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Linux Business

Where is Largest Linux Desktop Install? 606

jackb_guppy asks: "Talking with Managers about Linux Training for staff. One asked a simple question: 'Where is the largest installed base of Linux desktops?' My guess the question was asked prove that there is no market, and I am unable to find an answer. I am guessing the next question will be: 'Largest site using Linux to replace MS desktops?' Anyone have a suggestion?" Just for fun, if any of you have Linux Desktops deployed in your department, can you give us some numbers?
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Where is Largest Linux Desktop Install?

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  • by Amezick ( 102131 ) on Monday October 01, 2001 @12:45PM (#2373914)
    Search slashdot for government, florida, linux, desktop. There was an article about a town replacing all their MS stuff with linux stuff.
  • by McVeigh ( 145742 ) <<seth> <at> <>> on Monday October 01, 2001 @12:49PM (#2373938) Homepage
    Largo has switched about 800 desktops to linux using thin clients. They use balsa for e-mail and KDE for the desktop. links here [] and here []
  • Development Shop (Score:3, Informative)

    by kevinank ( 87560 ) on Monday October 01, 2001 @12:49PM (#2373944) Homepage
    In my last project we had about 80 developers about half of whom were running linux on at least one of their boxes; so 40 desktops (admittedly specialized). It won't be the biggest installation by far, but I was genuinely surprised by the level of interest among other developers here.
  • by JabberWokky ( 19442 ) <> on Monday October 01, 2001 @12:51PM (#2373959) Homepage Journal
    There was an article about a town replacing all their MS stuff with linux stuff.

    Nope. They were replacing CDE with KDE. The article on the dot can be found here [], and I can't find the article on Slashdot on Google, and Slashdot's seach is *still* broken.

    "The City of Largo is a thin client/X shop [which supports] 400 thin client devices that support X, 800 total users, and run about 230 concurrently during the heaviest part of the day."


  • HP uses linux... (Score:4, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday October 01, 2001 @12:52PM (#2373970)
    In the lab I am at @ HP, we probably have 200 Linux workstations being used, and th enumber is increasing every month as money is tight. We are replacing many of the Unix workstations with Linux, because why buy a $20,000 workstation, when a $1500 Linux workstation can do 'all that and more"? All of our development software now runs on linux, and everyone seems to like it.

  • Korean Air? (Score:4, Informative)

    by drDugan ( 219551 ) on Monday October 01, 2001 @12:55PM (#2373988) Homepage
    news at pressreleases/2001/zseries_koreanair_pr_071601.htm l

    Seoul, Korea, July 16, 2001 -- Korean Air, Korea's national flagship airline, and IBM today announced that Korean Air has completed the first phase of developing its core business applications running on Linux for the IBM.

    Korean Air's Flight Schedule Enquiry System and the Daily Revenue Accounting System employ Linux on IBM hardware and software.

    The enquiry system provides flight crew members with on-line real-time flight schedule information, which they can update anytime. More than 3,000 Korean Air pilots and flight attendants are currently using the system.


    I also heard some talk about the government of Mexico, but that was recently and there may not have been progress there.

  • by nakedjames ( 442494 ) on Monday October 01, 2001 @12:56PM (#2373997) Homepage
    Late late news!

    Burlington Coat Factory will install Linux on 1,150 computers in its 250 stores over the next 12 to 18 months.

    "Burlington will run Red Hat Software Inc.'s version of Linux on 1,250 Dell OptiPlex® PCs for office management, to administer its Baby Registry and to handle back-office functions such as shipping and receiving. Dell will factory-install Red Hat Linux software through its DellPlus service on the OptiPlex GX1 computers, giving Burlington the ease and efficiency of PCs that arrive ready to use."

    Sited from: Linux in Business []
  • Re:try cisco (Score:2, Informative)

    by jannotti ( 37522 ) on Monday October 01, 2001 @12:56PM (#2374000)
    Sorry, not true. I work there.
  • Home Depot (Score:5, Informative)

    by worldwideweber ( 116531 ) on Monday October 01, 2001 @12:58PM (#2374010) Homepage Journal
    Home Depot is using Red Hat Linux for a huge in-store system that its employees will use for tasks such as receiving, ordering, and inventory management. As many as 90,000 cash registers (etc) are running Linux there. Check out this article [] for details.
  • Reality (Score:5, Informative)

