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Feature: Networking

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

By Tom Chance on December 13, 2007 (9:02:00 PM)

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I've been using and advocating free software for around six years. When studying and then working as a freelance writer, migrating an office seemed so simple -- draw up a list of comparable programs and, over a reasonable period, move your staff across. But over the past few weeks I've been trying to use Ubuntu Gutsy on my desktop PC in a Windows-based office, and whilst most things work just fine, it's far from the seamless integration I was hoping for.

I work for an environmental charity in London, and our office is pretty typical of the sector. Two Windows 2003 servers provide Exchange for email, calendaring, and contacts, along with some shared folders and printers, a PPTP VPN for remote work, and a VoIP phone solution called IP Office. On the desktops we use the typical software titles: Windows XP, Office 2002/3, some of the Adobe Suite (Acrobat Reader and Professional, Photoshop, Illustrator, Dreamweaver), Sage, and a handful of other programs.

Part of my job involves managing the IT contracts, and I'm working on a process to develop a decent medium-term ICT strategy. When I've had a (rare) spare moment, I've been looking at options for migrating to free software. I recently completed a TCO analysis of our ICT systems, and found that licensing accounts for 18% of our ICT expenditure. The biggest expenses are hardware and support. If we were to migrate to free software, support costs would initially rise and training costs would be introduced, so I'm keen to find out the reality of migrating firsthand.

Installing Ubuntu Gutsy was easy, but getting it to play with the Windows 2003 login server was really difficult. In Windows XP you just go into the system properties, enter the domain that the servers use, and authenticate against it. You can then log in with your network username and password -- easy. In Ubuntu you have to follow this guide, which is far from easy, and I've struggled to make it work consistently. I've read that Novell Linux Desktop follows the documented procedure with the installer, but I'm not in a position to pay for a copy of that distribution, and I'm disappointed that there don't seem to be any tools for Ubuntu to make this easier.

Once set up, I've enjoyed using GNOME. I used to be quite involved with the KDE Project, and it's still my environment of choice, but the GNOME desktop feels more integrated in some ways. I especially like the Places menu at the top of the screen; I added the shared folders on the server and our remote Web site server as places, and they appeared in not only that menu, but also Nautilus and other applications. It may be subjective, but some things just feel more solid and well-designed than either KDE or Windows. Colleagues leaning over my shoulder have commented on how nice and easy to use it all looks.

Navigating the shared folders works pretty seamlessly. I can browse the network and add any folders to Places. Unfortunately I can't view or modify the file security settings, so I have to open a remote connection to the server using GNOME's rdesktop client to change permissions!

One of my most common tasks is working with Microsoft Office documents. OpenOffice.org is perfectly adequate for most tasks. I miss some functionality, such as the "keep text formatting" option when you paste text into a document or spreadsheet. In the chart component, you can't currently display both the number value and percentage for each section of a pie chart, which is a pain. I also haven't noticed any document locking features, as in "this file is read-only while Angela edits it." Finally, the layout and formatting isn't spot on, which forces me to spend time fiddling with other people's documents before I can use them. On the bright side, when creating a form in Writer, I really appreciated the excellent PDF export functionality, which produces a PDF document with a working form. I'd otherwise have to buy a charity license for Adobe Acrobat Professional for that simple feature.

The other black hole for an office worker's time is email. Evolution can work with Microsoft Exchange using the Outlook Web Access feature (basically webmail) as a sort of proxy. I had to fiddle and retry the configuration a few times to get it to play smoothly, but email now works fine. My calendar shows up too and I can subscribe to other users' calendars, though displaying their contents is sluggish; it sometimes takes 10 seconds just to show a day's appointments. We have some shared calendars in the public folders, but I can see them only if I've already made them a favourite from Outlook in Windows. When I accidentally removed one from my profile, I had to log in to a Windows machine to put it back in place.

Contacts in Evolution worked OK, but I found some strange glitches. For some reason it has mixed-up names and email addresses, so sometimes I send something to a colleague but the autocomplete feature has his name next to another Jonathan's email address. When I go to look at the address book, Exchange's Global Address List is initially empty, and only fills up with entries when I start typing a name, whereupon it autocompletes matching entries in the list.

Another irritation with Evolution is that it doesn't understand links to files in a Windows format (bug report). We always send links in our office rather than attaching files, so now I have to read from the link and manually navigate to the folder in Nautilus, rather than just clicking and having the folder or file open. Worse, when I want to send out an email message with a link to a file, I have to copy in and then rework the Nautilus URL to make it look like a Windows URL; in Microsoft Office I just add the Web toolbar, copy the address, and paste it straight into the email body.

Printing should be simple, and to somebody with experience I'm sure it is. We have an OKI ES1624 and an Infotec ISC2525 -- both standard office laser printers shared via a Windows server. When I went to add the two network printers under GNOME, I had to manually enter the Windows server share names for each, which meant checking their properties on the servers. When the installation procedure asked for a driver I couldn't find the printers in the list. After several abortive attempts with generic PostScript drivers, I found a hint in a Web forum that I could print out a settings page from the printer with a list of languages it understands. I now have both printers working with the generic PCL 5c driver, which is functional but missing lots of the options that the Windows driver gives you. In Windows XP you just go through a wizard that makes finding, adding, and using the driver straightforward.

Finally, some things haven't worked at all. We use PhoneManager, a desktop utility that brings all the power of our VoIP phone system to your desktop, but it doesn't run at all with Wine. And when at home, try as I might I just couldn't get the VPN to work; it simply stops without any useful indication of the problem before it has made the connection.

Overall, I managed to get most things working, certainly enough for my day-to-day work. But it would probably take me the best part of an afternoon to set up a new PC for a colleague to use Ubuntu, whilst it takes me about 30 minutes with a computer that has Windows XP pre-installed.

I don't mean to sound excessively negative. Ubuntu is much nicer than Windows in many ways -- the feel of the desktop, the built-in functionality, the available software through APT, the ease of working with certain aspects of the Windows office environment I'm in. Free software is also extremely important to me, and of considerable interest to my organisation.

But the integration just isn't as slick and easy as I had hoped. With each step I have had to spend more time messing around with settings, or just working around missing functionality, than I do in Windows XP. I'm sure some of my stumbling blocks have answers, but they weren't there by default, nor easy for me to find. This poses a problem for my organization: the only way to make a migration really work would be to switch the servers first to eliminate compatibility issues, and then to do a really comprehensive refit of the desktops with lots of retraining. This is certainly a possibility, but with the constraints of a charity IT budget (where funding for long-term investments is difficult to come by, and where software licensing is relatively cheap) it's going to take considerable political will from management to justify a wholesale migration.

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

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

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 91.89.37.65] on December 13, 2007 09:23 PM

Every time I read such articles a question from Windows user always comes up.

The question was pretty innocent: "Windows has Windows Network, but what's Linux network?"

Come to think about it, even Mac OS has its own network environment where bunch of Macs can integrate smoothly and use each' others shared resources.

But Linux is different. Every damm zealot screams about Windows integration, while nobody really tries to make Linux own network where different Linuxes can play nicely with each other, making end-user experience 1st class. And as long as Linux would be dependent on reverse engineering of Windows protocols (which are bogus and incomplete to begin with) integrating Linux into any environment would remain a hurdle.

You Windows plug into network - and here you have (sometimes) your environment and shared resources. You plug Mac OS into network and it would find AppleTalk shares as well as ZeroConf (Rendez-vous/Bonjour) resources. You plug Linux into network ... right and now the integration has to start... as usually manually.

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

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 80.67.176.2] on December 13, 2007 10:22 PM
> The question was pretty innocent: "Windows has Windows Network, but what's Linux network?"

It's only three letters : NFS

With some shared login/userid database (with pam_mysql, for example), you get the uid consitency across client boxes needed for NFS to be happy, and you're done.

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

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 216.54.146.100] on December 13, 2007 11:56 PM
That's just a load of BS. I use Ubuntu 7.10 with Windows and Macs on the same network and they all talk to one another without problems. All of my computers print to my Ubuntu 7.10 server without problems.

The people who are bitching clearly don't read and understand what they need to do to make things work. Grow up!

PS - I've be doing things this way for years.

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Re(1): Integrating Ubuntu with a Windows-based network is harder than it should be

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 98.195.21.39] on December 14, 2007 07:51 AM
Ummm...the issue being discussed here is that of a multi-tiered, multi-user environment...not your home LAN. Ubuntu (and the Linux kernel) are beautifully designed as OPEN SOURCE software. When the Ubuntu support team makes !BILLIONS! of dollars a day, expect more personalized, distributable solutions. Yes, any Linux distro requires a certain level of "self support", but for that distro to be accepted by the masses, there needs to be some baseline compatibility. Right now, the focus for Ubuntu, or any other Linux based OS is to promote the value of open source software. I applaud the programmers and software designers, but for Linux to be taken seriously, and to compete with the "big boys", more people and more money need to be involved. Support open-source software. The very core of Ubuntu mandates it. =)

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Re(1): Integrating Ubuntu with a Windows-based network is harder than it should be

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: unknown] on December 14, 2007 11:01 AM

The people who are bitching clearly don't read and understand what they need to do to make things work.

