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I wonder if you guys can give me an impartial advise on whether if I should jump from Windows to Ubuntu. No bias to Ubuntu please.

I work in a small company with 10 pcs. The Sales department use Sage Accounting package and therefore we must have Windows running on these pcs and the main server. Other departments are mostly for documentation, email and forecasting. The dispatch department use bespoke package and web based packages (depending which couriers they talk to).

We also have one dedicated email machine that handles all sales enquiries. Our head office also insists that we use a Mac to produce product catalogue. We also have a MS ACCESS application that we link via the web to our head office in US.

So far we have a Win2008 server running MS SQL for SAGE, all pc's are Windows based.

The question is "Should we jump to Ubuntu from Windows?"

Bearing in mind that most of our staff are not very good with computers. I fear they will be even less so if we switch to Ubuntu. Apart from the cost, what are the strength and weakness of using Ubuntu in our office as compare to Window? Do we need to hire some specialist to do the support?

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closed as not a real question by bodhi.zazen, Jorge Castro, RolandiXor, Bruno Pereira, fossfreedom Feb 14 '12 at 10:15

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2 Answers 2

Welcome to Ask Ubuntu! No, you have a team of specialists willing to help right here. If Sage is essential to your business, the parts of the company that require it should stick with Windows. The other parts of the company should do just fine with Ubuntu, Ubuntu has a reputation of being built from the ground up to be user-friendly. Apart from the obvious cost savings, for more reasons on why Ubuntu is better then Windows in many cases for basic everyday business tasks, see my post at Why should my business choose Ubuntu? . Hope that helps! Leave a comment if you have any more questions.

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These are really a set of questions, but as a general recommendation, I would say that you shouldn't jump onto anything. You should investigate the opportunities and test your assumptions. Trying Ubuntu is very easy to do without any consequences. You can just put it onto a memory stick, and then you can boot it. It all takes just a few minutes. Familiarize yourself with it first, and then test it on your users.

In my experience, the less experienced users will have the least difficulties switching operating systems. After all, most of the concepts are very similar. The more experienced you are, the more the differences counts. I wouldn't expect the user experiences of Windows and Ubuntu to be a large obstacle to your users.

But from your description, your company seems very locked down into environments that themselves cannot legally be used in other environments than Windows. I would begin with replacing applications one by one, making sure that the replacements are available on many platforms. For instance, if you use Outlook for email, then you might want to see if there's a chance you could switch to Thunderbird, since it is available for both Ubuntu, Windows and OS X. Once you know that all applications are available on different platforms, then you can switch the operating system itself, and the users won't notice much of a difference.

Of course, your primary goal is to get your stuff done. It should also be a goal for you to increase your company's flexibility by reducing the platform dependency. Because there are lots of benefits of using free software. You might want to start using other types of devices, like tablets, and having a clear focus on platform independence will help in that regard as well. But don't rush into things. You should define your long-term goals and only replace things when you've tested to make sure that the replacements will get your stuff done.

You probably won't need to hire specialists. However, Canonical offers support services at reasonable rates, and they have a lot of experience with professional migrations. I would certainly recommend that you get in touch with them and see what they have to offer. It might make things very much easier for you.

In any case, I would wait until Ubuntu 12.04LTS is released. It'll be supported for five years and it's a significant upgrade from 10.04LTS. And you should stick to LTS releases, which are upgraded every two years.

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Many thanks for a quick and unbiased reply. –  Abbot Bradley Feb 1 '12 at 0:36
    
Many thanks for a quick and unbiased reply. This is the dilemma we are facing. The sales department needs SAGE and Windows. That takes up half of the pcs. So should we change the rest of the pcs to Ubuntu or just keep them as Windows? At least we will be using a single OS for the entire company. I dont want to change over just for the sake of it. There must be a big advantage for the company before we can commit to this. Alternatively, is it possible to run all on Ubuntu even for the Sales, and then load a virtual box on them for SAGE? Does it sounds right? Logical? and Practical? Abbot –  Abbot Bradley Feb 1 '12 at 0:53
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