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Integrating Ubuntu with a Windows-based network is harder than it should be

Posted by: Anonymous [ip:] on December 13, 2007 09:42 PM
Link to your website is unfortunately not very useful, except that the whole world now knows that your apache server works. An email address for contact might have been more efficient :-) Anyway. I have done a whole office migration, but obviously we were not using the same tools. I don't really have space here to tell the whole story, but in a nutshell:
1) Are you sure Unbuntu is the best solution ? I am not a distro zealot, and I understand it is very popular, but I also know that different distribution have different publics, and different "best use". While Unbuntu is certainly perfect for home use, you might find RedHat or SuSE better suited to office use.
2) You won't need that long once your basic config is done. Just make sure you note every step you take, also to be able to backtrack, and then make a script. I did the migration in 3 phase:
a) one pilot station, config each app at the time. Took about a week of daily checks to fine tune the config.
a2: create a script that will replicate the changes to the initial config on any machine. Alternately, some distro let you make a "pre-seed" install config file but I was familiar with scripting and did not think it was worth learning.
b) test the config on a larger group, modify script as needed. My own script started from basic install and added everything that was needed, removing what was useless. This phase is usually way faster since it is only a matter of polishing. But it is worth waiting a week or two to see if anything pops up.
c) migrate everybody. In my case, I left some with a dual boot for a transitionnal period when it was justified.
All in all, it took a couple of months to get everybody migrated, ie to the same level of service than with NT (back then).
One additionnal hint: don't think wine. Unless you have something really very specific, chances are that whatever you are using has a decent linux equivalent. In my (admittedly very limited) experience (*), and without bashing the wine developpers who do a fantastic job, wine is just a crutch. the sooner you get rid of it, the better.

(*: I've never used windows for anything serious. I've been working on mainframes, unix stations, and OS/2; so I never developped a need or addiction for any specific windows program)

Good luck and keep on trying, you'll see it is worth it. I don't think the cost of adjusting/training is really justified. Basically, a word processor is a word processor and a spreadsheet a spreadsheet, unless you are a real power user :-)
And that cost will more than certainly be offset by the decrease in hardware costs (not to mention licences).

Thunus F.


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