My point was that under Windows and Mac OS you just start system and it all works somehow.

Under Linux they always have to "understand what they need to do." And that's the hurdle (it becomes one) you have to overcome every time you install new system. And it becomes hurdle because you always need to do something. Always. Gosh, most distros can't even ship a default secure ftpd config!!! (e.g. SUSE and Ubuntu ship ftpd configs leaving your system open for any anonymous idiot on net to see your hard drive - yet they forbid legit user to login) Needless to say that samba config always requires tinkering - in worst case Windows clients also require registry hacks for samba to be able to do anything at all.

P.S. To load of B.S. about NFS I'm saying nothing because people saying that NFS is Linux networks apparently never tried to setup and use NFS. On any kind of scale. That damm thing requires full time administrator + two psychologists to keep him sane.

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Re(2): Integrating Ubuntu with a Windows-based network is harder than it should be

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 68.144.252.133] on December 15, 2007 03:08 PM
"P.S. To load of B.S. about NFS I'm saying nothing because people saying that NFS is Linux networks apparently never tried to setup and use NFS. On any kind of scale. That damm thing requires full time administrator + two psychologists to keep him sane. "



I think you've slipped past sane...



To set up a NFS server takes about 1 minute using the YAST tools (GUI tools at that) included in OpenSuse, and even less time to add a client.



STOP SPEAKING OF THINGS YOU HAVE NOT RESEARCHED!!



KV

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Please stop the incessant wailing

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 85.138.47.60] on December 23, 2007 11:55 PM
I think THIS COMMENT is a bunch of BS. First of all, your statement about all your computers printing to your Ubuntu 7.10 server proves that YOU clearly don't read. Here's a direct quite from the article:

"This poses a problem for my organization: the only way to make a migration really work would be to switch the servers first to eliminate compatibility issues"

Now, before anyone else gets in a huff that such is not the case - hold your horses! I didn't say I necessarily agree with the author's statement, I'm just pointing out that the logic used in the comment above is completely bass-ackwards! Furthermore, the incessant cries of so many FOSS defenders against any criticism is really starting to pee me off. What's so difficult in taking some honest criticism from someone who WANTS to use alternative systems/applications but gets frustrated with unexpected hurdles that never even had to be considered while using the "mainstream" offerings? The repeated wailing such as: "_people who are bitching clearly don't read and understand what they need to do to make things work_" may be true, but the point is, should they have to? If someone isn't technologically inclined, doesn't understand how the underlying foundation that is running the system operates, doesn't think in technical terms, and doesn't want to spend the time to learn because they have better things to do, should they HAVE to stick with using Windows? A senior manager in a small business isn't going to read the instructions - it should *just work*! When my mother comes home after a full day of teaching at school and goes across the street to play with her grandchildren, she shouldn't HAVE to understand ANYTHING about computers to be able to send me some pictures of them playing later that evening. And I know that the job of the IT guy is to make it work and not a concern of the average user, but if the IT guy has to sit and rotate on his thumb while reading about what hoops need to be jumped through to make things work, then that means he's not using his time for more important issues! Criticism about Linux is not a bad thing - it means people WANT to use it, but it's not ready for everyone yet. It's a sign that things are going in the right direction, but may need work on specific areas, which is a GOOD thing!!!

PPS - Yes, YOU'VE been doing things that way for years! I guess anyone's hopes that YOU would have grown up by now are becoming quite faint!

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

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 77.122.60.242] on December 13, 2007 09:41 PM
"Windows has Windows Network, but what's Linux network?" - the best question I've read last days ;-)

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

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 83.99.87.171] 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).
Cheers

Thunus F.

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

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 75.186.10.163] on December 24, 2007 07:44 AM
--- probably the most useful comment as far as actually providing constructive answers/solutions.

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

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 138.87.248.26] on December 13, 2007 10:36 PM

To the first two commentators, do you know what LDAP is? I'm guessing no, because Linux and Unix pretty much started LDAP systems and creating an LDAP server in Linux is not only free and easy to do, but can then be used on MAC and Windows networks.



Well some of the complaints in this article actually have nothing to do with Linux or Ubuntu, examples:
[QUOTE]


You can then log in with your network username and password -- easy. In Ubuntu you have to follow this guide, which is far from easy, and I've struggled to make it work consistently.



This is more of a problem with using Windows AD. M$ is a monopoly so it's not in their interest to make a system that plays nicely with other OS'. And why do you want to authenticate to AD at login anyways? What would be the point? You should still be able to access all the same resources with a valid UID and password. Then for administration you can just remote into other boxes. Which is what I do anyways with my Windows box at work. I certainly never administer AD from my work system.



[QUOTE]
Unfortunately I can't view or modify the file security settings, so I have to open a remote connection to the server using GNOME's rdesktop client to change permissions!



Again, this should be done from remoting into the server and never directly from a box.



[QUOTE]
I miss some functionality, such as the "keep text formatting" option when you paste text into a document or spreadsheet.



This is not the fault of OpenOffice, but user error. What you want to do is use is "Paste Special" every Office Suite has this capability.



The problem with your email is again M$ ability to play nicely with others, which is no ability at all. And this is also the driver problem people experience with printers and other devices. Manufactures are unwilling to work with Linux.

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

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 205.166.218.35] on December 13, 2007 10:44 PM
You talk about PhoneManager not working with Wine. Have you considered some alternatives? Many linux users (myself included) use vmware or kvm to run applications that don't work in wine, or don't work well in wine for which there are no alternatives available. I would recommend the first step here is to evaluate whether some over VoIP client for your phone system exists that will run in linux, if that won't work, check out using vmware to run it. you could also set up a 2x application server (www.2x.com) and share out that app.

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Question of perspective: Integrating Ubuntu with a Windows-based network is harder than it should be

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 10.174.103.141] on December 13, 2007 10:58 PM
Full interoperability is clearly an important goal and efforts to bridge the gap between network environments with smoothly operating tools would be great. But a different network environment for each operating system seems less desirable than a standardized network environment. Some may benefit from keeping their user-base isolated through non-cooperativity in design/standards though. It's more difficult for a pack member to stay with a "leader", than it is for the "leader" to stay with him/herself. So separate networks will require continuing effort toward solutions. Much of the well-written article cites Linux interfacing with Windows network/servers/software as incomplete - which it is - but it's worth noting that Windows interfacing with Linux network/servers/software is almost non-existent. I realize the issue is movement from Win to Lin, but the disparity in this 2-party interaction warrants consideration of which better supports end users.

Different points/experiences:
1) How would a migration from a Linux environment to a Windows environment compare with respect to interoperability? Are many features you cited specific to the Windows environment/implementation such that similar difficulties (or more) would arise from the alternate perspective? How well does Win Office handle documents from other office packages? Most of the time, not at all.
2) I often have issues with MS PPT not maintaining text formatting when pasting, and MS PPT on Win vs Mac is a perpetual headache, even though a single company provides both PPT versions.
3) Graphics in Calc appear considerably better than Excel to me, but as someone who always uses specialized graphics programs for work, my standards appear to be higher than most. Calc is closer to satisfying than Excel though.
4) Which is more sophisticated: A system that works with itself but not others, or a system that works with itself and others imperfectly?

Just a perspective...

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Good point

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 76.203.38.218] on December 13, 2007 10:58 PM
The weakness of Linux is in the apps. Try setting up a Linux environment that has the same features as a Windows environment, and it will fall short. I also think you're right when you say that Linux should integrate easily into a Windows environment, since, even though we may not like it, it is a major part of our lives. I wish more people would work on developing the software that really matters, such as Openoffice.org. At the current rate of development, it will never reach the level of MS Office. We get lots of different distributions with fluffy features, but it seems to me that the things that really matter to most businesses, like software for office, education, accounting, etc., often seem to be sidelined.

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Re: Good point

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 161.253.8.116] on December 15, 2007 10:01 AM
In terms of layout capability, OpenOffice Writer has exceeded MS Word. Word can't even handle captions right. I won't argue on Excel though. It's the only thing Microsoft ever did right.

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About Avaya PhoneManager

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 190.10.250.47] on December 13, 2007 11:13 PM
Did you try running the installer program for Avaya PhoneManager under Wine?