    by sting3r ( 519844 ) on Monday October 01, 2001 @12:58PM (#2374011) Homepage
    I work for a small firm that offers UNIX (including Linux) based software to integrate the newer UNIX servers with old mainframe applications (like CICS and such). We have 110 employees, 95 of whom are "technical" (coders, sysadmins, etc.). A few months ago we tried to move the 15 non-technical employees (receptionists, accounting, etc.) to a Linux desktop, to save ourselves from spiraling Microsoft upgrade costs. We tried several combinations of KDE, Gnome, and traditional window managers; we also tried both Koffice and StarOffice for word processing and spreadsheets. (For text editing, vim was out of the question; emacs was bordering on insanity.) The result? They hated it, and productivity went down fast. The IS folks' workload tripled overnight as the Linux newbies got stuck trying to figure out why the KDE/Gnome desktops were so illogical. We couldn't find a non-IE browser that would work with our bank's site, so bookkeeping needed a Windows PC regardless (which they tended to fight over, since nobody liked Linux). People would hit the reset button when X died or crashed, and the resulting fsck would take half their filesystem with it. It was a nightmare.

    Today our non-techies run Windows and our coders mostly run Linux, just as before. And it works (relatively) well. There are crashes and annoyances on the Windows side but at least it's usable. Linux simply isn't up to the task yet - and with funding for open source projects going down the toilet as LNUX, SGI, CALD, and RHAT slowly die off, things aren't going to change anytime soon.


  • by NumberSyx ( 130129 ) on Monday October 01, 2001 @12:59PM (#2374019) Journal

    Burlington Coat Factory runs Red Hat Linux on 1,250 Dell OptiPlex systems. If you do a search on Dells website or Google, you will find it.

  • by LordWoody ( 187919 ) on Monday October 01, 2001 @01:02PM (#2374050) Homepage
    Here is a (the?) /. story on the City of Largo, Florida: 3&mode=thread [].

    It has several links with complete information. The short of it is that most of the city's employees use Linux as their day to day OS.

  • A lot here (Score:2, Informative)

    by skhazra ( 37185 ) on Monday October 01, 2001 @01:05PM (#2374074)
    I work at the Centre for Wireless Communications at National University of Singapore and I guess out of 250 people or so here almost every one has at least one linux box, some have more and I have the maximum, which is 15!!

    So things are good here I guess. Its one place where the tech support knows how to setup printer in linux ;)
  • Corrected link (Score:4, Informative)

    by matty ( 3385 ) on Monday October 01, 2001 @01:05PM (#2374076) Homepage
    FYI, Slashcode adds spaces to any word over a certain length so that the tables line up properly. When you have a long URL like that, you should do an href, like this [].

    If you need to know how to do an href, you can go here [].

  • Re:IBM (Score:5, Informative)

    by GrEp ( 89884 ) < minus herbivore> on Monday October 01, 2001 @01:15PM (#2374132) Homepage Journal
    Thanks for the offtopic mod ;)

    Here is a link to some Case Studies [] that IBM has done on using Linux that I should have posted above.
  • Re:Korean Air? (Score:5, Informative)

    by tenman ( 247215 ) < ... minus city> on Monday October 01, 2001 @01:18PM (#2374154) Journal
    Please note that the above artical doesn't apply to this thread. The Korean Air deployment was from a IBM-Zserver. That would be one box capable of 50,000 simultaious, completly seperate linux images. All of which can, but none of which are running a 'desktop'.

    All user interfaces are done on IBM netTerminals that have a thier own firmware to handle user interactions. Linux on the Zserver is limited right now to around 90 really really powerful linux server images, and no direct client connections. The IBM netTerminal's internal application only makes TCP calls to the server. Clients do not use shell accounts, and no GUI login exist for them on the server. Hope I didn't burt your bubble, but trust me on this one...
  • by nvainio ( 135908 ) on Monday October 01, 2001 @01:22PM (#2374170) Homepage
    City of Turku [] in Finland considers switching to GNU/Linux systems because of Microsoft's new licencing policy. According to a newspaper article [] (in Finnish), this would mean 3000 users.
  • by Ktistec Machine ( 159201 ) on Monday October 01, 2001 @01:27PM (#2374191)
    And here are some more out-of-date stats,
    from last year, to give you an idea of our
    department's size. We have one IIS server, and
    three NT file servers, but all other servers
    are running Linux. All (well, almost all)
    Linux workstations and servers (including
    four clusters) are updated nightly through
    a remote update scheme we developed here:

