Bringing a Linux box to Work - Part 1

Posted by smartlp on Aug 7, 2006 1:43 AM EDT
Jason Elwell; By Jason Elwell
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An article documenting the ability (or lack thereof) of a Linux box to function in an all-Microsoft environment.

Let me give you a little background. I have been using Linux at home for about 5 years. I work for an independent software vendor that makes proprietary Windows-based software. I find having to use Windows at work very frustrating. Many basic Windows applications don't do half of what there OSS counterparts do. This, combined with the fact that my 3ghz P4 with 1GB RAM runs at a snails pace, has led me to get make a change.

A few days ago, I began using Parallels at home and have been able to migrate one of my machine's tasks over to a virtual environment. As a result, I have a spare machine that needs a job. My idea is simple. I am going to take this machine to work with me tomorrow and attempt to use it in our Microsoft environment. This series of articles will document my successes and my failures.

Day 0 – Preparation

My boss probably wouldn't like it if i spent 3-4 hours installing Linux and updating packages, so I am in the process of doing that as I write this portion of the article. I intend to get the new Linux box as prepared as possible. This way, I shouldn't have to tinker very much in the morning.

The first thing I did was identify the applications that I use most often and then select a Linux counterpart.

Windows XP SP2

PCLinuxOS MiniMe 0.93

Windows Explorer


Notepad/Crimson Editor





Open Office

Microsoft Outlook

Evolution w/ Exchange Plugin

Visual Basic 6

No Alternative

Visual SourceSafe

No Alternative

Visual Studio 2005

No Alternative

Oracle Express 10g

-Going to leave on Windows-


No Alternative

Samsung Laser Printer drivers

Linux version provided by Samsung!!!

Mozilla Firefox

Mozilla Firefox

In-house Custom VB6 Apps

No Alternative

Sage ACT 2006 Contact Mgr

No Alternative

Tiera Software Bug Tracker

Tiera BT Web Interface

Remote Desktop Connection


AVG Antivirus Free Edition

None Needed


I know that I will not be able to completely stop using Windows. I do a lot of bug testing on our custom applications, as well as a little bit of VB6/VB.NET programming. Unfortunately, these tasks will have to be done on my Windows machine. My goal to be able to do the majority of my “day-to-day” tasks on the Linux box.


I chose to use the brand new PCLinuxOS MiniMe 0.93 distribution. PCLinuxOS has not been around very long, but they are definitely heading in the right direction. I use PCLinuxOS 0.92 on my main home workstation, so this was a good excuse to try their latest release.

My single most-used application is Outlook. I am hoping that Evolution w/ Exchange Plugin is up to the task. As an alternative, I read that IMAP should allow me to manage my mail and calendars as long a the Exchange server has IMAP enabled. I am not sure if the server is configured to accept IMAP connections, nor how much functionality this would allow, so I will only dig into this if the Evolution w/ Exchange Plugin solution is un-acceptable. The rest of the aplication choices in the above table are self explanatory.

Wish me luck! Tomorrow promises to be a very interesting day.

» Read more about: Story Type: Reviews; Groups: Community, GNU, Linux

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Subject Topic Starter Replies Views Last Post
Visual Basic 6 = No Alternative (not true!!) Igor 3 2,171 Aug 7, 2006 4:54 PM
Bracing for Day 1 supermike 1 1,146 Aug 7, 2006 3:48 PM
Good Luck burdicda 1 1,108 Aug 7, 2006 7:49 AM

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