Primed for desktop Linux

The consultants that rolled out one of Australia's biggest known Linux desktop project are set to take on the big boys.

The consultants that rolled out Australia's biggest known Linux desktop project are backing themselves for more.

A while back I wrote about Kennards Hire's deployment of about 400 desktops running Fedora release 3.

For all the claims we hear about Linux being ready for the desktop from vendors like Novell, Sun, and IBM, Kennards is just one of a few known organisations using Linux desktops in Australia. Another is De Bortoli Wines.

That gives the consultants, and their fledgling Linux desktop company Ordinate Systems, tremendous bragging rights.

Ordinate director Jim Russell recently told me why he thought the time was right to create a company based around desktop Linux.

"Kennards has just shown us that there are needs out there and that suitable solutions based on Linux and open source are reality," he said.

"We're now seeing that there are other people who are either waiting in the wings or have got solutions and want to progress those."

Russell said Fedora desktops were currently installed at over 90 Kennards branches around the country. The point of sale application's rollout, key to the success of the project, is "imminent", he said.

For me though, the most interesting part was the genesis of the desktop Linux idea.

"When I got on board one of the clear directions that was stipulated from the IT director, Tony [Still], was that he wanted to entertain the possibility of a Linux-based solution," Russell said.

For me, the fact the Linux idea was explicitly stated by the CIO and did not arrive via a pre-existing vendor relationship or sales pitch is a poignant one.

However compelling the case for desktop Linux may be, the Kennards example suggests Linux vendors are yet to win over unsuspecting IT managers on claims alone. Rather, the case for desktop Linux (at the moment) must come from the IT department itself.

Vendors like Ordinate will do their best to educate the market about desktop Linux, but it seems at the moment, it's still a hard sell.

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