back to article Businesses should dump Windows for the Linux desktop

I've been preaching the gospel of the Linux desktop for more years than some of you have been alive. However, unless you argue that the Linux desktop includes Android smartphones and ChromeOS laptops, there will be no year of the Linux desktop. But there should be. For example, as GitLab recently revealed in its onboarding …

  1. Cederic Silver badge

    preaching the gospel

    Meanwhile, in the real world, hundreds of millions of users of Windows desktops have no admin access to their systems. Very clearly the OS works perfectly capable without that being needed.

    As for Android and Chrome Books, they abandoned trying to pretend to be Windows and have been successful as a result (well, Android anyway).

    Linux will be far more compelling when it supports business systems, when it supports gamers, when it supports creatives and when, as a result of at least two of those three, it starts to become the default installed operating system on mass market personal computers.

    Oh, and yes, I've been using Linux for longer than you've been evangelising it for desktop.

    1. Graham Dawson Silver badge
      Thumb Up

      Re: preaching the gospel

      The Steam Deck (or more accurately, Valve's Proton, which enhances the Wine project) seems to be the final push necessary to get gaming on linux as a thing. So that's one off your list.

      1. John 104

        Re: preaching the gospel

        @Graham Dawson

        But not all Steam games work on Linux. I tried. Got too frustrating so I just use Windoze. They are making progress, but not enough yet.

        1. Graham Dawson Silver badge

          Re: preaching the gospel

          Not all Steam games work on windows, either. I had to go to GOG to get a working version of DEFCON.

          I've just been playing Elite Dangerous on my deck, which is a finicky game at the best of times. If it can work, there are very few popular games that won't.

      2. LDS Silver badge

        Re: preaching the gospel

        Have you seen how many Linux users Steam has? What is it, around 1%?

        1. Youngone Silver badge

          Re: preaching the gospel

          Both of us are very happy thank you.

          1. MrDamage Silver badge

            Re: preaching the gospel

            Excuse me! There are dozens of us! DOZENS!

        2. Graham Dawson Silver badge

          Re: preaching the gospel

          The Steam Deck runs a full fat arch Linux distro.

          So far, my two major gripes are that the mouse touchpad is a little wonky in desktop mode, and it runs systemd.

        3. karlkarl Silver badge

          Re: preaching the gospel

          Noooo!!!

          Get with the times. It is a strong 1.2%. Geez!

          But it is also growing at an infinite rate. 5 years ago it was 0% so...

          1.2% / 0% = NaN%

          Luckily I like *nix more than I like games. That is kind of liberating I guess.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: preaching the gospel

            TBH, messing around with *nix is a fun game in itself!

          2. ROC

            Re: preaching the gospel

            There are probably more "desktops" than there are Linux gamers, and that is a problem for ever catching up to Windows usage.

            I have stayed with MATE on Mint since it is closest to the Gnome 2 that I started using for my serious personal Linux usage, while stuck on Windows for work "office" functions, as that became increasingly locked down my last few years before retiring 7 years ago from my job supporting web servers on Solaris/Oracle Application Server, then Redhat/WebLogic.

            I also provided Linux support for my wife, enabling her to use it for her teaching work (primary grades, so not the students, just for her own needs, mostly word processing with Open Office, then Libre Office, and web and email access.

            While the variety of desktops for Linux is nice for letting every one do it "their way", the downside is that is the barrier to a commonly supported Linux ecosystem that can never reach "critical mass". Chrome and/or Android could have helped that occur, but the Google "taint" prevents that.

        4. Shadowlight

          Re: preaching the gospel

          Approx. 26 Milion a day.

        5. georgezilla

          Re: preaching the gospel

          So about the same number as the users of Windows that actually know what the fuck they are doing?

      3. Cliffwilliams44 Bronze badge

        Re: preaching the gospel

        Until Valve is 100% DirectX compatible it doesn't matter. Developers are not going to waste resources targeting all these different graphics engines, especially ones that are incomplete, certainly not the cluster F that OpenGL is/was.

        1. Graham Dawson Silver badge

          Re: preaching the gospel

          APIs. Not engines. And all those games written to use the vulkan API are just my imagination, I suppose?

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: preaching the gospel

      > Meanwhile, in the real world, hundreds of millions of users of Windows desktops have no admin access to their systems. Very clearly the OS works perfectly capable without that being needed.

      Because end-users should NEVER have admin access, that is why.

      1. Al Black

        Re: preaching the gospel

        More accurately end users who do need Admin access should have 2 accounts, a User and an Admin, and should only log in as Admin when needing to do Admin tasks.

    3. Blackjack Silver badge

      Re: preaching the gospel

      [Linux will be far more compelling when it supports business systems]

      Red Hat and others have been doing okay for decades selling Linux for business.

      [when it supports gamers,]

      Steam Os and Steam Deck. Or just install Steam on a compatible Linux distro. You have STEAM, and can run a lot of Windows games on Linux thanks to the custom Wine Steam uses.

      [when it supports creatives]

      Linux does supports creatives, the main problem is the comercial apps being Windows or Apple only. Blender and Gimp run on Linux and have improved a whole lot over time, they are just harder to use.

      Blender is so confusing it is hilarious but yes you can still use it. Gimp is slightly less confusing but I don't use it much so it is always confusing for me.

      Recently Dreamworks is saying they will Open Source MoonRay so of course there will be a Linux version.

      [when, as a result of at least two of those three, it starts to become the default installed operating system on mass market personal computers.]

      Microsoft literally lobbies and sometimes pays money to have Windows preinstalled in every machine they can.

      The biggest problem Linux has nowadays is that there is way too many distros, that is great because it gives you a choice but it also does confuse people.

      Heck I actively use three different Linux distros but most people prefers one size fits all.

      For that I say, use Linux Mint, it can do everything, maybe not perfectly but it can and it is more or less user friendly.

      1. Cederic Silver badge

        Re: preaching the gospel

        The problem is that Linux Mint can't do everything. It can't run the primary system used by my employer, it can't run the creative applications I use at home for video and photography and, much as I welcome and respect the work Valve's done on this, it doesn't run the games I play.

        I could switch my desktop at home and work to Linux and only have to switch to Windows a few times a day. Or I can run an OS that lets me do everything I need (oh, and gives me access to a built-in Linux kernel so I can also do everything I would prefer to do in Linux on Linux without rebooting).

      2. LDS Silver badge

        "Red Hat and others have been doing okay for decades"

        Decades?? After little more than a decade they sold it to IBM - a decaying company ttself - and run away with the money. If they were really doing OK, they would have bought IBM....

        1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

          Re: "Red Hat and others have been doing okay for decades"

          "If they were really doing OK, they would have bought IBM."

          Nobody ever got fired for buying IBM.

          1. Cliffwilliams44 Bronze badge

            Re: "Red Hat and others have been doing okay for decades"

            Hey, the 1980's want their slogan back!

            Anyone buying IBM today certainly risk getting fired!

            The saying since the turn of the century is "No one got fired for buying Microsoft!"

            1. nijam Silver badge

              Re: "Red Hat and others have been doing okay for decades"

              > "No one got fired for buying Microsoft!"

              But they should have been.

            2. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: "Red Hat and others have been doing okay for decades"

              I remember a product review from way back when for the IBM PS/2 model 30 I think, the reviewer said "It's been said that nobody ever got fired for buying IBM, based on this PC I'd ask Why the hell not!!"

      3. M.V. Lipvig Silver badge

        Re: preaching the gospel

        "The biggest problem Linux has nowadays is that there is way too many distros, that is great because it gives you a choice but it also does confuse people."

        This, exactly. I'm not really a computer guy, although I can usually find my way around them and fix my own problems. I've been wanting to switch to Linux for about 10 years now, but never could find one that does what I want. Cinnamon Mint is the first one that looks promising, because it seems similar to Windows only without all the suck. When tax season hits I'll see if it'll run the software and if it does I'll make the switch permanent. Then, the only Windows machine I'll use is the one supplied by my employer.

        1. abstract

          Re: preaching the gospel

          I installed Cinnamon Mint on an old machine and finally found it more comfortable than Windows so I use it daily even for development.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: preaching the gospel

          I'd suggest you start with Ubuntu if you're concerned about popularity with employers, and indeed overall popularity vv the other distros. I've noticed HMG's various depts seem to support it rather than other distros, if they support linux at all. I'd expect other large orgs would tend to do the same. If you despise snap, I sympathise, but well, it is what it is.

      4. hoola Silver badge

        Re: preaching the gospel

        And the other huge fly in the ointment is Office as so many people get it as:

        A monthly subscription

        From their employer

        As a student

        One can argue endlessly that there are open source alternatives but at the end of the day, just like the Windows OS, the average person wants what they are familiar with. I don't agree with the way the O365 trails are pushed out and very little appears to be done to reign that practice in. It is almost irrelevant that 99% of Office functionality is never used, what people remember is the document they sent that cannot be opened by another product (in both directions), or all the formatting being screwed over.

        Now add in OneDrive to store all your shite because the local PC has so little space (although as SSD costs come down it is improving) all included in that monthly subscription, currently around £80 for a 6 user family plan or £8/month. For most people it is simply nothing, they spend many times more than that on other subscriptions or monthly plans.

        1. Peter2 Silver badge

          Re: preaching the gospel

          Office is not as serious an issue as it once was. Ironically, mostly due to Microsoft rather than any competition!

          Switching away from Windows used to be outright impossible. Almost everything required office installed to generate documents via API's, and you really needed Outlook/Exchange for anybody working in a team as there were no workable alternatives. Exchange needed Windows Server, and Outlook tied you to the Windows desktop.

          Microsoft has voluntarily moved exchange out of the local server infrastructure to the cloud, which means that with no (local) exchange requirement you don't have a windows server requirement.

          That you can now run Outlook Web Access and have the same performance as in the desktop version pretty much removes the requirement for the Windows desktop. That leaves the only obstacle being that pretty all of the productivity software is written for Windows, although a few these days are delivered via web browser and so don't really care which platform your using.

          1. FatGerman

            Re: preaching the gospel

            This. Office 365 in a browser now does everything I need from Office, and there's a Linux native Teams client that works really well.

            I switched over to Kubuntu when my work laptop's HDD died in the early days of the pandemic and I was really on my own as far as fixing it in any reasonable time was concerned. Never had any issues at all, including accessing a VPN. Microsoft really have made it possible for me to stop using Windows.

            Secretly I have a feeling they'd be happier if everybody stopped using Windows but kept on using Office 365. They're actually quite good at that, they should leave Operating Systems to somebody else.

      5. nijam Silver badge

        Re: preaching the gospel

        > they are just harder to use.

        I find Photoshop harder to use.

        1. AlbertH

          Re: preaching the gospel

          I find Photoshop truly horrible to use. The OS software that's freely available for image manipulation has come on by leaps and bounds over the last few years, so much so that it's no longer worth paying big money for that hard-to-use junkware!

    4. nautica Bronze badge
      Joke

      Re: preaching the gospel

      Steven J. Vaughn-Nichols evangelizes for anything which will generate "clicks", to say nothing of the revenue which "...associated purchases..." might bring---and he does it over and over again.

      He never fails to take into account the absurdity of any of his pronunciamentos. Reflect on the fact, for example, that Windows is run on > 85% of the world's PCs, and the majority of those are run by business users. Think you can convince all those people, SJVN?

      This latest is nothing more than a re-cycled theme of his, which he pulls out from time to time, when originality has failed.

      Want an example of an absurdity? One of SJVN's biggest 'laughers' was a column of his on ZDNET---when he had a highlighted column on ZDNET---in which he pontificated that

      "...the best [Linux] laptop is a CHROMEBOOK..."

      The comments to that particular article were numerous, and of such a ripe and disparaging nature that he never tried re-cycling that particular subject again.

      By the way, SJVN, is "...THE BEST LAPTOP..." still a Chromebook?

    5. HildyJ Silver badge

      Re: preaching the gospel

      Ultimately the OS is irrelevant to most decision makers and end users. It's all about the programs.

      This is why, in a Windows shop, you will see creatives running MacOS or developers running Linux.

      But Windows supports more programs that are significant to more people.

      Linux on the Desktop is as useful as Windows on the Server.

      1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

        Re: preaching the gospel

        I would say it mainly depends on whether there is software available to do what you need to do on your OS. Not so very long ago, it was normal to choose a computer based on exactly that criteria because there were so many different hardware architectures and OS to choose from. The Wintel monopoly has reduced choice in that respect but, to some extent, increased choice in what you applications you run on your OS so long as you choose Windows running on X86 hardware.

        In my personal case, I can run everything *I* want or need to run at home on FreeBSD. That limits me from doing some stuff that might be nice to do, but I don't miss that stuff. Likewise, I can also all my work related stuff on FreeBSD because the few "custom" work apps are all web based and work nicely for me without issue, including vendor training courses I need to do.

        In the past, there were some Atari ST based things I would have quite liked to use, but chose the Amiga, which to my ST owning friends did things their STs couldn't do. but we were all happy with our choice.

        (Well, *I* was happy, they were stuck with crappy Ataris STs LOL)

        1. nijam Silver badge

          Re: preaching the gospel

          > Not so very long ago, it was normal to choose a computer based on exactly that criteria

          That's hasn't been the case for several decades. The people who choose computers might use that method in a tiny proportion of cases. But mostly they get what's pushed at them by PC World or by the purchasing dept. (who knows what behid the scenes benefits they get, but that's a seperate issue). End result, they usually get a computer that does'nt do what they need, but what Microsoft needs.

      2. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        Re: preaching the gospel

        "But Windows supports more programs that are significant to more people."

        There's a circular argument here. People decide that MS Office is significant to them. If they were to deide, as GitLab presumably does, that something else such as LibreOffice is significant to them then the compulsion to use Windows goes away. But people see Office as significant to them because they've been told that that's what Windows provides.

        Now as MS wants to move more users to subscription and inflation tightens budgets does a monthly spend for Office 365 seem a good idea any more? And what happens if the next Windows is also the subscription model that MS seem to want?

      3. ICL1900-G3 Bronze badge

        Re: preaching the gospel

        How have I managed all these years? Had I only known my OS was useless, I would have followed the True Path instead. O me misererum

    6. bvj

      Re: preaching the gospel

      >> Linux will be far more compelling when it supports business systems, when it supports gamers, creative

      Creative (audio & graphics) is often on Macs, business systems going online, development is huge on Linux, and gaming doesn't normally belong at the office. And if the business is serious about liability and threats, there's regrettably a need for endpoint controls.

      >> Oh, and yes, I've been using Linux for longer than you've been evangelizing it for desktop.

      What does that mean? That years ago, Linux wasn't a practical desktop alternative? Remember Slackware's interface 25+ years ago, and the floppies... omg, those were the days.

    7. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: preaching the gospel

      >>more compelling when it supports business systems,

      Or maybe if business systems can completely morph into web services and browsers?

      I know of at least one ERP system that announced, starting next year it will stop providing a Windows client for future releases. As far as I know it will still run MS SQL and IIS on the back end but...

    8. brooker_007

      Re: preaching the gospel

      I am still using Windows 7 Professional x64, which I purchased years ago - true Microsoft tried to cancel all of my serial numbers for the software and to stop my Windows 7 Operating System from working, by also disconnecting me from the internet (I don't know how they did that) after they turned off my computer clock, so that my time was always falling behind and I could not access websites without updating the time - but I got a fix that works from the internet (KMS) and an offsite server, which provides my computer with the correct time and has replaced Microsoft's defunct one, so sod you Microsoft - not happening.

      I simply hate Windows 10 and I can't get Widows 11 to load on any of my old computers and that is probably why - I really don't want to have to buy a much newer and bigger computer, when I have upwards of 8 Windows computers, all running Windows 7, which should last me my remaining lifetime, with all obsolete software specifically for them - but then I hate being spied on by Microsoft and whatever I do on the internet of things - it is how it is - I have noticed that later versions of Windows Operating Systems behave like MAC's - I have several of those - you don't have to think with a MAC, it is all done for you and I absolutely hate that about MAC's.

      I use a program called Deep Freeze (which is available for Windows 7 and Windows 10, don't know about Windows 11 and the new formats) which locks the registry in "C" drive, while "D" remains open and allows me to reboot my computer whenever I think it might have been compromised, simply by pulling the power lead and putting it back in again, after I have cleared the random remaining memory out, by pushing the start button - Deep Freeze allows me to reset my computers back to the way I originally set them up - in the "C" drive - everything else goes to "D", including my download program JDownloader, which is free and works a treat, after you have set it up with your internet download speed among various other things.

