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Desktop Linux Sliding in Under the Radar?

Cliff posted more than 11 years ago | from the stealth-penguinistas dept.

Linux Business 742

Paul Johnson asks: "This article at ComputerWorld describes a sysadmin's discovery that many people in his company are installing Linux on their desktops without consulting IT. The writer is concerned with the security implications, but there is a wider issue. At present the 'official' penetration of Linux into the desktop market is something around 1%. The writer of this article doesn't give figures, but it sounds like he may have stumbled on several times that percentage of desktop Linux installations. If so then this is an important trend. Linux got its foot in the datacentre door in exactly the same way a few years ago, with unofficial installations doing odd server jobs. If you are a sysadmin, in an organization that runs Windows on the desktop, have you stumbled on many unofficial Linux installations?"

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fr1st ps0t (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6583724)

who cares?

The thing is... (-1, Troll)

The_Rippa (181699) | more than 11 years ago | (#6583726)

Those Hotbar auto-installs have gone too far!

Not exactly ... (5, Funny)

BabyDave (575083) | more than 11 years ago | (#6583730)

If you are a sysadmin, in an organization that runs Windows on the desktop, have you stumbled on many unofficial Linux installations?"

I tripped over my mail server last week. Does that count?

Now that's one of those Ask Slashdots even I can a (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6583733)

If you are a sysadmin, in an organization that runs Windows on the desktop, have you stumbled on many unofficial Linux installations?

No.

Re:Now that's one of those Ask Slashdots even I ca (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6583803)

How is my informative and honest answer -1 Redundant? I don't see anyone having posted similar findings. I was asked the question submitted, provided my answer to it to the best of my knowledge. Perhaps an intellectual enriching conversation would ensue from my informative reply, nut that's unlikely with Redundant mod. Hope this doesn't pass the Meta-mod.

Re:Now that's one of those Ask Slashdots even I ca (0, Flamebait)

appler (672410) | more than 11 years ago | (#6583847)

How are we supposed to have an intellectually enriching conversation with someone who doesn't even understand adverbs?

Re:Now that's one of those Ask Slashdots even I ca (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6583880)

Well, we can discuss the fate of Linux on desktop. Adverbs are for Harvard-graduate wannabees and lower-level marketing executives. Real intellectuals use nouns and adjectives.

Re:Now that's one of those Ask Slashdots even I ca (5, Funny)

innosent (618233) | more than 11 years ago | (#6583883)

Well, it's redundant because it's not a troll, it's not flamebait, and it's not offtopic. I suppose it could be overrated instead, but the point of the article was to hear experiences from people who have found desktop installations at work, not hear 600,000 "No" answers from people who haven't. If there was a "-1 Pointless Comment" mod, you'd have gotten that, but there isn't.

This is unexpected? (1, Interesting)

James A. A. Joyce (681634) | more than 11 years ago | (#6583737)

If users will install random spyware and games on work machines, why wouldn't they do the same for an entire operating system? The only difference is that they have to insert a CD-ROM! And that seems to be what people are doing with their Linux installs as well as their Windows workstations too, according to the article.

Re:This is unexpected? (5, Funny)

Noumena (1082) | more than 11 years ago | (#6583835)

not only that, but my unoffical linux install is a good way for me to know that the corp doesn't have any spyware on my boxen. That and I stopped hitting my monitor so much after I installed linux.

I only wish! (5, Funny)

pjack76 (682382) | more than 11 years ago | (#6583738)

I have this fantasy where I walk into work and everyone's installed Linux on their own and I don't have to image another NT workstation ever again, and I realize I've died and gone to heaven where the bad men can no longer hurt me.

Is the sysadmin sure he wasn't dreaming?

Green Grass. (0, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6583831)

The grass is always greener on the other side of the fence. I can't imagine a bunch of fools installing linux on their own and getting everything to work. That's why we have Windows, so fools can work with it, and all choices are made, no education necessary. I'm using Debian 2.2 now, with Galeon and WvDial on a homebuilt box. Yes, but I love problems and bugs to solve, and have nothing better to do than prowl around Slashdot, looking for places to give my 2 cents worth. If I had real work to do, then I would use XP, and since I'd be getting a salary for said work, then I could afford it. Only problem I have with XP is too much play-time stuff. Who can spend all day listening to music and playing DVD movies?

Re:Green Grass. (-1)

exspecto (513607) | more than 11 years ago | (#6583896)

I can listen to music and watch dvds all day on my linux box too. What's your point?

IT headaches (4, Insightful)

niko9 (315647) | more than 11 years ago | (#6583741)

"This article at ComputerWorld describes a sysadmin's discovery that many people in his company are installing Linux on their desktops without consulting IT. The writer is concerned with the security implications,..."

