The workplace today is dominated by Windows. Many people will argue that you have to be on Windows to do work for the most part, not because it can’t be done, but because everything you typically need to do is available with software for Windows. This is very much true, all of the most popular business software is designed for the Windows market, office software, inventory software, CRM, ERP and a bunch of other TLA’s. Mostly, this is due to the fact that the majority of businesses use Windows, so it makes sense that enterprise software is designed for it. If however, a larger percentage of businesses were using an alternate operating system, a greater focus would be put into developing software for that platform.
Even though I work in I.T., as far as the corporate network is concerned, I am an end user. My company employs a Windows domain structure from top to bottom. As a lone Linux user in this environment, I decided to test the theory that I need to use Windows at work. I wanted to see if I could still perform all the functions of my job without the need of using Windows.
I started by installing Ubuntu Linux in a virtual machine on my Windows PC. Whenever I came across something I needed to do, I would attempt to do it in Linux. I found as many “windows equivalent” programs as I could to match what I was already using. LibreOffice for all my Office Suite needs, Evolution for my email (yes it works with our Exchange server); and I was also pleased to find that many of the other software I was using had their own versions for Linux, such as TeamViewer which we use for remote control.
Eventually I was pretty sure I could do most everything my job required of me using Linux. My next step was completely reformatting my computer and installing Ubuntu Linux as the base operating system. My only issue after this point was the very few (three total) proprietary software programs that will simply not work without Windows, ones that were designed by 3rd party vendors for a specific function. To combat this I had to install Windows in a virtual machine, simply the opposite of the way I started, but with much less dependence on Windows itself. I only need to access these programs a few times a day at most and typically, I only run the virtual machine for that particular task and then shut it down.
Unless you are in my office with me looking at my screen, as an employee you would never know I wasn’t using Windows like everyone else. I am able to access network resources such as shared drives and networked printers, my corporate email and attachments as well as use remote control software to assist users on help desk calls.
For me, using Linux at work has been quite successful.