On the Wine AppDB database you link to, the shell command you issued (wine /media/disk/Program Files/...) suggests you tried to run your executable directly from the installation found on the Windows partition. This won't work (except for very simple self-contained programs), for the same reason merely copying the entire application folder over to a new Windows machine and trying to run the same executable won't work - all the registry entries written by the installer, all the COM objects installed at c:\windows\system32, etcetera, are missing on the new system. You should try running the installer on Wine (which *is* a self-contained program, or should be), and then running the executable from the newly installed directory on the Linux drive. On GNOME and KDE, wine even adds a launcher to the application menu under the entry "Wine".

Now, if the installer actually fails, or the program won't run even after the installer apparently finished successfully, you should file a bug report at http://bugs.winehq.org

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

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 209.159.98.1] on December 13, 2007 11:28 PM
Are you a real professional doing this for some company rather than yourself? If so then I really don't
get the whining about the howto's. I've had to seek out and apply howto's to deal with brain damaged
things that Outlook likes to do. If you are an IT person, you are basically paid to be willing to read the
manuals.

Admittedly, Unix doesn't proceed from an intruder friendly "lets bare our knickers to the world" sort
of security model. So "browsing" NFS shares might not make as much sense as doing the same
with CIFS.

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Of course it's difficult- by design

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 12.169.163.241] on December 13, 2007 11:45 PM
The whole point of the fundamental architecture of Windows and Microsoft servers and applications is make this sort of interoperability impossible. You locked yourself into a customer-hostile, closed computing environment, and you're blaming Ubuntu? Dude. Get a grip. Your problem is not Linux, but Microsoft, which has invested literally billions of dollars into breaking standards, foiling interoperability, and pressuring hardware vendors (like your printers) to not support any platform but Windows. You haven't been paying attention for those six years of FOSS advocacy if you thought Ubuntu was going to plug into your Windows network so easily a monkey could do it.

Now. There are ways out, and the first is no Ubuntu. It simply doesn't have Windows integration tools all prefab and shiny and ready to rock. You want Xandros, which is the easiest Linux to plug into a Windows network. File and printer sharing, authentication, AD integration- it's all there out of the box.

Next, you should be replacing your servers first, not your desktops. Windows servers are crap on wheels, they do not support real standards, and by design are very difficult to use with other platforms.

If you're serious about breaking the grip of the bully, you can do it.

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

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 98.207.206.202] on December 13, 2007 11:53 PM
Logging into windows 2003 Login Server:

You say: "In Ubuntu you have to follow this guide, which is far from easy"

The same guide says "The SADMS package allows for automated joining to Active Directory through a GUI interface. http://sadms.sourceforge.net/" What was wrong with that?

Avaya PhoneManager:

Avaya PhoneManager not working with Wine really is not an Ubuntu problem at all. If Avaya doesn't see a market for it in Linux world, they have no motivation to make it work in any Linux distribution at all and it would be prudent to look for an alternative phone manager.

Setting up VPN:

Setting up VPN has always been a pain irrespective of operating system. Have you considered using Hamachi https://secure.logmein.com/products/hamachi/download.asp? If the terminal semantics are too much or undesirable, there is a GUI front end available at http://www.penguinbyte.com/software/ghamachi/ . Both work for me.

Summary:

You say: "But it would probably take me the best part of an afternoon to set up a new PC for a colleague to use Ubuntu, whilst it takes me about 30 minutes with a computer that has Windows XP pre-installed."

Isn't that just a tad skewed comparison? Setting up Ubuntu from a scratch to a clean machine versus tinkering with pre-installed Windows? Come on!

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

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 216.54.146.100] on December 13, 2007 11:58 PM
Bullsh*t. Grow up and learn!

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

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 70.221.200.195] on December 14, 2007 02:49 AM
Wow, did you learn that all on your own? Thanks for enlightening us all.

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

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 24.84.32.239] on December 14, 2007 12:50 AM
Tom Chance,

I appreciate your article. It is a pity that Ubuntu is so hard to integrate into a windows network. The truth is I don't think the Ubuntu community or Canonical really thinks it is that important to integrate into the windows network on the client. There is work to get Ubuntu servers to connect to windows networks for Hardy and there has been some talk about getting the client to work in a windows network but it's mainly been all talk and no action. The problems with other distributions is either you're going to pay a fair bit (in which case there is no cost advantage over windows) or you get a distribution that is obsolete in a year and has no security updates after that (ie fedora). I suspect your best bet is to stick with windows but try and use opensource applications as much as you can. Eventually Ubuntu may have good windows integration support or one of the other free distributions may offer longer support for security updates. By the way I use Ubuntu at home and enjoy it. However, I don't know why it has taken them so long to support naming services without having to do a series of steps. I suspect it's because the average user doesn't need to do this.




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

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 62.107.117.217] on December 14, 2007 01:08 AM

WTF, VPN hard?


Install network-manager-pptp ("apt-get install network-manager-pptp" or use Synaptic).
Click NetworkManager->VPN Connections->Configure VPN...
Click Add.
Click Forward.
Choose Connect To: PPTP Tunnel.
Click Forward.
Enter connection name and gateway IP.
Click Forward.
Click Apply.
Click NetworkManager->VPN Connections->NewConnectionName.
Enjoy.


Note: If you don't want to use the VPN connection for everything, during configuration, also browse to "routing" tab, and limit the IP's the VPN is used for.

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

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 122.148.144.15] on December 14, 2007 04:45 AM
Apparently Fedora Core lets you login using a Windows Domain Login. It has been suggested as a feature in Ubuntu but not offered yet.

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

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 203.122.234.143] on December 14, 2007 06:14 AM
Ok I'll bite. First off you explain that licensing is only a small percentage of the cost of the software. The main issue is support right ? then you say initially Linux support costs will rise but after that it's hoped that it will decrease ? So if licensing costs aren't an issue and suse will integrate well. ...why not spend the cash ? I don't understand. You've already experienced the problems of being locked into a solution by Microsoft but your then saying your unwilling to spend any money to get out of this lock in , and instead ..you would rather continue to pay ( because you have support costs hence the reason you said you wanted to switch) money to keep being locked in.

Wha? I don't understand your logic. Surely if anything, you want to get out of being locked into a single vendor as soon as possible. if it's a choice between spending a small amount of money now, or a larger amount of money down the track (continually large support costs) , why would you not bite the bullet and pay what you need to now, so you can get away from the vendor lock in ?

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

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 82.44.126.103] on December 14, 2007 10:28 AM
Simple - because the sums required aren't small in the context of our (charity) IT budget, and small charities can't invest in the same way that a business can. You need to guarantee specific funding for the current financial year and it's very, very difficult to persuade anyone to specifically fund IT infrastructure costs, or to increase unrestricted funding that we can spend on anything, such as IT.

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

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 203.122.234.143] on December 14, 2007 06:17 AM
Yes, thats exactly right. Continuing to pay more money to be locked in, makes no sense to me either. I'd switch as soon as I could.

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

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 59.92.222.50] on December 14, 2007 07:33 AM

Reading the article is like reading a compendium of my own woes!!! I am a FLOSS enthusiast for the past 10 years & "use" FLOSS for most of my stuff these days. But am not much of a coder. I evangelize FLOSS, I have my volunteer group that sets up computer labs at schools for free & does only FLOSS. I am one of the official developers of a test management system. Etc., etc.


But am deeply grieved to see the responses. People just don't understand that in the huge organizations that we work, especially in a position that cannot influence the IT infrastructure (and thus throw out M$), we few zealots have to put up with lots of grueling stuff. Having to go through pretty arduous steps to configure authentication to AD server is too much & I haven't yet done it, for lack of sufficient time.


We are the guys who are trying to infiltrate the M$ bastions & show to the powers that be in our orgs that there are far better options than M$, but if all we get are brickbats for trying to show what needs to be improved further, its a shame.


Lets just have one aspect burnt in our minds ... if we want to have world dominance ... we need to see to it that we provide what the end users want, not what the geeks & nerds want ...which means that it is not about having the freedom to control the OS thats going to matter in the fight (though it is needed for us) ... but its the luxury of getting things done automagically thats going to win the battle finally.


aDOTpremkumarATgmailDOTcom

http://scorpfromhell.blogspot.com

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

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 192.168.10.61] on December 14, 2007 08:08 AM
Change your servers....

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Seriously wrong approach

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 82.192.250.149] on December 14, 2007 09:10 AM

The approach you are using can never work. Microsoft will make sure that nothing will ever integrate with Windows seamlessly. What you are asking the Linux community to do is to forever play catch-up with the latest obfuscated, proprietary protocol to come out of Redmond. Not only is it impossible to achieve 100% integration if you're always playing catch-up to a moving target, but also, trying to do so would mean we'd have no time to innovate.


There are some pieces of advice that might help you.


First: printers should be connected to a Linux or Unix server. Run Samba so that Windows machines can use them seamlessly. Print serving is much more advanced on Linux and Unix than on Windows - it's never necessary for every machine on the network to install a special printer driver for every different model of printer being used (though you can let them do that if they want).


