There are many compelling reasons for companies to switch to an open-source platform such as Linux; it’s no wonder that many organizations are steadily relying on the OS. After all, it’s flexible and free – too name just a couple of its attractive features. Regardless of how urgent your needs to switch from a proprietary platform, the fact remain that changes can be troublesome. And more than anything else, effects of migration can be so disruptive for users that they negate the benefits of open source platforms. Among the reasons why early Linux users give up too easily is that, they seem to think that Linux is too difficult. They may just forget that Windows platforms took some getting used to, too.
These are six ways to make transitioning to Linux is very easy for users.
1. Make it a company-wide policy
This probably goes without saying, but a company-wide policy is important for any kind of business migration. Employees and other users should know that changes are mandated from the top position or they won’t feel compelled to go along with the change.
2. Use the right Linux distribution
Even before the migration begins, it is important to choose the most suitable Linux distribution from among hundred of flavors out there. Your consideration should involve, average user skills, business focus, software needs, hardware compatibility and whether you need supports for your platform. Assuming no one in your company have been on a Linux-based computer before, your IT department could steer you toward Linux mint or Ubuntu, unless they have strong reasons to do otherwise. In the meantime, Windows aficionados could feel at home with Zorin OS that can mimic even Windows 7 GUI. Unless, you have many computer savvies at the company, you should avoid most expert-oriented distros, like Slackware or Arch Linux.
3. Use the right desktop
After awhile, you will appreciate Linux’s flexibility, and the advantage is especially useful when it comes to deciding on the looks of your platform. For example, although many Linux distros come with GNOME by default, you can choose many more. You should choose a desktop that closely resemble with what your employees are familiar with.
4. Familiarize your users
Luckily, some of the key apps are cross-platform; one good way to jump ahead the schedule is by implementing these apps before transitioning to Linux. For example, if your employees use Internet Explorer every day, you should tell them to try Chrome or Firefox for a few months, before the OS migration begins. OpenOffice.org is also available for both Windows and Linux, so it is a good idea ditch Microsoft Office months before the migration.
5. Make the transition exciting
Most of us don’t like changes, but we hate it even more when we are migrating toward something that looks dull. Try to make users more interested with the upcoming platform before the migration begins. Set up a few Linux boxes that are connected with a LAN and allow employees to play multiplayer games during lunch break or after 5 PM. You may also surprise your employees by running Call of Duty: Black Ops on Linux with PlayOnLinux. There is nothing like learning new platform with fun and excitement.
6. Prepare a universal cheat sheet
Because switching to a new OS can be tricky for many users, you may need to make a universal cheat sheet for the whole company for everyone to see. For example, even the OpenOffice Writer interface is close to Microsoft Word, shortcuts and menu layout can be different. Although there are books to help average Windows users to migrate to Linux environment; clear, short instructions on a single piece of paper are more convenient.