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I am a small business person who has tried over the years to use Linux without much success. My recent foray into the Unix / Linux world has been through Lindows and for me it has been a blessing. Loadable without a lot of agravation, similar enough to MSWin to eliminate the learning curve, all in all an enormous time saver. Don't get me wrong, I'd be a purist if I had the time. However, the business demands that my first true love, computing and figuring things out, takes a back seat to getting the job done as quickly and as effortlessly as possible. That said, Unix and Linux seem geared to big business (or universities) and the enterprise and / or the techie.
If I describe a scenario from MSWin, can anyone suggest an equivalent Linux alternative? I have a number of computers (~25) all networked without a server (peer-to-peer - and yes, I can hear you cringing now) running various flavors of MSWin (XP,ME and 98SE), and using Lotus Approach. Approach provides an incredibly simple interface for a dBase IV database in a multi-user environment that I can design and then manipulate and build queries for on the fly. All the computers in the network can be attached to one "server" at the same time using the same database, each user accessing and updating perhaps one record per minute. The network handles this very easily. The records are automatically locked and the users avoid trying to access the same records because they each work on the results of different queries designed to avoid selecting overlapping records.
It may not be elegant, in fact it may be a totally wrong way to go about it, but I can tell you it works. Unfortunately, Lotus has no plans to port their SmartSuite or Approach product over to Linux. I have tried Star Office (5.1 & 7.0) and Open Office (1.0) and have never been able to get close to duplicating what Lotus can do. Am I missing something? Is there an off the shelf product that will do what I need so I can make the transition to Linux and get back to business?
not familiar with Lotus approach so I'm not sure if you can convert your current database to the DB services that work on linux. PostgreSQL and MySQL are two of the free choices for the Database. But Again, I'm not sure if you can do a direct import of your existing data. these servers are not that hard to configure and manage. you can even get some web based frontends to help you manage your database (ie PhpMyAdmin - mysql, PhpPgAdmin - postgres or WebMin).