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I am seriously hoping to migrate my personal PCs and our office to Linux (From WinXP). I know there are powerful Linux apps available that match the standard windows material (email, browser, office suite, etc) - However, I do have to run some Windows programs. (A couple games, yes, but mostly business apps.)
I am hoping some people here can address these questions for me:
1) Is there some way of running Windows apps in Linux? Dual boot, etc, is not really an option, I need all programs accessible at the same time.
2) Not knowing much about ODBC, are the Linux office products compatible with ODBC? (No flaming - Remember, I'm a windows user, I don't know any better.)
3) I'm thinking I'll use RedHat, since that's what I'm most familiar with. If I have purchased RedHat Enterprise, can I install that on as many PCs as I want, or do I need a license for each one?
4) Are there any utilities for bringing over all my email, etc, from Outlook?
5) Is there anything else I should consider before making this move?
Ok, it's a tall list ... I really do appreciate your replies.
1) "wine" runs many Windows apps in Linux - some better than others, some not at all. "Crossover Office", a wine derivative, does a very good job of handling busines apps, like MS Office. It is a commercial product, however, running ~ $30 per copy, IIRC. For Games, Cedega is a wine derivative that allows most *popular* games to be played, with varying success. It has a subscription version as well as a free version - with the subscription version containing proprietary libraries to handle things like CD-copy-protection.
2) I'm not very familiar with ODBC, so I can't safely answer this one.
3) Check with RedHat for licensing requirements. I assume you can buy one copy, and install it wherever you want, but you would have to pay support fees based on how many machines you wanted covered. But I don't know. Just ask RedHat.
4) Some email clients can import directly from .pst files, others need to have the files exported from outlook to another format, and then imported into the Linux client. Decide which client you will use, and we can help you more accurately.
3) If RedHat Enterprise complies to the GNU (and it should but there might be small bits that don't) then yes you can install it on as many computers as you'd like. If you like RedHat check out fedoracore I'm sure it's GNU and its RedHat. RedHat isn't making a desktop os anymore just RedHat Enterprise.
4) KMail lets you import from outlook. (So does Thunderbird but I've never used it)
5) Plenty of games for linux. Also very Mac compatible. Much more secure. Windows XP just plain sucks. You'll no longer be Bill's slave.
<<1) Is there some way of running Windows apps in Linux? Dual boot, etc, is not really an option, I need all programs accessible at the same time.>>
Yes. There are two ways:
- "Wine", a win32 compatibility layer for Linux. In typical usage, it replaces Windows by making Windows system calls available to Windows apps under Linux (It is more a set of libraries than an emulator). It works really nice with some apps, but unfortunately not for all.
- Or you can use a virtual machine (Win4Lin for example). Usage is similar to that of VNC, in that you have to own a real copy of Windows, and this Windows is contained in a window under Linux. But it should be faster than VNC because this Windows is running on your local machine, in parallel to Linux.
<<2) Not knowing much about ODBC, are the Linux office products compatible with ODBC? (No flaming - Remember, I'm a windows user, I don't know any better.)>>
Linux uses "UnixODBC", which is compatible with ODBC as far as I know.
<<3) I'm thinking I'll use RedHat, since that's what I'm most familiar with. If I have purchased RedHat Enterprise, can I install that on as many PCs as I want, or do I need a license for each one?>>
You can install any GPL distribution any number of times you want. I don't know RedHat, but for Mandrake, this means that the first 3 or 4 CDs can be used as you want, but the so-called "commercial CD" (with demos, and special offers) cannot.
<<4) Are there any utilities for bringing over all my email, etc, from Outlook?>>
Suse used to do (still is doing?) such a thing (OpenExchange or something like that). Besides, Evolution has a commercial plug-in for Exchange compatibility. I also know that there are tutorials on the web for getting your mails from a .pst archive.
Linux' weak point is in contacts and calendars. Programs exist, but were not "glued" together well until now. Things are changing, especially in the Mozilla camp.
<<5) Is there anything else I should consider before making this move?>>
First of all: hardware compatibility.
Next: check all your win32 software with the compatibility list of Wine/Win4Lin/whatever you choose.