Linux on the Corporate Desktop: a case study
techAdmin
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Joined: 26 Sep 2003
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Location: East Coast, West Coast? I know it's one of them.
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Very interesting real world switch to Linux in an office network, read the full thing here

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The Payoffs

Since switching to Netscape Navigator in 1998, the organization has not been subjected to the multitude of scripted vulnerabilities that plague IE and Outlook users.

They have never suffered a successful incursion by any worm/virus/trojan malware on any of the Linux desktops. They run tripwire on the desktops and can perform remote inspections of processes. There is no need for any third party antivirus software on the Linux Desktops. They do use third party antivirus tools on the servers to scan the document directories and incoming and outgoing email.


In comparison to Win98,Win2k and XP, keeping the Linux desktops up to date is a breeze. We maintain a read-only NFS'ed public directory that, after testing, we drop RPMs packages into. A cron job on each desktop inspects the directory for new files and then runs yum and updates the system. We stagger the start times to prevent overloading the network or file server. In most cases, the update takes place entirely transparent to the user.

In terms of remote support, Linux Desktops blow Win9x to XP out of the water. Beside VNC users desktops, you can access the remote desktop though a ssh'ed command line, a web based interface (webmin), or use Xnest to access a separate instance of a desktop on the same machine. In all three of the latter cases, the access can be invisible to the user of the machine. The helpdesk can pass on the address to the support engineer who, with his laptop with VPN access, can track down problems literally anywhere in the world with an Internet connection.


All in all interesting, a very realistic scenario, change what can be changed, leave what is easier to leave. But especially note that removing IE/Outlook/Express almost completely resolved malware issues. No matter what MS says, this is a true fact. If you don't use MSIE or outlook type products your odds against getting malware installed on your system are far lower than if you do use the MS products. This fact has not changed as of Windows XP sp2.

I've done this kind of networking work, and the time spent on cleaning out malware from infected Windows 2000 clients is something that Microsoft always leaves out of their revered TCO surveys (total cost of ownership). They also forget the Antivirus licenses that are becoming increasingly critical.
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minck
Status: Interested
Joined: 02 Nov 2004
Posts: 39
Location: Belgium
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Neither organization operates in the IT industry and both prefer not to face direct scrutiny or suffer the hordes of Microsoft salesdroids who magically appear at the doorstep of any company publicizing Linux deployments.

har-dee-har
very interesting article - quite honest in what's difficult to transition from MS to Linux, and what's not - nice too to see 'how they did it' people-wise, with the transitioning dual-boot setup and VNC.
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