From Linux to Windows: Is This 2009 Downgrade Really Necessary?
While speaking recently with one of my bosses, I was told I will receive a new business laptop in 2009. Now, for the problem: It will be running Windows Vista or Windows XP. Hooray for new gear. Boo for Luddite attitudes.
I’m never one to rankle feathers. But in this case I honestly asked “I’m not trying to buck authority at all, so please don’t take it as such, but… WHY Windows?”
My reasoning: I’m happy with Linux. But as a reluctant concession to the business world, I’ve installed Office 2003 using CrossOver Linux. I also installed Internet Explorer, so I can use the web interface of our Help Desk portal software, ConnectWise. (Side note, WorksWithU’s sister site, MSPmentor.net, covers ConnectWise and other managed services tools closely.)
And I also use Virtual Box to run a virtual machine of Windows XP and Office and other common apps. I have two, if not three, ways of running all of our critical business functions. After explaining my preference of using Linux as my primary platform, his response was, “well we can talk about it on Friday when I’m in your office. I can explain my position better in person…”
Seeking A Second Opinion
Now don’t get the impression that I don’t like this guy, because we have a great relationship. But it happened that I also had a meeting today with our Executive VP, and I told him in passing about the exchange. I mentioned it really because I thought it was humorous, the off-handedness of his opinion.
Well the Executive VP, he got a little fired up about it.
“What the hell’s he talking about? How can we offer service to someone who has 20 servers and one or two of ’em are Linux, if none of our guys knows Linux? What kind of revenue are we missing because of this bull****?”
Our Executive VP is a little heavy-handed at times, but he’s really a sweet guy. After several minutes of discussion which included the details of my setup that I listed above, he said “no, you get the machine and you do what you need to with it. It’s better to have those bases covered than not.”
Linux Is Back In the Mix
And while nothing’s fully decided yet, it’s looking pretty good from where I sit right now. I’ve been “that guy” for a while now, trying to wedge my foot in the door.
I’ve used the angle of “with the economy doing what it’s doing, we’d be wise to at least be capable of talking to a customer about moving to something other than Vista or Windows 7 if they don’t want to or can’t afford the hardware tax to go with it. This would be a great way for us to help smaller clients save money. They’re paying us for the support already, so we’re helping them out by eliminating some of the cost structure. And we still make our money besides.” This usually gets a “well that does make sense…”
At the end of the day, it’s still a long row to hoe. But at least today, Linux is a light at the end of my tunnel.
WorksWithU Contributing Blogger Toby Deemer runs Ubuntu 8.04 to manage a large law firm network.