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February 4, 2003

Using Linux in a non-Linux Environment

About 6 months ago I stuck my neck out (at least it felt like it then). As with many universities, Tufts tries to keep some control over it's fleet of desktops (and understandably so). The Office of Information Technology pushes recommendations out which are used when ordering and building machines. These machines then can subscribe to updates from a central location.

But I wanted to run Linux (KDE desktop). I had used it at my previous job, at home, and wanted to have it at the office as well.

So I wiped my hard drive and installed my favorite flavor of Linux. As a backup I partitioned the hard drive so I could put the old OS on if it became critical. I was nervous at first, I wasn't sure just how tightly controlled the fleet was, and how much what could be transferred to the KDE desktop.

Over the past six months I've really only run into 2 issues:
1) From time to time I get asked to work on an application issue. During these times I had no choice but to reboot, not a big deal. An even better solution came along recently when I got an old machine and stuck it on a KVM. I also had a coworker bring me up to speed on VMWare, which I fiddled with but didn't stick with.
2) Browser verification is a little more work. 90+% of our users are on PCs with IE. It's only a few times a month that I make changes which affect the design of the pages. For the most part if the design is up to spec and Mozilla renders it, IE can get it close too.

Overall it has been well worth the move, and in retrospect there really wasn't much I was risking. So glad I did it.

Posted by mike at February 4, 2003 11:11 AM