David DeJean

The New Wish Book: IBM's Linux Migration Guide

By David DeJean
September 20, 2006 11:06 PM EDT
When I was kid growing up, the Sears & Roebuck catalog was called the "Wish Book." Sears doesn't publish those three-inch thick catalogs of consumer yearnings any more, but I still collect a different kind of wish book. I must own half a dozen volumes devoted to leaving Microsoft operating systems behind and converting to Linux. For me it's the same sort of fantasy as people who buy travel guides and dream of moving to Bali. Someday, I keep promising myself, I'm really going to do it.

The latest book in my collection is the biggest yet. In fact, if it were printed it would probably outweigh an old Sears wish book. Fortunately, it's a PDF file, but at 339 pages its still a tome. But I mean that in a good way.

IBM has issued a new volume in its series of Red Books called Linux Client Migration Cookbook. It's subtitled "A Practical Planning and Implementation Guide for Migrating to Desktop Linux."

I have to confess, it's a little over my head, but I still find it inspirational. If you work in an IT department you might find it downright actionable. This draft Version 2 of the Cookbook is a complete and detailed guide to planning and executing a migration from Windows (or anything else) to Linux. The authors note that "although anyone interested in using Linux on the desktop could benefit from different portions of this book, our primary audience for this book is existing business IT environments that need to begin an evaluation of desktop Linux . . . ."

That's true enough. With exactly four PCs in my environment I'm not likely to get as much benefit out of the extended discussion of client deployment models and automating desktop migration as you are if you've got 3,00 or 5,000 users. And I realize that migrating any significant number of desktops to Linux may be more fantasy than reality on IBM's part, just like it is on mine, but hey, it's still a great book with a lot to teach you about the value of planning for IT, if nothing else. (If you don't know the Red Books you should get acquainted.) And kids -- and global corporations -- can still dream, can't we?