      I have partitioned my original hard drives with a "D" or "E" partition - just the 2 partitions - my Operating System and all supporting software goes to my "C" drive and I download to my "D" drive and the partition also stops any viruses and so on, from getting into my "C" drive too, Deep Freeze aside, if I were not using it.

      Windows 7 will only accept hard drives to 2TB, any drives over that, it can't "see", however, I bought portable hard drives which plug in (2TB) and stripped them down to the basic frame and SATA plugin, removing the screws on the back of the frame, so I can push fit hard drives, after connecting and disconnecting them from the pop up task bar on the bottom of each page - computer with a green tick icon down there, click on it to remove a hard drive - don't do it cold, you can crash your hard drives that way.

      I also store my own stuff on my own 2TB hard drives - no cloud for me - I have a lot of stuff, collected over the past 20 years or so - I enjoy cataloguing, it was my work and my hobby for many years, so everything is unpacked, catalogued and where I can easily find it.

      I buy new drives at competitive prices from e.Bay, usually postage free, in bulk - 5 drives or so, last for an eternity and on the really important drives, I have a backup in case one crashes, they occasionally do and I potentially could lose the lot - learned that lesson well with the early Commodore Computers!!

      Sorry, Linux does not fit all of my needs, but it is a great way to update backwards Operating Systems

      I don't use an Antivirus program, relying on my clean Operating System set up with all supporting software and Deep Freeze to keep it all clean. I have also noticed that Antivirus programs remove .EXE files, which many of mine are - having been made into portables, smaller programs and less demand on my hard drives, accordingly, so they operate like new all of the time.

      You remember the upgrade where all Windows Operating Systems were upgraded to Windows 10 without the owners being notified - looked at your PC to discover it had been upgraded and if nothing worked anymore - tough. - Deep Freeze stopped that from happening - they could not guess my clever password - they knew, even said what I was using to stop them - they had a work around this time - don't know how they managed that - until KMS came along and resolved those issues - did not have to reinstall anything.

      Now Linux - I tried Linux and it did not have any way I could run my video files, they were all incompatible and I did not know how to create a work around, so I use Linux to remove Windows 10 Operating Systems and the software block that stops you from loading earlier Operating Systems that Microsoft put in place, so that I can load Windows 7 again, no problem at all and the drivers are in place in the software, so the operating Systems should boot up and be internet ready - update the drivers later on, via the internet and update programs you can buy online - simple, while Deep Freeze ix turned OFF..

      So my procedure for putting on an earlier Operating System is Windows 10, then Linux, then Windows 7 x64 bit, then KMS automatic - simple.

      I clone my hard drives, where I can - the computers I use constantly are Desk Top Towers, it was easy enough to get inside them by removing a few screws from the metal plate on the side to remove it - my drives are all the plug in type, SATA, so I can replace a drive in roughly 60 seconds and be running again with all software good to go, if one crashes, for no apparent reason and I don't have to recover any hard drives, or need the corresponding software for that to happen - it all seems a waste of time for me - and I can switch the same Windows 7 x64 bit hard drives between PC towers and they work fine, except when the video cards are different, sometimes the output is different too.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: preaching the gospel

        You're a loony.

    9. HenryCrun

      Re: preaching the gospel

      "... Linux will be far more compelling when it supports business systems ..." I think that the problem should be re-stated as "Linux will be far more compelling when business systems support Linux" and to that I would add BSD too.

      Cross-compiling is so easy to do that the the developers who do not support *nix should hand their heads in shame.

    10. Blank Reg Silver badge

      Re: preaching the gospel

      And I expect that most of those 100s of millions have no interest in having to learn to use a new OS, and their managers don't want to deal with the added training and lost productivity as people who barely understand what they are doing now get thrown into an unfamiliar environment

      1. AlbertH

        Re: preaching the gospel

        My old company migrated a major European banking institution to a bespoke Suse Linux build. The training per member of staff averaged just on 5 minutes, so wasn't expensive. Security was improved, reliability improved, maintenance costs reduced, licencing costs removed altogether, and their overall profit margins were enhanced.

        Microsoft still periodically send their sales-droids to try to persuade them to migrate back, but still haven't realised that they're wasting their time (and money).

  2. VoiceOfTruth

    Living in a bubble?

    -> Because people use those IPCs to get work done.

    This is the reason why businesses (and most people) run Windows - the choice and availability of apps. There are not always direct (or as good as) equivalents of Windows software on Linux. LibreOffice is not as good as MS Office. LibreOffice Base is about 20 years behind the times, for example, and that's if you can get it to run at all without crashing - I've tried several times and just gave up trying to get the right combination of OS + Java. Then there are all the adds ons and tools that are available for MS Office. A new LibreOffice Impress theme doesn't quite have the same value. I write this with regret about LibreOffice as I use it, and I don't mean it to be churlish towards the LibreOffice project.

    Gimp is not an equivalent to Photoshop, if you are in the design world. And the Gimp GUI appears to be designed by a greybeard Perl programmer.

    Part of suggesting that people use certain software, whether it is free or paid for, is being honest about it. While businesses can in some cases use Linux on the desktop, in others they simply cannot. This bald statement that "Businesses should dump Windows for the Linux desktop" does not do Linux any good at all. I can imagine the response in numerous cases, it would be along the lines of "we tried Linux and it (meaning the apps they need) didn't work or were not available".

    1. adam 40 Silver badge

      Re: Living in a bubble?

      Maybe that's a good thing?

      20 years ago, office was fine, then they added loads of cruft we don't need.

      In any case, Micro$haft is pushing us into the cloud where office365 is online. So that stuff is getting less important anyway.

      1. teknopaul Silver badge

        Re: Living in a bubble?

        I work in a place with Office, Outlook, Sharepoint and OneDrive (that nobody uses).

        Last set of rules Devs get Linux now, because we deploy on Linux (inc azure) so it makes sense. Mac books, for those that want one. Windows is supported on Laptops and the majority choice.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Living in a bubble?

          I used to work in a place somewhat like that. Outlook was the Corporate standard mail, but (somewhat surprisingly) IMAP was enabled on the Exchange servers, so those of us with Linux and FreeBSD could get by.

          Then, IT eventually mandated O365 instead of the local Exchange servers, and enabled Microsoft's proprietary(?) MFA scheme along with it, and that was enough for a lot of Linux folks -- the company lost some good devs from that. Still, if you had the right MFA token gadget and didn't mind reading your mail via a browser, you could muddle along with O365.

          Then, IT decided that only Windows systems would be allowed to connect to the Corporate LAN, with Cisco's proprietary(?) profile scanner software (I forget the name), which has no Linux version. Covid happened around this time, so if you were fortunate enough to be working from home *and* have an approved copy of Cisco's VPN client software from IT, you could connect to work that way.

          Seemed like a lot of Windows-only hurdles for a company making products based on Linux.

    2. katrinab Silver badge
      Meh

      Re: Living in a bubble?

      These days, Access is about 10 years behind the times. When did it last get a meaningful update?

      I'm pretty sure Microsoft now wants you to use PowerBI instead of Access. Other, usually server-based alternatives may be more appropriate for your needs.

      Excel, I think is where the biggest problem is. Libre Calc will do the basics, but it does not have feature parity with Excel.

      1. Fred Goldstein

        Re: Living in a bubble?

        Access is probably 20 years behind the times; I doubt it does much more now than it did in 2006 when I used it to do a major project that depended on some of its unusual, and powerful, capabilities. But it was hitting its limits then, being a 32-bit program with small (by today's standards) file size limits. On the other hand, Libre Office Base looks like an undergraduate project from 1977, capable of doing the tiny "wine list" demo but not any real work. Never did, and probably never will.

        Excel is a special case. The 2010 version was great. Later ones have been unstable; the code base must be a stinking mess. A special place in hell for the fact that it often loses the ability to receive input from the keyboard! (Workaround: Mouse over to a different spreadsheet, type into it, then go back to the one you're working on.) So I often find myself falling back to an old installed version with a warning on to that it is no longer supported, but at least it runs.

        Yes, WIndows 10 Pro, not Home, and I don't feel too insecure. I just take normal precautions, like not opening spam attachments.

        1. Antron Argaiv Silver badge
          Thumb Up

          Re: Living in a bubble?

          15 years ago, Visio, Word and Excel did everything I needed them to do.

          There have been a lot of releases since then, but damned if I can figure out why. I haven't seen any benefit as far as the things I use them for.

          1. Eeep !

            Re: Living in a bubble?

            Is it possible that others want different features beyopnd your use cases ?

            1. nijam Silver badge

              Re: Living in a bubble?

              > Is it possible that others want different features beyopnd your use cases ?

              Possible - of course - but probably not very many others.

            2. VicMortimer
              Mushroom

              Re: Living in a bubble?

              The feature most people want is "MAKE IT WORK LIKE IT USED TO!!!!"

              I've never run into a single person who wanted ANY new 'feature' in Office introduced in the last 20 years. ALL of them hate every new release more than the last. If Office V.x still ran on modern macOS they'd still be using it, and those are just the users who don't have to suffer with the ribbon nightmare because the Mac version still has proper menus.

          2. katrinab Silver badge
            Windows

            Re: Living in a bubble?

            In Excel, tables is a big one for me. I'm not sure exactly when they were introduced. I don't think they were in 2003, and I skipped 2007.

            More recently, =SWITCH() is pretty useful. You can do the same with nested =IF(), but switch makes it a lot cleaner. =SUMIFS() [like =SUMIF() but with multiple criteria] is useful, as is =COUNTIFS().

            Spillable functions like =UNIQUE() are also pretty useful.

      2. Fred Goldstein

        Re: Living in a bubble?

        Access is probably 20 years behind the times; I doubt it does much more now than it did in 2006 when I used it to do a major project that depended on some of its unusual, and powerful, capabilities. But it was hitting its limits then, being a 32-bit program with small (by today's standards) file size limits. On the other hand, Libre Office Base looks like an undergraduate project from 1977, capable of doing the tiny "wine list" demo but not any real work. Never did, and probably never will.

        Excel is a special case. The 2010 version was great. Later ones have been unstable; the code base must be a stinking mess. A special place in hell for the fact that it often loses the ability to receive input from the keyboard! (Workaround: Mouse over to a different spreadsheet, type into it, then go back to the one you're working on.) So I often find myself falling back to an old installed version with a warning on to that it is no longer supported, but at least it runs.

        Yes, Windows 10 Pro, not Home, and I don't feel too insecure. I just take normal precautions, like not opening spam attachments. The OS has many flaws, but it is designed for people to use, not for programmers to use. And as Three Dead Trolls In A Baggie sang over two decades ago, Every OS Sucks.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Living in a bubble?

          You can edit your posts. If you were too late for the edit, no need to repeat the first two paragraphs before adding downvote fodder.

          1. Fred Goldstein

            Re: Living in a bubble?

            I put in a Withdraw on one, which was edited a whole 16 minutes (too long!) after the first, but for some reason it didn't take.

      3. MrDamage Silver badge

        Re: Living in a bubble?

        >> Excel, I think is where the biggest problem is. Libre Calc will do the basics, but it does not have feature parity with Excel.

        Because it's a spreadsheet program that will only work as a spreadsheet program, and not, say, as a database, as many Excel users seem to think it is.

    3. Pascal Monett Silver badge

      Re: LibreOffice is not as good as MS Office

      True, but how much do you really use in MSOffice ?

      I would say that LibreOffice has 99.9% of what everyone needs to actually work.

      It's only manglement that needs those pretty charts to make themselves feel like they are important.

      1. VoiceOfTruth

        Re: LibreOffice is not as good as MS Office

        And if management want you to send them the data which they can easily handle, without going through hoops to convert or munge it, what then?

        99.9% is probably far too high a figure if you want to interact with other people/companies.

        1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

          Re: LibreOffice is not as good as MS Office

          I never have issues saving my LO Calc files to Excel format and sending them to others. I frequently have issues with people using the many whizz-bang "features" of Excel, "Just Because They Can" which add nothing to either the data or the presentation, but make importing it into LO Calc a problem.

          On the other hand, that's the same problem Word and Excel have had with previous versions of Word and Excel for many years. Not everyone can or will upgrade to the latest shiny as soon as it's released.

          1. Prst. V.Jeltz Silver badge

            Re: LibreOffice is not as good as MS Office

            I cant even use files from the same goddam program form the same manufacturer!

            windows be all like

            that database is for version 0000000001213 not 0000000000001212 so screw you , go find somewhere else to try it.

        2. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

          Re: LibreOffice is not as good as MS Office

          "And if management want you to send them the data which they can easily handle, without going through hoops to convert or munge it, what then?"

          Save -> Excel2007-365(.xlxs)

          Job done.

        3. MrDamage Silver badge

          Re: LibreOffice is not as good as MS Office

          Managers should lead by example. If they can't do what their team can do, then time to get a new manager.

          1. Prst. V.Jeltz Silver badge

            Re: LibreOffice is not as good as MS Office

            Not only that they should be doing "it" (what their team can do) in the breaks between managing people , ie when not authorising leave.

        4. dajames Silver badge

          Re: LibreOffice is not as good as MS Office

          And if management want you to send them the data which they can easily handle, without going through hoops to convert or munge it, what then?

          You should probably report them to someone. Letting management have access to any data in editable form is a serious no-no!

          Just send them a PDF.

      2. mmccul

        Re: LibreOffice is not as good as MS Office

        At work, the top feature I use of office is communal editing.

        I have several word documents and excel documents. A team of four (or more) people are actively, throughout the day, editing these documents. We can't be emailing them back and forth, we need our edits to reflect immediately.

        We need to be able to see a log of who changed what. We need good visibility of proposed changes and comments.

        All of that, we have with the current generation of MS Office with the O365 plugins.

        Are there alternate ways of doing some of this? Of course. But the technical barrier of entry is very low. I don't have to teach the less technical members of the team some tool to make things work or collect the data needed for status updates.

        Never underestimate the power of an effective visualization. I spend a lot of time in tools like Splunk figuring out the right visualization to most effectively communicate to non-Splunk experts.

      3. Chris Miller

        Re: LibreOffice is not as good as MS Office

        Sure, only 20% of Office features are used by everybody, but everyone uses perhaps a further 20% of its features and (the important bit) it's a different 20% for every user. I guarantee that every single one of the other 80% of features is used by somebody, and if you're in a large organisation and threaten to take any of them away, you'll be deluged by "but I need that feature to do X which is essential for my work".

        It isn't as simple as you seem to think.

        1. M.V. Lipvig Silver badge

          Re: LibreOffice is not as good as MS Office

          Sure it is. You "break" it, tell the users the features no longer work, then tell the users M$ can't/won't fix it, tell Manglement M$ offered a special one-time fix for $1000.00 per user with no guarantee next week's update won't break it again, THEN you announce a new platform that, while it doesn't quite have the features the M$ software had, it's far more stable and costs far less to support. Manglement will always choose a buck over a feature, and the users will fall in line.

      4. Charlie Clark Silver badge

        Re: LibreOffice is not as good as MS Office

        LibreOffice is feature packed but suffers from stability issues and looks like a toy: it's going to be difficult to get non-technical users on board with that and you need their approval. I've been quite impressed by OnlyOffice, though it's still quite buggy.

        1. Adair Silver badge

          Re: LibreOffice is not as good as MS Office

          'suffers from stability issues and looks like a toy' - ah, the blessed authority of 'my opinion' unencumbered by attachment to any verifiable and statistically significant evidence.

          I'll see your 'suffers from stability issues and looks like a toy' and raise you my 'have been using LO for years, professionally and at home, and have never found 'stability' to be an issue of note, nor have I been stopped in my tracks by the appalling thought that it 'looks like a toy'. Does it, really, well to each their own.

          By the way, over all those years using LO has saved me a worthwhile amount of cash. :-)

          1. Robert Moore
            Linux

            Re: LibreOffice is not as good as MS Office

            Let's also not forget that LO opens file types that MS Office will have nothing to do with. (Wordperfect files come to mind.)

            I have used LO many times to open and repair MS Office docs that Office would choke on.

            1. Falmari Silver badge

              Re: LibreOffice is not as good as MS Office

              Word opens Wordperfect 5 and 6 files in the latest version.

