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Linux Laptop — what’s missing

June 16, 2011

While Open SUSE is a very nice OS for a notebook computer (see previous post) I do have a list of things I know I just can’t have and that make it unlikely we’ll ever go this route for regular work machines:

IBM Lotus
Administrator and Designer clients
Quickr Connectors — SNAPP’s PandaBear does provide a partial workaround for Linux and Mac users

Microsoft Office
This is the big one. In an environment where documents are going back and forth between organizations for frequent revision this is a big obstacle. Minor reformatting might not be noticed on a finished document going back and forth between MS Office and a suite such as LibreOffice, OpenOffice or Symphony. And finished documents should go as pdf, which the free suites do very well. But when the document goes back and forth multiple times for editing even very minor differences get magnified. And the problem is made worse by limited support for the newer MS Office formats.
Yes, there are sometimes issues going between Office 2003 and newer versions, and between Mac and Windows versions. But that doesn’t change the fact, business users want their MS Office.

Cisco IP Communicator (soft phone)
It’s also not available for Macintosh.

Novell Client
This is probably a fairly obscure requirement these days, and again more for administrators than end users. Users can easily access volumes on Novell Open Enterprise Server just as they would any Windows or Samba file share.

Found in the process of compiling this list:

There’s a command line program, rdesktop, included in Open SUSE that allows you to connect via Remote Desktop to a Windows computer. Not a big deal for the average user but very important for us systems administrators. Works fine but to use it from home I still need to get a VPN client working. That’s at least theoretically available but still hunting for the right combination for my system.


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One Comment
  1. Anonymous permalink

    Notes Admin/Designer : Quite right, have to use a VM or RDP to a Windows machine.

    Office : Yeah, there are a few issues depending on scenarios.

    Novell… can’t suggest anything here.

    There are great Remote Terminal graphical tools, Remmina and there is a standard Terminal Services Client.

    VPN, depends what is used, but have used Network Managers built in PPTP, OpenVPN and VPNC (Cisco) with success before. There are others.

    Personally prefer Ubuntu. I am the other way around, use more at work than home and get more out of it at work because there are so many advantages over Mac and Windows. My new job have Macs, and it has been so far a long, frustrating, claustrophobic experience. Really miss Ubuntu.


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