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[Computerbank] A Linux Question

Hi Computerbankers,

Please pardon an off-topic question, but acknowledging the expertise on this
list I'm hoping to receive some feedback on a proposed Linux implementation

For a quick background, I am currently employed as the IT Manager for a NSW
County Council, who, like most Govt. entities, rely on Windoze based
administrative systems (even though all of our automation systems are

My intent is to gradually implement a Linux-based admin system and possibly
port some of Unix apps to Linux, however rather than follow the traditional
changeover model of establishing one or two Linux servers attached to a host
of existing Win Clients, I intend (or at least am thinking of) reversing the
model and keeping a few Win Servers however replacing all the workstations
with Linux (radical? - maybe, I'm actually not aware of anyone else doing
this in a Govt. installation).

The methodology is as follows - Traditional Linux desk-top roll-outs have
not been particularly successful for a range of reasons... training,
acceptance, culture, competitive suppliers, maintaining the 'status quo'
etc. plus the pure economic arguments don't always carry a lot of weight
with Government. Also, the 'if it aint broke don't fix-it mindset' is
justified in the eyes of executive managers who understand only too well the
hidden costs involved in any major systems reconstruction.

So... rather than having to deal with all the cultural and training issues
et-all, my strategy is to give our users exactly what they have been used to
for years... a Windows desk-top with all the familiar icons and programs,
however running on Linux workstations. If the concept works they really
won't even know they are running something 'different' (unless they actually
read the boot screens) until we start expanding the roll-out to include
native Linux apps within the administrative 'mix'... and of course by using
Linux we will also finally start to get some value out of high-level
interactions with other existing Unix infrastructure.

The plan, validated on a few Linux workstations over the past few weeks, is
to load the boxes with the Linux ICA (Citrix Metaframe) client and configure
each workstation to auto run the client at log-on thereby providing the
exact same NT desktop our staff now use... complete with printer shares,
file locations (albeit probably writing to a Linux / Samba box), and
everything else they are familiar with... except the whole thing, with the
exception of the Metaframe servers, will be running under Linux.

Obviously we would still need our NT Terminal Servers, however this proposal
would negate the need for further Win workstations, and the strategy would
include replacing the NT / Metaframe boxes with Linux when thin-client
networking for this platform does become a viable reality.

My question is this - Has anyone here been involved in this type of
roll-out, and if so, what are the pitfalls (if any) to watch out for?  - Any
help would be greatly appreciated - It's all in the cause of promoting Linux
(and if I could just get them off MS Office as well that would be a real $$

Cheers, Don Cameron

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