    4. Rafael #872397
      Windows

      Re: "Businesses should dump Windows for the Linux desktop"

      Some 20 years ago I was teaching CS at a local college and was managing a laboratory with Linux machines for the programming classes. The computers had just the basics: a text editor, one free IDE, browsers, etc.

      The lab worked great for our purpose.

      Some people in a local branch of the government got wind of this and decided to copy the idea to save money on Windows licenses. After they converted one of their labs their boss came to visit and asked about the software they planned to use, and I got a frantic call asking "where can we download Autocad for Linux". They got really upset when they learned that they could not run all their applications on Linux as if it were a free, compatible version of Windows.

      (icon for the "20 years ago" bit)

    5. An_Old_Dog Silver badge

      LibreOffice

      Odd, I never had trouble installing and running LibreOffice on my various Windows, OS X (10.2), and Linux boxen.

      As for "20 years behind the times", I'm like 95% of the users who never use more than 1% to 5% of the features offered by either LibreOffice or MS Office. Perhaps your needs are more-advanced than mine.

    6. Plest Silver badge

      Re: Living in a bubble?

      The primary reason is "support desks". Companies want to hire fresh faced grads looking for their first IT role,. support pays low wages and you're expected to just pick it up as you go. Almost everyone knows enough about Windows to be able to do some basic support work, cheap and cheerful support people sorted. You want to start hiring Linux admins as support desk people? Sure, but you'd better be ready to pay them 3-4 times what you pay your current support staffers.

      I'm not knocking support people, it's where I started, but after a couple of years grinding in support you move on and upwards away from mindless install/uninstall/"tried turning it on and off" every day and you go looking for better roles with more money once you know what's at the bottom of the ladder.

    7. hoola Silver badge

      Re: Living in a bubble?

      There is also the management aspect. Corporations use AD, that comes with a stack of tools to manage the clients. You can manage other OS's but even if you have an open source product, it still needs skills and resources.

      Where a used to work we attempted to try to contain the vanity Apple users who were opting for them for no other reason than it was perceived to be outside ITS control. These devices were frequently causing issues, far beyond what the managed Windows devices did. An expensive tool was purchased to do the job that then pissed of a load of these users as they could no longer do what they wanted. They number of Apple users then dropped as they reason for having the device in the first place was removed.

      The cost of supporting an Apple laptop device was about 5 times that of Windows.

      We also had a managed Linux desktop that only a handful understood. it worked and the management worked but was a pain. Large organisations have to have managed devices so that support is streamlined and security maintained (mostly......)

      Almost all of the security incidents we had that was no user-manipulation in realtime (the phone call basically) could be traced back to a device that was unmanaged, hence the pressure to get rid of them.

    8. nijam Silver badge

      Re: Living in a bubble?

      > LibreOffice is not as good as MS Office

      Years ago, OpenOffice (the precursor of LibreOffice) was already better that MSOffice in several important respects.

      > Gimp GUI appears to be designed by a greybeard Perl programmer.

      No UI is perfeact, AFAICT, but the Gimp GUI was designed by a UI consultant.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Living in a bubble?

        Well, THERE'S your problem.

        (How do you not know that consultants are idiots?)

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Genuine Question

    Is there an equivalent on Linux for stuff like SCCM (Config Manager) so admins can build machines to a corporate build with zero touch, and can roll out software remotely easily. Every time I've looked at Linux this seems to be a major hole and when you are looking after 100+ sites it is impossible to send technicians out to install software for every user, and 75-90% of our users are not capable of doing installs themselves.

    If there is something now, I'd be interested in having a look at it again.

    1. Helstrom

      Re: Genuine Question

      I agree with your sentiment. I design and build full IT solutions to support industrial automation activities as an OEM. Love it or hate it when you have 500 Windows servers/workstations you have a single Active Directory domain to administer. When you have 500 Linux boxes you have 500 Linux boxes to administer. I want to use Linux but I need the enterprise management tools that Microsoft brings to the party and are sadly lacking in the Linux space. If Linux (from any vendor) had an equivalent to GPOs I'd jump onboard.

      1. VoiceOfTruth

        Re: Genuine Question

        I agree with what you and AC above wrote. Alas what you will get with Linux is "you can try Puppet or CFEngine or...". While those tools do work, they are not the same thing as AD. Horses for courses. I have no issue with those being used for server farms where each machine is more or less identical and usually running one application (e.g. web server). But that's a different prospect from the desktop.

        1. MattPi

          Re: Genuine Question

          You might want to check out https://www.freeipa.org/. It covers a lot of AD functionality. You can even set up a trust relationship with AD.

          To be honest, I never looked at things like Group Policy with it as we used Ansible on the project. That's not a bad thing, just different. With things like PXE, Ansible-pull, and/or Ansible Tower (upstream AWX) you can create images that configure a box from scratch without much intervention past the boot stage.

          I know I'm not convincing anyone here, but it is possible and frankly (to me) does it in a more understandable and logical way than any of the (very dated) AD methods I've tried.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Genuine Question

            Windows Admin for 20+ years now, that uses linux for my desktop.

            FreeIPA, god awful thing compared to AD.

            Windows deployment via WDS and Group Policies is far easier to get going and working then using things like packer, ansible, setting up a PXE server etc.

            Along with keeping windows configured via GPO, far easier than ansible with something like tower/awx.

            This is coming from someone that has migrated from AD GPO to using ansible, paker, terraform, tinkerbell, and maybe adding awx.

            The advantage of going with something like ansible is that you can use it to configure you windows and linux hosts, plus your network, your OOB controllers, gluing different systems and automation together. Its more work if just for your hosts, but does give you more flexibility later on to integrate with everything else.

            For example, currently finishing some ansible roles and playbook to deploy esxi hosts, by providing only the mac and service tag of the IDRAC. Finds it on the network, sets the vlan, sets the DHCP reservation, configures the iDRAC, certs, AD integration, etc, setups the RAID config, Configures the zoning of the FC fabric, deploys ESXi, configures esxi and joins it to vcenter and puts it in the correct cluster.

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: FreeIPA, god awful thing compared to AD.

              A sensible, well argued post that disses a Linux solution but didn't get downvoted to oblivion.

              Respect, fellow regtards, well done!

        2. r0land
          Facepalm

          Re: Genuine Question

          Well, all the tools are there, automated installations, both scripted and from images has been around on linux for more than 20 years, Active Directory works nicely with linux for those who want that, I you rather do your central management by some other tool, NIS, LDAP among others has also been around for a long time.

          SALT, Puppet, Chef are all just a few examples the range of mature solutions that has been around for a long time. Several popular distros are providing their own tools for those who does not fear vendor lock in; Landscape, YAST etc.

          What actually may be lacking, is what Windows admins call "Best Practices", popular and well proven solutions that most admins approve of. The abundance of tools paired with easy scripting of most everything makes Linux system administration a much more diverse field. Google, Facebook, Alibaba, Twitter, Amazon, Ebay, Wikipedia and all the other large players would not even consider touching linux, if they could not automate their large scale deployments. The fact that those companies are running far more linux servers than linux desktops, does not alter the level of truth in my conclusions above. On the other hand you will naturally find more information about using the tools stated above for server management, but the will work equally well for the management of desktop computers.

          1. robpomeroy
            Linux

            Re: Genuine Question

            You'll get something similar to "best practice" guides, if you opt for a RHEL-based distribution (Rocky, AlmaLinux, Oracle Linux, etc.). The Red Hat documentation has a lot of examples of good practice along with many how-to guides.

          2. LDS Silver badge

            Re: Genuine Question

            Servers don't move around - users with laptops do...

          3. localzuk Silver badge

            Re: Genuine Question

            Companies like Google, Facebook, Alibaba, Twitter, Amazon, Ebay, Wikipdia will all have one thing in common - they will build their own tools to automate with.

            They have the people to develop such things. Most businesses don't.

      2. Peter Gathercole Silver badge

        Re: Genuine Question

        It's ironic that the very foundation of AD is a number of tools and protocols that came out of work done on UNIX and other UNIX-like OSes. I'm talking here about Kerberos, NTP, LDAP and no doubt a number of other technologies.

        All three of the things I've explicitly quoted have been subject to EEE, such that now most organizations use MS software to drive them. And they then put barriers to make it more difficult to integrate UNIX and Linux systems into the environment (for example, withdrawing the GUI tools for managing UNIX user authentication around the time of Windows server 2016). You can still do it, but it's a bit of a masochistic exercise and uses techniques mostly foreign to the majority of MS administrators (like firing up what are effectively text editors to manage the maps).

        What the two commenters above have pointed out is that, unlike Microsoft environments, there is no one single way of doing what they want in Linux. Top down tools work in Windows environments, because if MS makes a tool, it is extremely likely to be deployed almost everywhere (before AD, there were a number of Windows herders around, all of which were assigned to the bin when MS moved into that space).

        Even if you include Red hat, Canonical, SuSE et. al. no one organization has the clout in the Linux space to make a single, one-size-fits-all configuration and management suite. There are plenty of tools around, many widely used in niche (or not so niche) environments, and some that pre-date AD, but nothing that is all-encompassing to the point where you would never consider using anything else, and there probably never will be.

        This is again the advantage and curse of Linux. There's choice.

        I'm pretty certain that if proprietary UNIX had remained around for longer (especially if it included desktop systems, as it used to do), that eventually the likes of Sun, IBM, HP, and DEC would have come together, and defined a single management tool that worked across platform, and standardized it in an official standard, like they did with Motif, CDE, or DCE. But nothing like that is ever going to happen in Linux space, because it's just too easy to fork and do your own thing without buying into the expense of the standards game.

        1. John 104

          Re: Genuine Question

          @Pert G

          Another aspect is supportability in the enterprise. There may be tools to do AD and deployment equivalents, but the open source nature of these tools make getting real support difficult. If I'm hard down for whatever reason, I need support. Now. Not in a few days when someone happens upon my post and decides to answer.

          I think what keeps linux in the desktop for corporate workloads is the hassle of it all. It's fun to tinker in it and do work as an IT person. However, when it comes to tools that users need, and administration that IT staff have to do, the goal is to get it working quickly so actual work can get accomplished. The work shouldn't be getting Linux to do a thing that Windows does by just configuring this, download this package, update this library, now modify this config, oh wait, missing another dependency, etc. It gets in the way of the actual goal of whatever the work is. It's gotten a LOT better over the years, but can still be a big pain.

          1. Soruk

            Re: Genuine Question

            If you're paying for, for example, Red Hat support with RHEL, if the tool you are using is part of their repos (e.g. freeipa) then you will get support from them in line with your SLA. This may be faster than a StackExchange response.

            1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

              Re: Genuine Question

              Of the recent RHEL clones AlmaLinux has a link on their front page to TuxCare who will provide commercial support. Rocky Linux has a link to CIQ but their site seems to have been designed by a marketing so concerned to make a good impression that they don't actually say what they do: support? hosting? In any case I'm quite sure TuxCare would be equally happy to support it - and Debian.

              Canonical offer enterprise support for Ubuntu as does Suse for Suse.

              Lack of enterprise support is just another of those scare stories that doesn't stand up to close examination.

          2. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

            Re: Genuine Question

            "The work shouldn't be getting Linux to do a thing that Windows does by just configuring this, download this package, update this library, now modify this config, oh wait, missing another dependency, etc. It gets in the way of the actual goal of whatever the work is. It's gotten a LOT better over the years, but can still be a big pain."

            I think mindset is a major part of the problem. "getting Linux to do a thing that Windows does" Is that really what is needed? Or is there another way to do it? I suspect that after 20+ years of standardising on Windows on the desktop, it's very difficult for most people to even conceive of doing something that is not "The Microsoft Way". And due to that very fact, it can be hard, if not impossible to do many things without using Windows because there's no userbase, so no development and therefore no support for s/w to do those things.

            Back in the days when different companies used different computers and OS', they trained their people in their way of doing things. Nowadays, it's expected that new hires all know Windows and how to drive it, along with at least the standard "default" apps, no training required, other than maybe for one or two "business" tools, SAP stuff and the like.

            1. John 104

              Re: Genuine Question

              Agree completely. However, if you can have a standardized(ish) OS and set of apps and behavior in said apps that the average punter can just come in and get to work with... Then you aren't spending a ton of money training someone up. Rather, they can be productive in a much smaller window.

    2. This post has been deleted by its author

    3. Tom 38 Silver badge

      Re: Genuine Question

      We only use Linux laptops in our IT department, each laptop is pre-configured using an Ansible script by someone in IT, and then sent out to the user. Part of that is installing OCS Inventory, which monitors the laptop for its state and stores the results centrally, and also allows pushing out and configuring new software.

      As someone who has always run and managed my own OS on my workplace computer, I didn't like this loss of control and having someone backdoor'd into my machine, but as you say, its an essential part of maintaining a big fleet of laptops.

    4. Spazturtle

      Re: Genuine Question

      Isn't that just called a distro in linux? Your own corporate distro can be as simple as Debian with different default settings or a few extra default programs.

    5. robpomeroy
      Linux

      Re: Genuine Question

      SCCM has a few moving parts. Rather than a single Linuux product being a complete replacement, you might consider one or more of the following:

      Rudder - configuration compliance: https://www.rudder.io/

      Ansible - a shallower learning curve than Chef or Puppet, I think, and doesn't require an agent: https://ansible.com

      Rundeck - task automation: https://www.rundeck.com/

      Foreman - lifecycle and patch management: https://www.theforeman.org/

      FreeIPA - identity and policy management: https://www.freeipa.org/

      These are all open source, so you can use them FoC. Commercial power-ups exist.

    6. OldCrow 1975

      Have you considered cloning with tar?

      I manage several large systems and hundreds of desktops for Scientists and Engineers. I insist on systems hardware being a similar as possible. Once I have a system cominality. I use Tar and grip through a script to clone the base system. Then as new systems come in I extract the tarball onto the new machine. Change the host name if necessary. Otherwise that is controlled through scripts. If DHCP then it is determined by the MAC address. My favorite are the diskless systems.

      Everyone gets the same programs. The Scientists are constantly conducting seminars on their unique applications. The problems I get involved with are environment issues. Where someone wiĺ cludge grep, gawk or some other internal Linux utility. Because they have a long held dependency on a system setting that they expect everyone else to live by. So I et the engineers and scientists decide how they want that piece of code to behave. Ibhave learned a lot from these lady's and gentlemen. The biggest save for me is Environment Variables. A utilIty by LANL. Which allows one to alter their environment on the fly by loading and purging an environment for their work. No need to custom tune each user's environment anymore. That was a huge save for everyone. For a unit of 300 scientists and Engineers. We have one administrator me. Hardware problems a seldom. All machines have ECC memory. So pinpointing a defective DIMM is a piece of cake. Hard drive failures are easily recovered due to bare metal backups again using tar and gzip.

      Trying to do this with Windows would not be possible. I even have three students from the local University who are studying how I manage my systems. Their findings are impressing the University and helping them to create a course of study on Linux systems administration.

      My biggest headaches come from those who just hate Linux. Want it gone. The problem with that is Windows slows down productivity. Which is the key focus for our organization.

      1. keithpeter Silver badge
        Pint

        Re: Have you considered cloning with tar?

        @Old Crow

        What desktop environment are your scientists using and what application software (R? Octave? Reduce? wxMaxima?)

        Just curious. No agenda. Well done if users are happy.

    7. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Genuine Question

      The combination of FreeIPA (identity, policy and authorisation), Foreman (deployment/orchestration) and Puppet (or Ansible) (for configuration management) can deploy and manage fleets of servers and desktops with central auth and policy. I've spent many years doing it.

      You can control and centrally manage virtually everything with this combo; password policy, RBAC/HBAC, DNS, DHCP, certificate management, software packages, application config for practically any application, even manage desktop shortcuts, printers, configure desktop settings, browser policy, file shares, you name it. When done right it works well, and it is extremely slick. End users log into a desktop and all necessary apps are available just work with no hoops to jump through.

      The catch: it takes serious elbow grease and knowledge of a lot of moving parts. And a curious mindset. Getting there took some hard work. It's much, much less formulaic then AD + GPO, so you need to learn all the components and then work out how to glue it together. You can't simply go off and do a course on it, let alone get an industry certification. That's why it's not common place.

      And yes, I'd had 15 years prior experience with AD and GPO beginning from when it was released in 1999.