Then, you have some major misconceptions:


One of my most common tasks is working with Microsoft Office documents.


If you want to "work with" Microsoft Office documents then use Microsoft Office on Microsoft Windows. Microsoft's file formats are designed, and regularly changed, so that nothing else will ever work 100%. The import facilities in OpenOffice are good enough if you want to convert a document once, and thereafter maintain it in the standardized, well-specified, OpenOffice format.


Another irritation with Evolution is that it doesn't understand links to files in a Windows format (bug report)


The fact that Evolution does not track every proprietary incompatibility with standards devised by Microsoft does not constitute a bug. There may be some way to get Exchange/Outlook to use standard URLs; investigate that; if there isn't, accept the fact that Microsoft spends a huge amount of money and effort designing incompatibility into its products. It really does take two to tango.

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Re: Seriously wrong approach

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 127.0.0.1] on December 16, 2007 06:45 PM
"The approach you are using can never work. Microsoft will make sure that nothing will ever integrate with Windows seamlessly. What you are asking the Linux community to do is to forever play catch-up with the latest obfuscated, proprietary protocol to come out of Redmond. Not only is it impossible to achieve 100% integration if you're always playing catch-up to a moving target, but also, trying to do so would mean we'd have no time to innovate."

AMEN!

"First: printers should be connected to a Linux or Unix server. Run Samba so that Windows machines can use them seamlessly. Print serving is much more advanced on Linux and Unix than on Windows - it's never necessary for every machine on the network to install a special printer driver for every different model of printer being used (though you can let them do that if they want)."

Alternatively, if you have the power to do so, you can make it mandatory that the Windows clients have the Bonjour client installed. Easy cheesy, can connect to Cups, and also works with any modern networked printer.

'If you want to "work with" Microsoft Office documents then use Microsoft Office on Microsoft Windows. Microsoft's file formats are designed, and regularly changed, so that nothing else will ever work 100%. The import facilities in OpenOffice are good enough if you want to convert a document once, and thereafter maintain it in the standardized, well-specified, OpenOffice format.'

Again, amen. Plus, I don't buy that argument that people NEED 100% compatibility with Office. Do some minor conversion on your end, save it as ODF once, and if you need to do document interchange, 99.9% of the time you'll be better off sending a PDF anyway. PDF is an interchange format. A .DOC is not. And the final reason I don't buy that argument about needing 100% compatibility is that, back when WordPerfect was king, MS obviously didn't need 100% perfect WPD support to steal the market, and ditto for Lotus 1-2-3.

"The fact that Evolution does not track every proprietary incompatibility with standards devised by Microsoft does not constitute a bug. There may be some way to get Exchange/Outlook to use standard URLs; investigate that; if there isn't, accept the fact that Microsoft spends a huge amount of money and effort designing incompatibility into its products. It really does take two to tango."

The thing I find astounding is that a KDE PR person isn't pressuring the powers-that-be to switch from proprietary Exchange to something free like Kolab ( http://www.kolab.org/ ), or isn't looking at installing Kubuntu and using the Kontact Exchange plugin, which will support Exchange 2000. Kubuntu is my distro of choice, and for KDE users, it's as wonderful as Ubuntu is for GNOME users.

And I agree with several others and add that this seemed like far too shallow an analysis and more of a bitchfest about how GNOME isn't chasing Microsoft's tail fast enough. We get enough of those from ZDNet; let's hear some real analysis.

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

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 78.40.247.133] on December 14, 2007 10:06 AM
Spectacular point missing.

Go right back to square 1. Watch Revolution OS. Consider WHY proprietary systems are difficult to integrate with. It's supposed to be easier for you to buy the solution.

You represent a charity, but choose to use proprietary formats which cost you money.

How on Earth are you justifying using anything but free and open systems and formats to begin with ?

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

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 82.44.126.103] on December 14, 2007 10:26 AM
Thanks for all the helpful tips. Quickly to respond to some comments...

Investing in migrating the servers, better support, etc. I completely agree, in theory. The problem that I face is a charity IT budget - it's extremely tight so it will take a lot of work to justify any short term increase, even if it _might_ offer long term savings. I need to prove the benefits and then find some funding. An additional issue is that there are lots of companies in south London who offer support for a Windows network, but very few for Linux/BSD/etc. so I have to find them all to convince management that we're not getting ourself into an uncompetitive market.

I'm too thick, missed this step, etc. - if a free software advocate and user of 6 or so years struggles, what hope does the average IT staff in a small business or charity have? Not every organisation has a team of qualified UNIX engineers on hand!

Microsoft lock in - Again, all true, my article isn't intended to say "Linux is hopeless" but simply a detailed account of the problems and joys that *Ubuntu* presents when trying to interoperate with various Windows technologies. I hope it is useful both to developers and others in my position!

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Did you look for support?

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 82.192.250.149] on December 14, 2007 12:42 PM

there are lots of companies in south London who offer support for a Windows network, but very few for Linux/BSD/etc


That's strange, I got 4000 hits when I searched Google. There are even 6 London support companies specializing in Ubuntu listed
<a href="http://www.ubuntu.com/support/commercial/marketplace/europe">here</a>

.

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Re: Did you look for support?

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 82.44.126.103] on December 14, 2007 01:10 PM
Why do so many comments assume that other people are complete idiots? Frankly if you've ever worked in IT, or indeed any position of responsibility, you'd know that a Google search tally is completely meaningless. I'm looking for something quite specific to match our budget and support needs. I've gone through various directories and used the excellent Open Source Consortium and so far I have a list of three companies who might fit the bill.

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Re(1): Did you look for support?

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 68.99.93.211] on December 14, 2007 03:05 PM
Some of the people saying its so easy should come to your office for NO COST and help you out for a day . Showing you how to do it. If anyone wants to take over anything there must be unity. It sounds like your charity would like to convert, but currently do not know how. I hope you continue researching and post another follow up article when you are successful.

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Absolute and perfect integration with Windows will never happen

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 81.129.103.60] on December 14, 2007 10:26 AM
An earlier post nicely explained things - 'Seriously wrong approach' - December 14, 2007 09:10 AM.

99.9% of issues that other Operating Systems and products have with integration is entirely due to Microsoft deliberate policy of non co-operation, obfuscation, and breaking de facto standard compliance through proprietary extensions. If you use Microsoft you are tying yourself to an organisation which will make damn sure you never leave.

Truly open standards and product is the answer. However be wary, in the past many customers have been fooled by Microsoft deliberate policy of embrace, extend and extinguish. As a consequence, customers have ended up tied to a proprietary and closed solution which only Microsoft can fully support and was too prohibitively expensive to move away from.






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

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 72.206.122.74] on December 14, 2007 02:25 PM
While I echo some of the comments about MS is set up to prevent interoperability, and it has been demonstrated in court, I think the crux of the matter is the statement of trying to integrate an Ubuntu machine into a Windows network.

First, Ubuntu is not the only or necessarily best Linux distro out there. many distros are "geared" to fill certain niches, so trying out different istros may help you find some ready-made tools not in other distros.

More importantly, you refer to your network as a windows network..

Coming from an old LAN tech POV, NO network should ever be described a s solely relying on one vendors protocols, etc for operability. This limits the extendability of the network and closes off future integration based on tech development which is ALWAYS in flux.

One of the best things to come with the advancement of GNU/Linux is the idea of open standards.

By basing your network and operations on open standards, rather than proprietary, single source vendor standards, you open your network to growth and easier interoperability. For example, instead of saving documents as MS .doc, you save them as pdf or open document format, allowing for a variety of wordprocessors to use the same documents.

NFS is not really that hard but is really only beneficial in Linux/Unix only environments. SMB (SAMBA in Unix/Linux) is much more "open" and flexible for using across a network with a variety of hosts using different OS's. Not necessarily "easier" to set up, but it allows for a broader spectrum of users.

I come from a background trained as a Novell tech, back when MS was still in DOS and early 3.1 stages. In every shop I worked in, those with the most experienced Admins insisted on keeping networks as "open" as was possible and allowable. They knew back then that while proprietary systems come and go and OS systems change as the seasons, networks need to stand their ground and stay as flexible as possible to weather those changes.

It is ALWAYS bad practice to "close" a network.

Big Bear



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

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 72.237.174.94] on December 14, 2007 03:03 PM
Hey, Microsoft *always* listens to the customer, I'm sure if you let them know you need an AD client for Ubuntu they'd be happy to whip you up a deb. They'd probably release it GPL too.


Seriously, though; if you want to integrate a linux desktop with AD, you need to took at Novell's offerings or maybe Redhat. Those guys actually care about catering to Microsoft networks. I say this as a confirmed Ubuntu/MEPIS/Debian user.

