability of Linux which works well in niche environments," he said. "In terms of people and knowledge workers using it is not going to happen any time soon because the apps they rely on are so entrenched in Windows."

While Holmwood believes a Linux desktop deployment requires careful planning, he said Windows has its downsides as well.

"You could pay a pittance to some organisation to deploy Windows, but you will have no end of problems managing a Windows environment," he said. "If you decide to move from Windows to Linux you will have a different set of problems."


Follow Us

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags microsoft officelinux.conf.au Melbourne

Featured

Slideshows

EDGE 2018: Kiwis kick back with Super Rugby before NZ session

EDGE 2018: Kiwis kick back with Super Rugby before NZ session

New Zealanders kick-started EDGE 2018 with a bout of Super Rugby before a dedicated New Zealand session, in front of more than 50 partners, vendors and distributors on Hamilton Island.​

EDGE 2018: Kiwis kick back with Super Rugby before NZ session
EDGE 2018: Kiwis assess key customer priorities through NZ research

EDGE 2018: Kiwis assess key customer priorities through NZ research

EDGE 2018 kicked off with a dedicated New Zealand track, highlighting the key customer priorities across the local market, in association with Dell EMC. Delivered through EDGE Research - leveraging Kiwi data through Tech Research Asia - more than 50 partners, vendors and distributors combined during an interactive session to assess the changing spending patterns of the end-user and the subsequent impact to the channel.

EDGE 2018: Kiwis assess key customer priorities through NZ research
Show Comments