Windows 2000 server & XP desktop replacement with Debian

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Windows 2000 server & XP desktop replacement with Debian

Postby Newbie-user » 2006-01-21 17:02

Hi - our company is based in one site and runs with 3-4 w2k servers, on an TCP/IP CAT5 network, c50 workstations on mainly Windows XP. Most workstations run MS Office, and some other software mainly, Outlook express, AutoCAD, Sage accounts etc.

Network features are primarily fairly basic file/print services.

I am interested in replacing all MS software with Debian (maybe??) and Openoffice - basically open source instead of openly a rip off by MS!!

I'm after some very basic advice on what I should be looking for? any major problems/look out fors etc. - specifically debian on servers? debian on workstations? issues ref. software in use - namely windows based AutoCAD, Sage etc. - hardware issues - PCs, servers, printers plotters etc. Any expected costs?

Any comments would be much appreciated - and thanks in advance.

Postby clydefrog » 2006-01-21 17:50

Why not set up a test bed of one of your existing servers as a Debian server (or buy new machines of the same hardware spec), and a couple of workstations and see what you can and can't do?

The server and desktop principle is fulfilled excellently with Debian per-se, but I'm not sure how software like Sage or AutoCAD would work, although I am sure there are native linux alternatives.

Laser printers are generally well supported, certain desktop printers can be a pain, especially the cheapo rebadged ones like Dells (Lexmark-rebadge) 720. CUPS (print server) has come on leaps and bound in the last few years and works very well indeed. If you already have Office licenses, you can always invest in Codeweavers Crossover to still use this software. Openoffice still has bugs, but then again, so does Office, but I use both 1.1 and 1.9 (2.0 RC) day to day on my work's MS network and it works great.

The only expected costs I can see is potential serious hardware compatability problems, e.g. all your machines have unsupported NICs - this is unlikely, but possible, and may incur a cost.

Other than that, I can see no downsides to a decent test scenario where you can see for yourself the strengths, weaknesses and bugbears that may occur by switching your whole dept to linux. Good luck :)
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