This could make the case for desktop Linux look worse, if people are not securing their dektops and/or keeping up with security updates.

Re:IT headaches (3, Insightful)

1lus10n (586635) | more than 11 years ago | (#6583785)

no worse than the average NT/2000/XP install.

and i highly doubt they were "unsecured", if these people went through the trouble of installing linux on a work machine they probably have moderate clue.

and im not going to point out that no matter how "secure" your personal workstations are, that once a cracker penetrates that far into your network your screwed.

this guy sounds like he is getting overly paraniod about something he more than likely doesnt understand.

Re:IT headaches (1)

FattMattP (86246) | more than 11 years ago | (#6583823)

This could make the case for desktop Linux look worse, if people are not securing their dektops and/or keeping up with security updates.
No worse than windows or mac. Any computer system is going to need a basic level of maintenance to keep it in order.

Linux... (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6583742)

Users have no place installing linux in the office without permission. Those who do it should be severely punished and forced to run Windows 95.

Re:Linux... (1, Funny)

mwilliamson (672411) | more than 11 years ago | (#6583790)

or worse... Forced to use the WinME upgrade edition from a base win95a installation

I'm not a sysadmin (4, Informative)

SquadBoy (167263) | more than 11 years ago | (#6583744)

but rather a network guy but I have 3 Linux boxen that MIS does not know about and the dept laptop is booted with a Knoppix CD about %90 of the time.

Re:I'm not a sysadmin (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6583905)

So congratulations, maybe you've just tipped them off to this fact?

Re:I'm not a sysadmin (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6583917)

Let me guess, Novell is their only form of security?
I can do the same thing where I work if I want to. Their dhcp server hands out addresses without any form of authentication.

LOL...idiots.

Undercover LINUX (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6583746)

I work at the comptuer science department of a major universtiy, we've got runaway LINUX everywhere. We've gone so far as to restrict our switches by MAC address and no longer allow anyone in our network unless they tell us what OS they are running and have installed all the security updates.

true true. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6583747)

this happens a lot in tech. companies

Re:true true. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6583762)

fragment (consider revising)

Protestants were the first hippies (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6583748)

Or perhaps the first protestants were hippies?

VMWare rules! (1, Interesting)

JohnGrahamCumming (684871) | more than 11 years ago | (#6583749)

The article mentions VMWare [vmware.com] . This is a truly
excellent application that runs in Windows and Linux and fully virtualizes
the hardware. You literally "switch on" a machine in a VMWare window and
you see a BIOS startup and then your favorite operating system starts.

You can do things like run Linux as your main operating and have Windows
as a Window within your window manager. Or you could run Windows as your
main operating system and have Linux in a window. In addition you can have
multiple versions of each OS. I have, for testing purposes, Windows 98,
Windows XP and RedHat Linux as VMWare images, at any time I can boot into
a clean version of them and test software. At the end of the session VMWare
asks me if I want to save the changes that have occurred in that session. If I
say "no" then none of the changes get committed to disk. For Windows that means
even the registry, so I am guaranteed a pristine environment next time.

At my company about 25% of people run Linux as their desktop with Windows in a
VM and the others the other way around. It's very cool...

John.

Re:VMWare rules! (4, Insightful)

Satan's Librarian (581495) | more than 11 years ago | (#6583794)

Everyone in your company has $400 extra to blow on their computer to run multiple OS's? wow.... What kinda company? Pretty small, right?

I have a hard time getting my company to purchase anything beyond the minimum tools I need (NuMega and similar were out of my pocket, since I didn't mind owning them myself). VMWare's been on the wish list - but only as a wish.

Re:VMWare rules! (2, Interesting)

JohnGrahamCumming (684871) | more than 11 years ago | (#6583819)

The company is Electric Cloud [electric-cloud.com] and yes we are rather small (our CEO is John Ousterhout of Tcl fame/infamy): the real web site is going up in early August.

However we didn't blow $400 on VMWare we needed it. Our product runs cross platform on Windows and Linux and wanted a way for the developers to be able to use both cheaply. Dual booting isn't an option because it's very slow to change context and you don't want to have two email clients, etc. to manage (or only be able to check email etc. when in one operating system), two machines was too expensive ($400 is a lot cheaper than a second PC). So VMWare was the answer.

We blew the money on two 19" flat screens per developer.

John.

Re:VMWare rules! (4, Funny)

cK-Gunslinger (443452) | more than 11 years ago | (#6583804)

..now how much would you pay for VMWare?

But wait! There's more! The first Karma-whore to post about VMWare on Slashdot will receive some moderation points... absolutely FREE!

Order your copy now, while there's still time!

---

Sheesh.
I *wish* I had to time to make obnoxious posts to slashdot all day.
Er.. wait a minute...

