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Is desktop Linux a good place to start with open source?

I've seen a lot of discussion about Linux on the desktop. Is that a good place for our organization to get started with open source?

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We recommend to our clients that they select something other than desktop Linux as their first foray into open source. There is a lot of learning that goes on when you begin to work with open source. Compounding that organizational learning with the challenge of rolling out a new operating system to technically less-capable users is a recipe for disaster.

We suggest that organizations start with a bounded project that only IT employees are involved in creating, which can be browser-accessible. That way, the most technically astute employees are involved at first in learning about open source. Once a good knowledgebase is built in IT, more ambitious projects can be implemented. An internal portal project is an excellent candidate for a first project.

This was first published in November 2004

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