  4. andy gibson

    "another problem with Windows' single-user ancestry is that the default Windows user all too often must run as the all-powerful PC administrator"

    I've been managing Windows networks in education since 1999 and I've never come across anything that's needed admin access to run.

    And there's no greater hacker out there looking to exploit the system than a bored schoolboy.

    1. Def Silver badge

      Yeah, this whole article was written by someone who clearly last used windows around 1994 and seems to think that nothing has changed since then.

      1. Charlie Clark Silver badge
        Thumb Up

        Yes, definite clickbait as in previous articles. Everyone who knows how good unix is as a server OS, knows how awful it is a client OS, if it isn't dumbed down into something like Android.

      2. AlbertH

        Nothing much has changed in Windows since about 1991. The NT kernel is still there, and is still spaghetti. It's truly horrible.

    2. TonyJ Silver badge

      "..."another problem with Windows' single-user ancestry is that the default Windows user all too often must run as the all-powerful PC administrator".."

      I suspect by this what you mean is that by default the first time a new Windows system is set up, the user details you use will be given local administrator rights.

      However - this is only true of a home build. Every corporate using tools will not allow this and even with the zero-touch configuration of Intune, you have the option to not let the user be added to the local admins group.

      The comment above about Excel being the biggest problem is spot on. Let's face it, here we are in 2022 and businesses across the world still run on Excel spreadsheets. We know that is a problem but it isn't going away any time soon.

      Add to that, so many of the big software companies will do things like create Excel or Outlook plugins which only compound that issue.

      You can avoid the whole online Office route right now by installing Office 2019 but expect that option to go away as soon as MS can make it disappear.

      Applications, tools and plugins are the biggest reasons you won't see many places suddenly say "let's go to Linux as our main desktop solution".

      1. Sandtitz Silver badge

        "You can avoid the whole online Office route right now by installing Office 2019 but expect that option to go away as soon as MS can make it disappear."

        Office 2021 was launched last year.

      2. dajames Silver badge

        I suspect by this what you mean is that by default the first time a new Windows system is set up, the user details you use will be given local administrator rights.

        This is why, when I still used Windows at all, I would always install the OS as a user named "Installer". I'd then create another with my own name and no administrator rights which I'd use day-to-day.

        I'd add the "can debug programs" privilege (via a "developers" group), but with that I was able to do all my everyday work without touching the Installer account or the (disabled) "Administrator" account.

      3. Def Silver badge

        I think it's important to note too that even if an account is a member of the administrators group, software run under that account won't have administrator access by default. Any software which does require administration rights must be explicitly elevated by the OS after the user (with admin rights) has explicitly allowed.

    3. ecofeco Silver badge

      Your users have administration rights? Seriously?

    4. Evil Scot

      Excuse me

      School Student.

      Niece knew how to bypass security.

  5. Mike 137 Silver badge

    "the default Windows user all too often must run as the all-powerful PC administrator"

    Some evidence to support that statement would be nice.

    Nevertheless, while I'm no advocate of Windoze and (as a security professional) have no respect for its supposed 'security', the major barriers to transitioning to Linux desktop seem to me to be the extent of the current MS user base and incompatibilities between notionally comparable applications for the different OSs (e.g. MS Office versus Libre/Open Office). If documents break when transferred between systems, there's a strong disincentive to make the transition as statistically speaking almost all business documents are still generated using MS Office.

    If this problem could be fixed I'd move to Linux in a flash, but for now I'm stuck with MS as my customers demand Office format documents.

    1. Joe W Silver badge

      Re: "the default Windows user all too often must run as the all-powerful PC administrator"

      My experience is that Ms Office (well, Word) breaks formatting between machines in the same damn company. So there's that. We are also averse to moving everything to Azure, as some stuff would not be allowed to. Then, Microsoft is now actively disabling stuff on-prem, since all and everything have to be in the cloud. Which sucks. A lot. Let's see if this provides us with the needed push.

      On the other hand, most of our production machines / servers are Linux (SLES? I think....), apart from the stuff I have to work with (stupid SSRS etc.). So why not the desktop as well? I would also gladly trade in the MS SQL server for something else. Only problem is, I have a few colleagues who are learning resistent...

      let me think of what I use every day, that would be problematic on Linux.... apart from the tSQL centric stuff? Nothing. LibreOffice is plenty good for what most of us do. Oh, but I have to admit that maybe outlook might be hard to replace. The whole integration of calendars, group mall boxes, etc. is pretty good (though it crashes too often on my machine). But then I have not looked too much into alternatives (evolution?).

      1. An_Old_Dog Silver badge

        Outlook replacement

        I would have written, "Novell Groupwise works just fine", but checked just now, and maybe not. Novell is now part of MicroFocus. Their GroupWise info page says that Mac and Linux users can use the GW v8 desktop client with their now-at-v18 GW backend, or use the web client. That doesn't sound like MacOS and Linux are getting the level of support under MicroFocus as they did under Novell.

    2. The Indomitable Gall

      Re: "the default Windows user all too often must run as the all-powerful PC administrator"

      It's more than a little out of date -- about 15 years ago there was still a lot of software that worked this way, but practically nothing off the shelf needs admin rights now, and the problem is usually bespoke software.

      Either way -- any business that still has software that needs admin rights to use is going to be something that IT have already tried to get the business to replace, and have failed. It'll be that same software that would wreck a Linux migration.

    3. Redact Ted

      Re: "the default Windows user all too often must run as the all-powerful PC administrator"

      Interesting that a lot of barriers appear to be around the office apps; if the docs are relatively uncomplicated then the web based office versions are fairly robust and well featured now.

      Obviously there are the considerations of o365 and M$ reading your docs but hows that much different from a windows environment and a local install anyway?

      Having said that I prefer the actual apps and really havn't tried the browser versions for anything complicated from a linux desktop...

      (Oblig windies at worl linux at home admission).

  6. GruntyMcPugh Silver badge

    If only some large body had thought of this! And tried it! Oh wait, Munich did, and gave up. Scheslwig-Holstein is having a go, and it's going to take four years ish, if it succeeds. I work in local Govt, and there's no way we could completely abandon Windows, as we get involved in so many different things, and use niche apps that we just couldn't afford to get redeveloped for Linux. We'd only be able to get rid of on prem Windows by running Windows VMs in the cloud for the niche stuff, and that would get expensive.

    Meanwhile, many years ago when I worked in Academia, the Dean of the Faculty told us to 'get rid of Windows',,... now, I was the Dept Unix sys admin, but I was rather concerned for my colleagues job, who looked after the Windows servers and desktops,... so the first person I migrated to Linux was the Dean's PA. By lunchtime she was crying in the cantine and threatening to quit if she didn't get her Windows PC back. That ended that. Going Linux is fine in theory, for small groups of technically minded people, but for a large organisation that has any measure of staff churn? Training will be an issue, you cannot expect new hires to be competent with your chosen flavour of desktop / software. Then factor in sending and receiviing data and files from partner organisations who still use Windows, we have close ties to the NHS, Police and education sectors, all of whom are Windows users. Oh, and we provide bookable computing resources to the general public in our Libraries. Jo Bloggs probably can steer Windows OK, and possibly wants to polish his CV in Word. Sorry Jo, you have to learn a new Office Suite, but at least you can put that on your CV,....

    1. Greybearded old scrote Silver badge

      As I recall, Munich reported > 90% success. Yes, the niche stuff had to retain MS. Then an incoming (fanboi) mayor demanded his Outlook or Nothing, so all that valuable work had to be rolled back.

      Dumping a new system on somebody's desk and providing no training or support is just indefensibly vicious and unprofessional. Incompetent if I'm being generous, although your description makes it deliberate sabotage. Not Cool. (And don't forget that the next version of Word will need people being retrained because they'll have shuffled the commands again.)

      1. Greybearded old scrote Silver badge

        BTW, when I worked in support I often had to help Win/Office users adjust to OS X and Appleworks. (Yes, really. It easily met our needs.) Show them around the basics, be prepared to look up questions I'd not heard of, maybe buy a few copies of "The Missing Manual." Job jobbed.

      2. GruntyMcPugh Silver badge

        Wow, aren't you massively judgemental? I had no budget fior training. I didn't use Linux Office Products, so didn't know them myself, to teach to others, and training staff wasn't my job. We had an internal training team, who also did not know Linux or Linux Office Apps. I did exactly as I was instructed by the Dean with the resources he allocated to me (literally nothing).

        As to niche stuff, that's the spoiler. Local govt will need to keep some Windows, so how then do they integrate with their peers? Only use Windows for the niche stuff? That makes keeping Windows massively expensive, and sites will need to allocate both Linux and Windows resources to staff. It would have been interestign to see how Munich would have managed during the pandemic, if they'd carried on. We just started using Teams.

        1. Greybearded old scrote Silver badge
          Joke

          Yep, what's your point?

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            And he deserved it.

            What he did was deliberate sabotage, BOFH shit. And he should have been fired immediately. From a cannon. Into the sun.

        2. The Indomitable Gall

          Really I don't get why virtualisation hasn't already solved this problem. It's always been possible to remote host niche apps and give users really basic workstations... or even dumb terminals.

          Then you can reserve the lion's share of your silicon for the CAD users, rather than leaving most of your potential CPU cycles idle on the desk of desk jockeys who use Word, Excel and a browser...

          1. GruntyMcPugh Silver badge

            Virtual Desktops is just really expensive to implement. You need a hypevisor environment (possibly Nutanix, so you've introduced a new OS into your support model) You still end up managing the thin client hardware (so have to support the base OS on the thin client, set up a management server / cloud management) and then the virtual OSs you intent to use, so Windows and Linux. You've gone from possibly a pure windows estate, to managing four operating systems. You still waste CPU, because sizing the CPU power of the hypervisor is a black art, and even though there are tools to measure the usage of your clients and give you a number for your cluster,... if you get that just right first go I'll give you a medal.

            1. keithpeter Silver badge
              Windows

              Employer Number 2 has rdp into what looks to me like a Windows desktop. I can run rdp on my linux laptop at home and no issues. Means there is no data leakage from their systems (education, so children, so good the data says on their machines).

              I think they just use bog standard Windows servers, noone has mentioned any special operating systems. Same stuff on the learning centre computers (not very powerful ones)

              Icon: my knowledge level.

            2. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

              "You've gone from possibly a pure windows estate, to managing four operating systems."

              Life gets awfully complicated when you throw Windows into the mix.

              1. sabroni Silver badge
                Thumb Up

                re: Life gets awfully complicated when you throw Windows into the mix.

                Life gets awfully complicated when you throw an unfamiliar operating system into the mix.

                FTFY.

        3. Soruk

          Teams is available for Linux, indeed I have actually found it more stable than under Win10 (I was using AlmaLinux 8). Other solutions exist for Linux, notably Zoom.

          1. Spanners Silver badge
            Linux

            Teams is available for Linux

            Working fine on this Chromebook right now. Also works fine on my Android as I declined an iPhone and put the SIM in my own phone as a 2nd one. In fact, as it works from a browser as well, you would be hard pushed to find anything you can't use it from.

        4. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

          "It would have been interestign to see how Munich would have managed during the pandemic, if they'd carried on."

          Probably used Zoom for conferencing.

          Very likely NextCloud for file sharing. Maybe OpenKolab. Maybe just mount a remote drive; networked drives go back an awully long way in Linux history, well before Microsoft got into the act.

          It's amazing what you can do when local politics doesn't get in the way.

        5. An_Old_Dog Silver badge

          Niche Apps

          I have many, various Windows niche apps running just fine under Wine on Linux. At the same time, I used to be able to run the (Windows-only) game "Battlefield: 1942" under Wine, but last time I installed Linux (I'd gotten a new laptop), with a correspondingly-newer version of Wine, I couldn't get BF1942 to install.

          YMMV.

      3. Falmari Silver badge

        Deliberate sabotage but necessary

        @Greybearded old scrote "Dumping a new system on somebody's desk and providing no training or support is just indefensibly vicious and unprofessional. Incompetent if I'm being generous, although your description makes it deliberate sabotage. Not Cool."

        I also read it as deliberate sabotage, but necessary instead of "Not Cool". It looks like the Dean of the Faculty expected Linux to be rolled out without any training. Rolling it out to the PA meant the Dean got the full impact of the rollout before it had hit the rest of the Faculty.

        It could have gone 2 ways switch back to windows or provide training before continuing the rollout. Looks like the Dean to the easy option.

        My recollection is much the same as yours re Munich.

        1. OhForF'

          Re: Deliberate sabotage but necessary

          f the only way to convince the Dean that getting rid of Windows and replace all applications can't be done without preparation and training is to reduce the PA to tears something is very wrong.

          Either the Dean is completely immune to feedback or the one tasked with advising him on IT matters is missing critical social skills (or a combination of both).

          Pointing out that both the unix admins and their colleagues supporting the windows desktops and applications would need training to even be able to plan (not to talk about roll out and support) a migration properly and estimating costs and time frame would probably have stopped the Dean's idea as quickly and without collateral damage to the PA.

          I although do not think there would be less support required after the migration; unless the former windows administrators are unwilling to learn a new skill set they would still have a job.

          1. GruntyMcPugh Silver badge

            Re: Deliberate sabotage but necessary

            The Dean was a tyrant and a very angry man. Sometimes the only way to educate such people is to give them exactly what they ask for. He left and joined the clergy.

            1. The Oncoming Scorn Silver badge
              Headmaster

              Re: Deliberate sabotage but necessary

              I'd have done the Dean first, unless he was Linux evangelist.

            2. Benegesserict Cumbersomberbatch

              Re: Deliberate sabotage but necessary

              The Dean went Bursar...?

            3. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

              Re: Deliberate sabotage but necessary

              "Sometimes the only way to educate such people is to give them exactly what they ask for."

              That is always IT's ultimate revenge. Don't use it too often.

      4. Kristian Walsh

        Your recollection is incomplete. 90% was the peak figure for user desktop replacements, but very quickly those users began to request a return to Windows as the Linux-based solutions were missing key functions.

        The Linux ecosystem has no centre, and its continuous development model makes it much more of a moving target for internal application developers than Windows is, unless you expend a fair amount of effort maintaining your own distro. (Package maintainers are the real heroes of Linux - it’s a thankless, time-consuming job, but without them the whole ecosystem would collapse).

        The nail in the coffin was the prospect of decentralised working. There simply wasn’t any good private-cloud solution for collaborative work. For several classes of application, Munich basically came to the realisation that to make Linux work for it, it would have to permantently invest in its own team of programmers and maintainers in addition to its existing IT staff (who also had their own grievances regarding provisioning and monitoring). It was a buy/build decision, and the real costs of “build” were now known to be far higher than simply paying for a ready-made product. After all, the city doesn’t build and maintain its own trams - the latest lot was bought from Siemens - so what made software any different?

        Other organisations have fared better with Linux, however, but they were more pragmatic: adopting it where it was a viable and mature alternative. The mistake Munich made was the (ultimately ideological) decision to do a top-to-bottom replacement of every software system with a FOSS alternative. That really makes no sense - you might not like Exchange, but is there really a FOSS alternative that’s anywhere near as good at managing office communications?

        1. martinusher Silver badge

          One of the many factors that finally pushed me into full time retirement was the overarching insistence on using Windows with everything. As an embedded developer I rely on quite a large suite of tools, not just a compiler or a single IDE, and the corporate insistence on Windows was gradually making our workarounds more and more difficult. To make matters worse our programming experts were primarily Windows applications developers, people who's entire experience of software development was the Microsoft IDE. They lacked the tools and techniques for debugging devices and fostered a culture where extended development timescales, endless 'Phase One' type specifications reductions and a climate of finger pointing became the norm. This wasn't just one company as well; I've watched this brew up over decades but as the corporate screws got tightened with more decrees came down from management I eventually figured I'd leave them to it -- after all, what do I care that it takes them years to a job that we should finish in months? (....and no "Phase One" half assed solutions as well).

          The Microsoft platform is usable but only for developing Microsoft products for Microsoft users. There a big world out there where this stuff is actually relatively unimportant. All you need is a cheap PC to run their 'business' stuff on and you're good to go.

          1. Def Silver badge

            The Microsoft platform is usable but only for developing Microsoft products for Microsoft users.

            Visual Studio on Windows can target iOS, Android, and Linux these days. Not just Windows.

