February 23, 2019

Inside the Novell Linux Migration - page 3

Drinking Their Own Champagne

  • October 6, 2005
  • By Brian Proffitt

On the desktop side of the migration, Richards laid out the migration plan in more detail.

Facing the Novell IT team is a company of about 5,000 users and a total of about 15,000 workstations. 60 percent of these workstations are laptops. Windows 2000/XP users made up 95% of the workstation population and Office 2000/XP users making up 95% of the Windows group.

To approach this daunting task, Novell created their own Open Desktop Initiative. First, any volunteers who wished could switch over to a Linux desktop cold turkey. This would immediately gain Novell a cost savings in their licensing fees, and would form a group of trailblazers who could act as mentors for employees who would migrate later. Second, the company created an intranet section known as the OpenZone, where documentation and support would be readily available to users as the migration proceeded.

Novell decided to use a three-pronged approach to making the desktop move to Linux. License management would be the first undertaking, followed by the migration from Microsoft Office to OpenOffice.org. Finally, desktop operating systems would be moved from Windows to the Novell Linux Desktop.

License management might not seem like a glamorous approach, but it immediately saved Novell quite a bit of money right out of the gate. Richards said that essentially the users were asked to look on their machines and see which Windows version that machine was originally loaded with. Those machines that came with Windows 2000 but had been later upgraded to Windows XP were essentially double-licensed. Once these machines were rolled back to their original OEM versions of Windows, Novell saved nearly $900,000 per year in licensing costs.

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