Things to learn from Linux migrations


Microsoft buys, Chile sells. That was the headline, back in mid-2007, of the blogs about a secret agreement that a minister of the time had with the executives of the Redmond company and that involved not only a direct relationship but also an excessive dependence on the personal data of citizens in the hands of this company.

Now the Government of Chile is on a very different path, accepting the use of Free Software in its administration as valid although it does not intend to favor Free Software. So they commissioned a study on the convenience and feasibility of migrating to Free Software in public offices.

They called it "Use of Free Software in the State" and from that study came a study on the use (How much Free Software is used), a Migration Guide, an Economic and Social Impact Analysis (If it is cheaper to use it and if it really is it does good to society)

What about us?

In addition to being an interesting study for the region in addition to the citizens of the country themselves, many of the conclusions of this study we they serve to face a migration in any other context (from that of a friend to that of an organization) and I will try to summarize this in a list.

Training is inescapable: With a home computer or with an employee, it is always necessary to train them to avoid surprises. Although Windows training is not usually necessary, it is impressive how many Windows users are not able to use their own equipment in minimal conditions, from turning on / off a PC to how to use a program necessary for their job. If they are going to use Linux or some free programs within Windows, it is best to teach them to use them unless the learning curve does not warrant it.

Not everyone knows the same: Some users are better at handling the PC than others and this is directly related to their ability to learn to use a new environment. A user may have a certain level of knowledge that is sufficient to migrate to a new application or environment (such as a new distro) and is able to assist their peers. Understanding this helps us plan the migration.

They do not have to be total or abrupt: In addition to intimidating those responsible for the operation of the system where it was presented, it was the cause of more than one setback. Perhaps it is not necessary to put them all Ubuntu, it may be better to start by putting them to work with OpenOffice, Thunderbird and Firefox.

Resistance to change is natural: The unknown is scary, changing then can also be a psychological job. In the case of a home user, he lives this before, because he is the one who agrees to migrate, this time it applies much more in an organization, where the authority demands a change and it is done. The claims will be but next to them must be the arguments for change. It has to be better for the user, if not, it doesn't make sense.

You have to plan: This runs even for those who migrate alone, perhaps only with the help of things they read on the Internet or for the IT department of a public agency, migrations usually fail because they were not well thought out. It may be a good idea to take a piece of paper with a pencil and draw lines planning how to get to have your PC running with Linux, for example.

What it takes to get the job done: It is vital to know if we are going to need a program equivalent to what we use in Windows, it is a good idea then to know how that program works, we can ask on the Internet. Most likely, if you go from Windows to Linux, everything you used in Windows exists, but with another name or that something exists, but it is not enough.

Sometimes migration is not justified: According to this study, approximately 30% of the State's computers are not in a position to migrate because, due to licenses already paid or due to benefits and complications of transferring formats, for example, it is unfeasible. It is sad but it may happen that no matter how much we want, switching to Linux is not an option if what we do with our PC on a daily basis prevents us from doing so. In an organization, the Software to be used may not exist or have completely opposite formats.

What other aspects should be taken into account when migrating?

Migration experiences in organizations that seem familiar to you?

Common mistakes?

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  1.   vincegeratorix said

    great that studies are done here, and the idea of ​​the SL is thought
    most of the things there are things that everyone knows… but it is worth adding it to a study….
    but the last point left me thoughtful ...

    For those who do not know, a few years ago, Chile was going to sign a totally secret treaty with M $, and that the Navarrese senator discovered and objected due to the high cost of the licenses that would be paid to him ... when it came to light "it disappeared" and they threw the vice from «TATA» to jail

    now going back to the last point ... whenever I go to a pharmacy I see on the pc «User - COBOL» «BOX - COBOL» XDDDD and as I have read it is very difficult to go from win to linux those programs ... apart from that there are very few programmers of that language, and it would cost pharmacies a lot of money (and other companies using those programs) so I don't think pharmacies want the migration XDD

    PS: if I'm wrong at something let me know: D
    PD2: who will be the new blogger @?

  2.   N @ ty said

    The 'joke' of migrating, let's say, is that everyone migrate, and not some. Everyone equally.

    I could repeat the trite and disastrous example of using OpenOffice and MSWord at the same time in the same company, but I already told you about them. This same disastrous experience occurred with Outlook and Thunderbird: out of date emails, crazy characters and warnings that never arrived.

    Likewise, in cases of migration, old and new systems or technologies tend to coexist ... at least for a time ...

  3.   f sources said

    @ N @ ty of course, but it depends on the case and the planning, what you tell me is a disaster, I can imagine it, but what if for things of life in a company certain employees only install free programs ( here I am inventing that they are not trained or not fully) and to another group with a Linux distro, they would no longer have document compatibility problems, the files would circulate without problems and the computer scientists and trainers could fix the odd pothole.

    Bottom line: It depends on the planners.

  4.   another_sam said

    A translation of an article from March 11:

    "French Police: We have saved millions of euros by adopting Ubuntu"

    In the case of the French police it was:
    1st) OOo
    2nd) Firefox
    3rd) Thunderbird

    In the case of an organization that I know in which they use 5 machines, the thing is like this:
    1st) Firefox (5/5, for 2 years)
    2nd) Thunderbird (5/5, for 2 years)
    3rd) OOo (2/5, for 3 months)

    I want to point out that with the entry of ODF and Office 2007, some chaos is emerging in the exchange of documents between the administrative staff of this and other organizations or people with whom they interact. I think that it contributes to this that one of the default settings in Windows XP is "Hide file extensions bla bla bla".

    Ideal solution: total migration or nothing.

    Real solution: progressive migration or nothing.

    Sudden migrations do not exist. Migrations have as many borders as the uses are made of the equipment. If there are 12 people in an organization who share the use of the computer in this way:
    - 10 give use A
    - 1 gives use B
    - 1 gives you use C
    you will have to do your migration in 3 phases, incredible as it may seem.

    And in each phase there will be as many subphases as applications are used.

    It is very important that the productivity and comfort of the users does not leave the focus of the person responsible for the migration. You have to think that, in the best of cases, hasty decisions will cause 8 hours of daily suffering to each of those affected. In the worst case, old applications will be silently reinstalled without you noticing. In both cases, you will have created rejection of the applications you want to implement.

    I think that today the migration to SL is like this:
    - Multimedia: No problems. VLC on Windows and Totem with automatic codecs on the fly on Ubuntu.
    - Instant messaging: No productivity problems although aesthetic ones. MSN is much prettier.
    - Web browsing: No hassle as long as you don't need some shit made in ActiveX. Luckily they are the exception.
    - Mail: Without Exchange without problems. With Exchange, I don't know if something more is needed than activating POP3 or IMAP4 on the server.
    - Office automation: I don't know what to say here. I don't have enough experience. Mind you, French police completely migrated from MSO to OOo 4 years ago and Obama's team did a study last year that OOo could be used in 99% of US federal offices. They are not bad references.

    Places where I still see mass migration impossible is in CAD or graphic design offices. Neither AutoCAD nor Photoshop works well in Wine. Although this may start to change in the next 2-3 years because Wine is improving remarkably and little by little alternatives that can replace AutoCAD and Photoshop for some cases also appear and evolve, such as Qcad, SketchUp, GIMP, etc.