            1. martinusher Silver badge

              >Visual Studio on Windows can target iOS, Android, and Linux

              But it can't target (for example) TI's C2000 and FPGA development and a whole host of other platforms. This is the crux of my complaint -- developers who write applications for GUIs have a tendency to think that applications for GUIs are the only kind of development out there, they tend to either ignore or (worse) look down at other programming as somehow less than their work. The result is that this work in a Windows shop requires all sorts of workarounds, some types of development and testing get deferred.....and then there's the ongoing non-relationship between Windows and USB drivers (you won't believe the amount of time I've wasted playing build/driver pairing to get JTAG working with newer devices -- Linux, of course, "just works").

              So I figure I'll just leave them to it. Natural Selection will eventually deal with the problem.

              1. Falmari Silver badge

                @martinusher "But it can't target (for example) TI's C2000 and FPGA development and a whole host of other platforms."

                Visual Studio can't target every platform, but is there anything that can?

                For example most of my dev work is on a software apllication that has a client that runs on windows and a server side engine that is written in C with some C++. Now the engine is compiled for various platforms X64 Windows, Linux (Redhat and Suze) and Solaris, OpenVMS, OS390 and HP-UX.

                I use VS on Windows as my dev environment because it is the most useful. I can build and debug for Windows and Linux (WSL) the rest well it's a debug build on those platforms and printf is your friend that can result in saying hello to another friend #ifdef.

              2. Def Silver badge

                But it can't target (for example) TI's C2000 and FPGA development and a whole host of other platforms.

                Actually, it probably could. It's a pretty open application platform that can be extended quite a lot if needed.

                For example, I use it for developing, debugging, and publishing PHP based websites with an extension for that particular task. For years I used PHPStorm, but could never figure out how to get the debugger to work properly. (I think I managed once and then a MacOS update - my test platform - wiped all my settings and I couldn't be arsed to try and set them up again.) PHP Tools for Visual Studio installed and configured itself to the point debugging (breakpoints, single stepping, etc) just worked out of the box on my Windows PC.

              3. Kristian Walsh

                As we’ve somehow lurched from enterprise applications to microcontrollers (...?), my experience of embedded is that it’s Linux that has the worse support. Or rather, it has either good support, or none, depending on the device you’re using. That’s not a viable platform to work from if you want to do this as a living (yeah, tools really matter, but clients often have invested in a particular micro for lots of good business reasons, and they won’t throw away those years of code just because some bolshy dev says Linux is cool).

                If you’re lucky enough to target a device in the "has Linux support" category, then you can certainly feel that Linux is “better”, especially if all of your experience (and thus all of your ability to script and automate the horrible bits of developing on limited systems) is on Linux already. Even then, a client will send you a datasheet for some peripheral IC, and that’ll have a progammable core, and... oh look, a Windows-only toolchain to code for it.

                I do embedded development, on Windows, and I use the Windows Subsystem for Linux to manage a lot of the nasty stuff around the edges. However, I’d never move to Linux. Firstly, my target chip has even poorer tool support on Linux than it has on Windows (and that is saying something!), but to be honest, for me the only good thing about Linux is the commandline userspace, and WSL gives me those already, so moving over to just Linux means mostly losing out on Windows-only stuff.

        2. PapaPepe

          Package heroes

          > Package maintainers are the real heroes of Linux - it’s a thankless, time-consuming job, but without them the whole ecosystem would collapse...

          How very true!

      5. JimC

        Munich reported > 90% success.

        Yes, and 90% just isn't good enough. As far as the users are concerned you are providing degraded functionality for a nebulous and theoretical advantage. I worked for years to keep microsoft out of my organisations server estate for what I believed were good reasons, but it was a losing struggle. More and more niche but vital applications were an increasing struggle to work with, with vendors who had neither clue nor interest in an environment that wasn't 100% Microsoft. And in a big organisation with 4 figures worth of applications the struggle was never ending. I managed to take early retirement before they finally elected to move over, but I have heard rumours that it was a far more difficult process than was imagined.

        1. An_Old_Dog Silver badge

          Re: Munich reported > 90% success.

          Oh, yeah. Niche-app-vendors requiring Windows servers - I'd forgotten about that. Keeping Windows out of the server room requires much work by the IT staff to find supported, functional equivalents for niche app X, and sucessful education/politicking of various executives. That said, some niche apps running on Windows servers can work with Linux desktops. And I recall reading that guitar-string manufacturer Ernie Ball converted all their stuff to Linux.

          1. Spanners Silver badge
            Devil

            Re: Munich reported > 90% success.

            Is Ernie Ball the company that was "set up", inspected and "fined" for transgressing the licencing rules?

            If they are, the owner said his primary incentive for the upgrade was to remove all M$ stuff from the premises so they could never get inside again!

      6. VoiceOfTruth

        -> As I recall, Munich reported > 90% success.

        And there is the problem. 90% is not good enough. Going from a (presumed) 100% success on Windows to 90% on Linux does not make the cut. It is nowhere near good enough.

        1. Richard 12 Silver badge

          If you drill into the details, it's something like 90% success on Windows vs 90% success on Linux.

          Anyone using browser front ends is OS agnostic. Doesn't matter what they use at all, Chromium is there and works exactly the same.

          Client software is the gotcha. There's a lot that is Windows-only and a lot that's Linux-first.

          You can usually force each to work on the other if you fiddle long enough, but why bother?

          The problem is assuming one-size-fits-all, the solution is to find out what the users are actually doing and have a mixed estate.

      7. dajames Silver badge

        Then an incoming (fanboi) mayor demanded his Outlook or Nothing, so all that valuable work had to be rolled back.

        As I recall the reasons were a little more commercial than that. Microsoft persuaded the incoming mayor to switch back to Windows and in return moved their German headquarters (back) to Munich.

        Some overview on Wikipedia.

        1. Kristian Walsh

          Almost exactly on time, we get the "kickback" story. It doesn't stand up to scrutiny.

          1. In terms of city revenues, Microsoft's HQ never really moved. Unterschliessheim (former location) may not be in Munich, but it is within Munich's administrative region (Landkreis in German); so the town authority there pools resources with the city of Munich and in turn receives services from the city MS. The notional increase in taxes from a move into Munich city was negligible.

          2. Munich actually paid, in the form of tax reliefs, for Microsoft move into the new location, an innovation hub it was developing between the city's two Universities. (It gave the same reliefs for other businesses too). MS wanted to move too (the shift in how tech companies recruit staff since the 1980s makes a campus-adjacent HQ a big plus), but it wasn't going to turn down the tax benefits.

          It's stretching credulity to claim that this was some kind of bribe by MS. The story got legs from people who have no idea of how local government functions in Germany, or for that matter how big the economy is around Munich: Microsoft is just another medium-sized fish in a very, very rich pond of both domestic and foreign companies.

    2. crewe_dave

      If after half a day an office worker is crying in the canteen and threatening to quit about having to get to grips with the fairly minor diffferences between Linux and Windows its not the OS that needs binning.

      How would she have managed when Windows 7 HAD to be replaced with Windows 10?

      > Training will be an issue, you cannot expect new hires to be competent with your chosen flavour of desktop / software.

      That goes double for whatever abomination to choose to handle your timesheets/holidays/docs repository etc. Windows > Linux is the very least of it.

      1. An_Old_Dog Silver badge

        Users Vary

        I worked at a job where the product we sold, doctors' practice automation software, was a Unix-only product. We used Unix in-house, but we also had Windows 3.x on standalone PCs for Ventura Publisher and a few other DOS apps. When my boss got a new home PC (with MS Windows), her daughter got her old PC. I suggested putting Linux on the old PC to improve its performance, and my boss emphatically refused. She was afraid her (pre-teen) daughter would be learning a non-mainstream, dead-end technology which would academically cripple her. Based on our conversation, I suspect my boss was a rote-learner who would have problems if her desktop icons were rearranged.

        At the same time, I tech-support a non-techie grandmother who had learned DOS, then MS Windows, then Linux with no problems. I also tech-support a non-techie friend who uses Windows+Adobe CS at work all day, and uses installed-by-me Linux on his home laptop. Neither of these people asked me stupid questions, nor did stupid things to their PCs (e.g., delete all files from their home directory to "save space").

    3. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      "If only some large body had thought of this! And tried it! Oh wait, Munich did, and gave up."

      Yes, but even Microsoft can't afford relocate a big local office into every city that decides to quit using their software. I suppose, of course, when they've retrieved the situation in one city that office is now redundant and they can relocate it if they want to play whack-a-mole.

    4. ecofeco Silver badge

      https://linux.slashdot.org/story/20/05/23/238252/munich-says-its-now-shifting-back-from-microsoft-to-open-source-software----again

  7. Tim 11

    "Given a choice between security and having applications work as expected, Microsoft often chooses the insecure status quo"

    I suspect a lot of businesses (at least those where the IT department exists primarily to provide a service to its users), would feel that having applications work as expected is a fairly high priority. After all, there's plenty of things you can do to mitigate against security problems, but without apps that work, your business is dead in the water.

    One of the reasons Windows is popular is because it gave developers the ability to hack together these department-level apps using access and word macros and the like. Trying to solve the problem by cutting it off is like saying "cars driving fast are dangerous, let's limit them to walking pace"

    FYI I hate Windows and use Linux for my day-to-day, but wouldn't recommend it to anyone who isn't an experienced IT geek.

    1. LDS Silver badge

      How many Linux boxes I saw badly configured because its primitive permission system does not allow granular permissions - not everything is a simple web server or database server. And people do try shortcuts under Linux as well.

      1. robpomeroy
        Linux

        Presumably you are not factoring ACLs or mandatory access control systems like SELinux into this "primitive permission system" allegation.

        1. Richard 12 Silver badge

          Like the article author, they're just a decade or so out of date

        2. LDS Silver badge

          Just many Linux users are unaware of them or don't know how to configure them and disable them - because "they get in the way". All they know to use are chown and chmod and without a decent GUI I understand them - the CLI to configure advanced permissions is so complex very few are used to fight with it.

          Still you get two different ways to set permission with one bolt on the old one that it is still there and the pne you see in the default listing unless you use more switches - a true idiotic design. SELinux too is something bolt on - instead of being a part of the OS design.

          When you see a tutorial on setting up a web site that uses advanced ACLs call me.... just like Windows, a lot of Linux users do not really know how to use it and make bad configurations.

    2. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      "I suspect a lot of businesses ... would feel that having applications work as expected is a fairly high priority."

      Right up to the time they get hit with ransomware or a massive breach. Then they realise why they made the wrong trade-off between convenience and security.

      1. An_Old_Dog Silver badge

        realizing they made the wrong trade-off

        No, they don't. They consider the breach/ransomware attack as an unpredictable bolt of lightning out of the blue, thrown by an angry, whimsical Zeus.

  8. J.G.Harston Silver badge

    In the Windows 10 roll-out for the NHS a couple of years ago, I was still encountering the odd bit of software that refused to work without elevation. (Some cardigraph monitoring thing comes to mind). Upper echelons in IT delared that we would not install such software on the new builds, and tough!

    Just a couple of weeks ago I was experimenting with MS's keyboard layout designer. I couldn't get it to work, until a lightbulb went off, and I experientally ran it as Admin. Yep, that was the only way to get it to work.

  9. Greybearded old scrote Silver badge
    Facepalm

    Gitlab aren't being sensible

    Mandate their preferred system, but provide no support, really? Fine for their technical staff but I expect they have less technical workers too.

    1. MattPi

      Re: Gitlab aren't being sensible

      That's not the picture I got from the article. You can choose Mac with support, or Linux and you're on your own (but with a culture that there are presumably a lot of internal "community" resources to draw on).

      I work somewhere that is very Windows-heavy, with a decent group of Mac people (myself included). The Mac folks have a Slack channel that we help each other along with the actual Mac support people. Linux is not supported for anyone's primary asset, but the folks that are doing Linux in labs and whatnot are very supportive of each other too.

  10. FIA Silver badge

    Interesting article.

    However, I think Windows has moved on since you last used it.

    New accounts haven't been full Admin since Vista, and group policy means it can be locked down quite quite well. (My work laptop gives me _no_ admin access, I have to apply for a seperate account and use that username/password if I require privilage escaltion). This is mandated at the domain level and is not something I can change. Additionally as the BIOS has been well locked down I couldn't even install Linux if I desired.

    Is there an equivalent of group policy for Linux?

    I'd argue Windows is insecure by design.

    Not on a technical level. Internally everything is an object, and can have ACLs applied. These permisisons are also quite fine grained and can be applied to many many things. This may not be used well when consumer Windows was forced on the NT kernel, but by design NT is secure, and has a more flexible default security model than Linux.

    Today's Windows is still built on a standalone PC operating system foundation. It was never, ever meant to work in a networked world.

    Todays windows is built atop NT, which was designed by people who worked on VMS, I expect it was.

    So, security holes that existed back in the day of Windows for Workgroups, 1991, are still with us today in 2022 and Windows 11.

    Do you have an example of this?

    WfW was a 16bit (32bitish?) shell running atop of DOS. Windows 11 is based on NT. I'm genuinely interested to know of a security hole that was in WfW that's still in 11?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      secure "on a technical level"

      The problem is that there is no interface to that security model that is actually usable by the sort of people who are administering home or small business systems. So when they find they can't do something (like Office macros) they just have to turn all the security off to get it done. Microsoft should put some effort into creating an approachable security/permission control interface that's easy to use for "Mom & Pop".

      1. Richard 12 Silver badge

        Re: secure "on a technical level"

        There is, it comes as standard.

        Start then search for "policy" and the group policy editor pops up.

        Sadly a fair few of the policies are poorly documented, but that problem exists everywhere :(

    2. bazza Silver badge

      >Is there an equivalent of Group Policy for Linux?

      Surprisingly, the answer is in fact yes; though it is in fact just "Group Policy" in a Windows domain.

      The current login daemon on some Linux'es (SSSD?) will pay attention to some group policies about accounts, so if an account is marked "No Interactive login", it'll pay attention to that when assessing credentials. This is actually quite useful, because it means you can have domain accounts that are service accounts, but can't be used to get an sssh shell or similar.

      There are also third party add-ons for Windows domains that allows one to take control of SELinux in Linux, and a number of other things. PowerBrokers (or whatever it is now called) springs to mind.

      The interesting thing for me is that, since the demise of NIS and the rise of AD, no one has tried to create a competitor to AD, it's all about fitting in with AD. That suggests to me that MS actually did a very good job of designing AD and all that it could do. I know that I've seen people write out specs for systems that have to manage users, and they've always ended up effectively writing down what AD already does.

  11. GlenP Silver badge

    Real World...

    A very few of our 100 or so users have local admin rights on their machines, I'd prefer it to be none but there are a couple of finance applications that won't run correctly (blame the banks for that). That does mean we have to assist with software installs of course, but that's the whole point, we can check what they're doing.

    GPO saves us having to install printers manually, means we can change home pages, etc. centrally.

    Our ERP system is SQL Server based so we've got MS anyway (if we started from scratch we'd go SAAS but we've got too much investment over 15 years to change).

    Noop, we won't be going Linux on my watch.

    1. Def Silver badge

      Re: Real World...

      ...means we can change home pages, etc. centrally

      I think I speak for all users of managed machines everywhere when I say: Please stop doing that.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Real World...

        On the other hand, all users of managed machines would be pretty cross of their company homepage got moved, and they themselves had to update their browser default to point to it. Or worse, they never got to find out that it had moved...

        A company web browser isn't there primarily for the benefit of the employee wanting to look up BBC News or whatever.

    2. mmccul

      Re: Real World...

      There's been a shift over the past ten years or so on "what does admin rights mean on the desktop?" I've been watching it first in the macOS space, but a lot of the arguments over there apply equally well to the Windows side that the standard user rights already can do a lot of the key things an admin can, and lack of admin rights don't prevent some of the most critical damage types seen by attackers today who are interested in your data (exfiltrating or destroying). It doesn't take admin rights to copy files out of your documents library location, or your network file share, or to write to those locations either. It doesn't take admin rights to install a web browser plugin.

      Before one talks about admin rights and removing them as a knee-jerk reaction, one needs to ask what can those rights do that cannot be done by a standard user? You might be surprised. That leads more naturally to going back to the questions of what are the risks, what is the threat model in question, and how do we reduce the likelihood of initiation or likelihood of adverse effect of said risk vectors.

      Good security requires work, regardless of your choice of operating system. Reflexive operating system bashing is unproductive and I would argue, generally unprofessional.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Real World...