Also, if you want to start bringing Linux into the network, it's not going to be drop-in. You might try starting on the server end first, as some have suggested. Linux servers can mimic Microsoft protocols for your WinXP clients, while offering you better integration choices for your Linux boxes.

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

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 128.103.187.21] on December 14, 2007 03:48 PM
This aspect of the article has not been raised before...

"If we were to migrate to free software, support costs would initially rise and training costs would be introduced"

What training costs? You mean training people to use OpenOffice instead of MS Office, Evolution instead of Outlook, Nautilus instead of Windows Explorer, Firefox instead of IE? If you really need to train your staff for migrating to these apps, perhaps you've hired the wrong people...

In my experience, people who are minimally proficient with Windows at most need a few minutes to start working with Gnome; and if they are not minimally proficient with computers, they really should not be working in an office in the first place.

Or am I misunderstanding something?

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

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 81.157.209.27] on December 14, 2007 04:10 PM
Interesting and honest article Tom. Certainly more interesting than the unhelpful and superfluous comments from the superior-than-thou, know-it-all- brigade above.

Guys, we all know that there are answers, or at least workarounds, to most problems. We all know very well that MS is a monopoly and has a piss-poor attitude to interoperability, etc., etc., etc., Instead of wasting your energies (and other readers' time) on condescending scorn and reiterating well-understood facts, why not put your superior Linux knowledge to a constructive end and offer Tom some help and advice with the issues he has experienced? He and other readers get the benefit of your bountiful knowledge, you cease coming across as intemperate bores with superiority complexes, and the world is a happier place.

Cheers Tom, hope Ubuntu and FOSS in general proves useful to your organization and current setup. From a fellow South London Linux user.

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

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 204.249.105.251] on December 14, 2007 04:49 PM
I sympathize with you. I too am a long time Linux user in a Windows world. I have been in IT for over 10 years and have administered all the Microsoft stuff on the network side. As IT Manager, I too was faced with the desire to let go of MS, but I was afraid of cutting the chord, especially the AD cord. However, I now see that it can be done. Listen to the advice of those telling you to start by removing MS servers. Yes, that means eliminating AD convenience. For example, a user account will have to be created for each user on each server and changing the user password is a lot less convenient to do since it has to be done on each server independently. However, unless you have a real large number of users, this little inconvenience is worth it. There are directory service packages from FOSS friendly companies like Red Hat that you may want to look at as an alternative. They may even give you a deal if you contact them and explain your situation and the nature of your work. I would be surprised if they don't. You can keep a MS server or two for specific tasks, like the Avaya service, but file serving, print serving, web serving, email serving, should not be done from Windows.

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Phone Manager does work under Linux!

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 206.165.101.124] on December 14, 2007 04:54 PM
I've had it work perfectly with Codeweavers Crossover Office www.codeweavers.com

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

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 204.249.105.251] on December 14, 2007 04:55 PM
You don't need Samba for Windows clients to print from a Lniux server. Windows can print to a CUPS server just fine. See here:

http://www.owlfish.com/thoughts/winipp-cups-2003-07-20.html

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

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 75.175.52.253] on December 14, 2007 05:03 PM
Integrating a Linux installation into a Windows network is often not a trivial task. While those with certain character deficiencies may hurl contradictory insults in a thinly disguised attempt at self-aggrandizement, the fact remains.

An issue not addressed in this discussion is one of ethics. Most eleemosynary organizations have as a mandate the service of humankind and human society. It has been amply demonstrated that free, open, published standards advance such service. Is it, then, ethical to give money to an organization which openly abrogates such principles? Isn't the adoption of open systems a moral imperative, in this instance?

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Integrating Ubuntu with a Linux-based network is as easy it should be

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 24.244.192.130] on December 14, 2007 05:23 PM
I like the way I can right-click and share a folder, then set the permissions I want on the individual folder and know Windows-users won't be able to access my files by default. If I go into the advanced configuration mode, I know I can set up access for a Windows network, but that's more of a Windows-user issue, and I'm not worried about that. Yes, I tend to use the default "SMB Sharing" that Windows users love so much, but I also like the way I can just point my file browser to "ssh://mybox/myfiles" and it works for me, securely.

Microsoft makes your life easy, if all you do is work with Microsoft products. Venture away from their desired norm and you're toast. Hell, you'll be toast anyway if you don't have a good antivirus and anitmalware product running as a safeguard. But don't worry, you can fix that with their newest product, which is now 150% more secure!

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The infamous "Learning Curve"!

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 192.91.173.36] on December 14, 2007 06:08 PM
ALOT of work has been put in to making Linux "user friendly". Linux is the new player on the street compared to Microsoft however, and Ubuntu, newer still. To the old Windows user, these are just excuses. They want their stuff to "just work", and really could care less about what makes it work, or how. They dont want to think, they dont care about something called an Operating System; These are just irrelevant details to them. What they DO care about is productivity and the ability to get the work done that they need to, in the manner they are accustomed/trained to do them. In this area specifically, Linux fails, and probably always will, because its nigh impossible to make the paradigm shift that would be required. These people were brought up in a Microsoft world, and have been fed a daily diet of Microsoft products since birth, or shortly thereafter. Its like asking them to stop eating! Ask them to try a new Operating System which will give them true software freedom and some rights, and they look at you like your asking them to commit suicide! And usually treat you likewise thereafter too.

The only answer here is to break the chains Microsoft has created by forcing schools to introduce Open Source software alternatives at every opportunity, and to teach them as well. This really is the same thing as Religious freedom, and Freedom of Expression, and should be handled thusly. Anyway, to the OP issues above, yes, there will always be "issues" and a learning curve involved whenever you introduce Linux into a Microsoft dominant environment, and this is to be expected. Microsoft has no desire to allow Linux to interoperate with Windows, unless you pay them. Try SuSe or Linspire or Xandros, as they have paid their racketeering fee, and so those distros should have much less of a problem integrating. RHES should also have fewer issues, as Red Hat has put alot of work to make it so, without violating the principles of Free Software, as the former dupes have. You can also get support for Canonical for your Gutsy install, if your willing to pay for it. Other than that, there ARE free solutions for all your issues on Ubuntu Documentation and on the Forums.

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Mixed networks are never seamless

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 71.98.248.166] on December 14, 2007 06:58 PM
The article shows what one user encountered when attempting to use Ubuntu in a Windows network. The user obviously tried many different things and had some success but is running with reduced functionality. This is typical when using a mixed environment. OSX server with Windows clients is not very printer friendly, unless you have good postcript drivers, you'll have to jump through some hoops to make Windows clients print. Windows clients have a difficult time when connecting to NFS, basically not even worth the effort, since stability of XP degrades when connected to NFS (my experience). The smoothest mixed environments are Linux servers with Linux/Mac and Win clients.
15 years of IT speaking : (

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YOU LINUX MORONS ARE CLUELESS

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 75.70.78.223] on December 14, 2007 07:13 PM
YOU LINUX MORONS ARE CLUELESS

The author of this article makes some good points about his real-world office environment. Then the Linux morons (who cannot write a complete sentence or spell common words) begin their clueless rants.

They start their "forum talk" and denial of just how bad the Linux desktop is in 2007. They defend their lack of documentation (Docuwenshon? Wot dat?) and really bad, broken applications, installers, etc.

I'm a computer science student and have been using Linux for years, thinking it will improve. But it's not getting any better, and in fact it's getting worse. Linux is nothing more than a Third World junk OS.

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

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 216.215.4.11] on December 14, 2007 07:38 PM
I find it sad and funny that everyone is willing to blame a single company for all their troubles. Especially when you act like you know everything about them, yet know NOTHING. Example: Microsoft....most of you hate Microsoft because you actually have to pay money for the OS, or because they are a large corporation. Big deal, they are a company out to make money, but we ALL are guilty of wanting that. Others hate the whole Linux thing because they love Microsoft fanatically, or they didn't like one particular version of Linux, or whatever. In that case, so you didn't like just one thing and weren't willing to try another to see if there's a difference? The simple reality is you ALL are wrong in doing that, and the companies and groups that work on the OSes and applications are wrong also. They all want their own products to control the market exclusively, and as a result refuse to make products that actually work together seamlessly. That's all there is to it.

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

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 81.157.209.27] on December 14, 2007 08:06 PM
Oh dear. The teenagers from digg have arrived. </sensibleDiscussion>

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Infotec printer driver

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 68.187.156.206] on December 14, 2007 08:33 PM
You can download Infotec drivers from here: http://openprinting.org/show_printer.cgi?recnum=Infotec-ISC_2525

Installing driver is easy: Press "Install driver" button when asked for a driver and then choose a ppd file.

