Click here to close now.




















Welcome!

Linux Containers Authors: Esmeralda Swartz, Elizabeth White, Liz McMillan, Samuel Scott, Mike Kavis

Related Topics: Linux Containers

Linux Containers: Article

Getting Down to Business with Linux

On the Move

With the recent release of SuSE 9.2 Professional and Novell's Linux Desktop operating systems, the Linux desktop is ready to compete with Microsoft Windows for client-side computing in a business environment. I know this is something of a debate among many, but the opportunities for Linux to garner a respectable percentage of the desktop market is not unreasonable if done correctly and the cost savings of using Linux on the desktop could easily exceed the savings realized by replacing just the server components of your infrastructure.

Linux desktop adoption will occur in waves. The first wave or opportunity will be in areas of specific-purpose computing. Those areas where the client primarily runs a specific application such as retail point-of-sale, government, scientific, manufacturing and applications in the medical field. For the most part, these client machines are not leading-edge Pentium 4-class machines and they do not need a fully configured office suite. For these environments the most important requirements are to run on modestly configured hardware and be reliable. Linux is perfect for these scenarios.

The next wave of opportunity will be in branch offices and remote facilities where security and reliability are important. The current OpenOffice suite on Linux is quite good and serves most people's needs. I travel a lot and my primary desktop is SuSE Linux 9.2 Professional, OpenOffice 1.1 and Ximian Evolution for my mail, contacts and task management. I've found Linux to be a very productive environment in many ways, but in particular, its lack of vulnerability to the myriad Windows worms, viruses and other security breaches has proven to be more productive than I originally thought. I can attest to this productivity gain because I'm able to keep working while others around me are running around trying to find the latest virus scanner to fix their Microsoft Windows desktops.

Moving to Linux

Linux is becoming much more attractive on the desktop with the delays of Microsoft's Longhorn until late 2006. Most realize that Longhorn also forces a rewrite of all the existing Windows applications - even those that were written to the Microsoft .NET standard. The cost of these rewrites plus the cost of upgrading most hardware to run the new Avalon GUI are major issues facing all IT managers. So, obviously people are evaluating the move to Linux sooner rather than later as organizations look to maximize their investments in existing software development, desktop hardware and infrastructure.

Tips on Getting to Linux Successfully

1.  Identify a specific area of business that will benefit from migrating to Linux keeping in mind that Linux will bring much higher levels of reliability and security and will support modestly configured hardware. This is where cost savings will be maximized and Linux will provide a substantial return on your investment. Avoid the pitfall of biting off more than you can chew. Find a subset of an application that can benefit from being ported to Linux. Don't try to rewrite your entire ERP system, maybe just the warehouse management component.

2.  Evaluate all your options before you start coding. Before trying to rewrite the existing application to run natively on Linux, you may want to test the Linux waters and take an interim step by looking at WINE as a viable alternative. WINE is attractive because it lets you execute existing Windows applications on Linux with minimal changes.

This is another heated debate in the Linux world - using WINE (Wine Is Not an Emulator) versus writing a native application for Linux. For those in the Linux world that believe nothing but a native application will do - get over it. The major inhibitor to adoption of Linux on the desktop is the lack of business applications, WINE helps accelerate the migration of existing business applications to Linux and, in the end, that's what is important.

By using WINE, you can avoid having to port the entire application to run natively on Linux - which is a monumental task. While most Linux distributions ship with the current stable build of WINE, let's not forget Code-Weavers' CrossOver commercial WINE technology. I've found Jeremy White at CodeWeavers to be very accommodating in addressing specific areas where WINE was lacking, and installing CrossOver can be silent and painless to the end user. Obviously, using WINE is only a stopgap measure that lets you test the Linux waters without significant cost. Ultimately, you want to have a true cross-platform application.

3.  Avoid writing an application that will only run on one operating system. Evaluate the existing application and its future in your organization. You do not want to write the application in a language that locks you into one platform, but one that will compile and run on either a Microsoft Windows or Linux platform. This improves your return on investment because you have a single source code line that can be compiled on either platform. In this way the application is easily maintained and simultaneous updates for both platforms is easier to manage. Whenever possible, choose a high-level language that offers a level of abstraction to relieve your team from having to trap every possible message or manag- ing every pixel on the screen. A high-level language lets you focus on the business case - not the nits of the operating system and its myriad function calls. A high-level language that compiles to either Windows or Linux will take care of the grunt work and improve your productivity.

4.  Choose a language that fully supports robust object-oriented coding practices. As you write the application you will want to create business processes in classes isolated from the user interface. This will provide maximum flexibility in the future since parts of the application may be suited to a rich-client model and some may be better suited to a browser-based model. By encapsulating the business logic in functional classes you have the flexibility to do either or both in the same application.

5.  Accelerate your development by choosing an integrated development environment that provides not just a colorful text editor but a robust debugger, intelligent prompting of defined objects and functions, a report builder to create business reports quickly and some source code management functionality that gives the team the ability to check code out, check in and do difference and code merge operations.