        I agree with a lot of that.

        I think a lot depends on the user base. There are those who absolutely should not be given the rights to install software of any sort. It's amazing how stupid even thoroughly IT literate people can be.

        One of the worst I saw was someone who thought it'd be OK to install a piece of software that he'd used at home on the company machine, blithely ticking through the EULA acceptance box (like you do). First thing the company knew about it was when the software author's lawyers got in touch about this $1,000,000 bill they'd got for us. The software was free for home use, but not for corporate use, and it'd phoned home. They looked up the company and the approximate number of employees and done the multiplication for us, to make it easy... I never got to find out where that one actually ended, but I did hear that the company lawyer was saying that it was going to be pretty difficult to get out of...

        So it can be a mine field for companies. Too much admin overhead in an environment where there's diverse need for all sorts of software tools, and it's impossible to work for that company. Too little, and the company runs a risk. Also, education does not stop people being lazy or careless, or malicious.

        One thing that is well worth doing very thoroughly is audit and logging. If someone is going to be malicious and take data, then you need a way of proving they have accessed it and done so. If they're not authorised to put company data on, say, a USB stick, then you need a way of ensuring that if that's what they do it is logged and filed away somewhere dependable. The reason for this is that, to survive in court, you need pretty thorough evidence (log data), and you need to be able to swear that the timestamps are absolutely correct, that it was them that accessed the files, etc.

        This may seem odd to someone in the USA, but in Europe if you fire someone without good reason one might very well find that one is having to explain the reason in an industrial tribunal.

        Protecting that data infrastructure, and letting that data go only so far as is permitted, takes considerable effort.

      2. bazza Silver badge

        Re: Real World...

        Agreed on the point about OS bashing. They've all got flaws, none of them are perfect, and they're all vulnerable to being hacked one way or other.

        Risk is everything, but in this day and age you're basically up against some very powerful hacking attacks, and a user community not all of whom are prepared to play by the rules. It's a fact of life that if you have a company network at all, there's going to be some fairly significant attempts against it and it's non-trivial to keep all of them at bay.

        Control of admin rights is pretty much a must if one is going to aim to defend the desktop's contents. Otherwise, the hardened central core approach is a good idea. Plus the basics to deter the casually careless or casually malicious staff member

  12. MJI Silver badge

    How is the WIN32 support?

    So many vertical market software solutions use Windows developed software.

    So they need excellent WIN32 support.

  13. Diodelogic

    Slightly Ridiculous

    My wife worked for one of the largest banks in the US for over 25 years. The last time I heard about a desktop count, there were over 150,000 people using Windows just in the US and more all over the world. There are development teams working to write proprietary software tools for these desktops and help desk people supporting the desktops.

    Now imagine plopping a Linux desktop onto these machines. Suddenly there is no support; the dev teams have to be replaced/retrained because they don't write code for Linux; the help desk workers have to be replaced/retrained because they don't know Linux. The desktop user is confronted with an unfamiliar environment with unfamiliar tools and applications, and since the tools they were using are no longer available, they cannot get any work done. An enormous amount of the software being used depends on Active Directory for security and routing--all gone.

    I'm not saying that replacing the Windows desktop with a Linux desktop can't be done in this instance. It just can't be done without a huge outlay of money, time, loss of work, and severe inconvenience to the bank's customers.

    1. Greybearded old scrote Silver badge

      Re: Slightly Ridiculous

      It's not cheap. The point of the article (I believe) is that coping with all the known MS problems gets very expensive over time. It's not easy to put a price on the status quo, but those of us outside it can see in a 'wet finger in the wind' fashion.

      1. adam 40 Silver badge

        Re: Slightly Ridiculous

        The known MS problems just get worse when you move into the cloud, on top you have:

        - applications thrown together with an inconsistent UI - so you can't change permissions on a doc except in a particular part of it, and god forbid if you forget which part!

        - on top of everything else, if you can't get an IP connection to the cloud, a good one, you're fuackered!

        P.S. BRING BACK PARIS!

  14. shd

    I'm working towards a move to Linux on the desktop, but not clear what I should use for the server (less than 10 users). So what's the equivalent server to handle a mixed Linux/Windoze environment? Having never used Microsoft on the server, it would be somewhat of a retrograde step to support Linux better using a Microsoft concept!

    1. Greybearded old scrote Silver badge

      What services do you need?

      File system: Samba

      Printing: Cups

      Mail: maybe Postfix, maybe Exim

      After that you'll need to ask somebody else.

    2. Roger Greenwood

      Try Zentyal

      1. Roland6 Silver badge

        Linux-based small business server distributions that replace Windows SBS are an under reported area of Linux.

        A few years back - probably when Windows 7 was yet to go EoL and MS Eol'd SBS. I had cause to do some research on small business servers, I think there were three distributions worth looking at, Zentyal was one of them.

    3. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      I can't help feeling that if SCO hadn't imploded Microsoft might never have got a hold of the small business server market. A small SCO box - vastly underpowered compared to a small server of today - ran many businesses. I supported a few of them. Usually they had an industry-specific multi-user application. I've encountered a business deploying a general purpose sales order/stock control system (not exactly rocket science) in two branches; property management and rental; two print-shop management and accounting systems, one of them with three in different branches and general purpose accounting packages. Generally they were powered by Informix although I've also met Ingres.

  15. chuckufarley
    Linux

    The Word of the Day...

    ...is openSUSE in my house. It's my domain controller, my iSCSI target for my home brew 10Gbps SAN, my Nextcloud server, my VM and Container host, and many more things. I still have my Windows 11 box for gaming but even it dual boots to openSUSE.

    My router, that runs IPFire instead because the docs for firewalld say run a dedicated firewall OS instead of trying to make it do what it wasn't meant to do.

    OpenSUSE may be the red headed step child of Enterprise Linux distros, but that just means it works harder and gets less praise.

    1. Updraft102

      Re: The Word of the Day...

      My gaming laptop also uses OpenSUSE (Tumbleweed, in my case), also in a multi-boot setup, but none of the other boot options involve Windows. It came with Windows 10 and the offer for an "up"grade to 11, but that's a no on both.

      I've been in the Ubuntu vicinity for most of my time in Linux land, which is what the other boot options are about, but I've been using Tumbleweed as my main OS for a bit now, and it's going well.

      I bought my gaming laptops after I had decided to abandon Windows, so the plan was always to remove Windows and use Linux (with Proton/ WINE). If I can't (satisfactorily) run a given title in Linux, I am not interested. There are plenty of others that will work, certainly enough to use up any free time I may have. If a game publisher refuses to step over the rather low bar of compatibility with Proton (especially in the Steam Deck era), I don't want to support them anyway.

      I simply cannot stomach the idea of having Windows around in the Win 10/11 era. It's not the OS it used to be in the XP and 7 eras. An OS that tries to use my hardware to serve Microsoft's interests is not fit for purpose. My PC belongs to me alone, and must be all about serving my interests, as defined by myself, with no conflict whatsoever. Even (or especially!) in the consumer editions.

  16. Paradroid

    Really depends on the role

    I'm a frontend developer, which is one of the most platform-indepedent roles, so it doesn't really matter which OS I use. Although *nix works better so Windows is at a disadvantage (without using WSL).

    But how many roles are like that? Many businesses still lock information away in proprietary file formats like Office, and for that, despite there being options available, Windows is strongest.

    In my role, Windows actually has the worst software support. It lacks the lovely indie apps of the Mac, and the inbuilt package management of Linux. Ironic given the dominance of Windows in the 90s for software.

  17. Potemkine! Silver badge

    Yes, but...

    Desktops are incorporated in a network. And AD makes a good job to manage them there.

  18. MrGrumpy

    FUD

    I didn't order FUD for lunch? Linux will never have the ecosystem around for serious enterprise users.

    1. Richard 12 Silver badge

      Re: FUD

      Never is a long time

      1. Chris Miller

        Re: FUD

        OK, "Not within the lifetime of anyone now living." Will that do?

  19. Andy E
    Windows

    Support?

    One of the things that gets overlooked is the availability of the skill set(s) required to support the end users. With a Microsoft environment there's a ready supply of skilled people mostly due to its sheer market dominance. With a Linux environment the choices of distributions, desktops and applications which will do what the the company wants, ensures that the chosen solution will likely require a rare and possibly unique skill set to support. There won't be many suitably skilled people around to staff up the support team.

    1. Throatwarbler Mangrove Silver badge
      Thumb Up

      Re: Support?

      And, for good or for ill, you have a single throat to choke when things go wrong: Microsoft. A lot of businesses don't plump for support contracts with Microsoft, but they're certainly available, and you can always open a time and materials ticket. In my experience, Microsoft Enterprise Support is top-notch: they're highly knowledgeable, and they will absolutely work a ticket until the customer is satisfied the problem is solved. With Linux, the experience can be more highly variable, since there are so many distros with different support organizations; even with Red Hat, who are essentially the gold standard for enterprise Linux support, the support agents are allergic to getting on the phone or doing any sort of interactive session to investigate an issue.

      1. JohnTill123

        Re: Support?

        I've heard "a single throat to choke when things go wrong" often from manglement. It's nonsense. You have no power over Microsoft. Read the EULAs and you'll find out that they don't have to do anything at all to help you.

        What you DO have is the opportunity to pay Microsoft a lot of money for supporting their software when it goes wrong. Sure, they provide "top-notch" support but you are paying through the nose for them to fix the problems that their crapware probably caused in the first place.

        1. JimC

          Re: Support?

          > for them to fix the problems that their crapware probably caused in the first place.

          And yet its still better than the alternatives... Its not just headline support, its the 3rd party vendors who insist that their application would be just fine if you were running 100% native windows, even though its obvious the bug has nothing to do with the platform.

      2. An_Old_Dog Silver badge

        Re: Support?

        I've no experience with any of the Unix or Linux support orgs, but have had your same good experience with MS Enterprise support. Albeit, we pay $10K+/year for that support, and don't need it often.

  20. sschuchart

    Feh

    From a software compatibility aspect and from a support aspect, the move to to a linux desktop is more trouble than its worth. Yes, LibreOffice is a great product. Except nobody outside the company uses it, so suddenly we have to deal with formatting issues between MS and Libre. And that doesn't even cover specialty software used for various hardware or business processes.

    Is Linux probably more secure? Yes, likely. Is it worth the headache of linux on the desktop for a large IT department? No. Not even close.

    Linux on the desktop is a dead-end road for enterprise desktops, no matter how much everyone collectively hates Microsoft.

    1. martinusher Silver badge

      Re: Feh

      MS proprietary file formats are supported by Open Office type programs.

      As for 'specialty software' for hardware development and the like that's invariably ix code running under Cygwin or similar. This is why MS is pushing Linux embedded in Windows, its the usual "embrace, extend, extinguish' strategy that we've had decades of experience with. The big difference between running these platforms on an emulator and running them native is speed -- moving to Linux gives you a huge boost in speed.

    2. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Re: Feh

      "so suddenly we have to deal with formatting issues between MS and Libre"

      Maybe things have changed but my experience back in the day was that there were formatting differences between MS & MS.

      Having worked through a few books written with Office but using LibreOffice I think a lot of issues are to do with dire user practices, especially using tabs and spaces for layout where a table or even enabling flow round an image would be better. And the allegedly cropped images which were just masked...

  21. Alan Bourke

    The entire article studiously ignores the fact

    that the software that real business use in the real world is almost all Windows-only.

    1. sgj100

      Re: The entire article studiously ignores the fact

      Absolutely! There is more to business software than Office type applications. Every organisation I've worked in has depended on industry specific software that has only been available for Windows. Using Wine or other emulation software would have meant little or no support from the software vendors.

    2. ecofeco Silver badge

      Re: The entire article studiously ignores the fact

      And why is that? Certainly not because it's easy and intuitive and productive, because it damn sure isn't or most of us would not have jobs.

  22. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Windows sucks, Linux rules

    is the meter still counting?

  23. paulr78

    Editor to Steven ... "We need engagement from readers - can you trot out some tried and tested palaver that'll get 'em worked up?"

    Steven ... "No problem boss; I'll dust off the old Linux/Windows gem. Never fails, it don't"

  24. heyrick Silver badge

    Been there, done that, reverted hastily

    The place I work ditched Windows about six or seven years ago. Went Linux. Big programme to change everything over, retrain staff to the new system, blah blah.

    That's when the problems started. We had a stock control system that synchronised our stock with head office in real-time. I don't know what it was as I'm not involved in the IT side of things. But what I do know is that it was losing items. To the point where the stock people were doing paper inventory to check the computer was right. It wasn't, it was way off. Way way off.

    From what I understand, the attitude of the developers was more or less "you have the source, you fix it".

    Over the course of a weekend, everything was reverted back to Windows and Linux was completely exorcised. We found a package that looked good but lacked features. So the company got in touch with them and a couple of guys came out and watched what we were doing and how to understand the process, then they modified the software to do what we needed (which I'd imagine cost a pretty penny).

    For a company shifting stock of six or seven digits per month, with full traceability throughout the production process, nobody gives a shit about politics, and I would imagine few people actually care what the platform is. We just require a capable system that copes with our workflow and can be depended upon, because our ISO accreditation mandates it. This package, on Windows, does the job. The end.

    1. Risque

      Re: Been there, done that, reverted hastily

      I saw similar issues in COBOL Fortran transitions of software. On one project the IBM lead had to be constantly pried from his office where he was invariably working on 'Dragon Dictate'. It was slow progress, govt cheque. But your companies issues were with implementation and support.

  25. aerogems Silver badge

    Good Idea In Theory

    I have been using Linux off and on since the late days of the 2.0 kernel, and it has made impressive strides over the years, but it still seems to sit in that perpetual "almost there, but not quite" uncanny valley. Projects might get 80-85% of the way to being able to completely replace a commercial alternative, but the remaining 15-20% can be maddening and extremely time consuming.

    There's massive amounts of duplicated effort (GNOME and KDE) and every time there's some kind of clash of personalities with major developers one of them tends to take their toys and goes their own way in the form of a fork if they don't just leave the FOSS world completely (mosfet and KDE). Then there's also recreating a new windowing system (Wayland) from scratch after dumping X11. Not saying there weren't good reasons for doing it, just that they went from something that mostly works to something that doesn't work as well... yet. By the time they get Wayland up to where X11 was they will probably decide that they want to replace Wayland with some other project. So everything remains in this perpetually unfinished state.

    LibreOffice might be the closest there is to a true success story, probably crossing into the 90% range for its ability to replace MS Office, but that's one project out of how many? The best thing about Linux and FOSS as a whole is the open nature where people can work on things as they have time/interest, but that's also it's biggest drawback. There are plenty of unpleasant, but necessary, jobs (the US show Dirty Jobs was dedicated entirely to that very concept) and if you leave it up to people to volunteer to take it on, will probably never get done.

    1. Erik Beall

      Re: Good Idea In Theory

      So true about the majority of user-facing applications needed to get the job done, most open source projects that would be alternatives to Windows only applications are between 85 and 90% to "solid enough to not choke on a few end users" trying to get something done and inadvertently using it in an unforeseen (by the devs) way. All the base Unix tools designed as filters work fantastically well (grep, sed, awk, and even many with a GUI like Wireshark, etc). It's the exponential complexity involved in most user facing applications that cause issues that eventually will get solved by continual engineering focused on bug reports, but most open source and even many supported open source projects can't afford to, or can't factor in the grinding discipline required to get the next 5% that would make the project viable for the mainstream. And having enough diversity of users is hard to get without an installed user base to laterally extend this new project user launch into, not impossible but reduces those odds further. There are successful open source projects that get there but I believe Microsoft and others still treat them as cancers to be excised from "their" market as soon as possible.

  26. Binraider Silver badge

    For desktop applications, Linux is OK. But integration with AD and similar services is a showstopper for a lot of stuff. Teams and SharePoint being strong platform tie ins.

    To say nothing of the user training issue.

    In general, businesses have other better things to fix first than upside-downing their desktop estate. And that is from a evangelical MS-hate machine!

  27. Richard 12 Silver badge

    Lot of outright wrong claims in the article

    That makes it much harder to take the overall idea seriously.

    DLLs are not IPC. They're exactly the same as the *.so in your */libs directories.

    ActiveX is long dead.

    COM was designed with security from the ground up - most of the point of COM is to move untrusted code out of your process, so it can't change the carpets like a dynamic library can.

