Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Making the Bold move from a Windows Desktop to Linux Desktop

Well it's Christmas day and I had heard lots about the Ubuntu desktop operating system from Oscon 2007 in Portland which I attended back in July. With some downtime (very little) during the holidays, I figured it would be an interesting exercise to see if the move to a complete use of a Linux based desktop was possible. The goal of this exercise of course, was to see if I could replicate the majority of my daily desktop application utlitles to a linux desktop. With an older Dell Latitude D610 notebook, 1GB of RAM, 80 Gig Hard Drive and Ubuntu 7.10 x86, I set out on the quest to see if it was possible to have a Linux based desktop that I COULD use on a regular basis.
Well it's Christmas day and I had heard lots about the Ubuntu desktop operating system from Oscon 2007 in Portland which I attended back in July. With some downtime (very little) during the holidays, I figured it would be an interesting exercise to see if the move to a complete use of a Linux based desktop was possible. The goal of this exercise of course, was to see if I could replicate the majority of my daily desktop application utlitles to a linux desktop. With an older Dell Latitude D610 notebook, 1GB of RAM, 80 Gig Hard Drive and Ubuntu 7.10 x86, I set out on the quest to see if it was possible to have a Linux based desktop that I COULD use on a regular basis.

The following is a list of applications and setting I had set out to try and replicate on to my Ubuntu Laptop vs their Windows Equivalents.


Programs to Replicate to UbuntuWindows XP, Vista 32bitUbuntu 7.10 32bit
1VPN Client (We use Cisco)Cisco VPN ClientCisco VPN Client 4.8.00.0490
2Bit Torrent uTorrentKTorrent
3CD/DVD Burning SoftwareNeroK3B
4CMS and CMFDotNetNuke 4.7, Sharepoint 2007Joomla, Drupal
5Database ServerSQL Server 2005MySQL 5
6Development EnvironmentVisual Studio 2005, 2008Zend Studio (PHP)
7DOS 16-Bit programsRun Programs in 16-bit Mode(Still Investigating, Wine)
8Email ClientOutlook 2003, 2007Mozilla Thunderbird
9Graphics and Photo EditingAdobe PhotoshopGIMP
10IM ClientTrillian, MsnPidgin
11ItunesItunes(NONE – BLAME APPLE)
12Mail ServerExchange 2003, 2007, Google Apps Premier EditionSendmail, Google Apps Premier Edition
13Multiple Desktops across Multiple ScreensRight Click Propertiesxandr command
14Network SnifferEthereal (32bit Only)(Investigating but I have used TCPDump)
15Programming Languages and PlatformsC#, VB, VB.NET, WCF, .NET 2.0, 3.0 3.5PHP 5.0
16Reading PDF'sAdobe Acrobat ReaderKPDF or Default PDF Reader
17Software IP PhoneXten Eyebeam, Cisco IP Communicator (Skinny)Ekiga Softphone
18SkypeSkype Client for WindowsSkype Client for Linux
19Spreadheet Excel 2003, 2007Openoffice Spreadsheet
20SSH Client (For Remote Access)Secure CRT 5.1Default Terminal Console
21Terminal Server ClientWindows Remote Desktop ClientTerminal Server Client (tsclient)
22Version ControlVSS, Visual Studio Team Foundation Server 2005, 2008(Investigating CVS and Baazar)
23Video PlayerWindows MediaBuilt in Movie Player
24VirtualizationVMWare Server, Microsoft Virtual Server(Investigating VMWare, Xen and KVS)
25Web BrowserInternet Explorer 7, Firefox 2Firefox 2, Firefox 3 Beta 3
26Web DevelopmentASP.NET 2.0PHP 5.0
27Web ServerIIS 6.0, 7.0Apache
28Word Processor Word 2003, 2007Openoffice Docs



I know the task ahead of me would be long and arduous since learning all the ins and outs of Ubuntu would be like learning how to use windows 95 when it first came out. I couldn't help but feel excited since I am a big advocate of Open Source and Linux.
I will keep updating my progress as things go along!

February 17th 2008

Well I am pleased to report that I have sucessfully replicated all of my Windows Tasks (even vnc and remote desktop) over to Ubuntu. The last tricky part was the Cisco VPN Piece which I was able to figure. That being said, I feel this is a major milestone because I can truly see the beginning of an alternative to Windows.

The exciting part of having Ubuntu work well as a replacement to Windows is that it opens up a lot of opportunities to replace some of our Windows 2000 machines. Now I just have to see if we can run some DOS Based Applications, aside from that, I do all my PHP development now on my Ubuntu machine.

Next up, adding Ubuntu Machines to Active Directory and investigating the LDAP services and alternatives.

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