back to article Desktop Linux users beware: the boss thinks you need to be managed

Desktop Linux users beware: IT has noticed you and decided it's time you were properly managed. So says VMware, which yesterday at its vForum event in China let it be know that it will deliver a desktop virtualisation (VDI) solution for Linux desktops. Virtzilla says it hasn't bothered doing so before now because so few …

  1. Number6

    My Linux VM at work uses VirtualBox, so it's currently safe from from the attentions of IT :-) Although given that when I asked for an extra machine on which I could install Linux as the base for a project, I was given one, I don't think we're yet at the "must regulate Linux" stage.

  2. marcus777
    IT Angle

    The angle is not IT, its management

    Management has traditionally wanted to micromanage everything from business metrics to work-station control; my personal belief for why many of them have stuck with Microsoft for so long (outside of the FUD campaigns) because the Windows desktop is easier for tyrants to manage.

    Enter gnu/linux and desktop freedom. Desktops should not be controlled nor managed... not necessary.

    BYOD is changing everything about the business desktop. Business should be platform independent. ... control the firewall, infrastructure, and public interface---sure! But leave the desktop alone /


    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: The angle is not IT, its management

      Many fails to understand everything your company give you to works is a company asset and the company is liable for its misuse, and no, you're not authorized to install whatever you like and use it as you like. If you don't like it, nobody forbids you to start your own company (where soon you will realize you need to manage things - properly - or they can easily get out of control), or work as a consultant with your own devices, and still, if you ever try to connect them to the network of any well managed company, they will ask you to abide to the company rules.

      BYOD is alread dead - its only reason to exist was to shift hardware expenses to the employee - but it is simply something that cannot work.

      1. Anonymous Bullard

        Re: The angle is not IT, its management

        It really depends on what your job is, I suppose.

        For example, I'm a developer and I need to be a local administrator for some stuff, to access many sites not on my companies white-list, connect using non-standard ports, use our own OS, etc.

        Draconian restrictions from corporate IT don't just hinder me doing my job, they actually prevent it. We raise the issue, the response was basically "while you're on our network, you do as we say". So we made our own R+D LAN.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: The angle is not IT, its management

        the company is liable for its misuse

        That's a recruitment problem - not IT's.

        What's next, a chain on the kettle? Bring your own bog roll? Development on Windows computers??

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: The angle is not IT, its management

          > What's next, a chain on the kettle? Bring your own bog roll? Development on Windows computers?

          Cor, do you work in the public sector too?

      3. jelabarre59

        Re: The angle is not IT, its management

        > BYOD is alread dead - its only reason to exist was to shift hardware expenses to the employee

        > - but it is simply something that cannot work.

        Someone else who realized the same thing I did. Except it's precisely because of that desire to offload hardware expenses that makes me think BYOD will hang on for quite a bit longer. You see, BYOD is an obvious and visible cost center for the brain-dead MBAs (isn't that redundant to say that), while compliance and security are afr less visible, and probably wouldn't hit until that particular manager left anyway.

    2. big_D Silver badge

      Re: The angle is not IT, its management

      It has nothing to do with tyrants. In most cases it is legal requirements.

      With data protection laws, especially in Europe, being so sharp the data has to be protected. Then there are the responsibilities for specific industries, not to mention software licensing.

      It is one of the reasons why BYOD is a non-starter in many industries and many countries.

      And our Linux desktops have been just as tightly controlled over the last decade as the Windows - better in fact, because the admins understand Linux better than Windows...

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: The angle is not IT, its management

        > because the admins understand Linux better than Windows...

        I wish ours were, I could spend more time doing my work instead of other peoples.

  3. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge

    Trad management, intellectual property exploitation underachievement for private vectored* profit?

    Quite so, marcus777.

    The revolution will not be televised, it is being virtualised. Vive la différence.

    * :-) and for the sectionable corporate sector.

    The abiding catastrophic orgasmic mistake being beautifully made, is for anyone or anything to not think, and think that the Cyber Command and Controlling Creative Domains of Advanced Intellectual Property Space with ITs Remote Virtual Drivering of Reality are in any way interdependently reliant and in needs of the feed and seed of traditional man mismanagement.

    Earth SCADA Power Systems are fully cracked and source hacked. I Kid U Not.

    Interesting times and 0days ahead, El Regers.