    Number of Users 247
    Faculty 57
    Senior Research Staff 7
    Research Associates 15
    Graduate Students 59
    Majors 81
    Staff 28
    Number of Computers 220
    Operating Systems:
    Number of Linux Computers:
    Counting clusters as single machines 66
    Counting individual boxes 92
    Desktop workstations 36
    Laptops 4
    Research group servers 8
    Departmental servers 8
    X terminals 10
    Number of Windows Computers 114
    Number of Macintosh Computers 21
    Number of Computers with Other Operating Systems 25
    Average Logins per Day:
    Galileo (departmental cluster) 112
    Mail Server (interactive) 70
    Mail Server (pop/imap) 3,270
    Computer Lab 70
    Messages per Day through Mail Server 3,010
    Web Server:
    Visits per Day 1,300
    Pages per Day 2,430
    Hits per Day 15,400
    Pages Printed per Day 847
    Disk Space Backed Up (GB) 370
    Departmentally-owned Computers 150
    Research_Group_Computers 220
  • Re:Colleges (Score:2, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday October 01, 2001 @01:35PM (#2374245)
    The Universtiy of Texas has a list of their undergraduate lab machines on line. [] (The page isn't exact, an on-line probe shows 79 Linux boxes in the "public" group right now.)

    Add to this about 200 more "private" Linux systems for the professors' and grad students' desktops.

    ruptime shows 513 systems on the common filesystem, which includes all the "public" systems and lots of the "private" systems, though some portion of that number will be brand-name Unix and some will be lab machines used more for batch processing than for desktops. Still, that is 513 Linux/Unix boxes of some type, of which an estimated 300 are Linux boxes deployed for desktop use.

    Overall, they have 2000-3000 active accounts on the combined Linux/Unix login, though many of those will be for undergraduates who do not use it unless they have to.
  • Re:try cisco (Score:2, Informative)

    by boonies ( 525736 ) on Monday October 01, 2001 @01:54PM (#2374371) Homepage
    No switching is occurring, but an internal Linux distro is now supported internally. Nice to have the option, but not a lot of takers outside of those of us in engineering...
  • Some Linux (Score:5, Informative)

    by totallygeek ( 263191 ) <> on Monday October 01, 2001 @01:57PM (#2374393) Homepage
    I have some instances of companies I work with using Linux over Windows:
    • One bank uses 3 Linux workstations for document scanning, using Tummy Software xvscan []. The images are set in a PostgreSQL database, and retreivable bia a web browser. They purchased this system with the custom software saving over $15,000 compared to the cheapest Windows solution they could find.
    • I know of a bank that uses Star Office on Linux for Microsoft Office training machines. Having Linux on the computers keeps the trainees from loading software, and the two office suites are similar enough for basic training. There are ten training workstations.
    • A law firm that uses two Linux workstation, a Mac, and Appletalk/Samba on Linux for a server. They also have custom database applications for billing and client records.
    • A financial planner that has a Linux Internet gateway that later turned into a PostgreSQL database for stock tracking and analysis. He still uses Windows for his workstation, but in addition has a Linux computer using the quote program to get stock quotes.
    • A pet store using Linux exclusively for point-of-sale and server. He replaced an old SCO system, and did not buy a monitor for his server, so he connects with his vt320 terminal.
    • An outdoor advertising company has replaced two Windows computers with Linux, and are loving them. They don't know anything about Linux, but like the stability of their applications, and they saved a bundle.

    My company [] has been working on custom Linux applications to replace Windows. I hope there are many chances in the future to suggest Linux.

  • Fermilab (Score:2, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday October 01, 2001 @01:57PM (#2374399)
    Try Fermilab (Department of Energy) []

    More than 2000 emploees and most of the scintists use Linux as Desktop OS. We even have our own Linux distribution: Fermi Linux []
  • by Telek ( 410366 ) on Monday October 01, 2001 @02:05PM (#2374457) Homepage

    Tried to poll their site to see how many other users use linux, and I'm sure that there is a way but I don't have the time to find it right now. I sure that you can get reports on who uses linux. If you want, punch in some high profile companies into that search and see who pops up, or go over to the "longest uptime" pages and notice that most are BSD/Linux.

    (BTW - " minus caffeine" should be " add caffeine")
  • by tzanger ( 1575 ) on Monday October 01, 2001 @02:13PM (#2374504) Homepage

    Mails,Calendar,Contact..everything.. anybody can suggest one ?

    Check out Steltor's [] product line. Linux or NT for the server, use your own LDAP or its internal one... even has Outlook services and sync tools for Palm and (I think) Psion. We're evaluating it right now. So far, so good. My only complaint is that they do not have any way to transfer over all your Exchange Server contacts.

