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Open-Source Options for Small Business

Apr 17, 2009, 01:32 (0 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Drew Robb)

"Perhaps the easiest place to begin with open source is at the desktop. Simply add a few Linux desktops and get a feel for how it works. Most organizations can do this without consuming too much time learning or administering it.

"Unfortunately, the land of Linux can get pretty complex when you try to define all the possible choices. There are so many variants and offshoots that we decided to focus on only a handful of the more popular options.

"SUSE Linux Enterprise Desktop by Novell has a growing presence among SMBs. You can choose from a variety of subscriptions including: $50 per year per user with minimal support; $120 for a year with better support; and $220 per year for top-notch support. According to Grant Ho, a Novell product marketing manager, the software takes less than 30 minutes to install. Whitelaw Twining, a Canada-based law firm, replaced outdated Windows 98 and 2000 desktops with SUSE. This move saved the company 30 percent in hardware costs and reduced desktop maintenance time by 20 percent.

""Migrating from Windows 2000 to SUSE Linux Enterprise Desktop is no more difficult for end users than migrating to Windows Vista," said Richard Giroux, IT manager at Whitelaw Twining. “We did a little training with our users up front and have had almost no help-desk calls since."

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