If you have a Linux server, you can install this driver on it and share it. All other Linux machines will automatically see and recognize it. This feature acutally works much better than Windows printer sharing.

There is no custom driver for Okidata printer in the database, sorry.

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Integrating Ubuntu with a Windows-based network is harder than it should be *for end-users*

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 199.81.64.54] on December 14, 2007 09:36 PM
The title of your article left off two words, which I've added to the modified subject line above.

Your entire premise is that, boo hoo, Ubuntu is hard for non-techs to integrate into MS-Windows networks.

Did you ever stop to think that maybe it *should* be difficult for end-users to monkey around with computer networks?

Duh!

It is this mindset that you've put on display in this article that has made the propagation of poorly written "applications" so widespread. The "Gee-I-don't-need-to-hire-real-programmers-because-I-can-write-what-I-need-in-Visual-Basic-myself" crowd is fast learning that they can't really do it very well, or as cheaply, as they could if they spent the up-front money on experienced developers.

It is this same mindset ("Gee-I-don't-need-real-network-admins-because-I-know-the-system-password-to-the-server-myself") that is gonna keep you locked into the expensive and low-quality network that is Microsoft Server.

When you get *experienced* and *trained* sysadmins (not some "writer cum sysop") you don't have the problems you've outlined here. Those are the guys who are smart enough to know that you start integrating Linux into any network through the Server side - not the client side.

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

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 10.174.103.141] on December 14, 2007 09:37 PM
The effort appears to be one-sided.
This discussion has moved off topic, of course, but targets the basis for the issues Tom cited when digressing into assigning fault. Most wouldn't decry an honest company for requesting reasonable payment for a good product that is provided without restrictions or coercion. It's when a company aggressively manipulates the market to eliminate competition toward their benefit at the expense of all other parties, including the customer, that many cry foul. Commercial interests exist in the Linux world without major objection and users can always make Free choices if they want to work independently.
The statement about a "Third World OS" is more poignant than the speaker intended. What OS will the exploding population of users in the economically less-endowed portion of the planet (majority) choose?? A restrictive, expensive, uncooperative closed-source OS, or a Free open-source, no-cost, standards-compliant OS?? It's MS that should start worrying about integration issues and cooperativity, or they won't last long.

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

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 213.112.41.57] on December 14, 2007 09:39 PM
Big surprise that you have problems integrating something that is free (as in speech and beer) into an eco-system designed by one corporation exclusively NOT to play nice with anything except their own products. I'm so stunned by this insightful revelation.

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

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 213.112.41.57] on December 14, 2007 10:08 PM

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

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 71.131.208.24] on December 14, 2007 10:54 PM
Same old, same old.

Budget problems? Have you heard of time-phased incremental migration? Your charity is not going anywhere (presumably unless the funding is cut off completely.) Take five years if you have to to migrate. So what?

Either hire an IT consultant who has a clue or get a clue yourself about how to design an IT operation so that it does what's needed without using Windows. It can be done. In some extreme cases, it might even require having some local apps custom redesigned or ported to Linux. This, too, can be done on a time phased basis as funds are available.

I have a client stuck with Windows because they do digital media conversion and he requires Adobe products for which he cannot (allegedly) find a replacement in Linux. I suspect he's wrong because they really don't use every feature the Adobe products provide, and I suspect some recently developed Linux apps could replace it. Unfortunately, I'm not an expert in those apps, so I can't be sure.

But this sort of thing can be worked around either with limited copies of Windows (used for only the missionj-critical Windows apps), or serving the apps up via an app server (which does cost money because they require Windows licenses), or as I said, simply having the apps redesigned by someone who can on a time development basis. Or simply figure out a way to use the less capable Linux apps in such a manner that the problems are overcome (again, not something you have to do this week.)

One advantage of OSS is that the apps and tools are usually capable of being glued together more easily than proprietary apps via scripting languages or simply by using standard data formats. This makes it possible to create systems that work around the limitations of given apps. It takes a little time and smarts initially to do this, but once done, the scripting can make the result almost automatic and even more effective than a commercial app because it solves the precise problem needed to be solved.

Everybody wants to migrate in thirty days or ninety days or six months or even a year. Why? Take your time, do it right, and you will solve your problems.

By the way, I agree with those who realize that Ubuntu is 1) not really for first time users despite the claims; there are too many bugs and things that fell through the cracks, and Canonical has a rep for releasing system utilities and tools that are not ready for prime time end users; their QA simply isn't as good as, say, Novell; 2) is not necessarily as well developed for deployment in enterprise environments as the larger corporate distros such as Red Hat and SUSE which are designed for that environment. If you can't afford Novell Desktop, just get openSUSE which is free, comes loaded with everything, and can be integrated just as well as Novell's other products.

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

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 192.85.47.2] on December 14, 2007 11:15 PM
If you are planning to interoperate Linux with Microsoft, then read on. If you are planning to interoperate windows with Linux, then see nowhere, because it just works - Since linux is built on Standards no hidden or Linux ONLY standards.
First thing to do is identify all non standard (I really mean it) and should be replaced by standard. It does not matter whether in future you will be going to Linux/Mac or even Windows. Two years from now, you can see 'How to integrate Vista Server with XP desktop" Because Microsoft will make it difficult, so everyone is forced to use Vista. Think - Can you put a Windows 9x on your current network?
I have read somewhere that I don't recall exactly where, if you use Microsoft word document, then that document is owned by both you and Microsoft, because you have to pay Microsoft to read that document. Compare that to HTML or XML or ODF, the standard is published and any browser/application can render that document.

Once you are in the land of Open Standard, then think which distro to pick. You pick the distro by the feature and convenience and not by interoperability. Inter-operability is not a feature in linux, it is the core.

If a thing does not work well under linux, then evaluate the alternative of that thing.
Linux is trying hard to cope up with Microsoft and vendors to compromise (inter-operate) - ndiswrapper for example.

The goal should be Open standard, if you have money and willing to waste it, then you are good to go with Vista or any future Microsoft product. Product selection should be choice not a solution.

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Too little savings

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 128.95.115.179] on December 14, 2007 11:24 PM
18% savings is too little to worry about given all the hassles. Stick with Windows.

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Re: Too little savings

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 24.36.3.207] on December 15, 2007 02:07 PM
18% savings? This sounds like an implementation-based number. Usually I'd take the time to dig up the numbers on this, and quote references, but this is really peripheral to the article. The end-user had a bad experience; Ubuntu needs to work on that and Microsoft should play nicely. As for the savings, what happens a few years down the road, if you've stuck with Windows, when you've had to upgrade your antivirus, antimalware, office suite, operating system, RAM, Hard Drive, etc.? (aka, buy a whole new computer because what Microsoft wants you to run won't shoehorn into your current setup). With any Linux-based option, you always have the ability to continue using the product and experience upstream advances without having to fork over additional cash. Upgrading your RAM is always a good way to boost performance, but if the workstation you have works now, it will continue to work years into the future. That just won't happen in the Microsoft world.

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

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 99.237.46.58] on December 15, 2007 10:16 AM
<quote>18% savings is too little to worry about given all the hassles. Stick with Windows.</quote>
Freedom is more important than monetary gain. However, 18% is worth the migration hassles that's a lot of cash. Now naff off you Microsoft shill, hope Redmond pay you a lot of money for peddling that rubbish.

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Integrating Ubuntu with a Windows-based network is harder than it should be (because Microsoft wants

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 24.36.3.207] on December 15, 2007 02:14 PM
There are other ways to authenticate against ADS posted on the Ubuntu site. https://help.ubuntu.com/community/AlternativeActiveDirectory is one option, and (if you can follow the basic scripts) works well and is very flexible. Most of the problem lies with Microsoft making it difficult to authenticate. If they'd simply provide Kerberos tickets, the method you've used would work like a charm. The method I've mentioned at least allows you to "simulate" the ticket and reuse that single sign on privilege.

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

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 24.210.234.203] on December 15, 2007 02:39 PM
If you're having issues integrating Ubuntu into an AD environment, perhaps you should try OpenSUSE. You can set it to authenticate against AD right in the install routine. Very trivial to accomplish.

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It goes both ways

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 66.92.128.124] on December 15, 2007 11:57 PM
I've worked in an office where Unix/Linux and Macs were integrated together just fine, and it was the occassional MS Windows user who would be unable to connect to printers, etc. and who would complain. It's not a matter of which OS is better but rather your perspective.

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

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 24.175.78.74] on December 16, 2007 06:46 AM
I can sympathize with the original author.

I have been integrating Linux and open source into a small company for years.

Replacement of MS servers went okay. Except for print servers. Always have problems with connections when using Samba print servers and could never get Samba print servers to dole out the drivers like I can with MS servers. Using LDAP and Samba as a replacement for PDC works fine.

Firefox and thunderbird have been accepted and work just fine in 50% of the cases. Biggest problems are with apps that integrate with Outlook.