Unofficial installations (5, Interesting)

cfl (82047) | more than 11 years ago | (#6583750)

In a previous job I've found Linux and BeOS
desktop installations. While I was pro alternatives to Microsoft, there was the concern about security - e.g. open e-mail relays, unpatched servers. The company ended up with a policy of permitting Linux on the desktop, but not supporting it. If you had an application issue - you were on your own. The only users that ran it had a clue and we didn't run into issues. Being a research environment, Linux ended up replacing SGI systems as the scientific workstation standard.

Nope, not here (4, Interesting)

canadiangoose (606308) | more than 11 years ago | (#6583751)

Aside from my laptop and my desktop, we have no Linux desktops. I do network scans and such monthly, and aside from a few Linux-powered embeded devices, I've seen nothing interesting. Mind you, I work at a hospital. There are not very many technically inclined folks here.

Re:Nope, not here (2, Informative)

RoundTop-VJAS (580788) | more than 11 years ago | (#6583830)

Speaking as someone who works for a company that does systems for hospitals... I can say that there is normally a reason that we require X windows OS. Normally it is for remote access, or certain features, or it must run certain software.

This effectively prevents linux replacement. Also of note, these NT boxes are secured down so only admins have access to even the start menu, everyone else it opens the program only and when you close it it closes it out.

Re:Nope, not here (1)

DerangedYeti (691087) | more than 11 years ago | (#6583902)

Im a sysadmin at a hospital. most people have no idea what Linux is, so installing it would be impossible for them. they have to call me to get a paper jam out of the photocopier!

Remember... (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6583752)

One datapoint does not a trend make.

If you told me the guy who runs General Electric's desktops found that 50% were running Linux, then you might be onto something.

But Jr. Sysadmin flunky at tiny company in bumfuck Iowa means nothing. Nothing.

Lets apply those critical reasoning skills, people.

Re:Remember... (5, Insightful)

grungeman (590547) | more than 11 years ago | (#6583839)

Yes, and that is exactly why they are asking for other sysadmin's experiences. Got it?

We did this a couple of times at my old workplace (2, Insightful)

WillASeattle (661188) | more than 11 years ago | (#6583757)

Mostly with "unused" computers.

Since they cut the training budget, we obviously had to learn new skills somehow ...

Policy (1)

spamchang (302052) | more than 11 years ago | (#6583764)

Don't think my company would allow that, security is ubertight. For some reason the majority of OSes are MacOS 9.0. But the techs are running Linux, and a port on the open net around here will let us use any notebook we bring.

back in the old days... (2, Interesting)

setag (549313) | more than 11 years ago | (#6583765)

Back in the old days when ummmm... a guy I know was at SCO, people were intalling linux on their systems without consulting IT. That was in 1999.

I don't have any figures for you though.

I've done this (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6583767)

I run Win2000 'officially', by Knoppix Debian on the sly - the only thing stopping me migrating completely is the lack of a working Novel client.

Don't reinstall - boot linux from another disk (4, Interesting)

jgaynor (205453) | more than 11 years ago | (#6583769)

I wouldn't dare reformat a work machine with another OS. The feasibility isn't the problem - it's the wrath of an angry sysadmin that is. I would like to keep my job in this economy.

I DO, however, frequently boot my machine with knoppix [knopper.net] . Most corporate IT environments prevent users from installing their own software - but Knoppix has pretty much every app I need. I sacrifice local file storage and some embedded data like PIM stuff, but its just more comfortable and doesn't raise the ire of the lesser IT geeks.

Re:Don't reinstall - boot linux from another disk (4, Interesting)

Future Linux-Guru (34181) | more than 11 years ago | (#6583784)

The latest version of Knoppix will now allow you to save files on offline storage.

The question is printing.

no...but (0, Redundant)

pphrdza (635063) | more than 11 years ago | (#6583770)

sounds good to me, especially if I can do it without admin rights on an NT or 2000 machine.

Been There Done That (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6583774)

I've been running linux without the I.T. departments knowledge for a while, and since my supervisor and myself share the same machine, he really likes it as well. The fact that instead of booting to windows95 and sharing the same desktop, we've both got our own email accounts configured, open office, and excellent safety from the majority of virii.

Yeah I run linux ... (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6583775)

In my PANTS !!

Re:Yeah I run linux ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6583810)

watched letterman you unoriginal bastard? I hope you are killed tonight.

they better not (1, Insightful)

aderusha (32235) | more than 11 years ago | (#6583776)

i don't deal much with desktops (i'm a server guy), but if i did "stumble across" unauthorized linux desktops, they'd be formatted with extreme prejudice. they almost certainly would have no antivirus software, no agents for our desktop license management, and almost certainly wouldn't be keeping up with security updates.

the users don't own their machines - the company does. if they want to piss around with _any_ os, let them do it on their own time, on their own network, and on their own equipment.