    Named pipes are as secure as you choose to make them - you can let anyone play with your tubes, or you can specify exactly who can touch them.

    Linux also has IPC, and basically the same features. Done a little differently, of course

    1. Joe Dietz

      Re: Lot of outright wrong claims in the article

      Repeat after me: "Linux does not mean you are 'secure' "

      ... you either aren't worth attacking or you've owned and just don't know it yet.

      Security on linux is in far, far far more difficult than windows. And no, I'm not talking about anti-malware, that doesn't work even on windows and is laughable on linux. If you consider a modern approach to security such as EDR - the number of 'potentially interesting security events' is 10x than on windows - fork()/exec() and the unix tool philosophy means there are many, many, more objects to keep track of... AND the BIGGEST threat to windows is powershell and the various other sorts of built-in script interpreters such as office macros. Well... Linux is nothing BUT a huge interpreter, no malware need apply, just live off the land. And finally, when you consider the intersection of licensing politics and kernel code, the interfaces to build useful security controls are there if you don't mind doing everything yourself, but if you just want to buy a security service like in the windows world... said service provider can't really give you a first-class experience due to GPL complications.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Lot of outright wrong claims in the article

        But isn't your argument all a moot point now that Windows has its own Linux sub-system layer built in?

        Aka. Bashware.

      2. This post has been deleted by its author

  28. airbrush

    Anti virus, anti malware etc

    Not sure if anyone else has experienced developing on a pc fully loaded with AV products, it's awful. Random lock ups, accessing the browser is scanned so that's a nightmare too. This is on a 2.5k laptop, sometimes I wonder if they want us to do any work.

  29. ChoHag Bronze badge
    Joke

    The time is now

    This. THIS is the year.

  30. Dudley-Smith
    Linux

    Popularity is malware vector

    Nothing against Linux desktops. Love my Mint machines. But the simple fact is that malware will target OS configs in order of popularity: the maximum chance of achieving given outcomes.

    In business, some forms of 'productivity' software will be required regardless of OS, and cloud-based options are not always suitable, for handing over IP to SaaS providers.

    So, Linux updates (requiring admin access) and Libre Office macros are just as prone to malware as current Microsoft alternatives. The real test is scale. Once enough Linux desktops are active across the globe, malware will organically grow to target those systems.

    The real present advantage of Linux desktops is lower footprint and cost. I can't quite work out why business hasn't cottoned on to this obvious cost saving. Libre Office and other productivity software alternatives are a little rough around the edges, but a significant uplift in users should boost open source development motivation, especially if there were some token corporate fees to underwrite user wish lists.

  31. StrangerHereMyself Bronze badge

    Mint

    For noobs Linux Mint is IMHO by far the best distro out there. It works as expected with most media file formats (very important for home computer users) and hardware like printers and webcams.

    I do admit there even there, updating is sometimes still a challenge. Updating a kernel still requires clicking through some dialogs and still has a (very small) amount of risk attached to it, even though it shouldn't be much of a problem for somewhat savvy users.

    I've migrated many family members and acquaintances to Linux Mint and I rarely update their machines since it simply secure enough without ever updating.

  32. ecofeco Silver badge

    You will change or Microsoft will own you

    MS is moving everything to Azure. AD and SCCM are outdated. Long outdated. Azure is cloud. Office is cloud. Dynamics is cloud. Power Apps is Cloud. Teams is cloud. Sharepoint is cloud.

    Everything that was once local, department and enterprise deployed and controlled by the administrator you could call within your office, has all gone cloud. This means MS can change the terms of service any time they want. And do anything with your data and what are you going to do about it? Your lawyers vs their lawyers? Get real. And your once useful admin is now at the mercy of the cloud as well. "Sorry, cloud is down, can't fix it and nobody to call".

    Oh I know, you can just use something else! Oh wait, no you can't, because you're irretrievably sunk deep into MS and since nobody really created demand for an alternative, none really exists.

    Suckers.

    Hyperbole? LOL. Did you just fall off the turnip truck? And how did everyone forget WHY the PC was adopted? Just... how?!

    But hey, keep on and find out. I'll be long retired and won't care about your hostage to MS consequences.

  33. Esme

    Bemused...

    I'm bemused due to the amount of argument on this subject which, whilst usually accurate in the specific points it makes, often seems to me to ignore one fundamental issue...

    Throughout my work career when Windows was a thing (which it wasn't at the start of my work career), most other employees around would bitch about Windows, either because of some awkwardness or thing it did badly, or because the latest version enforced a GUI change on people who just want to get stuff done without having to re-learn where a chunk of stuff is. That's one side of things. Nothing is perfect, people will bitch about whatever annoys them.

    A lot of users were reasonably happy with Windows; but almost all of them didn't realise that there was any alternative until MacOS became A Thing. But that was because MS put a lot of effort and money into trying to monopolise desktop computing. People were using Windows not because it was the best (I have no idea whether it was or wasn't at the time), but because it was THERE. It came with the PC when you bought it and this affected peoples notions about PCs to the point that for quite some years a helluva lot of users thought that desktop computing = PC+Windows like air = nitrogen+ oxygen.

    Having used an Amiga for some years before I even saw a Windows desktop, I was shocked at how badly the experience of using Windows compared to using the Amiga desktop. For me, it was a real step backwards in usability and stability. Of course, Commodore then shot itself in the foot, leg, arm, and head until it was very dead indeed, so, sadly for me, Windows became a daily part of my reality. A loathsome annoying part of it, and this back when even I didn't know if there were other desktop OS's that could run on desktop PC's.

    Once I became aware of Linux, I gave it a shot. For a long time, I dual-booted, so I could play the games I'd bought on Windows, and keep an eye on how Linux was developing and improving. At some point, Linux became good enough for me, and it became my primary OS - but I still dual-booted so I could play those games I had. Over time, I found myself booting into Windows less and less and Wine was letting me play some of my games fine so eventually I ditched Windows. But at work, I had to use Windows because that's what was on the PC my employers game me.

    The vast majority of the people I worked with only used office applications, and the vast majority of those used only a tiny percentage of the features of the various Office apps. Putting compatability issues aside for the moment, if I dusted off my old Amiga and fired it up, I could do pretty much all of the officey things on the Amiga that my colleagues were doing on Windows. This caused me many a deep sigh at what might have been had Commodore not self-immolated.

    Quite a number of years ago, Linux became extremely easy to install and use - more so than Windows, and yes, I have not only my personal experience, but also those of others who've given Linux a go at my suggestion (due to their annoyance at Windows for whatever their reason was) , and no, all bar one found the transition painless, and never went back to Windows.

    Businesses though... to me the situation seems like a bunch of people that initially unwittingly bought into a masochistic situation (because they couldnt bother to research the matter of desktop PCs in the first place) and are now trapped into the masochistic situation by their abuser. On the one hand, they won't or can't move away due to the costs involved, yet at the same time they keep paying and paying and paying their abuser to continue abusing them. It's a bit of a paradox to me - on the one hand, they won't move to some other OS unless it's cheap or free, so they continue staying with Windows which is very much NOT cheap, or free. Fallacy of sunk costs, and all that.

    Similarly, on the one hand companies diversify so that if one product fails it doesn't take the entire company down with it, and yet accept a proprietary monoculture when it comes to desktop OS's. Please assume that I understand easier to support just one OS, etc, as I do.

    However, all of this ignores what, to me, is the elephant in the room - the matter of which OS anyone uses woudn't matter a damn if data interchange was unproblematic. And the reason it isn't unproblematic? Because every software vendor and their dog back in the early days of corporate desktop computing was trying to push their own prorprietary file formats by fair means or foul. During the tail end of my work career, I had a frustrating situation where even Excel wouldn't reliably open files that the exact same copy of Excel had created on my desktop PC!

    Of course, I've been well aware of what the obstacles are to businesses to migrating away from Windows are. Bit hard not to, if you've a modicum of IT knowledge and experience, and sure, I understand, I get it. But why not kill the problems at source and insist on only using open and well-designed file formats, with none of this "we've added a few extensions we think you'll find useful when using OurCo software" malarkey? OK sure there'd still be the situation of either choosing an OS monocultre, whether it be Windows, MacOS Linux or whatever, or paying for suport for multiple OS's, if users were allowed to use whichever OS they got on best with, but in a world where one company hadn't abused its way into a position of creating a nearly complete monoculture on the work desktop, businesses would at least be able to choose which OS worked best for them. And choice is what free-market capitalism is supposed to be all about, isn't it? So why are businesses still largely supporting a near monopoly for the software to run their business, making themselves doubly vulnerable to the whims of MS and to any Bad Stuff that occurs that hits Windows widely?

    Personally, I don't give a damn what OS anybody uses - if you like Windows, I might think you odd, but I'll respect your choice if you genuinely just like the thing. I'll sympathise with you if you're stuck with an OS you dislike due to work, no matter what that OS is, even Linux. It's horrid having to use a system that has you gnashing your teeth every day, as I know from experience at work. But forgive me if I don't accept arguments that ignore the underlying problem - that the business world as a whole got into the trap its currently in due to the wilful ignorance of businessmen, and businesses find it very hard to get out of the trap due, fundamentally, to their refusal to insist on data being stored in non-proprietary file formats, as well as other businesses being allowed to get away with monopolistic practices.

    Right - I'm off to play my favourite games on my Penguin-powred PC. Oh, and incidentally, I have a couple of Windows games running via Steam that aren't listed as being usable on Linux - Sailaway and Ultimate Admiral - Dreadnoughts., both using the very simple to use Proton tool that Steam provides.

  34. drankinatty

    Pros and Cons, but Doable 20 Years Ago

    There are good points made for and against, but after switching to the Linux desktop when SuSE still sold boxed-sets and switching the backend for 4 other law offices to Linux while retaining a mixed environment for secretarial machines on Windows it was all doable 20 years ago. At that point there were minor limitations in OpenOffice (and remain in LibreOffice) for legal briefs, Word provides the ability to create a Table-of-Authorities, you have to hack it in Libre. Second limitation was accounting software. (for small business that's still true, though Wine works fine there). Lastly, an exchange backend, that issue has gone away with groupware packages like eGroupware, etc..

    The big Con point is the desktop itself and the knee-jerk changes to KDE or slow death of Gnome/Gtk from a thousand self-inflicted cuts. When something like "we need to port to the next Qt version for KDE-next, or we need to change Gtk/Gnome and remove/deprecate features of the toolkit -- there is no way business can handle the retraining/redevelopment involved. The fallacy of the desktop projected being "community oriented" and responsive to "community needs" evaporated with KDE4 and Gnome3. The emperor truly had no clothes and from a desktop direction standpoint the less than handful of devs guiding the project were going to do what they wanted, the community be damned. It's that uncertainty business cannot stomach.

    The Pros, Samba does ACL, domain controllers and single-sign on better than windows. Linux can operate as controller or member in mixed backends just fine, that's a non issue. For small business, Samba in a stand-alone mode still provides an excellent file server without the DC while still providing fine-grained access control over any of the needed shared resources between groups of people. CUPS, handles all printing backend need from copiers, scanners, networked or shared printers and does it well. Groupware mean appointments entered on my calendar at the office with it reminders pop up on my iphone and new appointments and contacts entered on my iphone are saved to the database back at the office. MariaDB or Postgres handle the database needs for a small office, just as they do for airline reservation systems. There simply isn't any downside to a Linux back-office verses a MS one -- you just need someone who knows how to keep it going (and there is little to do there after the initial setup other than handle config changes on major version updates.

    Not so much in demand now, but fax was another area where Linux shined. Hylafax with the Avantfax front end written by David Mimms (over at iFax) was a wonderful to with notification via e-mail and a link to the .pdf of the fax that had arrived instantly available.

    There was a post above about a committed move to the Linux desktop on to revert back when a real-time inventory system didn't play nice with the new desktops. (though I'm sure behind the scene that had nothing to do with a technical problem that couldn't be fixed, but it exemplifies the lack of talent needed when a move is planned so you don't end up keeping inventory on paper to make sure the computer is right - for a problem cause by the "guru" who did the setup just not knowing how to get it configured properly.

    Larger companies can partner with and contribute to open-source projects when they need features added. This benefits both the company and the project and them community at large if the added feature is relevant to more than just that company. Many open-source project will welcome additional help and contributions of funds or manhours.

    Another big Pro is the cost for a complete Linux backend and Desktop setup is far less that the deal you will make with the Windows side. This is more attractive to small business running on shoestring budgets. You can have all the means of creation and integration on par with the top 500 companies of the land, you just need someone dedicated to knowing the software and systems well enough that when any of the Cons appear, they are not show-stoppers, and simple are worked and fixed just like One-Drive going down would require the same thing.

    After 20 years, I have no regrets from embracing the Linux desktop, but still have quickbooks in Wine, so not 100% off windows, and over that time I've never had one software compliance visit from Big-Brother. There is another con in there somewhere.

    1. An_Old_Dog Silver badge

      The Anchor of Backwards Compatability

      I know of a law office where they still are using PS/2 PCs, running DOS, networked (no servers), and WordPerfect. They've added external CD burners for backup, since 3.5" diskettes are no longer manufactured.

  35. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "But, I'm sorry to say, GitLab won't support you with your Linux desktop. You'll need to do that yourself. Darn it."

    Thats why!

  36. TheMeerkat Bronze badge

    Office desktop needs Microsoft Office. You can’t run Microsoft Office on Linux.

    I know of the alternatives (I have a Linux desktop at work but I am a programmer), but they cannot replace Microsoft Office for non-tech office workers.

  37. neverending

    I use Win10 Pro on my main computer and Win11 Pro on my secondary, both with Malwarebytes and Shutup 10, and two accounts.

    Both have been changed to AMD. Both have Office 2007. I have no trouble, but, yes I would love to have a Linux install I don't get stuck somewhere using it.

    Surely if Linux becomes as popular as Windows, it will have as many malware attacks as Windows.

  38. im.thatoneguy

    Huh? Wut?

    "Over the years, they've included Dynamic Link Libraries (DLLs) and ActiveX. No matter what they're called, they do the same work, and they do it with no regard for security."

    Huh?! DLLs don't let programs communicate with each other. They're just reusable blocks of code. Comparing DLLs to ActiveX reveals that the author doesn't know anything about computer science. Linux had DLLs, they just use the SO extension.

    Also the fact that Microsoft can't remove Macros from Office is a great example of why those users not only can't drop Windows, they can't even drop Office on Windows.

    Furthermore, no version of Windows since 7 has effectively given the user session full admin privileges. Even Home edition.

    This ignorant article might kind of apply to Windows 98 (ignoring the DLL nonsense) but hasn't been applicable in nearly 20 years since Microsoft migrated all of their home users to the multi user Windows NT platform.

  39. Shred

    Obligatory XKCD cartoon:

    https://xkcd.com/456/

  40. Jim Whitaker
    Linux

    Watching OS wars is such fun.

  41. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Never gonna happen.

    And I write as someone who has used Linux since 1993 after my little brother came back from Uni and said "Guess what I'm playing with ?" (and proceeded to hog the modem for hours on end).

    No matter what distro/version/flavour of desktop Linux you want to push, it will take no more than 5 users before you hit a fucking massive hole in functionality, and it's game over.

    And these holes are getting bigger. Not smaller.

    Just for a corporate rollout, there is still a need for an equivalent of Outlook. That is a single email/messaging/diary tool that connects to a shared server. That's a drop dead issue. And it's encountered long before you talk about Word, Excel, etc etc.

    Then there are the embarrassing omissions - every tried to "Win+K" from a Linux desktop (hint: you can't. You can't even enable/activate it). So you realise that feature is missing, and decide you want to make a VOIP call - maybe using Linphone. Great. You tap your Bluetooth headet and when fuck all happens* you discover that Linux hasn't implemented the HFP/HSP since 2015.

    The other shoe to all this is the total and utter lack of any understanding about these issues from the world of linux. Which tends to start "why would you want to do that ?" which isn't a great way to engage with the 1,000 end users you may be dealing with, rather than the 20 experts in the IT department.

    *I know there may be a pipewire fix, but that kinda proves my point about not being ready for desktopdom.

    1. Roland6 Silver badge

      Re: Never gonna happen.

      >Just for a corporate rollout, there is still a need for an equivalent of Outlook.

      Well there is Zimbra...

