Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Can I finally free my company?

Well, I don't think I've mentioned this before, but I stumbled across possibly the best reason yet to move our entire company over to a fully FOSS solution (remember I'm only the Systems Admin/Programmer here).

The program that has given me so much hope is SeamlessRDP. This little tool allows me to run all our companies Windows-only applications on any Linux machine by streaming the application over the network. This means that the application acts just like another program on the users desktop - but in reality it is being run from a Windows server over the network.

For me, this is huge news.

Recently in a Directors meeting we discussed the pending need to start updating our systems because in 2014 Microsoft will end update support for Windows XP. The Directors didn't like this because we have around 50 computers and laptops and the upgrade costs for our company would be a huge hit on our resources.

Given this situation, I gave them a short presentation on the state of Open Source solutions and what it can offer us. I discussed program compatibility (we use OpenOffice extensively already) and thanks to the discovery of SeamlessRDP, I was able to give a clear solution to the problem of Windows applications that we can't do without (at the moment).

To my utter surprise, they were very receptive of my ideas and said that they would be very willing to move to a full FOSS solution if it could free them from the Microsoft money treadmill. They were also very impressed with KDE 4.2. I use KDE4 at work 24/7 and they were all very impressed with its usability, prettiness and great programs. A number of the staff have asked why they're "not allowed to have it" yet.

So, that's it! The move will need to start happening by 2011 at the latest (in the form of pilot programs), and I will be giving an extended feasibility and risk analysis report to the directors on Free and Open Source software.

If that all goes well, we'll be using free desktops, laptops and servers by 2013. I know that the number 2013 seems far off, but in the business world, and for me (considering the current workload I have) that is really JUST around the corner.

I'm excited. Cautious, but excited.