Re:they better not (1)

SteveAstro (209000) | more than 11 years ago | (#6583833)

they almost certainly would have no antivirus software,

Isn't that because there are almost certainly no Linux viruses ? What license issues are there with someone running Linux apps ? Aren't folks more likely to be running opensource stuff When was there last a critical user mode security problem in Linux, oh sure there have been a couple of potential nasties in Apache, but a show stopper for Desktop users ?

Steve

Re:they better not (1)

1lus10n (586635) | more than 11 years ago | (#6583834)

mod parent up as funny.

I'm hoping that was one heavy dose of sarcasm, otherwise ......

Re:they better not (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6583853)

I was laughing as I read, waiting for the punchline, it never came. Either the guy is a master of dry wit, or just about completely witless.

Re:they better not (0, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6583843)

You were a hall monitor in high school, weren't you?

Dicksmacking wankermaster.

yep... (1)

Rev.LoveJoy (136856) | more than 11 years ago | (#6583846)

The first thing that ran through my mind was, why are end users able to boot from anything other than the HDD sitting inside their CPU.

That's really interesting and all that some compnay someplace has users installing some flavor of linux. Whatever. I have a suspicion this has a lot more to do with sloppy admin-ing than it does 'leet end users.

Cheers
-- RLJ

not very insightful (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6583848)

go ahead... format my desktop you sysadmin

shows what you know.

It's hundreds of times more secure than running outlook on a windows desktop.

You should just shut up and be happy these desktop people aren't calling you --- they have found a better solution.

Re:they better not (1)

jeffkjo1 (663413) | more than 11 years ago | (#6583849)

if i did "stumble across" unauthorized linux desktops, they'd be formatted with extreme prejudice. they almost certainly would have no antivirus software, no agents for our desktop license management, and almost certainly wouldn't be keeping up with security updates.

Last time I checked, there weren't any imminent linux virus threats.
Desktop license management? I thought linux was free.
If you have the ability to install linux, you probably have the ability to install security updates. Plus, as we've seen time and time again, sysadmins often don't even update their windows boxes and when a malicious bug strikes, whole networks go down... even though a patch was released months before.
Also, unlike windows, linux is a bit more secure straight out of the box.... or rather, iso.

Re:they better not (4, Funny)

Vicegrip (82853) | more than 11 years ago | (#6583854)

"anti-virus software", "desktop license management agents"

Apparently you've confused Linux for a version of Windows.

This kind of sysadmin crap is why I prefer working for a small company.

Re:they better not (1, Insightful)

pz (113803) | more than 11 years ago | (#6583855)

... they'd be formatted with extreme prejudice.

And I'm sure you'd be shortly disciplined or out of a job for destroying valuable data, negotiations, documentation, whathaveyou. Sheesh, some moderators don't recognize a troll when they see one.

Re:they better not (1)

blahtree (55190) | more than 11 years ago | (#6583856)

Piss around with, fine, but to do work with? If someone is more productive with another operating system, what gives you the right to take that away? Sounds like you're hurting the company rather than helping...

jesus fucking cyberfascist punk (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6583863)

Realize FIRST that you are there to SUPPORT the users NOT stick your nazi baton up their ass. Instead of getting pissed at them for trying something new (unless you are just a jerk and can't help it), pre-empt them by handing out knoppix cd's and have them boot to it. A 5min education and they are off and running. Tired of linux? pull the cd and boot back into windoze. Everyone is happy.

Sick of stupid ass admins who think that they are important. Without users, we would NOT have jobs...

Re:they better not (1)

radaos (540979) | more than 11 years ago | (#6583868)

Where I used to work the IT department got mad as hell with people installing Linux, since some of them tried to set up dual boot on their notebooks and trashed their Windows installations. They did agree in the end that people could have it but only by swapping out their hard drive when they wanted to use Linux. None too convenient.

Re:they better not (5, Interesting)

Chewie (24912) | more than 11 years ago | (#6583869)

they almost certainly would have no antivirus software

Oh, for the miniscule number of Linux viruses?

no agents for our desktop license management

Since *most* software that requires license management is either Windows-only or hard for Joe User to come by, I don't see this as a huge problem either.

and almost certainly wouldn't be keeping up with security updates.

Ah, now this is a real concern. I would hope that your company has firewalls, but I can certainly understand not wanting them to be your *only* line of defense.

the users don't own their machines - the company does. if they want to piss around with _any_ os, let them do it on their own time, on their own network, and on their own equipment.

