Go Dance With A Penguin Part 1

I’ve written earlier about how prototyping with open source can save thousands of dollars and in this post I’d like to make the case that even if you’re not prototyping now is a good time to go dancing with the penguins.

As those familiar with the community know linux’s mascot is a penguin named tux.  There also also those in the community who could make the case that this post is a bit premature with the momentous events on the horizon.  I refer to ZFS and Ubuntu which might just be described as the marriage of the file system responsible for NETFLIX size data repositories with the kernel that powers more than half the world’s servers.  

You may not have any interest in running a server, but you can imagine how efficient servers have to be in order to stay competitive.  Now imagine if you can take that level of efficiency and apply it to the computer you’re working on right now.  That sluggish little machine you’ve got lying around can get a new lease on life.

For businesses this improved performance of older hardware can translate into some massive savings.  Imagine that you can extend the lifecycle of current hardware by 18-24 months?  What project have you put on the back burner?  An efficient desktop doesn’t just help at the end of a lifecycle.  In quite a few cases enterprise level IT purchasing can’t afford the latest new hardware, but with a good linux desktop they can still have a comfortable and productive working environment.

There were years when we believed the sales pitch coming out of Redmond about how bad it was to change people’s software interfaces and how much that would cost companies.  Then Redmond released Office 2007 and introduced us to the ribbon.  Later they would remove the start menu.  So much for the productivity cost of changing interfaces, right?

We can comment or organizational integrity later, but suffice it to say that interface changes don’t appear to be as costly as we might have been lead to believe.  If you can figure out how to use a smartphone you can figure out how to use any major linux desktop interface.  So when you run Linux on your desktop expect an interface change.  You’ll start calling that windows key (or the command key) the super key.  Tapping that button in a linux desktop usually does what you expect, opens up a menu that gives you access to your files.  Expect it to take some time learning where things are, but expect your machine to run faster while you’re discovering the wonderful treasures just under the hood.

What will you do with a faster machine?  Better yet, what will your employees feel about having a machine that’s more responsive as they try to get their work done?