Saturday, 26 November 2011

Review: Free eBook - Five Rules for Ubuntu Migration

Canonical Migration GuideThe latest free e-book from Canonical, distributor of the Ubuntu Linux operating system, hopes to persuade you that "times are changing on the enterprise desktop."

In the latest pith for the corporate market, Canonical hopes to pass on the rules for a successful Ubuntu migration. I give it a qualified three stars as a primer and agent provocateur for small as well as big business.


I'm not sure that the cover image of the cycle despatch rider (blowing his nose one-handed on the move??!) conjures up quite what Canonical is looking for, however artfully coloured and blurred; but it is the kind of corporate brochure-ware to which people in business are accustomed.

Decked out in cutesy icons and bright orange, the book looks a little too artfully designed to me. The orange gives me a headache. The initial pitch for free software is quickly and succinctly made, but I wish Canonical had come up with better case studies than French National Police Force and the Supreme Court of India.

However, wasting no time, the Desktop team outlines the five-point plan:
  • Plan the full scope of your project
  • Target the users who are ripe for easy migration
  • Identify cost-effective, open-source apps
  • Map the right management infrastructure
  • Pilot your project ready for launch
The guide hits it's stride with the targeting of particular user groups. It's a good case for Open-Source Linux distro's: "We’ve found Ubuntu to be ideally suited to these types of user:
  • NEW GRADUATE JOINERS the ‘Facebook generation’ have grown up with the browser and readily adapt to new apps and interfaces
  • EMPLOYEES USING MAINLY SAAS OR BROWSER-BASED APPS why pay for an OS license when all they use is a browser?
  • MOBILE WORKERS WHO NEED TO STAY PRODUCTIVE with Ubuntu, 3G and WiFi connectivity are simple to set up and easy to manage
  • CLERICAL STAFF USING MAINLY WORD PROCESSING, SPREADSHEETS, PRESENTATION SOFTWARE AND EMAIL Ubuntu comes with LibreOffice which has all the functionality of Microsoft Office - without the price tag."
Follwed by RULE THREE: FIND EQUIVALENT APPS, and outlining the best choices for general office software, this pretty much nails the case; Libre Office, Evolution, Evince. I have to admit they caught me out proposing Xara LX as the Adobe Illustrator replacement; I didn't even know a Linux version existed. Boy, it must be popular!

In this section, the advice includes "...look for a SaaS-based alternative" but at no point among the 7 or 8 uses do I see any explanation of the term in the book. That's quite an assumption they're making of the readership. It's 'Software as a Service' in case you're wondering.

Among the corporate management-speak in the back, is the sage advice, 'start with a small pilot' which is clearly where Canonical hopes to get its foot in the door and offer services - wrap with the contact details at the end.

The accompanying missive is up-beat: "...migrating to Ubuntu now could save your business millions – and put you on the right path for future success. Don’t miss this chance to see how it's done."

As a brochure, it's not quite there. The attempt to do something different falters with that colour scheme and icons. That said, it's as good as, containing less corporate *BS* than most of the glossy dumpster-fodder I usually endure. Press on, Canonical, next stop, world domination. RC