I can certainly understand this. When you're responsible for eleventy jillion desktops, you can't have people going rogue on you. At least not without knowing that if you have to come fix their PC, it's getting reimaged.

Now, I personally happen to run a stealth RH install, dual-booting to Win2K for when I just have to do something in Windows. My workstation, however, is well-secured, and has updates applied regularly. I have *never* had to bug the IT department, and my workstation is exceedingly well-behaved on the network. If the IT department decide to be real hard-asses about it and reimage me, I'll understand. Doesn't mean I won't be cranky, though. :)

Re:they better not (1)

bigdavex (155746) | more than 11 years ago | (#6583870)


i don't deal much with desktops (i'm a server guy), but if i did "stumble across" unauthorized linux desktops, they'd be formatted with extreme prejudice. they almost certainly would have no antivirus software, no agents for our desktop license management, and almost certainly wouldn't be keeping up with security updates.

I suspect that the risk of virus infection is still lower with the Linux box, regardless.
There probably aren't any user liscenses to manage.
Do you think the computers are vulnerable to something more malicious than wiping out entire harddrives?

the users don't own their machines - the company does. if they want to piss around with _any_ os, let them do it on their own time, on their own network, and on their own equipment.

It may come as a shock to you - but the IT guys don't actually own the PCs either.

Re:they better not (1)

tashanna (409911) | more than 11 years ago | (#6583892)

Lets see here...

> no antivirus software

And no viruses

> no agents for our desktop license management

And software that doesn't require licenses

What was the problem again?!?!

- Tash

Re:they better not (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6583901)

hm you truly are a BOFH

Re:they better not (5, Insightful)

invoke (68920) | more than 11 years ago | (#6583908)

I used to be a manager at Dell, and I can tell you that if you had presumed to format one of my or my developers machines without first getting authorization from me, you'd be fired and "walked out of the building" the following day.

Maybe the authorization got misrouted.
Maybe you are wrong about either the authorization or the requirement for it.
Maybe it was an experiment on a dept. system.
Maybe it wasn't hooked to the network.
Maybe we were testing the system's Linux compatibility at the end of the day and left it 'till the morning to finish.

In my tenure at Dell, all these things were true at some point or another, and no one formatted our systems. We were too busy to get in the pissing matches that would have started.

Certainly you should quit abusing your very limited power and try to help rather than simply jumping to conclusions.

Re:they better not (4, Insightful)

Usquebaugh (230216) | more than 11 years ago | (#6583910)

This is why IT is not consulted. Extreme prejudice indeed!

If end users are not supposed to do something it's your job to configure the gear so they can't. Rules forbidding something are a failure in IT.

If the user has no agent for the desktop license management how is that a problem exactly? Either they are not using any licensed software our your management software is not to hot on the managing front.

If you're running round playing tattle tale who do you think the finger is really pointing at? Go back to your sever room and lock the door.

Re:they better not (3, Funny)

Vaughn Anderson (581869) | more than 11 years ago | (#6583913)

Bill is that you? I didn't know you had a puppet on slashdot!

So is that 2% of the desktop now? (0)

msgmonkey (599753) | more than 11 years ago | (#6583782)

How much of the desktop market is made up corporate machines? Now that PC's are a commodity it can't be that much.

On the flip side corporate deals must be a cash cow since alot of money is spent on support, of course RedHat wont be seeing anything from those clandestine installs.

Does this count? (5, Interesting)

AWrinkler (569169) | more than 11 years ago | (#6583783)

In the last infrastructure upgrade we did, all 60 machines were identical:
FreeBSD 4.7, autostart XFree86,
full-screen RDesktop to central Win2k Terminal Servers.

User's still think they have a windows
box(windows splash screen on boot).

Does this count?

Re:Does this count? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6583826)

Not trying to troll, but what's the point? You still have to have a workstation license for every computer connected to the MS terminal server...

Re:Does this count? (2, Interesting)

H310iSe (249662) | more than 11 years ago | (#6583885)

How's the load handling (how many users per box, how big are the boxes?) Had any network/server problems that made the users scream when they suddenly couldn't do work even though the computer on their desk was working fine?

Just curious, I did a big NT 4 terminal server install once and it was one of the more challenging times in my life. Hard, it was, and long. Win2k is supposed to be much better, but is it really worthy (stable, etc.) of a thin client environment?

