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Old 08-16-2004, 07:10 AM   #1
galeg
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Evening
As a senior IT project manager I am initally considering running Linux on my home PC to gain knowledge of the OS. Having said this I am having difficulties in understanding the advantages of work station Linux in a commercial environment, so maybe some feedback would be helpful.
My basic questions are few:
a. Can Linux be locked down tight, to stop any user from being able to reach root level. In other words, lock to a level where they can only run applications that are provided by icon, and limit technician level dependant on type of support / development that may be required.
b. Are there any Linux vendors that have a world wide support network, suitable for supporting an environment identical in most developed countries ( Asian through to Europe and the Americas ).
c. With data conversion, are there any world wide vendors that provide application software that can read and write existing MS formated word or spreadsheet data.
d. Is there a world wide standard for the Linux OS
e. Is there a mechanism to allow a remote deploy of upgrades ( application or OS ) to work stations.
Thanks
 
Old 08-16-2004, 08:09 AM   #2
Gnuru
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a. Can Linux be locked down tight, to stop any user from being able to reach root level. In other words, lock to a level where they can only run applications that are provided by icon, and limit technician level dependant on type of support / development that may be required.

Yes, any user can be stopped from getting root privileges. Most Linux systems have four basic binary directories /usr/bin /usr/sbin /bin and /sbin. Unprivileged users cannot run anything in /sbin or /usr/sbin. If you want finer grained control than this you can vary the 'executable' bit for each application and its group. Most high-profile Linux distros come with it fairly sensibly set up out of the box.

b. Are there any Linux vendors that have a world wide support network, suitable for supporting an environment identical in most developed countries ( Asian through to Europe and the Americas ).

Novell might be your best bet. Although RedHat will come a close second.

c. With data conversion, are there any world wide vendors that provide application software that can read and write existing MS formated word or spreadsheet data.

All distributors of Linux provide the software to do this because the software to do this is free (as in freedom). The key apps are abiword, gnumeric and/or openoffice. The last is probably what you're looking for.

d. Is there a world wide standard for the Linux OS

This question actually doesn't make much sense. The Linux kernel API is a standard and is POSIX compliant. The vast majority of the software is open source and therefore runs/compiles on all the distros.

So, I guess the answer to your question is yes all distros provide a worldwide standard.

e. Is there a mechanism to allow a remote deploy of upgrades ( application or OS ) to work stations.

Yes, Debian has 'apt' which is totally brilliant. RedHat uses up2date. I'm not sure whether Novell/SuSE has anything similar but I'm sure they do. Someone who uses it wll know.
 
Old 08-16-2004, 08:10 AM   #3
Baldrick65
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I don't have all the answers, but in order:

(a) Yep ... as tight as a fishes proverbial
(b) Possibly Red Hat, possibly others
(c) OpenOffice.org can read and write to all MS Word/Excel formats
(d) Not sure, all distros have their own mods
(e) AFAIK yes

Sorry for the lack of details, but maybe one of the resident gurus can provide further details.

And welcome to LQ

Baldrick
 
Old 08-16-2004, 08:14 AM   #4
salparadise
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a) yes
high security is more or less standard,
no root password, no root priveleges

look into Kiosk mode under the KDE desktop

b) mandrake probably has, redhat almost certainly has and suse may have
you'd need to contact each provider

c) Sun Microsystems Star Office and OpenOffice can both open .xls and .doc and .pps
though there is an issue with some formatting transfering successfully (again it's dependant on each document)
KOffice also can open some Office type formats
Gnumeric can use .xls
Abiword can handle .doc

there is a current shortfall in Linux Office apps when it comes to Access .db files, Sun say that JDS3 will contain a patch/update for Star Office that addresses this.
For database design see http://knoda.org and lok for the app "mysqlcc" (mysql control center)

d) yes, see http://www.linux.org and the Free Software Foundation,
whilst there are variations between distros in precise file structure there are universal standards to which Linux complies (file naming, addressing, and so on)

e) yes
you can ssh (equiv to telnet) into remote machines and install updates that way and Sun's Java Desktop has an all in one GUI sys admin type app that would allow what you want

hope that helps

Last edited by salparadise; 08-16-2004 at 08:16 AM.
 
Old 08-16-2004, 08:19 AM   #5
XavierP
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a. Can Linux be locked down tight, to stop any user from being able to reach root level. In other words, lock to a level where they can only run applications that are provided by icon, and limit technician level dependant on type of support / development that may be required.

The whole system can be as locked down or as free as you want it to be.

b. Are there any Linux vendors that have a world wide support network, suitable for supporting an environment identical in most developed countries ( Asian through to Europe and the Americas ).

IBM, Novell/SuSE/Red Hat - Red Hat's website will give details on their level of support but that is what they describe as one of their main products now - the services.

c. With data conversion, are there any world wide vendors that provide application software that can read and write existing MS formated word or spreadsheet data.

Sun produce Star Office (which is a paid for version of Open Office. It provides compatibility with Office up to and including XP apps (Word, Excel, PowerPoint) - you can read and write to .doc, .xls, etc. The free version (and in some ways more limited) is Open Office. Both can be used in a working office environment.

d. Is there a world wide standard for the Linux OS

The Linux Standards Base is available, But as mentioned above there is no need for it - apps will compile on any distro.

e. Is there a mechanism to allow a remote deploy of upgrades ( application or OS ) to work stations.

As discussed above, Apt for Debian, Yum/Up2date for Red Hat and all distros have their own package managers. Red Hat (if you go down that route) has the facility to help you set up an update server for deployment to your offices. The also have a thing called Kickstart which will help you set up a 'standard' image and deploy to the rest of your pcs. Similar to the function in MS Windows.

Hope this helps.
 
  


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