6.  To ensure success make sure the Linux version of the application is familiar to the end user. The application should behave just like the Windows version. This is important for end users to buy in to the new Linux application. Application familiarity will maintain end-user productivity because they won't have to learn a new application. Remember, in most cases the end user does not care what operating system they are using, but they do care if the application behaves differently than their existing application - especially if it's more complex or requires additional keystrokes.

7.  Watch out for products with dual licenses. You must read the license agreement of all development tools, report writers, debugging aids or databases and make sure you understand the license requirements. Some products don't require a license fee if YOUR product is open sourced, but others don't make this distinction. Some require that you buy a license to use it for commercial purposes, others do not. This is a very important point you must investigate before choosing a development tool, programming aid or database.

8.  Make sure the products you choose provide some type of technical support. Choose products that have installation support and an active news group to get your questions answered. If available, it would also be smart to buy a support contract for the first year to ensure your project does not get sidetracked on a technical issue that takes up valuable time and effort. Tech support contracts pay for themselves with just a couple of calls.

9.  Once your first project is up and running, monitor it and determine your return on investment and I'm positive you will find it to be substantial and that it will pave the way for future projects because management will clearly see the advantages.

10.  Finally, remember that not all applications are candidates for Linux migration so make sure you involve the end user in your investigation and thoroughly analyze the application before embarking on conversion.

In closing, remember to take a small application or subset of a larger application as your first project. Add an additional 30% to your estimate to account for the learning curve and most of all, keep track of the challenges you encounter and how you solved them so your next project can benefit from your learning experience.

More Stories By Charles W. Stevenson

Charles W. Stevenson, PhD, is
CTO of GUPTA Technologies, LLC.

Comments (0)

Share your thoughts on this story.

Add your comment
You must be signed in to add a comment. Sign-in | Register

In accordance with our Comment Policy, we encourage comments that are on topic, relevant and to-the-point. We will remove comments that include profanity, personal attacks, racial slurs, threats of violence, or other inappropriate material that violates our Terms and Conditions, and will block users who make repeated violations. We ask all readers to expect diversity of opinion and to treat one another with dignity and respect.