Not a problem (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6583792)

i dont have you worry bout this. the people at my organisation aren't clever enough to send an email, let alone install Linux

Article is refreshingly good (2, Interesting)

laird (2705) | more than 11 years ago | (#6583802)

The article is actually pretty good -- it's a reminder that if people are using a platform, that IT has to support it properly. This is a refreshing change from the traditional IT reponse that if IT hasn't decided to support it, it should be prohibited. I congratulate the author on realizing that IT's job is to facilitate people's jobs, not restricting them to what's convenient for IT. Help desks are always horribly overworked, so it's understandable that they start falling back on blaming users for breaking the rules, and refusing to support anything but the standard application set, instead of thinking more creatively to help users get their jobs done. The irony is that _every_ IT support person has tons of weird software on their machines that would cause them to refuse to support the machine if it were someone else's.

(and I say this as someone who's worked in IT, and managed IT departments, for _years_.)

A reason to run Linux on a work PC (1)

MURD3R3R (691512) | more than 11 years ago | (#6583807)

I work for a company with about 150 windows PCs, and surprisingly, a few cubicles down, a fellow worker is running Red Hat on his PC. I asked him, what are you doing? He says, if he ever gets fired, he will just boot to his Red Hat installation, and quickly format the hard drive! I almost fell over in my chair laughing! We all know that windows wouldn't let you do such a thing quickly, but if this needs to be done, linux can do it in a matter of minutes.

Re:A reason to run Linux on a work PC (0, Troll)

The Bungi (221687) | more than 11 years ago | (#6583887)

That should make management warm up to alternative operating systems.

Re:A reason to run Linux on a work PC (2, Funny)

Uthiroid (521577) | more than 11 years ago | (#6583890)

He says, if he ever gets fired, he will just boot to his Red Hat installation, and quickly format the hard drive!

Which is exactly why someday management will meet him early christmas morning in the parking lot instead of at his desk......

As. If. (2, Insightful)

titzandkunt (623280) | more than 11 years ago | (#6583900)


And "we all know" that if he gets fired, he'll be marched straight from being told, empty his desk under supervision, and be escorted off the premises.

Any company that lets him near a pc, networked or not, after he's been told that he's going to pursue opportunities elsewhere is being run by dolts.

T&K.

on the sly (0, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6583809)

I've been going in at night and switching the desktop OS for the people I administer from Linux to BSD. :-) Most of them can't tell the difference, though I got more than a few comments about how much faster their machine feels. :-)

hey! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6583827)

dfd ffd?

Ran across? How about installed myself... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6583816)

I make it a habit of loading latest distros on any empty workstation we have before it is re-imaged with Win2k. I do it in the name of research but I'm hoping that visibility will make a difference when it comes time to tender contracts for our OS platform...

I don't buy it (1)

Phantasm66 (586905) | more than 11 years ago | (#6583818)

Try to explain to me why an ordinary user, who requires technical support in the first place, decides to forgo his or her preinstalled XP or something and go to the bother of putting Linux on their machine at all...?? Where is the advantage? The incentive? In may experience, even as a sysadmin in the computing department of a uni, 90% of users couldn't even install XP themselves, never mind linux, whether its getting easier to install or not. Sorry, I don't buy the idea that there are armies of secret linux users installing linux on their PCs at work behind their sysadmin's back. I just can't see it...

One step farther... (1)

ccwaterz (535536) | more than 11 years ago | (#6583820)

I work in a development-oriented division so sightings of linux boxes isn't that surprising.

However, I get my satisfaction when someone comes to me and asks for help on running .

Re:One step farther... (1)

ccwaterz (535536) | more than 11 years ago | (#6583851)

I work in a development-oriented division so sightings of linux boxes isn't that surprising.

However, I get my satisfaction when someone comes to me and asks for help on running *insert non-RH distros*.

damn, should have previewed...ya parsed my "insert non-RH distro" as a html tag... Oh well, sorry.

Unofficial Linux installations...? (2, Funny)

appler (672410) | more than 11 years ago | (#6583821)

That's preposterous! You have to get a LICENSE first, remember?

backbone isp (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6583822)

I used to work for a backbone isp as a *nix admin. Our internal IT said we MUST use M$ on our laptops. I think maybe 30% dual booted, the rest of us just running our choice of linux/bsd. It's not like we needed tech support for getting network printers to work or something.

Nope Not at all (5, Insightful)

visionsofmcskill (556169) | more than 11 years ago | (#6583832)

Between Two semi-large internet companies and several smaller ones i have NEVER run into any non-IT unix/linux box amongst my users.... EVER.

In truth beyond the server farms ive worked with at said companies the only person possessing any *nix varient has been myself (including mac os X...) While i can see this as being an occasional happening in dorkier companies... even then i find it not very likely.

mainly because buisness use predominataly revolves around outlook exchange's shared meetings and various other stupid stuff.... in addition to the baseline ease of use (overall managerialy) network administration of an all windows environment.

I would NEVER support a linux desktop distro amongst my users.... MAC OS X ... yes.... but not Linux for any reason on gods green earth... can you say nightmare? I love Linux.... but it just is NOWHERE near as streamlined as windows or macintosh... especialy from a support stance.

