Nov 172011

Frank Harris-Smith

I use Linux for work. There is a smooth work flow that I can achieve using the Linux Desktop that just doesn’t happen for me on any other platform. I find using Linux for serious projects not only is efficient but I also enjoy the process.

Both my home desktop and my laptop run Ubuntu Linux as the default OS. I do that for consistency. Having different Office Suites in the past has caused minor inconsistencies in documents I start on one and finish on the other.

Here is the list of software I use daily in my work:

  1. LibreOffice 4.3 Writer and sometimes Calc
  2. gEdit 3.2.1 for note-taking
  3. FireFox 7 for Internet Research and Email
  4. and Ubuntu Linux 11.10 to make it all run flawlessly

There are three things that I really find that are superior about Linux as a professional work environment.

  1. Multiple Workspaces.
  2. Microsoft Office compatibility
  3. Security and stability.

Multiple Workspaces

“Multitasking”, I think, is a myth. At least for me it is. Focused concentration is how I get my work done. Having 4 different workspaces where I have a different application opened full screen on each allows me to focus completely on the task at hand, rather than be distracted by other things, while retaining the lightning-fast ability to switch to another task with a click of the mouse.

With Four workspaces to use I have plenty of uncluttered desktop to open my web browser, a text editor and my word processor, and even an extra workspace for whatever else I might need.

Microsoft Office compatibility

…but without the price. Let’s face it, the business world is dominated by Microsoft. Resume requests are in “doc” format, presentations are in “ppt” format and what would I do without Excel, er Calc. The price being both the MONEY spent to buy MS Office and the system performance hit being the bloat-ware it is.

Also without the annoyance of using Microsoft Office. I once used a friend’s PC that was running Office 2010 to simply print out a Word Document . It took me almost 15 minutes to find where Microsoft had hidden the Print menu. It was in the “Ribbon”. Imagine that. I’m a bit of a traditionalist as I think the Print button should be in plain sight.

Security and stability

A real big deal if you have any sort of deadline to meet. Things happen. Malware could strike and destroy this article and all my work. The system could crash. My harddrive could “grind” to a halt. Yet with Linux two of the three aren’t likely.

For the harddrive crash the answer is in these three words “BACKUP, BACKUP, BACKUP”. Harddrives can die at any time. Fact of life…

Web surfing without fear. Not worrying about program lockups or “Blue Screens of Death”. Having my important files automatically being backed up in the “cloud” (Ubuntu One).

All these things means for me: Linux

But that’s how I feel…

Is Linux ready for the corporate world? There are many companies and governmental agencies that have abandoned the Microsoft world and entered the Linux world for many reasons. Google has their own (unofficial) Distro of Linux that is known internally as Goobuntu and there are presently many others that have caught the wisdom that is Linux, whole countries even. Check 50 Places that use Linux

Linux is certainly “there” as far as usability and function. There is, with few exceptions, no corporate need that can’t be handled with free and open source software.

In the corporate world there is a need for standardization. More variations in computer systems mean more support cost. When I was working as a Desktop Support person for Hughes Aircraft they had two flavors of Windows (95 and NT4) and Macintosh 8.2 Was sometimes difficult to resolve the wide variety of problems that occurred. Being both a Windows tech and a Mac tech, I was kept hopping.

There is also a need for cost cutting. The solution at the time was to install the user software on servers which the users were unhappy with as that solution was slow and sometimes unreliable. If modern Linux Distros had been around back then (1998) Hughes could have just installed everything they need on each system an saved a fortune.

So in conclusion…

My preferred environment is Linux. If I’m forced to use Windows (except for gaming) it’s with much groaning and sighing. Sometimes even profanity when looking for the print button in Office 2010.

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  9 Responses to “Linux for Work”

  1. I’m use firefox 8 archlinux

  2. I love linux but the ms office compatibility really needs more work.
    I use linux at work as well.
    The formatting of some documents are out.
    Hopefully they will get there. Go Libreoffice.

  3. “but I also enjoy the process”

    .. this is precisely my experience… using linux has made my work style more fun, and in my opinion this is the most important thing linux can do for business.

  4. Io lo uso con piacere in ambito scientifico.
    Uso ogni giorno:
    R-cran, GRASS, Qgis, Libreoffice, Gedit

  5. A lavoro DEVO usare W7, una grande seccatura, tuttavia ho trovato come aumentare la produttività.
    Ho installato WindowsPager che mi consente di avere svariati desktop virtuali ed anche l’opzione keep on the top!
    Da quando lo ho la mia produttività è aumentata mantenendo task diversi su diversi desktop e cosi rendendo il cambio con ALT TAB veloce in quanto non ho in mezzo finestre che non centrano con quel task.

    Se ci fosse anche il plugin scale e outlook non mi andasse veloce come uno in stampelle, potrei anche dire che windows7 non fa cosi cagare….

    Ma queste sono mie opinioni

  6. Io ho provato più volte ad usare ubuntu ma, vari problemi con il wifi e driver mi hanno dovuto far tornare in winzoz 🙁

    • Strano, le ultime versioni non dovrebbero avere problemi con il wi-fi.
      Io ne ho avuti di grossi con la 9.10, che proprio non ne voleva sapere di mantenere la connessione wifi attiva ed ogni X minuti la buttava giù. Ma dalle 10.04 in avanti tutto ok.

  7. ci ho provato anche oggi ma nulla, ne con yast ne con il network manager, uso una chiavetta nano della keyteck con driver realteck 8188..nel cd ho i driver linux ma non so come caricarli.

  8. Concordo con te sulla possibilità di lavorare con linux, purtroppo non per utenti con esigenze office avanzate.
    Non si può dire che LibreOffice sia al livello dell’office Microsoft, prova a lavorare con tabelle pivot, cubi di dati o mettere giù velocemente un database e alcune query veloci. Linux come produttività è indietro di 10 anni…

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