@ThingsExpo Stories
SYS-CON Events announced today that IceWarp will exhibit at the 17th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on November 3–5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. IceWarp, the leader of cloud and on-premise messaging, delivers secured email, chat, documents, conferencing and collaboration to today's mobile workforce, all in one unified interface
WebRTC has had a real tough three or four years, and so have those working with it. Only a few short years ago, the development world were excited about WebRTC and proclaiming how awesome it was. You might have played with the technology a couple of years ago, only to find the extra infrastructure requirements were painful to implement and poorly documented. This probably left a bitter taste in your mouth, especially when things went wrong.
Too often with compelling new technologies market participants become overly enamored with that attractiveness of the technology and neglect underlying business drivers. This tendency, what some call the “newest shiny object syndrome,” is understandable given that virtually all of us are heavily engaged in technology. But it is also mistaken. Without concrete business cases driving its deployment, IoT, like many other technologies before it, will fade into obscurity.
While many app developers are comfortable building apps for the smartphone, there is a whole new world out there. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Narayan Sainaney, Co-founder and CTO of Mojio, will discuss how the business case for connected car apps is growing and, with open platform companies having already done the heavy lifting, there really is no barrier to entry.
As more intelligent IoT applications shift into gear, they’re merging into the ever-increasing traffic flow of the Internet. It won’t be long before we experience bottlenecks, as IoT traffic peaks during rush hours. Organizations that are unprepared will find themselves by the side of the road unable to cross back into the fast lane. As billions of new devices begin to communicate and exchange data – will your infrastructure be scalable enough to handle this new interconnected world?
SYS-CON Events announced today that Micron Technology, Inc., a global leader in advanced semiconductor systems, will exhibit at the 17th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on November 3–5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Micron’s broad portfolio of high-performance memory technologies – including DRAM, NAND and NOR Flash – is the basis for solid state drives, modules, multichip packages and other system solutions. Backed by more than 35 years of technology leadership, Micron's memory solutions enable the world's most innovative computing, consumer,...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Pythian, a global IT services company specializing in helping companies leverage disruptive technologies to optimize revenue-generating systems, has been named “Bronze Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 17th Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 3–5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Founded in 1997, Pythian is a global IT services company that helps companies compete by adopting disruptive technologies such as cloud, Big Data, advanced analytics, and DevOps to advance innovation and increase agility. Specializing in designing, imple...
SYS-CON Events announced today that HPM Networks will exhibit at the 17th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on November 3–5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. For 20 years, HPM Networks has been integrating technology solutions that solve complex business challenges. HPM Networks has designed solutions for both SMB and enterprise customers throughout the San Francisco Bay Area.
Consumer IoT applications provide data about the user that just doesn’t exist in traditional PC or mobile web applications. This rich data, or “context,” enables the highly personalized consumer experiences that characterize many consumer IoT apps. This same data is also providing brands with unprecedented insight into how their connected products are being used, while, at the same time, powering highly targeted engagement and marketing opportunities. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Nathan Treloar, President and COO of Bebaio, will explore examples of brands transforming their businesses by t...
Through WebRTC, audio and video communications are being embedded more easily than ever into applications, helping carriers, enterprises and independent software vendors deliver greater functionality to their end users. With today’s business world increasingly focused on outcomes, users’ growing calls for ease of use, and businesses craving smarter, tighter integration, what’s the next step in delivering a richer, more immersive experience? That richer, more fully integrated experience comes about through a Communications Platform as a Service which allows for messaging, screen sharing, video...
With the proliferation of connected devices underpinning new Internet of Things systems, Brandon Schulz, Director of Luxoft IoT – Retail, will be looking at the transformation of the retail customer experience in brick and mortar stores in his session at @ThingsExpo. Questions he will address include: Will beacons drop to the wayside like QR codes, or be a proximity-based profit driver? How will the customer experience change in stores of all types when everything can be instrumented and analyzed? As an area of investment, how might a retail company move towards an innovation methodolo...
The Internet of Things (IoT) is about the digitization of physical assets including sensors, devices, machines, gateways, and the network. It creates possibilities for significant value creation and new revenue generating business models via data democratization and ubiquitous analytics across IoT networks. The explosion of data in all forms in IoT requires a more robust and broader lens in order to enable smarter timely actions and better outcomes. Business operations become the key driver of IoT applications and projects. Business operations, IT, and data scientists need advanced analytics t...
A producer of the first smartphones and tablets, presenter Lee M. Williams will talk about how he is now applying his experience in mobile technology to the design and development of the next generation of Environmental and Sustainability Services at ETwater. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Lee Williams, COO of ETwater, will talk about how he is now applying his experience in mobile technology to the design and development of the next generation of Environmental and Sustainability Services at ETwater.
As more and more data is generated from a variety of connected devices, the need to get insights from this data and predict future behavior and trends is increasingly essential for businesses. Real-time stream processing is needed in a variety of different industries such as Manufacturing, Oil and Gas, Automobile, Finance, Online Retail, Smart Grids, and Healthcare. Azure Stream Analytics is a fully managed distributed stream computation service that provides low latency, scalable processing of streaming data in the cloud with an enterprise grade SLA. It features built-in integration with Azur...
Akana has announced the availability of the new Akana Healthcare Solution. The API-driven solution helps healthcare organizations accelerate their transition to being secure, digitally interoperable businesses. It leverages the Health Level Seven International Fast Healthcare Interoperability Resources (HL7 FHIR) standard to enable broader business use of medical data. Akana developed the Healthcare Solution in response to healthcare businesses that want to increase electronic, multi-device access to health records while reducing operating costs and complying with government regulations.
For IoT to grow as quickly as analyst firms’ project, a lot is going to fall on developers to quickly bring applications to market. But the lack of a standard development platform threatens to slow growth and make application development more time consuming and costly, much like we’ve seen in the mobile space. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Mike Weiner, Product Manager of the Omega DevCloud with KORE Telematics Inc., discussed the evolving requirements for developers as IoT matures and conducted a live demonstration of how quickly application development can happen when the need to comply wit...
The Internet of Everything (IoE) brings together people, process, data and things to make networked connections more relevant and valuable than ever before – transforming information into knowledge and knowledge into wisdom. IoE creates new capabilities, richer experiences, and unprecedented opportunities to improve business and government operations, decision making and mission support capabilities.
Explosive growth in connected devices. Enormous amounts of data for collection and analysis. Critical use of data for split-second decision making and actionable information. All three are factors in making the Internet of Things a reality. Yet, any one factor would have an IT organization pondering its infrastructure strategy. How should your organization enhance its IT framework to enable an Internet of Things implementation? In his session at @ThingsExpo, James Kirkland, Red Hat's Chief Architect for the Internet of Things and Intelligent Systems, described how to revolutionize your archit...
MuleSoft has announced the findings of its 2015 Connectivity Benchmark Report on the adoption and business impact of APIs. The findings suggest traditional businesses are quickly evolving into "composable enterprises" built out of hundreds of connected software services, applications and devices. Most are embracing the Internet of Things (IoT) and microservices technologies like Docker. A majority are integrating wearables, like smart watches, and more than half plan to generate revenue with APIs within the next year.
Growth hacking is common for startups to make unheard-of progress in building their business. Career Hacks can help Geek Girls and those who support them (yes, that's you too, Dad!) to excel in this typically male-dominated world. Get ready to learn the facts: Is there a bias against women in the tech / developer communities? Why are women 50% of the workforce, but hold only 24% of the STEM or IT positions? Some beginnings of what to do about it! In her Opening Keynote at 16th Cloud Expo, Sandy Carter, IBM General Manager Cloud Ecosystem and Developers, and a Social Business Evangelist, d...