My personal feelings are *nix for network devices.... Windows server/client for data sharing email and so on.... and Mac os X for end users who are more inclined towards media production (basicly people who arent finance/sales).

This setup puts the *nix boxes in my realm... and id be greatfull that no unwitting user *accidently* installs another DHCP, DNS, SMTP, etc... server on my network. Id also be thankfull not to be asked how to make packages work correctly between KDE, gnome, X, or whatever else joe moron decides to use.... or how to fix their freakin window manager because KDE offers 5 different programs just to change the layout/widgets.... no thank you.

Of course this poster assumes that the people who do so, do so knowing people like myself wont support them... and more than likely will be highly un-happy with their network being potentialy compromised...

not trying to spread FUD.... but ill wait for a tighter distro before i promote *nix on the desktop.... only one so far (with flying colors) is OSX.

IT and "official support" (1)

Sky Lemon (633088) | more than 11 years ago | (#6583836)

Maybe one of the issues is that IT departments especially in larger companies are not very proactive in offering new "official support" for anything besides the latest Windows release, therefore any Linux installations are deemed "unofficial" and are not supported well if at all by IT. Once enough rogue employees are running Linux desktops though or if/when a company starts offering Linux support for their main products IT will probably be forced to catch up at some point by management. It would be nice if companies dropped proprietery mail/groupware/office suite solutions too as that would really make a Linux desktop that much easier to use and support.

Scary perhaps, but not a great risk (1)

freeio (527954) | more than 11 years ago | (#6583844)

From what I have seen, the person who installs GNU/Linux/BSD/etc on a work desktop is generally in the power-user category in the first place. Your average corporate user is not the "culprit" as she is not sufficiently interested in what is under the hood. Your early adopters (who adopted free software years ago) are more likely to install what they need, rather than what the corporate leviathan requires.

It was interesting to hear that my daughter (Ph.D. Candidate at University of Washington, Seattle) brought her own system into the lab, set it up with Linux, and uses it rather than the department standard systems. The reason? Lyx! UW has the standard dissertation formats all set up for lyx/latex, and so this is the best solution for her. The other reason is that all of the rest of the lab users do not get beyond her login prompt, and so her system does not get used by others and messed up regularly. The IT folks allow her access to the network, so she is fully equipped.

Free software? Life is good!

"Insecure" Linux, Cygwin and RedHat (4, Informative)

MyHair (589485) | more than 11 years ago | (#6583857)

I can see how security might be lax. When I was new to Linux I enabled everything whether I needed it or not. I figured I'd get around to playing with bind, sendmail and ftpd sooner or later. Everyone I know who's tried Linux has only dipped his toe in, so to speak.

Now I know more and have played enough that I disable everything except what I need, make sure it's secure and then put up a firewall just to be sure. But heck, just the other day I realized I hadn't apt-get update'd and apt-get upgrade'd in a couple of months. Oops. I also had weak passwords until about a month ago.

I'm in a non-tech company, and the Linux penetration is well below 1%. Only one desktop--a dual-boot laptop--as far as I know (except when I boot up KNOPPIX), but I have three rouge servers of my own. (Squid, Nessus, nmap and Snort are my friends.)

I also have two Cygwin installs, but they're my workstations, not user PCs. Anyone seeing those on desktops yet?

In this article the guy chose RedHat. If you don't care for commercial support, why would you choose RedHat over Debian or Slackware? Especially if security is a concern.

Live Linux CD's (2, Informative)

niko9 (315647) | more than 11 years ago | (#6583858)

I wonder how many people boot Live Linux Distro's like Knoppix, and reboot into whatever is installed (NT, XP, Win2k)when they only really have to.

As a ardernt Linux user, I would just change the BIOS settings to boot from CD first, and pop in Knoppix, or leave the CD-ROM tray empty when I wanted to use windows. No one in IT would need to know what I was upto.

New York City 911 EMS: When you absolutley, positivley cannot call a cab for your toothache

Bad Admin, no donut (1)

Rev.LoveJoy (136856) | more than 11 years ago | (#6583859)

If you're a sysadmin wandering around in userland and somebody has totally overwritten the company provided OS with their own OS of choice, you have not been doing your job. Go take a 90 minute timeout and read up how to lock down your boot media on end user PCs.

-- RLJ

We did it... (1)

horsie (91009) | more than 11 years ago | (#6583871)

When I was working for a game company, we had 2 Linux boxes in our machine... I installed them both... the only thing the SysAdmins said to me when I did it was, "We won't support that..." which was fine by me...

I had to Linux boxes to use, and needless to say, my Win2K machine at work became relegated to e-mail only...

