[ILUG] Small office project
chris.higgins at horizon.ie
Thu Nov 22 10:41:27 GMT 2001
> Has any body ever explored or laid out -step by step- the route to take to
> wean a small organisation (or even a home network!) away from Windows and to
> a totally Linux - open source solution? Actually, I don't mind including
> some commercial software if it fills the need...
I think the main difference between Windows networks and others, is the
mind-set that you have, and knowing the ILUG mailing list you're going to
get a whole load of suggestions which all demonstrate the range of mindsets
Windows has one way of doing things, it's the microsoft way, it's what
you'll find in the books... and every windows person you ask will give
you that same solution - because it's the only one they know.
When you come to a non-windows environment, the range of possibilities is
endless and the range of options is almost the same - and that brings
with it some additional work on the behalf of the user that doesn't
exist in the windows world.
Most of the times you ask a question - you will be met with a question
in return - what are you trying to do.. not because you haven't explained
yourself enough - but because with a huge range of options available to you
the question needs more detail than a similar windows question..
For example - How do I network two computers at home...
Windows Answer :- Install network cards,
Enable File & Print sharing, setup some users
"Other" Answer :- What are you trying to do, what setup have you got ?
The 'other' answer is trying to find out if you are looking to network
Windows and Unix machines (use Samba), Unix and Apple machines
(use NetaTalk), Unix and Unix (use NFS / Coda / ...), Unix/Apple/Windows
use Samba/NetaTalk and NFS... Unix and VMS (If you have IP on VMS use NFS,
else install DECnet for Linux)
On windows you don't have these questions - because if you have that
you need to go pay for additional products - in which case you have your
and you dont' need to ask about it in the first place.
So - when it comes to resolving your network issues - the answer isn't
as singularly defined as the Windows solution is.. So your mindset has
to change.. and because there are so many options everyone comes to
their own view on what is best, and some people deliver their solution
as 'this is what you must do' (because they are normally used to the
windows - single solution only environment), but what you'll find is
that others will come up with suggestions on what you could do.
The expectation then is that you will put some effort into refining what
you actually need, and either make a decision or come back with more
In your case, my personal approach would be to find an oldish machine that
can run headless (no need for monitor) and set it up to become the
house server. Choose your filesharing services that you need (samba
for windows machines, netatalk for apple mac, nfs for unix systems)
and set it up as the focal point for the network... Stick a UPS on it,
plug it into a hub, hang all your printers off it - and then
build around it. It can store email / files / etc for everyone in the house,
it can have the internet connection configured on it, and do the firewalling.
(automatically login to the net at 03:00am and download all your emails
and mirror whatever you want locally)...
Then you build machines around that based on the needs... if someone needs
windows - then a windows machine is setup into a network environment where
it's filesharing / printing and internet connectivity needs are catered for.
As regards the individual tools you use for productivity, in the Linux
world it's really a case of suck it and see... I couldn't possible consider
using StarOffice 5.2 for anything (other than the CD as a coffee coaster),
but that's only since the beta for 6.0 came out which is wonderful :-)
StarOffice will open Windows files without needing to import, and
you can 'save as' and change the file type if you want to 'export'.
Printing is a lot easier if you are consistent about it - since I moved to
CUPS as my print solution I've had my whole print environment settle down,
and now I can move my laptop from office to home and printing becomes simple..
All the printers at home are published to the network using CUPS, and ditto
for the ones in the office - so printing has worked for me.. It *did*
take some work - but that was mostly me trying different options until
I found one that suited my needs.
I know that I haven't answered all your questions (or maybe even any
of them), but it may help you put the responses that you'll get into
> I'm sure some of you have been through this already, but I am stuck.
> Also, this is not just for me. I know of several... and I'll bet there are a
> lot more... small companies, organsations and charities that would love to
> migrate away from thier current dependance on rag tag mixtures of windows
> versions and probably some illegal software to a workable linux office - if
> only they could be shown how. Is anybody out there doing this? Would anybody
> out there like to collaborate and work out how to help people do this?
> Steve Jacobs
> Irish Linux Users' Group: ilug at linux.ie
> http://www.linux.ie/mailman/listinfo/ilug for (un)subscription information.
> List maintainer: listmaster at linux.ie
** Chris Higgins e: chris.higgins at horizon.ie **
** Technical Business Development tel: +353-1-6204916 **
** Horizon Technology Group fax: +353-1-6204949 **
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