OpenOffice has never worked out. Mainly because of what the author discussed or alluded to, OpenOffice files cannot be shared and opened by more than one person at a time. Until that little problem gets solved I don't think that it will ever get beyond a nice app for single users. I have heard the arguments that this type of work should be done with a database. Well here are the simple facts I know. There are a lot more people out there that can edit and format an Office document than there are people that can set up and integrate/maintain/update an interface to a database. [If you've never gone into MS Office and disconnect people from a file or see who has the file open then you don't know what I'm talking about, this isn't simply sharing a file on a server]. Until OpenOffice gets this figured out, I don't see it taking a lot of market share, except here in my home office.

As for Linux networking, you've got to be kidding me if you think that NFS is the answer (Maybe NFS4). But for secure documents in a medium office environment Samba and linux permissions can be tedious an inadequate. Most executives can't understand why it is so difficult to have a share //Computer/Department/SubDepartment/Specialty that can't be secured so that everyone can have access to Department but only 5 people can have access to Specialtly. It can be done but in a Windows/Linux environment it is rather tedious. It's hard enough to explain how to do it in a straight Windows environment, but then try to explain to someone how to do it in a Windows/Linux environment.

I wish zeolets would just wake up to the realization that the Windows/Linux/Mac environment is not going to go away, everyday new apps come out with strictly Windows capability, frustrates the hell out of me sometimes but that's the way it is.

We just have to keep pluggin away and hope that we can build a better and easier to operate mouse trap.

I use Linux at home and do my work and development on Linux, because I got tired of having to work on the OS, pay for antivirus, antispyware when I just wanted to get something else done. But there are still a lot of people that require Windows to run the applications that they need for their work. For me I use Vmware and soon Xen for those MS apps. I can't even get away from it entirely.

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Got to give Microsoft some credit

Posted by: Joe Barr on December 16, 2007 04:07 PM
Maybe those millions of dollars they have spent researching and finding ways to make sure no competing platforms can easily interoperate with their own platforms on a network are paying off. The betrayal of Kerberos, two decades of US antitrust suits, the EU, and other cases have been largely over this very issue. Microsoft does not want Linux, or any other platform, to be easily integrated. It's how they defend their turf.

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Playing to their weaknesses

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 68.81.156.99] on December 16, 2007 09:03 PM
First - I think it's always useful to try and give constructive feedback, even if not every issue is necessarily going to be resolved.

That said, underlying your problem is that you are playing your operating systems to their weaknesses. Linux's Unix roots made it strongest as a server OS first, and it is only fairly recently becoming a fully viable Desktop environment. Windows started on the Desktop, and my option about it's server viability is a little biased.

That said, the company I work for went for the servers first, and may or may not do all the desktops eventually. What you're describing seems fundamentally backwards: I can't imagine anything being more headache prone then trying to set up an office with Windows servers and Linux desktops.

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

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 203.26.178.133] on December 17, 2007 04:09 AM
Tom,


Don't be put off by some of the childish responses you have received on this forum. If I were an outsider to the world of Open Source, I would be put off by the venom and distinct lack of helpfulness shown here.


People here need to understand that when a individual or company are thinking about making the move away from proprietary software, they need support. You could not show the above responses to a CIO as proof that his IT infrastructure will be in good hands.


Having said that, try not to be discouraged. There are a lot of professional Open Source advocates out there who have gone through puberty.


In your situation I would start looking at alternative distributions that are more in tune with corporate thinking. Someone here suggested Xandros, another OpenSuse. There are also free re-compiles of Red Hat Enterprise that would be worth looking at.


You may find (no promises) that your printer drivers are more likely to be supported as well.


Exchange server support within Evolution definitely needs more work. I have usually just used the webmail client from within a web browser. This is especially true of accessing e-mail across a VPN connection.


If you have certain software that does not work under Wine, and there is no Linux equivalent, you may like to look at a Citrix based solution. Whilst not open source (or cheap) there is a Linux client and it will cut down on your implementation time.


Richard

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

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 127.0.0.1] on December 17, 2007 06:22 AM
"I tried to stick a Mercedes-Benz engine inside a Toyota car, and it doesn't fit!!!"
How surprising.

A lot of people have said it already: TOTALLY WRONG APPROACH!
Start from the servers, look for open standard products that can substitute what you currently have, and fully support mixed Windows/Linux clients.
OpenVPN, Asterisk, Samba, NFS, Citadel/Zimbra/Kolab. Whatever.

You first need to migrate your services to get out of your current vendor lock-in. THEN you can start migrating clients.

Going the other way is guaranteed to give you all those headaches.

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Integrating Ubuntu with a Windows-based network is not hard at all

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 202.1.119.216] on December 17, 2007 07:36 AM
Best solution?

(1) get rid of the Windows servers.

(2) Use alfresco or zimbra or openxchange for collaboration
http://www.alfresco.com/
http://www.zimbra.com/
http://www.open-xchange.com/header/home.html

Alternative solution?

Use Likewise:
http://www.centeris.com/

VPN is not a problem.

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Re: Integrating Ubuntu with a Windows-based network is not hard at all

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 24.73.100.98] on December 17, 2007 12:55 PM
Get real. What idiot in a enterprise environment would ditch their investment? Not the smart ones that want to keep their jobs. Enterprise Linux (SLED10) works seamlessly in a windows environment.

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

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 90.194.204.5] on December 17, 2007 11:25 AM
I think that integrating Linux into a windows network is always going to take a small amount of brainpower, or effort on the part of the sysadmin, and here's why.....

Samba - the folks at M$ don't release source code so the samba guys have had to reverse engineer everything about how windows network sharing works. They've done an awesome job! And the Linux networking is really awesome once you get the hang of it. Just take a look at X over ssh!

Exchange..... pfft! Exchange isn't a good solution even for experienced windows sysadmins. It is one of those M$ products that seems to have been designed to keep administrators busy.

Printers - Yes linux doesn't work with some printers, the reason is normally that the manufacturer didn't write a linux driver. All your printers that 'just work' in windows are not because windows is better but that the manufacturer wrote a driver for windows when they released the printer.

For me, Linux is better. If it doesn't seem that way to you. Then I'm sorry cos you're missing out on some really good stuff. Just because it seems hard (poor babies) when you first give it a try.

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SUSE Linux Enterprise Desktop

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 24.73.100.98] on December 17, 2007 12:53 PM
IS FREE SOFTWARE. It's licensed under the GPL (primarily) and you can download it at NO COST. If you want an automated update mechanism and full support, all you need to do is chalk up $50. Wait...register it for FREE and you get full support for 90 days!

You turn it on and SLED 10 SP1 will FULLY integrate with Windows networks seamlessly. It's not hard. Novell has been doing it for decades. PLLLEEASE.

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Start with the servers

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 129.240.235.122] on December 17, 2007 12:53 PM
I have to agree that the most sensible thing to do, as demonstrated successfully by many people, is to migrate the servers away from Windows first. Once you have control over your infrastructure, rather than having Microsoft's products dictating all the terms, you'll find that the Windows clients can happily work with Samba, and with various e-mail and collaboration solutions. If it's done right, the migration could probably be done almost transparently, or at least with no more effort than I've seen when people have been horsing around with Exchange Server migration.

And as you're a KDE person, Tom, why not drop Evolution and run something like Kontact instead? That'll save you a load of hassle, too.

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

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 161.12.7.4] on December 17, 2007 01:07 PM
Jesus.
How long did it take to 'investigate' this whole thing?

You did minimal research into the best Linux for the job (as another commented - Fedora (redhat) or Suse (opensuse) - and maybe mandriva?), you didn't mention CUPS - which I would have thought by default first using a windows SMB-shared printer.
Windows users should be able to use kerberos authentication which should again be able to set-up via GUI.
KDE (konqueror) allows me to fool about with EXT3 ACL's, I don't know how it would treat SMB ACL's - but I know that GNOME hide's alot of stuff from the user.

To write an article like this, you need to be willing to invest in two months MINIMUM of investigating linux *integration* ..

If **YOU** have ever been in IT before, **YOU** would realize that changing or introducing new platforms into an existing network needs planning, investigation and time. Things will never be 100% and you need to fine-tune a method.

Hell - I've been in the business for 2 years as a unix admin and I know this already - what are you, just out of college with an A+ or MSCT certification?

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Charity? - hahaha

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 81.30.249.67] on December 17, 2007 02:45 PM
I thought,that charity haven't money for things like Windows 2003 Server and others.They use money for charity not for Windows,Adobe,... SW or own ICT section.Right charity uses old HW and SW.Your webpages looks like another machine for money from budgets from EU,OSN,.....

The "Env" is in focus now :-/ Big conferences are way to policy,not to help planet.

