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Old 10-22-2004, 05:51 PM   #1
Registered: Sep 2003
Location: Hawaii
Distribution: Slackware 9.1
Posts: 51

Rep: Reputation: 15
establishing linux in a small business?

i have a small business with 10 workstations. personally, i have tried suse, mandrake and slackware. i like them all for different reasons. i am a software developer, that almost exclusively programs M$ apps. however, i pesonally like to use linux. in fact, i often use a linux machine and rdesktop onto a M$ machine to do my programming. note: i am pretty neutral as far as linux and M$ (ok, i lean more on the linux side, but i gotta eat so i take M$ programming contracts).

at any rate, i am considering moving my administrative workstations to linux because i don't care to pay absurd M$ license fees. (xp, office, photoshop, etc.... i would prefer linux, openoffice, gimp., etc.).

i like slackware, but i think suse or mandrake would be easier to maintain. i am one of only 3 technical people in the company and we don't have a lot of time to maintain the workstations. further, although i can get around a linux box, i am in no way an expert. that said, i would like to hear what distro you folks suggest to run a small business (desktops)?
Old 10-22-2004, 06:34 PM   #2
Registered: Aug 2004
Location: New York
Distribution: --------- Gentoo-2004.2 [2.6.8] Redhat-9 [2.6.6]
Posts: 545

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It depends on what ur lookin at stability, easy of use,support, latest software and a lot of other things.. Anyway..

I can talk only about the distro's ive tried , Redhat 9 is pretty rock solid .. but it runs on an archaic kernel and lotsa dependency problems...

I switched to gentoo recently, I absolutely love it ... but in my opinion it wont be a good a option for a small business .... coz of the sheer amount of time it takes, and lack of gui to configure stuff, on the hindsight u get the the latest sofware and bug fixes and if u have homogeneous setup [same h/w for all 10 systems ... u can use Ghost or something to replicate a single install ]..
Old 10-22-2004, 07:20 PM   #3
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Registered: Sep 2003
Location: Danville, VA
Distribution: Slackware, Windows, FreeBSD, OpenBSD, Mac OS X
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This is just a personal opinion, but, given that you have limited tech support, and time, you may want to go with mandrake or suse. Don't get me wrong, Slackware is a great distro, (My distro of choice) but, you've got to spend some time learning, and configuring things to get it working properly. This isn't a bad thing because you learn in the process, however, your situation is a business and as you so eloquently put it, "you gotta eat". With that in mind, I'd think you would want to have the systems low maintenance, and easily configured.

Personally I don't have much experience with suse, so my natural choice there would be mandrake. The truth is they are both rpm based distro's, so the similarities should be easy enough to work around. One last note is the users, if it were me, I'd download and burn both suse's, and mandrakes, live cds. Make 10 copies of each and let the users decide which distro they prefer. That's just me, whatever makes you happy, keeps me happy.

With all that said, I hope something here helps you make your decision. Just remember that there is a distro for every one, you've just got to find it.
good luck.

Last edited by Peacedog; 10-22-2004 at 07:22 PM.
Old 10-22-2004, 08:28 PM   #4
Registered: Sep 2003
Location: Hawaii
Distribution: Slackware 9.1
Posts: 51

Original Poster
Rep: Reputation: 15

i tend to agree with you. i enjoy slackware as a playground for myself. however, the pulse of the business will have to ultimately drive my decision. i have tried both suse and mandrake and as for a desktop distro, my personal opinion is that they run neck and neck. since i have both suse and mandrake in my "stable", i will take your suggestion and let my users play with them. my opinion, however, is that they will not notice a real difference since their experience will be using, the browser (firefox), gimp, etc. they will not have to do any real configurations.

i am intrigued that suse is now a novell product. its good because there is a big company behind it and bad because, well, there is a big company behind it!

at any rate, i am absolutely convinced that i can convert the office functions completely to linux and not miss a beat!
Old 10-22-2004, 11:19 PM   #5
Registered: Aug 2004
Distribution: debian, SuSE
Posts: 365

Rep: Reputation: 35
Linux for a small business? There are certainly quite a few options. If it is for desktop machines, certainly go with something like SuSE an the bigger distros. If you are looking for something to merely take care of server end pechnologies such as dhcp, dns, file server, etc then look into the SME server at You can administer it via a web browser and it is is very secure. No desktop apps though.


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