    1. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge

      Rad Management with Private Pirates Taking Care of Public Community Sectors?

      Hmmmm? :-) ....... An incredible document suggesting the UK lets psychopaths run the country

      Now there's a novelty which might not be anything new and noble. It is just so hard to get the right class of staff to steer the ships/ably monitor and brilliantly mentor the masses these days, isn't it.

  4. Mikel


    Over fifteen years now. Hmph.

    1. P. Lee

      Re: LTSP

      Indeed. It's like putting ms terminal server in a vm. Sure you can do it, but why? It isn't as though you can save on licensing if you need to spin it up on different hardware. Just run two (or more), for free.

      Actually, given the easy of management, why not run locally and avoid the bandwidth dependency?

      1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        Re: LTSP

        "Sure you can do it, but why?"

        I think the why is that the user can be/has been provided with a cheap thin client.

    2. big_D Silver badge

      Re: LTSP

      Exactly. We sell a production system for the food industry, mainly slaughter lines and cutting and deboning and we supply industrial terminals with no hard drives, they remote boot over LTSP and run custom touch based applications from the server.

      It makes updates etc. much simpler, and given the hard conditions (humid to wet and devices covered in blood and cleaned with industrial cleaner), LTSP makes a lot of sense - especially as the butchers tend to use the points of their knives to control the terminals, which means swapping them out regularly - just set up the MAC address of the new terminal and switch it on and they carry on as before, no software or configuration files to copy to the new terminal.

  5. Trevor_Pott Gold badge

    Sincerely, and with great happiness, THANK YOU, VMware.

    1. ssharwood

      Gee Trev. That's some serious absence of irony there. Which SPOOKS me ;-)

      1. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge

        Quit pussyfooting around with losers. Just do IT with who dares win winners.

        Here's a real spook on the right side of a cyber reformation agenda ..... and more than able to enable and lead it with IT Command and Control with Erotic Exotic Easterners rather than Wild Wacky Westerners .....

    2. Trevor_Pott Gold badge

      VDI Linux at what I am presuming at speeds over the WAN that can compete with PCoIP or RDP? It's like my birthday. I'm so happy. I might even cry.

  6. yossarianuk

    I'll wait for a KVM based solution or just use a desktop - VDI = pissed of staff also.

    We are in the middle of a migration from vmware -> KVM at my new place of work - there is nothing that would see me stop this - KVM is like linux, it may not have the most user friendly tools but it is more effective in terms of speed (IOOP's), more flexable

    VMWare is like Windows - loved by managers, nice shiny buttons - however less effective - using things like libguestfs (virt-resize) you can do things you simply cannot do with vmware - i.e say you want to expand a disk image, + FIRST partition or one not the one at the end of the disk + LVM volume size + the ext4 filesystem you do this in one command.

    As far as I can see there is no way of easily expanding a partition inside a VMware disk image unless the partition you want to expand is @ the end of the disk - even then its more hassle to do with VMware.

    VDI's are a bad idea anyway in terms of staff morale, monitoring employees will be far easier using this solution - the dev team here would probably quit if I were to implement such a solution.

  7. thames

    Connected to Reports on Chinese Plan to Switch to Linux?

    There's a recent story on other web sites that claims that China is planning to switch all the government desktop computers to Linux (distro unspecified) by 2020, with the switch going at a rate of 15% per year. Perhaps VMWare is planning on cashing in on this potentially huge market. Developing it in China would give VMWare an "in" on getting government business there.

    Some of this reported Chinese policy is no doubt purely mercantilism. Some of it though may be related to the frustration that the Chinese government has had about the poor localization and support they have been getting from proprietary vendors.

    Given the large number of existing open source management solutions for very large systems (and the Chinese government is *huge*), I'm not sure that VMWare would get a look in there. However once the Chinese government has switched to Linux on the desktop then the market in private businesses may have have lots of opportunities for VMWare if they offer something suited for the small to medium scale operations.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Thank you?

    Not so sure Trevor. See, I use Linux for working at home and Windows for working... at work.