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

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 65.89.103.130] on December 17, 2007 04:02 PM
Whoever questioned ditching an investment a few posts up must not have worked in IT for very long. With MS you can almost plan to ditch some investments just to keep up with MS. Take for example ASP which was ditched for ASP.net. If you want to keep up with the system thats currently supported you would need to ditch a whole codebase and write it all over. Ditching server OS investments can save you money.....why keep paying money simply because....you originally paid money.

Anyway I believe in those that have said move your servers to an open standard. What I don't understand though is why software vendors have not caught on to this idea as well. Relying on MS as your base is like riding a nuke. You never have full access to their system and they can steal your idea, integrate it into windows as only MS can and run away with your consumer base over night. Why not build on a platform where you have the full ability to integrate seamlessly. Your products could work much better and you don't have some company waiting for you to build up the base and then cut you out of the market.

As for linux/windows integration I do not believe the linux community should focus on this due to the same reason above. MS will cut them out of the market time and time again and time will be wasted on integration rather than development of products and features. If you want to crack the market then start coming out with "must have" features. Use the openness of the community as an advantage and build things to rival what MS has to offer rather than mimicking. When you have enough features up your sleeve that MS doesn't then more people will start to notice.

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

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 86.1.162.181] on December 17, 2007 06:02 PM
For the ignorant who don't know what Linux network is. Linux doesn't turn on insecure network services by default, because it is "Internet Ready", rather than assuming it's in a safe LAN.

Just as an experiment, I used GUI from scratch to import directories via NFS, on Open SuSE. I install nfs-server packages + GUI management, export 2 directories. Then on client system in GUI go to NFS client and import them. The whole exercise took less than 6 minutes from reading this tripe, in the feedback.

These directories appear as if they're local, the lusers don't have to know where they are, or browse in shares, or know that the stuff is in the "P:" drive or anything. So it's a 1 off cost, yes I had a clue and knew to look for NFS, but rather than pushing out the effort to end-users, the admin does it once, which makes the system far better to manage, as servers change and data gets migrated transparently.

No CLI needed, no magic, just very simple. And by the way, the firewall options were integrated into the GUI dialogue, so I had a big hint about security, when doing this.

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

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 204.249.105.251] on December 17, 2007 07:46 PM
Linux needs a free, easy to deploy, easy to use directory service. And no, I don't think LDAP meets that criteria.

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

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 75.186.10.163] on December 20, 2007 01:03 AM
Just remember, Microsoft invented Active Directory based on LDAP. There are, Open Source, easy to use, GUI front ends for LDAP. Microsoft did it; what would make anyone think that no one else could?

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

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 78.149.125.251] on December 17, 2007 08:29 PM
You're not going to encourage folks in your office to move to Linux desktops. People don't like change.

Focus on the backend.

Get rid of your ropey Windows servers and replace them with Linux, Samba and OpenLDAP. Don't forget to back-up your content. ;)

Let the Windows monkey's keep XP.

If you can't do it yourself get somebody to help you.

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

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 74.139.253.139] on December 18, 2007 07:54 PM
Holy crap. The responses from people who have clearly never worked for a non-profit are mind-blowing.

Listen, people, here's how IT works in a nonprofit:

the geekiest guy in the office is the IT manager/network admin/system admin/dba/etc/etc/etc. On top of his normal job. When something breaks (and only when something breaks) he fixes it.

The author clearly wants to move his company to an open source model, which makes a lot of sense, from a philosophical perspective, for a non-profit.

The easiest way to start down that road w/o breaking everything for everybody else, causing 3 days of down time while you scramble to put things back where they were, make your boss mad and turn him off on open source forever, or spending 3 months and then who knows how much money that your organization doesn't have on servers that replace servers that are performing just fine right now, is to put Ubuntu on your laptop and start using it at work.

it's not perfect. it's not a massive change, but it begins to open the door. Sure, replacing the servers is the best way to go, but unless you've worked in a 4-person office, and wondered if you were going to paid all your salary this month or not, don't go telling me that 'you should just replace your servers.'

The article then describes how the author, having done what he could, ran into some problems, how things didn't 'just work.'

Not suprising, considering the state Linux is in right now (ie. on the upswing, but still not quite ready for primetime on the desktop), but a good case study.

Thanks for the article. I enjoyed it. You angry Linux zealots need to spend more time at the command line...you'll be less irritable that way.

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Compatibility isn't just a Linux-Microsoft problem; it's also a Microsoft-Microsoft problem

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 75.186.10.163] on December 20, 2007 12:54 AM
I work with a collegue in a very large-scale enterprise network who has been long-struggling to get his Vista Home Premium box to connect to his XP Professional box. Many of the problems I hear Microsoft Windows users (wanting to migrate to Linux) complain about, concern compatibility. Most forget that, even within Microsoft Windows, there have alway been compatibility issues. From various versions of the OS, to different versions of MS Office formats as well. If you switch from one version of Outlook/Exchange for example, there could be data loss/corruption with personal folder (.pst) formats - as just one example. The solution for some has been to just use Open Source to create/open documents, just so that they can keep compatibility within their previous MS formats. Just don't expect staying Microsoft is the magic pill for compatibility issues - it has proven that that will not solve the problem.

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

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 64.186.168.133] on December 20, 2007 02:26 AM
For most uses Ubuntu works just fine with Windows networks. At my company we use both Windows and Linux and have not had many major issues. We use SAMBA on our Linux to access our Windows shares and have not had many issues {make sure the WORKGROUPS are set properly}. We use NFS for most of our file services from Linux. My Evolution works fine with Outlook calendars and I have only had two minor printing issues with Ubuntu. For the most part it seems that printing is better supported under Ubuntu than with Windows Vista {my SO has had so many problems getting her USB printers to work in Windows}. Graphics in Ubuntu are cutting edge with both ATI and nVidia drivers. For my work MS Office is not essential. OpenOffice more than suffices for creation of documents and spreadsheets. Visually I find Ubuntu fonts and GUI much more attractive than any version of Windows. In general I consider Ubuntu one of the best OS's available for a home computer user. In our organization it has provided our developers a stable platform for the last year {before which we used Fedora Core}. As with installing any software it is recommended to be familiar with the software configuration. I just installed XP Home on a machine and have had endless problems supporting the audio chip {Realtek HD audio} which has no problems under Ubuntu. I have installed the drivers via setup from the MB support CD without success. Ubuntu 7.10 detects all devices on every Desktop and Laptop system I own.

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printers would probably be difficult under Vista as well

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 75.186.10.163] on December 24, 2007 07:29 AM
Whatever OS you migrate to will have some issues; W2K-to-XP, XP-to-Linux, Outlook2000-to-Outlook2007(.pab 's not supported 2007), XP-to-Vista... etc. But I guarantee that you WILL DEFINITELY see migration in YOUR NEAR future whether you WANT IT OR NOT. I've certainly seen MORE than my share of problems when switching OS large scale. Previous poster brought up a very valid point: everyone is having problems with print drivers in Vista(also happened with XP when it came out); still to this day, there are driver issues when migrating W2K-to-XP.

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

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 199.168.7.243] on December 27, 2007 07:32 PM
Man. There are a lot if useless comments on this page. Since I have experience trying to convert from Windows to Linux in the workplace I can attest to the issues found in the article. I don't find it that hard to setup authentication against AD, but then again I have set that up a number of times at this point. I will say that this issue is not and Ubuntu issue and is more of a suite of issues.

Years back I setup a Fedora Core 2 box to authenticate against AD. It worked well. But I had issues when it came to e-mail and the office suite. Evolution had the exchange connector, which is just OWA. And it was more of a pain than a pleasure. OpenOffice and MSOffice can open each others docs, but they are always off in some way. What really needs to happen is that someone needs to port MSOffice to Linux. That is Microsoft's only foot hold in the business world. Outside of that they have nothing. But the new hurdle is the fact that MS has Office tied so heavily into almost every facet of the OS that it is nearly impossible to move from MS to Linux. I haven't seen any mention of Sharepoint, etc.

As of this writing Windows-Linux integration is their to a point. If we are talking authentication -- yes, it works. If we are talking application integration -- well, it kind of works. Good luck to anyone trying to convert at the workplace. I usually end up seeing Linux geeks using vmware with an XP guest loaded to get their work done.

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You could try this

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 192.168.0.2] on January 08, 2008 07:45 AM
In my office, we just publish applications running on M$ servers to Linux boxes using Go-Global (www.graphon.com). It doesn't depend on Terminal Services (unlike Citrix) so it saves us a bundle.

This arrangement works quite well for us and there are no integration issues.

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

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 211.31.225.116] on February 20, 2008 01:54 AM
honestly I am heartened by your story... It tells me that things are a lot less painless than they used to be. Hopefully things will get better... Good luck with further investigations

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