A Model for the Successful Migration to Desktop OSS

A Model for the Successful Migration to Desktop OSS

Daniel Brink (University of Cape Town, South Africa)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-59140-999-1.ch013
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Although open source software (OSS) has been widely implemented in the server environment, it is still not as widely adopted on the desktop. This chapter presents a migration model for moving from an existing proprietary desktop platform (such as MS Offi ce on an MS Windows environment) to an open source desktop such as OpenOffi ce on Linux using the Gnome graphical desktop. The model was inspired by an analysis of the critical success factors in three detailed case studies of South African OSS-on-thedesktop migrations. It provides a high-level plan for migration and is illustrated with an example. This chapter thus provides a practical guide to assist professionals or decision makers with the migration of all or some of their desktops from a proprietary platform to an OSS environment.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Business Software Alliance (BSA): A trade group representing the interests of the largest software companies operating internationally. One of their main aims appears to be the combating of software piracy through educational campaigns, software legalisation processes, and legal action. Its funding comes from members and settlements from successful legal actions.

Desktop OSS (OSS on the Desktop): This is comprised of those OSS applications that are utilised by everyday users to perform daily work tasks. This stands in contrast to server-side OSS, which are those OSS applications that traditionally reside on a server as opposed to a client (or workstation) and are used primarily by technical staff such as systems administrators to fulfill back-office functions such as e-mail routing and Web hosting. Typical desktop OSS applications include productivity software (e.g., OpenOffice), e-mail clients (e.g., Mozilla Thunderbird), Internet browsers (e.g., Mozilla Firefox), and a variety of other utilities. Although many PC users use one or several OSS applications, generally only fairly significant desktop OSS implementations are considered, that is, those that include at least an OSS operating system (Linux) as well as at least a full-productivity software suite.

Total Cost of Ownership (TCO): A financial measure (in monetary terms) that aims to capture the sum of all the costs relating to a business (usually IT related) investment over its entire lifetime. For an information system, this includes costs such as hardware, software, training, maintenance, upgrades, and management. It is typically used to make potential buyers aware of longer term financial implications when using the initial purchase price as the main criterion when deciding between two or more alternatives.

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