[svlug] Migration questions and suggestions

David Masten dmasten at piratelabs.org
Fri Aug 29 17:37:47 PDT 2003

On Fri, 2003-08-29 at 14:03, Daniel Curry wrote:

> Existing services include MS Active Directory, 


> MS Exchange,

Look at SuSE OpenExchange Server. From what I can tell it is looking
good as a replacement. (There are caveats though.)

>  Veritas
> Backup Exec,

IIRC, Veritas backup products are available for Linux, check with vendor
to see if discounts are available for switching OS.

>  Oracle on MS, 

"Unbreakable Linux" need I say more? :-) Again, see what options there
are for switching the underlying OS without purchasing whole new

> The client systems are running Win98, Win2kPro, and XP Pro.  Office 97
> and 2000 Pro, heavy emphasis on Outlook, Word and PowerPoint.  Also
> include Arcobat in the mix.  Only two people use Access, at all.  Their
> finance guy (part-time) uses QuickBooks 200x.  

I think you have everything covered except Quickbooks. Codeweaver's
Crossover Office (Wine) runs some Quickbooks versions on Linux. From the
Codeweavers site "QuickBooks Pro 2000 seems to work pretty well. Pro
2001 is unknown. QuickBooks Pro 2002 does not install at this time."

If anyone else knows of any good accounting package for Linux I am also

> One of the 'goals' is that users with laptops can run 'locally' while
> out of the office, but as soon as they connect to the local LAN, (not
> the VPN) their local home directory gets dumped to the server. 
> Something like a roaming profile in Win2k, done right.  This is for data
> protection purposes.

May have to do some scripting to get this done. This is not an easy
problem, all the simple solutions (an init script that rsync's dirs for
example) seem to break and cause support headaches.

> The largest part for me to get straightened out is where to start,

I'd start by reviewing Steve Traugott's http://www.infrastructures.org,
lots of good stuff in there, you might also want to ask the
'infrastructures' mail list folks as well.  

>  and
> what programs to use to replace Exchange. 

There are lots of options depending on how little they use the
calendaring stuff. Calendaring seems to be the real hurdle.

>  Input and sample plans or
> just lists of tasks in an order would be greatly appreciated. 
> Definitely seeking experienced suggestions with this from anyone willing
> to share.  

I'd take it one step at a time, evolutionary approach rather than
revolutionary. Draw up a good diagram of what you want to end up with,
and a good diagram of what they have, figure out what boxes and services
can be replaced first and easiest, do those, make sure they work and are
rock solid, than move on to the next box/service. You may even want to
break it done into weaning them off MS Office by installing Open/Star
Office on Windows boxes first, then change the OS later (there are
disadvantages to this as well, but it is something to think about). 

I'd pick one (maybe two, Oracle is picky) distros to work with, do not
get into lots of different distros, and if you do go with two make sure
they use the same package/update mechanisms. My distro recommendation du
jour is SuSE 8.2 + Ximian XD2. YMMV. Ask me again next week I might tell
you something different. You'll want to set up the desktop (menus, look,
etc.) then package the changes and include it in the build image.

Most important thing is to manage user expectations throughout the
transition. You want them to expect to re-learn things and have some
difficulty, yet think the change is worth it.

Good luck!

David Masten <dmasten at piratelabs.org>
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