Linux for the business desktop

I’m proud of my latest article, available now at It seems like every few months that somebody publishes another article asking, “Is Linux ready for the desktop?” We’ve seen the same thing so many times now that it’s become almost a joke. (Is it “the year of desktop Linux” this year, again?)

My article is along a similar theme, but it skips all the familiar hand-wringing and prognosticating. Instead, I look at how a company that has decided to replace some of its Windows desktops with Linux can stop hemming and hawing, start making plans, and actually get down to business.

The point being: Linux has been “ready for the desktop” for some time now. No, it isn’t a perfect replacement for Windows in all cases, but not every problem that Linux has is of its own making. Open source developers can’t help it if proprietary software companies are doing everything in their power to make sure that other people’s software isn’t compatible.

I don’t live in a fantasy world. I’m not here to tell you to throw down your Microsoft Office and your Photoshop and march boldly into the world of open source, whether or not it actually lets you get your work done. What I can do, however, is point you in the right direction and give you the information you need to make an informed, rational decision.

To that end, this article represents my best advice as of July, 2008. If a friend asked me about using Linux on the desktop today, this article distills pretty much everything I’d want to say to that friend into an easy-to-digest report: Not too long, and not too short.

Of course, if you think I’ve left anything out, be sure to let me know. You can post comments, questions, or updates here or on the InfoWorld site.