Would your business benefit from a post-Windows world?

Following is a guest post from the Ubuntu.com blog that does a good job of explaining how "moving to the cloud" may affect your upcoming business technology strategy decisions. Given the fact that Windows XP will be unsupported by Microsoft and become a huge security risk as of April 9 2013, installing Linux instead of Windows may give those machines a new lease on life with no additional expense. Ubuntu is one our favorite "flavors" of Linux because it is easy to use, doesn't get viruses, open source, free, and runs well on older hardware.

As businesses transition to the cloud, any machine that can connect to the internet can be useful as a tool to get work done. We can help you decide if Linux/Ubuntu makes sense for your business. It can really make sense for nonprofits, educational campuses, computer labs, and others who might want to keep older machines in service for a variety of reasons. Microsoft 365 includes web versions of Office (Word, Excel, and more) so you can even keep the productivity software you're used to. Get in touch at 615-873-0387 or online to find out if it makes sense for you.

From Ubuntu.com:

How will the consumerisation of IT, or bring-your-own-device, affect the choice of desktop operating system in the years ahead?

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Along with the cloud, one of the big trends in corporate IT in recent years is the consumerisation of personal computing. Telecoms contracts have made smartphones affordable for nearly everyone, encouraging many business people to start using their iPhone or Google Android device for work. The popularity of Apple’s iPad is also forcing IT departments to start supporting and providing applications for the multitude of devices that have found their way into the office.

Once control freaks in terms of software versions and hardware specifications, IT departments are learning to live with diversity. This is having some interesting effects on the long-standing status quo.

Windows dominance under attack
On the desktop, it was assumed that Windows was the immovable object at the heart of business IT. Users’ familiarity with the system, the availability of Windows skills and ubiquitous application support all meant that Windows’ place was secure.

But with the advent of bring-your-own-device, this gospel is under attack. Suddenly business people of all types seem quite happy using a variety of operating systems. Why then stick with the same OS for the desktop? Many firms are at least considering what else it out there.

Software as a service
It would be a nightmare for IT to create different versions of applications for Windows PCs, Android devices, iPhones and iPads. Instead, there is a drive towards hosting applications in the cloud and delivering them as a service over the web or intranet.

These web apps also accommodate the strong demand from businesses for dynamic real-time collaboration. People can work together on the same documents, instead of emailing them back and forth. At the same time, software as a service helps companies exert more rigorous control over data and access to it. With a proliferation of devices, data on them can be easily lost or stolen; the risk is so much less keeping it in one place.

Developer preference may become a factor
What does this all mean for the future of the desktop? Well, if users and applications are no longer tied to a single client operating system, IT departments are free to choose one which costs less and requires less hardware investment, such as an open source Linux-based system.
Research group Redmonk suggests an early indicator of future operating system choice is current developer preference. A survey of nearly 2,000 developers using the Eclipse development environment on Linux shows that 56% favour Ubuntu on the desktop. The next closest is Fedora with just 14%.

Economics dictating desktop choice
Now Windows has to share its place in business with a number of other client operating systems, IT department can take a cold look at the economics. They are at liberty to choose a free desktop OS, such as Ubuntu. Unlike proprietary software, there is no penalty for the number of replicated images. They can launch applications, using external cloud service providers, with little or no capital investment and they can have greater control of their in-house applications.

The move away from Windows to a truly heterogeneous client environment will not happen overnight, but the consumerisation of IT is creating driving force in that direction.