      But then this does expose one of challenges we are seeing. To many it would seem Linux and everything on it must be free open source and not commercial, failing to see the commercial interest is necessary to generate the revenues necessary to fund the effort necessary turn what could be considered to be hobby projects into polished products that satisfy a larger audience.

      I suspect given Synacor's annual turnover is circa 100m USD and they have their fingers in more than Zimbra, they are unable to fund Zimbra development to the same level as Microsoft are with Exchange and Outlook.

      1. Roland6 Silver badge

        Re: Never gonna happen.

        >Just for a corporate rollout, there is still a need for an equivalent of Outlook.

        Well there is Zimbra...

        Should have looked it up before posting...

        Zimbra Desktop went "end of Technical Guidance" in October 2019, so whilst Zimbra Server is an alternative to Exchange, they no longer ship a supported alternative to the Outlook desktop client...

  42. Cliffwilliams44 Bronze badge

    The delusions just keep comming!

    Any one who thinks Linux is going to replace Windows as the default business desktop is deluding themselves. It's not going to happen!

    Why?!

    Even though the majority of business apps have moved to Web Applications (I use all the ones I need on my Linux desktop without issue), the bottom line is Office!

    Libre, Open Office, WPX Office just are not good enough! As much as I hate the latest changes to the Office Apps interfaces Libre's is horrible! Same with Open Office, Libre calc is lacking so much functionality that is available in Excel that it is useless for Excel power users like me. (I use a cloud workstation to do all my Excel work)

    WPX is better but still lacking and the fact it is a Chinese product makes it a non-starter!

    Then there is support!

    There are a lot of things that happen on my Linux workstation that I have to deal with, like:

    1. Display issues. I sometimes have to unplug the dock and plug back in to get my monitors working properly.

    2. Audio issues. Well since Fedora went to Pipewire it is better but still some devices just don't work.

    3. Teams. Yes it works but it still is missing some features that people want.

    4. etc, etc, etc...

    There is no way our service desk could support Linux even if they were skilled. The fact is basic operating system issues with Windows are virtually non-existent. If you manage your estate properly and don't allow people to install crap then you won't have problems.

    There is a reason we disable the notification to "upgrade to windows 11" in Windows 10. The average employee doesn't like change! They don't want to learn new things.

    Windows isn't great! It's a house of cards built on top of a house of cards! They just fixed a vulnerability that was buried in the bowels of Windows that I'll bet very few people at Microsoft even remembered was there. We cannot manage Active Directory with PowerShell on Linux because of it's dependence on Windows libraries. (We finally got Exchange Online module on Linux).

    Microsoft needs to plan on a complete rebuild of the OS on a new kernel, maybe Linux, maybe BDS or some other Unix flavor, build a new window manager API, GTX is crap and QT is only slightly better. Something somewhat compatible with current Windows. Then there is porting DirectX to this new OS. That is a must!

    Will this break older software? Sure but it has to happen! Apple realized this and bit the bullet and told customer "no, it will not be backward compatible!" Microsoft needs to do the same.

    Finally, I love open source software and use quite a few open source applications in our business but the fact that Linux is put together by thousands of programmers all over the world just makes it not not ready for the corporate desktop. Example: Currently Visual Studio Code if you do File->Open Folder the dialog opens behind the window. The VS Code team can't fix it because the issue is in Up Stream in Electron. So the answer to the issue is "we are waiting on upstream". Sorry that won't cut it in a business! Until someone (Microsoft?) creates a Linux/Unix desktop OS that is 100% supported and developed (or at least vetted and they take responsibility) by them it is not going to be accepted in corporate IT.

  43. localzuk Silver badge

    A bit outdated?

    Can't help but think the author of this article is a bit out of date with regards Windows.

    Sure, things needed to run as administrator, back on Windows XP and some badly written software still wanted it on Windows 7. But now? With Windows 11? Not seen anything that wants that.

    And Windows today is built on NT, which was built with the specific purpose of being a network and muilti-user OS. So, the claim that "Windows is still built on a standalone PC operating system foundation" is simply incorrect.

    The reality for many organisations is that Windows is the easiest option to implement. There are more Windows admins out there than Linux ones. At least, in their price range. There are more turnkey solutions that work on Windows than Linux. You can turn to MS for 99% of everything that may go wrong with running a network setup of Windows devices. Not so easy with Linux when there's 4000 options on how to do something.

  44. ElDestripador

    Let's be real here... I've been in IT for 26 years, and I've been OS agnostic for longer. I've heard this argument for years, but one thing I've come to realize is the problem isn't the OS, it's the people who don't take security seriously enough and fall to some of the simplest social engineering attacks, not updating their stuff, not using MFA and/or using easy to brute force passwords, or not properly firewalling their stuff or not implementing something like zero trust.

    In that same time, not one Linux vendor has come closer to mass adoption than Google, with Android and ChromeOS. Red Hat or Ubuntu can't even claim that, and I use Ubuntu for some of my stuff at work. Nevertheless, the biggest downfall to mass adoption is not the OS, but the apps, namely Microsoft Office and Adobe Creative Cloud. Sure there are alternatives, but nothing has beat those two apps, neither of which has full Google OSes support and has this prevented broader adoption.

  45. IT Hack

    Cost

    Just want to mention the Munich Linux thing. Before Munich committed to the tech refresh Microsoft sent all sorts of execs until Steve 'Monkey Boi' Blamer got involved and undoubtedly greased the sales funnel (did they have such a thing back then?) but the recalcitrant government client decided to go ahead with the Linux deployment. As someone mentioned in their post that the roll out failed as the workers could not access resources for them to perform their function. So moved they canned it all and MS was back in the game. I wonder how much was spent by MS when really all they needed to do (as was predicted by many at the time) was wait until the entire thing fell to bits and the customer came in from the cold.

    Cost is the crux of the issue. It will be, as usual, the big corps that would have the ability to make Linux a viable business tool outside of 'just being a server'. If you can move an entire compute infrastructure off MS and onto Linux and not loose availability, integrity and confidentiality along side not loosing service management abilities and not impact negatively on performance of (user) role you could be a pioneer. Thing is though that this is all predicated on infrastructure that is usually a mix of on prem and cloud. So really in this situation the back end is not a driver but the desktop side absolutely is.

    So how much does that cost?

    That is what is not going to make Linux a globally ubiquitous business tool. It would be horrifically expensive and what are the benefits exactly?

    From an IT ops view it would be a horror show of trying to manage an OS that changes far too often to test applications. Then there are the issues around managing the devices and user accounts.

    Then regulatory issues could get in the way as well. In this I mean the issue of admin accounts. Users never get admin accounts these days. So when the shit hits the fan and you've been breached through a compromised user account the powers that be would question why a user has an admin account.

    All these issues can be dealt with, of that I have no doubt. The question for businesses is if it justifies an exorbitant cost. I cannot see it happening, not over night anyway.

    There might be MSPs out there that can provide a linux desktop service and perhaps the 'change' will be coming from that side? I am not really sure about that either. A question would be where the sweet spot is in terms of users, cost and profit (for both client and MSP).

    So yeah. Cost.

    COST!

  46. snifferdog_the_second

    "Windows is still built on a standalone PC operating system foundation" This is so not true. Windows NT (which all modern versions of Windows are built on) was rewritten from the ground up and has a robust security model. Also, you have a strange idea of what Inter-Process Communication means.

  47. Missing Semicolon Silver badge
    Unhappy

    No Linux Dells for us

    Look at the UK site. There is one (1), uno. It's a crappy retail device with a max of 8GB RAM. Only the Americans get nice 3000-series Precision mobile workstations.

    1. Roland6 Silver badge
      Pint

      Re: No Linux Dells for us

      You could take a look at the Lenovo UK website - the Thinkpad P16s with a nice specification can be had for circa £1,500 including Ubuntu pre-installed...

  48. Filippo Silver badge

    Okay, so this article is claiming that businesses should switch to Linux over security concerns.

    The fail is right there. I don't even need to get into how the article's claims about Windows security are debatable at best.

    99%+ of businesses don't give a flying fuck about security.

    They'll say it's a top priority, but it's not. It's about as much a priority as the quality of the coffee in the cafeteria. It's only a top priority in the couple of weeks after getting hit by a serious attack, but since two weeks aren't enough to do a switchover of your entire organization, nobody is going to switch to Linux over security.

  49. Joe Gurman

    “Macs, which are, after all, expensive”

    Particularly in business and government, try to get past this patently false assertion when examined in the light of total cost of ownership. Look at IBM’s experience in this regard, and consider the amount of handholding new Linux desktop users need.

  50. Blitterbug
    Meh

    Far more secure...

    ...and far less happy

  51. vincent himpe

    first convince all application makers to port their stuff to linux

    Then we'll talk.

    Linux on the desktop works if all you do is browse the web, write letter , dabble in spreadsheets, and email and some video conf. Code writing and developing for linux will work fine as well.

    Step outside that and its crickets. Heavy cad (mechanical , board design , electronics) , development tools for fpga and processors, debuggers, emulators, tracers, test equipment . It's windows and windows only. You may find some niche stuff but you are shortchanging yourself if you go that route, those tools are not up to par with the real thing. The industrial stuff is all windows based. and that stuff does not work well under wine or even in a virtual machine. CAD heavily relies on workstation grade graphics cards like Quadro's. You don't want layers of foreign software in between. Quadro's are bought because of their specific drivers for the high-end applications.

    1. theOtherJT

      Re: first convince all application makers to port their stuff to linux

      And tbh that's pretty much the end of it. No one cares to port their application to Linux because there's no mass market of Linux users out there waiting to buy it.

      Conversely there's no mass market of Linux users out there waiting to buy things because applications aren't available to buy, so that blocks people from using Linux in the first place.

      Truth be told most people doing most jobs could probably get by fine - because most people never step outside their browsers these days - but no IT department wants to have to run two parallel sets of infrastructure so as long as there's even a minority of people who need something that's not available on Linux, why bother supporting it at all? You're just making work for yourself.

  52. RDOut

    Enterprise management

    I always felt it came down to the ease and ability to manage and patch Linux in the enterprise. Yes there are tools out there to help make it happen but very few easy to pick up and configure suites that can manage a wide variety of distros. I haven’t looked much in the last five years but the biggest ones I recall where expensive options from players like manage engine and 6sense.

    If it takes extra effort to support and manage, the likelihood of gaining sufficient adoption is low.

  53. Dr Paul Taylor
    Linux

    Security: suits me if M$ dominates the market

    The best protection against burglary is a neighbour with all the flashy stuff.

    While M$ dominates the market, the crooks will put their effort into targeting Windoze machines.

    What worries me more is that M$ may use their "secure" boot to force manufactures to prevent me from installing Linux on any computer that I have bought, as in this recent story.

  54. Zuagroasta

    We can't even get businesses to upgrade to W10 in time because they whine and moan about their legacy applications that were coded back when 640K was all the RAM one would need, and that were coded w/o any regard to security. Munich City authorities tried to change everything over to their own Linux distro, only to find out all their bespoke apps ran only on Internet Explorer (this was 2010-2013). They went back to M$ cap in hand to be promptly raped up the arse... as long as the bean counters continue taking the decisions [and we must remember that in the last decade most IT depts ended up under Finance in the reorganizations], the Linux desktop ain't got a chance; the cost of reworking the application environment, training support and retraining the users, and the increased support workload that comes with Linux, is simply too much for their little brains which can't get the concept of TCO inside.

    1. vincent himpe

      i see two root causes

      - no testing of the applications : blame on the city authorities

      - apps not running on other browser : blame on browser makers. Yes, you read that right. Browser makers.

  55. nautica Bronze badge
    Happy

    You needn't have said so much.

    @localzuk:

    "A bit outdated?"

    "Can't help but think the author of this article is a bit out of date with regards Windows..."

    " Can't help but think The author of this article is a bit out of date" would have been more than sufficient.

  56. The Northerner Up North

    Where Linux fails - MS Office 365 + Addon's to start with

    I would like to see Linux as an OS being used in business but sadly what is holding it back is lack of Office 365, support for addon/ins, applications that integrate with a O365 and then DMS support that's before enterprise finance applications, the comes MFD printer support... ...all just tip of the iceberg to drive software companies to produce their applications to run under Linux.

    I can see why MS don't want O365 to work on Linux, Millions of machines running Zorin/Elementary/Pop OS! visually appealing (looks like a mac), stable, reliable would soon be in test in many corporates around the world and if rolled out MS would lose billions in OS licencing eventually without gaining much in O365 licences.

    Even if WINE or something like it - was released that supported it it would probably not support all the addon/ins that a lot of companies use and that is a show stopper. Assuming MS didn't throw a number of law suits around they could simply rewrite the installer to detect where its being installed and computer says no...

    So Windows is here to stay. At least in the business world for now. Or is it? Imagine somebody like a tour de force like Elon Musk released is own Linux distro with a way of running ALL windows apps.... Or MS brought their own Linux distro that runs all windows apps - and it cost £20 - I would buy it! Even with these two options the world would change and I really hope that will happen - not because I dislike Windows - I've support it since something like windows 3. But because we should be allowed choice in this day and age.

    1. herman Silver badge

      Re: Where Linux fails - MS Office 365 + Addon's to start with

      Office365 works fine in a browser on Linux.

  57. Jakester

    Unfortunately, held hostage by others

    Linux (my current favorite is Ubuntu with the LXDE desktop) is far easier to configure and maintain than Windows. Microsoft seems to constantly change default programs the user has setup and sometimes changes printer defaults.

    Unfortunately, a number of agencies the companies I do some work for have to provide some information to state agencies and the payroll company using only data extracted from Microsoft Excel spreadsheets. Unfortunately, Libre Office can't be used. That has been a thorn in my side for years. I don't like being forced to use one product because another agency uses that product.

    1. herman Silver badge

      Re: Unfortunately, held hostage by others

      I run Office 2003 on Windows XP on Virtualbox, with the network disabled. It works fine this way and I don’t need to pay for any online services.

  58. psychonaut

    Security

    I have now got 1100 end points that I look after, 99% windows. Not one single viral issue or one bit of lost data in over 10 years , thats across xp to 11, from old grannies to small businesses, and not 1 domain. Windows can be secure as long as you do it properly. Every Windows system i ever see for the first time...user is an admin, no ad blocker, no script blocker, no crypto prevent (use it, it is marvellous), and Norton, avg or mcafee. That's why Windows gets owned so much.

    1. herman Silver badge

      Re: Security

      Linux don’t have any of those antiwhatever bandaids either and it doesn’t suffer from malware.

  59. Henry Wertz 1 Gold badge

    Yes they should

    Agreed, they should.

    I've mainly seen people here say Linux can't be used because of Outlook & Bluetooth support.

    1) If you are really still running on-site PSTs and all that, I do think Outlook will run in Wine. But if not, indeed, stick with WIndows. I don't know AT ALL how common this is though, the only people I know using Outlook any more are using the web version of it now.

    2) Bluetooth. Not sure what they were on about, I've done bluetooth tethering (slower but MUCH less power consumption that running a hotspot on the phone), and audio both to and from the computer.

    The funny thing for me is when I've had people say "don't you hate when computers crash and bluescreen and (whole list of Windows-specific problems)?" I point out "No, those are not computer problems they are Windows problems, run Linux or even Mac and you won't have those problems."

    I think the best decision I made was to tell people plainly "No, I'm not going to fix your Windows system. No I'm not reinstalling Windows for you. No, I'm not pirating a copy of WIndows since you don't have install media. No, I'm not pirating Windows 10 (nobody wants 11...) for you. I have an Ubuntu USB stick I can install on there. No? OK then best of luck with that." (I've replaced the awful Unity desktop on my install with the gnome-session-flashback for a traditional appearance.)

  60. Risque

    Back in 1999 for a few years I repurposed many beige boxes, workstations and notebooks through NSW & ACT markets. All ex corporate or new superseded equipment Many displays were varying Linux distros. They always attracted interest. Today I still run mostly Linux, android at home. I fix old laptops and give them to kids. I do want to try getting Linux on a phone. In work environments I am always unsettled when I can't see a terminal in use where IT reside. I believe a windows user friendly desktop could quite easily and securely delivered on most distros by a capable team. Dare I suggest 'snap' to it or git up already!

  61. herman Silver badge

    Linux snuck onto the desktop long ago

    I realized that Linux had arrived, when my Brother (accountant), told me that he and his wife are using Ubuntu Linux machines.

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