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Getting real about Linux on the desktop

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Few topics in the IT industry are more contentious than the prospect of putting Linux on the corporate desktop. Opinions range from the religious view at one end, promoting a fundamentalist belief in open source as the saviour of mankind, to the reaction of corporate conservatives at the other, dismissing Linux as irrelevant to serious end user computing.

To date, the latter view has predominated, based largely on the assumption that migration of Windows user bases to Linux is generally more trouble than it’s worth. This has in turn perpetuated the significant inertia traditionally associated with the Microsoft dominated status quo.

Quite a bit has happened over the past couple of years, however, that arguably brings the desktop Linux discussion into more mainstream focus. Against the backdrop of initial goodwill from business users, Microsoft fumbled the ball quite badly with Vista, and while it soon to be releases successor Windows 7 is now being pretty well received, the whole experience has broken the Windows spell. For the first time, even the most loyal and accepting Microsoft shops have started to question the logic of simply moving automatically from one Windows version to the next.

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