    One of the bits that makes me like Linux so much is the freedom I have. An incredible library of tools and technologies is just an install command away from me. True, some of these require that I learn how to configure them, but it is a small price to pay for the flexibility. True, Windows or MacOS in theory can give you about the same flexibility (minus of course packages not ported to Windows or MacOS) but for Windows that has much higher security risk (when it was the last time you downloaded something from a not hugely popular internet site like Adobe, VideoLan or Microsoft and dared to install it?) AND with much higher stability risks. And for MacOS means a higher starting price AND less integration of the package manager with the OS.

    If you remove that freedom and flexibility from the equation, the end result is that I could be using Linux, Windows or MacOS and I would not be able to tell the difference except for the desktop environment. I'll be using a preset choice made by someone else. My computer will be managed the same as it is managed at work, which means I can't invoke a three liner Python to do some job, or I can't use ffmpeg or I can't install Apache, or I can't test a firewall, or run nmap or....

    So at the risk of sounding egotist, (nah, this line of thinking is actually egotist) I have to admit that I'd prefer Linux to remain a minority choice for people who can manage by themselves their own machines if that means that we can keep that freedom. If the price we have to pay for massive adoption of Linux is to have it managed like Windows, then thanks, I don't want it.

    1. Anonymous Bullard

      Re: Thank you?

      If the price we have to pay for massive adoption of Linux is to have it managed like Windows, then thanks, I don't want it.

      Me neither. Linux doesn't need to change for it to be adopted by the masses - it doesn't matter how great it is, it isn't forcibly installed on every computer you buy - so it will never be as popular.

      But anyway, there already is a massive adoption of Linux for the many niches it serves (or one niche - not a closed consumer desktop). Becoming as popular as Windows doesn't appeal to most Linux users - where nobody wants to run an OS that's dumbed down for grandma but only the technically adept can use it safely.

    2. Roland6 Silver badge

      Re: Thank you?

      > "If the price we have to pay for massive adoption of Linux is to have it managed like Windows, then thanks, I don't want it."

      Like others here (see the thread "The angle is not IT, its management") you don't get it. If Linux desktops are replace Windows desktops across the enterprise ie. put in to the hands of normal people, it needs to be managed, just like Windows is today.

      Actually Linux, with it's licensing model is an probably ideal candidate for VDI, just like it is for cloud servers...

  9. big_D Silver badge

    Central Server

    all our Linux users work over thin clients over a centrally managed Linux server (around 40 users).

    They have been working that way for the last decade or so.

  10. Andrew Meredith

    A toolkit to build an OS

    A famous person famously quipped that Unix isn't an operating system, it is a toolkit to build one of your own. This also applies to Linux. You can make it so that the user has absolutely stuff all control over the machine they're sat at, or can do anything they like. You can do this in such as way as those two examples are sat next to each other; and it's not that hard either.

    I have long thought that the only reason people don't use Linux on the desktop more today is simply that more people don't so the rest see that and also don't, and recurse.

    For my part I have been using a Linux desktop/laptop for about 15 years now and whenever I have to use a Win box for a bit, I miss it like crazy.

  11. sisk

    Currently I'm the only one in these parts allowed to have a Linux machine, and it's a technically end of life machine. To get it I had to promise to hand it over to be disposed of if it ever develops hardware issues rather than repair it. Given that I'm the IT guy that would be in charge of any Linux desktops we ever deployed (because no one else around here has the skill set for it) I think I can safely say that VDI Linux is not going to make a difference here. This place is a Windows shop. Even our server room is Windows only.

    1. Will Godfrey Silver badge

      Me Too!

      They'd like to get rid of my machine (the only non-windows one) at work as they find it scary, but over the years I've produced quite a lot of software that is running 'stuff' at our customers' places. Bit of a bummer for them.

  12. Paul

    I am wondering when VMWare they will offer a virtual chromebook desktop environment.. this would be amusing since its just a platform for running the Chrome browser... Google's version of the thin client.

    Of course, VMware could be doing all this because they realise that a chromebook as a thin client could kill off their lucrative Windows VDI market.

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    bit of both

    we have quite a few Linux users probably about 1/3 of our workforce of 150. The majority of them run virtualbox with a win7 x64 VM as well. The Linux community aren't managed as closely as the Windows users, but our Linux sysadmin's spend far more time fixing broken boxes due to user fiddling.

    And it is good to see BYOD dropping off the radar there are a lot more "actually BYOD isn't such a great idea" stories in the IT press of late, which is what lots of us grunts have been saying!

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