Tuesday, July 06, 2010

Linux migration SNAFU

Disclaimer: The author is not against windows, the author is not against linux, the author is against "stupid" practices and communication gap while migrating from one OS to another. The author is an ardent Linux and BSD Fan, and supports FOSS/OSS movements.

The inspiration for this post comes from a REAL company whose employees were not so happy and almost resigned their posts owing to a bad migration.

Here is a story of a simple Linux migration gone-all-wrong.

The last thing any employee wants at the office on Monday morning is to turn on their workstation to find Linux instead of their beloved Windows operating system.

How NOT TO MIGRATE from Windows to Linux
- For Lower TCO, access to source code,
- For Economic benefit, Ethical Benefit,
- For Access to Source code,
- For whatever-else-you-deem-fit to trigger a migration

You certainly have to communicate to your employee formally - written as a memo circulated throughout the ranks, or a simple e-mail to all employees notifying the change.

Analysis : Why it went wrong ?
Things that made this particular migration go wrong...
1) The employees were not informed prior to the migration
2) Backup was not in place, only last minute backup was available
3) There was no Linux101, Command Line usage or any induction towards the new operating system at their disposal.
4) No clear planning, and deployment - Old versions of Ubuntu were deployed.
5) There was no consultant or subject matter expert to assist the migration.

How TO MIGRATE from Windows to Linux
- Prior to the transition from one OS to another - inform your employees formally
- Get them involved in the planning and ask for their views & suggestions
- After giving the heads-up, arrange for a backup (through System Administrator)
- To make the transition smooth decide who needs a Linux desktop and how many Windows systems can be retained (to reduce training budget)
- Choose a Linux distribution based on - User competence, prior experience, and business goal (why linux?)
- Engage an external consultant or subject matter expert
- Plan the switch with software used currently and alternate software available for linux
HINT: ptth://www.osalt.com
- Deploy a test bed and introduce the operating system functionality
- Arrange for a formal induction (hands-on) with the consultant
- Clarify doubts and exchange ideas, get tips and tricks and further reading
- Arrange for a dinner (makes employees happy to eat and learn, than just learning)
- Use linux philosophy from time to time - for motivation, increasing productivity, and squeezing employees to the max, hehe !

"The only thing worse than training good employees and losing them is NOT training your employees and keeping them."
- Zig ziglar

Point to be taken from this post: Next time you migrate to any linux distribution, make sure you Communicate the change, engage a subject matter expert, plan, test, and then deploy.


PS: We offer Linux migration services, and Open Source consulting of the best quality at very nominal pricing. Contact me for more information.

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