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If this is not the place to ask this, please forgive this Ubuntu cub, I want to ask, what do people do with Ubuntu?

As an Ask Ubuntu user I can see that most of the users (including myself) are asking questions about entertainment related problems. Is that all? No commercial use with it? Do people make fun of Ubuntu or just pretending to be Ubuntu users and use Windows secretly?

Please don't hate me or make fun of me, I know lots of people trying to make Ubuntu even better, and I know it's better than Windows (if Adobe software just work on Ubuntu, I won't see Windows logo on my monitor anymore).

What hinders Ubuntu from getting traction in the professional field?

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migrated from meta.askubuntu.com Mar 16 '12 at 10:59

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closed as not a real question by Jorge Castro, Jjed, jrg Mar 19 '12 at 22:08

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This sort of discussion is a better fit for the Ubuntu Forums. –  Jorge Castro Mar 16 '12 at 13:20

5 Answers 5

up vote 4 down vote accepted

There are a couple of factors at-play here.

First of all, CIO's, Directors and other business decision makers (especially at big companies) suffer from what I call the "Wal-Mart syndrome." Their perception is that free (as-in beer) software doesn't cost anything, so it can't possibly be as good as something that costs thousands of dollars. We had a hard enough time convincing our management to let us use JBoss and Cassandra. I couldn't imagine trying to convince them to go with Ubuntu as a corporate desktop (although it would be really cool).

Now you might think "that's crazy, who wouldn't want something for free?" The answer is that when these CIO's and Directors have to go explain their decisions to their non-techie bosses/partners, it's easier to just say "we went with Microsoft and this is what it costs", rather than trying to explain what open source is and why it doesn't cost anything. That and to a really big company, throwing-down $10k for a software site license is nothing when they make $10 billion in sales each year.

The other big issue is licensing and support. Let's say that you have a special 3rd party desktop application that your business can't live without. You work with it and find a way to make it run on Ubuntu (with Wine, Mono, etc...). When it comes time for your company needing help with it, that vendor is going to throw the support contract in your face and tell you that you violated it by not running it on Windows.

Don't get me wrong, I don't like it either. While things are changing, all signs point to Windows remaining the standard enterprise desktop for a while.

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Just my opinion:

Most Askubuntu users are using for home/new. You can use Ubuntu for a LOT of things. If you want an idea of what people use Ubuntu for you could check the list of appliances that are Ubuntu derived. They're not as tunable and general purpose as a full Ubuntu install, but it gives you an idea of what it can be used for if configured properly. You could also check a list of Ubuntu based appliances on VMWare Market.

Everything from a Windows PDC drop-in replacement, to a development workstation, to multimedia entertainment systems. The only thing that limits the usability is knowing about configuration for any number of open source or linux compatible products. Ubuntu's hardware compatability/automatic install getting you to a desktop is what makes it stand apart.

I thought I should add that I hear in India they are thinking about switching the entire educational system to Ubuntu.

This could run on forever, but it seems to me that a lot of the corporate linux server use tends to lean towards RHEL. I'm not sure why, but it does.

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You have somewhat answered your question, most professional work depends on professional software that is not available for Ubuntu. Using workarounds like wine or a VM that will give you worse performance or lot's of problems don't make sense for a pure business view (they are more expensive/less productive than windows)

That said, I use Ubuntu for work, but I'm mainly a software developer (add a little bit of system administrator and business management to it to get the full picture), so, in my profession the best tools are made for linux.

In our company we use plenty of Ubuntu, for servers, and for the computers on our shops (they only do basic things like email, internet and use our own linux-compatible software: POS, stock management). But most of the computers in the office are windows machines, they usually need to use some program that is not available for linux.

We also use lots of windows (and even DOS) machines for computers that are attached to different specialized machines (industrial printers or paint coloring machines) as this is the OS that they support.

To summarize, in most professional uses, Windows (or Macs for design, film-making, etc...) just makes more sense.

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As a freelance writer, photographer and website designer/developer I only use Ubuntu and have for about 6 years. I've learned how to get around IE quirks and limitations on my websites. There is no compelling technical reason for me to use anything other than Ubuntu. I wish Photoshop was available on Ubuntu but find I can still accomplish everything I need to with GIMP. If a client wants a Microsoft Word format file I use Microsoft font and now Libreoffice which can save in MS formats. As to the web I have chosen to only use open standards which allow for the widest variety of devices and platforms to correctly render sites I develop.

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I guess it really matters what profession you're in. The company I work for, which is in the software consultancy business, mostly use ubuntu with a sprinkle of debian, gentoo and mac.

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