That said, I wouldn't be surprised if there were more people doing the same thing with their office machines...

ROGUE LINUX IN DA HOUSE (1)

m0rphm0nkey (616729) | more than 11 years ago | (#6583872)

Yes folks for every criminal actually caught installing linux there are ten more fiends out there flaunting the authorities and trying to get one over on "the man". But it's only a matter of time till they pay for their deed because here in Champion City we still do a brisk trade....in justice.

In other breaking news SCO has begun issuing Rogue licensing requests based on calculated potnetial use of rogue linux installations on corporate networks. Darl McBride was quoted as saying "Damn those monkeys, AAAAAGGH BRIGHT COLORS!!!"

I work for M$ (5, Funny)

civilengineer (669209) | more than 11 years ago | (#6583875)

and all our systems have rouge linux installs. Its true! ;)

Our boss said NO! (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6583877)

Not until

a) It supports the windows key WITHOUT modifiying xmodmaps
b) Gimp has CMYK, CMYGOK and YHBT color support.
c) When it has enterprise class ease of use. That means no ugly file dialog, no bash, no mention of acronyms such as hda, mem, fd0, proc, dev, usr.
d) They get rid of that penguin and replace it with a professional logo.
5) It has enterprise class RDBMS support (mysql == toy)
6) When it supports our modem server connecting to the Telefax network (its a winmodem)
7) It has wordart in OpenOffice.org Abiword.

Slicker (1)

Elote (649512) | more than 11 years ago | (#6583878)

If the slicker project ever gets going again then KDE will be FAR ahead of any other desktop IMHO, and become more just a ripoff of other UIs. The CVS is already quite usable, but has only 5% of the features they say that they are working on.

Using this logic... (0, Offtopic)

fuali (546548) | more than 11 years ago | (#6583884)

I have sores all over my dick. How many other developers out there have sores on their dicks. This could be a huge trend, oh my god, write to all the medical journals, developers have sores on their dicks.

My lord you know what this means?

...nothing.

Not on the network?! (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6583889)

My company has quite a large LAN with at least 20,000 Windows NT/200 PC's. There are some SGI machines floating around for specialized jobs...but for %99.9 of people involved Microsoft is the only machine allowed to be connected to the network.

And the sysadmins keep it that way. >:(

Well...this naturally sucks if you are an engineer and need something that fits: "I can make this with things I already have...for FREE!".

I currently have Slackware 9.0, w/ Apache, MySQL running for a development program I am writing in PHP. It works well on the *spare* PC (read: old and nobody wants)...but as all computers it will be forever limited as it can only talk to 127.0.0.1.

Might not be a good idea. (1)

MtViewGuy (197597) | more than 11 years ago | (#6583897)

In my personal opinion, unless the IT department approves, corporate machines should NOT have operating systems installed that are not officially sanctioned by the IT department.

The reason is simple: system and network maintainance. When the IT help desk clearly knows what operating system each desktop machine is running, they can easily standardize on setup, security, what apps need to be installed, and so on.

Clearly, right now the situation for corporate IT setups is often going to be Linux or BSD variants for servers, Windows 2000 Pro or Windows XP Pro for x86 desktop clients or MacOS X 10.x versions for newer Macintosh machines.

Yes, and terminated (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6583906)

If you are a sysadmin, in an organization that runs Windows on the desktop, have you stumbled on many unofficial Linux installations?

This was a regular occurrence in our engineering department for some time, and as any MCSE knows, Linux is insecure. As IT director, I was initially given the task of physically removing hardware when rogue Linux installations were found, but employees were actually discovered bringing in their own laptops to run Linux or using VMWare to host virtual Linux machines with active and unique MACs on the corporate network. To better battle this, I asked for and received the right to terminate employees. After several high-profile firings, our network is once again safe, and it has become policy to perform more extensive background checks on job applicants with a UNIX or Linux background to ensure that they haven't caused similar grievance elsewhere.

User Installed *anything* (2)

Baron_Yam (643147) | more than 11 years ago | (#6583909)

I dunno about everyone else, but as a sysadmin there are only two reasons for unapproved installs of ANYTHING in an organisation for which I'm working - I'm not doing MY job, or the IT management is refusing to stand firm on policy.

I Run It (1)

mrcparker (469158) | more than 11 years ago | (#6583912)

But then again, I am a Unix developer. On my desktop I have my workstation running HPUX 11i and my laptop with Gentoo.

People ask me about it all of the time and there have been more than a few people go out and install Red Hat on test boxes.

Even though I love my Gentoo box and all of my Unix work is done through ssh, I don't recommend it to others or go around trying to promote it. I figure that eventually it will just sort of catch on the same way it has slowly made its way into our server room.
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