There’s a recent trend in many companies to use Linux as a desktop solution in their environments. They do this often to save money on licensing, not usually because it is a more usable solution. It isn’t limited to desktops. As virtual servers and cloud environments become more popular, Open Source solutions are used there as well to make the cost of licensing more manageable.
In these environments, there is often not a standard set of tools for accomplishing a given task. The lack of consistency in the tools that are used, and the way they are used can be costly. Users often tailor solutions to a given task, and sometimes different groups within an organization go about accomplishing tasks in completely different ways, which can lead to confusion.
Using RHEL, there are frequent kernel updates, that usually try to download in the background. These updates can take days to download, and hours to install after they’re downloaded. Users sometimes simply cancel the updates in these situations, leaving environments at various release levels of software.
One of the easiest ways for companies today to achieve maximum efficiency is through standardization. That often comes at the cost of using commercial solutions that have a greater price tag but are much more consistent in the delivery of results, which can add up to big savings, and a greater ability to focus on their customers.
There are geeks in every organization that can use Open Source solutions very effectively. But for every geek maximizes the solutions, there are a number of users that cannot. The results can be devastating.
I use and encourage the use of Open Source solutions when that’s possible, but we need to be aware of the user, and know how efficiently they’ll be able to use the tools they’re given, and be mindful of the impact it can have on their ability to care for customers.
Right or wrong, Windows is still the dominant OS on the desktop and has a large share of the server market. Exchange has long been the dominant mail platform, and even when our Open Source solutions are efficient, and effective, we still live in a Windows world, and need to be able to play in that sandbox.