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Linux Migration: It's a Voyage

Linux Migration: It's a Voyage

When I was younger I used to love to watch Star Trek. My favorite part of the show was the transporter. I was in awe of the idea that the crew of the Enterprise could just transport anywhere they wanted to go.

Occasionally, they caught a worm hole that flung them from one end of the galaxy to the other without even mussing a hair on Captain Kirk's exceptionally coiffed head. Wouldn't it be great if moving operating systems was that easy? Click of a few buttons, slide a lever and you arrive at your destination. Unfortunately, migrating from another operating system to Linux isn't that painless. Then again moving from one version of Windows to another or from UNIX to Windows or vice versa is no picnic either.

If you listen closely to the monologue at the beginning of the show it says, "These are the voyages of the Starship Enterprise. Her five year mission: to explore strange new worlds...." Well if you have been using Windows or even UNIX for some time you may be relate to the crew of the good old U.S.S. Enterprise. Transitioning to Linux is the topic of this month's magazine which is a journey, especially for the enterprise. Why take that journey? If for no other reason than to responsibly explore your options to make sure you are making the best use of your IT budget and resources. After all wasn't that what Kirk, Spock and the gang were doing? They where trying to aspire to a better way of life or at least learn more about their universe. I can only imagine what my business and computing life would be like today without Linux, Apache, MySQL and PHP powering websites around the globe including a few of mine. If I had stuck to my old way of doing things my poor Apple PowerMac running Webstar would have been retired long ago with no cost effective replacement. Or maybe I wouldn't be able to edit documents in OpenOffice.org; I might still be paying a couple of hundred bucks every couple of years for Microsoft Office or WordPerfect. I know my good friend Teresa, a smart lady, but by no means a geek, wouldn't effusively tell me how cool it is to make PDFs for her customers without investing a dime in expensive commercial solutions. My buddy Ed may not have had the opportunity of sharing a walk down memory lane via Microsoft Powerpoint at his son's wedding if I hadn't rescued his malfunctioning Windows computer with my handy-dandy Knoppix (www.knoppix.org) disk. All these things are stops along my journey with Linux, some unexpected.

So what do you expect to get out Linux? I would hope that you are looking to transition for just the reasons I stated, to improve the way your enterprise runs by maximizing your IT dollars and improving the functionality of your systems. It's not easy though, there are hurdles to overcome but as thousands of enterprises will attest Linux does the trick. The number of uses for Linux and increases in performance and application support are growing every day. These improvements aren't just the latest fads in technology but features like those included in the 2.6 version of the Linux kernel which include support for NUMA (Non-Uniform Memory Access) so Linux can take advantage of bigger iron and hyperthreading to take advantage of the new features of the Pentium 4 processor.

So in spirit of the Captain Kirk I say to you, "Go forward with Linux, a new frontier. Start you voyage on behalf of your enterprise. Good luck on your mission to explore open systems. Seek out new applications and lower total cost of ownership and boldly go where so many have gone and been successful before you." Beam me up Linus.

More Stories By Mark R. Hinkle

Mark Hinkle is the Senior Director, Open Soure Solutions at Citrix. He also is along-time open source expert and advocate. He is a co-founder of both the Open Source Management Consortium and the Desktop Linux Consortium. He has served as Editor-in-Chief for both LinuxWorld Magazine and Enterprise Open Source Magazine. Hinkle is also the author of the book, "Windows to Linux Business Desktop Migration" (Thomson, 2006). His blog on open source, technology, and new media can be found at http://www.socializedsoftware.com.

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