A Few Thoughts on Why Businesses Resist Migration to Linux
With the upcoming release of Windows 8 in October, the computer world appears to be divided in its opinion of Microsoft’s new operating system. Following the release preview of Windows 8 a few months ago, some are excited about the new interface, while others feel it was built only to be more convenient for tablet or touchscreen users. If Windows 8 turns out to be another Vista, Linux is expected to eat another inch more of Microsoft’s market share.
Despite being an open source system, Linux received less support from users as it is known to be harder to navigate than Windows. It gained popularity only with developers and computer geeks because they had the freedom to tweak the code to suit their preference. But Linux has made great strides over the years. Where Linux was previously limited only to servers and supercomputers, now more users are daring to usethe system in their laptops and desktops. Unfortunately, the same cannot be said in the business environment. Why are businesses resisting the change?
Most businesses have used Windows and Microsoft Office for decades. Switching to Linux and other open source software brings up compatibility issues on old files, as well as problems with document transfers or exchanges between vendors and clients. Even if the IT personnel has convinced everyone about how much more elegant, economical, and secure Linux is, the company is less likely to be compelled to make such a major change if there are costly compatibility issues. Some laser printers are not able to cope with Linux, which would be a problem if the company has already invested in this hardware and was unwilling to upgrade at this time. However, there are manufacturers that produce Linux-compatible printers. For example, Dell printers are usually compatible with Linux, as are some HP printers. So, the problem with printer compatibility might not be so difficult after all.
Inconvenience and Cost of Training
Switching to a new operating system and other software translates to additional training for employees. Though the company will save money from software licensing, there would be training expenses to consider, as well as man-hours consumed by personnel – not only for training, but as well as additional hours that it would take to become familiar with the new system. We can argue that this would only entail additional expenses during the initial shift. Then again, it would also mean training for almost any new hire since it is likely that they are more familiar with Windows.
User Resistance to Change
It’s normal for people to resist change in any type of scenario – especially where it would take extra effort to learn and become familiar again with new tools that would be used every day at work. Imagine the grumbling and complaints that would be thrown all over the workplace when everyone is required to learn a new operating system. This might even be more complicated for older people in the workforce, who, as they are not digital natives’, might struggle to learn and absorb a new technology that is different from what they likely use at home. What about top management? These busy executives might not want to go out of their way to learn a new system.
Linux is a fantastic operating system for any computer. But until it receives support from software vendors, it is not likely to make its way into the business workplace. And without the same budget that Microsoft has for development and advertising, it will remain at home with tech-savvy coders, programmers, and computer users.