    Connected Software has an app called Address Magic which converts anything to anything else -- it seems VERY nice, I've been using it for about a year and a half now. Their new version is a hundredfold faster but they still have trouble with the LDIF format. I am working with them to get that fixed so I can get rid of Exchange Server here.

  • Walmart (Score:2, Informative)

    by huckda ( 398277 ) on Monday October 01, 2001 @02:27PM (#2374615) Journal
    Walmart uses Linux for their inventory tracking and the like...

    Meanwhile at Fred Myers last night, I was at the 'do-it-yourself' checkout and witnessed a station reboot...sadly enough what I saw was the Windows NT 4.0 start-up screen...Thus I understood why the system was rebooting...

  • Re:Reality (Score:3, Informative)

    by hearingaid ( 216439 ) <> on Monday October 01, 2001 @02:34PM (#2374685) Homepage

    dumbass. here's a little lecture in perhaps you should read GLS' jargon file, but I digress.

    troll: a posting or a poster designed to aggravate and irritate. trolls are universally annoying. [lame] example: "Your mother is a reptile."

    flamebait: a posting that will tend to attract flames. this is not something that is inherently offensive, but merely dangerous in the current medium.

    what is flamebait varies.

    flamebait is also not a conscious attack. it tends to be more on the order of being insensitive to local norms.

    the above posting was flamebait because it suggested that Linux was doomed. and this is /. - the exact same posting to a windows-programming newsgroup, for example, would not have been flamebait. but here it is.

  • by elwing ( 6214 ) on Monday October 01, 2001 @02:47PM (#2374778) Homepage Journal
    The Math Department at Texas A&M (not only the faculty and staff, but all of the computer based math classes) uses Linux almost exclusively. We have one NT box running citrix that is limited to 15 logins and only certain people are even allowed an account on it. There are approximately 150 machines in faculty/staff offices, and 4 labs of Linux workstations (approx. 300) In addition, all the servers for the labs are Linux, and there are several Linux servers for faculty/staff use.

    The nice thing about it is, any science oriented student *must* take three math classes that are based around these labs. So you've basically got a captive audience for at least 1.5 years while they're still impressionable freshmen.
  • by Jodus ( 117573 ) on Monday October 01, 2001 @03:01PM (#2374861)
    Jeb Bush's administration has created a new office of technology. One of their main policy objectives in technology is interoperability across state government agencies. How are they going after this interoperability? Windows 2000. Go figure. See the link.

  • amazon uses linux (Score:3, Informative)

    by Get_Plover ( 78671 ) on Monday October 01, 2001 @03:20PM (#2374980)
    my sister-in-law works for amazon, says they run as many as 5000 RedHat units. says they develop their tools on them and that the shipping floors run it for day to day (tracking, shipping) orders.
  • Re:HP uses linux... (Score:2, Informative)

    by thissurfer ( 96242 ) on Monday October 01, 2001 @03:45PM (#2375171)
    HP isn't the only large company utilizing the linux desktop. lots of companies are taking advantage of the linux desktop (and the price) in their R&D departments...even if what you do has next to nothing to do with Linux. here at the R&D site, for example, we have over 20 linux boxes that are used for their X display capablities so that UNIX and windows developers can work on software that has nothing to do with Linux. go figure.
  • Re:Colleges (Score:1, Informative)

    by sunking2 ( 521698 ) on Monday October 01, 2001 @04:19PM (#2375388)
    Citing colleges and universities will probably do little good. The environments are likely completely different from the environment at work. For the most part colleges need a solution that is generic and covers a fairly small toolset that just about everyone will use. Compare that to a work environment where each individual may have a different job title and role. It's now necessary to make sure that each individual will have all of the tools (s)he needs for the job.

    Univeristy need to have a few machines that are a generic solution for the student body in general. Companies generally have a single machine that has the tools it needs to get the job done.

    Note, before you go and say that Linux has program xyz to do whatever you want, that isn't what this post is about. It's about finding an accurate model to use in your comparisons.
  • by oulman ( 162775 ) on Monday October 01, 2001 @05:38PM (#2375730) Homepage
    MIT Has a HUGE number of redhat machines deployed. There has to be at least a few thousand in the Computer Science lab alone. Not to mention the rest of the departments in the school. Your probobly looking at at least 10k - 15k linux desktops.
  • Re:Why so different (Score:2, Informative)

    by Taurine ( 15678 ) on Monday October 01, 2001 @06:17PM (#2375934)
    AFAIK, Mandrake defaults its desktop to KDE. If your point was that KDE is a struggle to get used to, did you eventually move the task bar by going into control centre? Or did you try left-clicking on it, and dragging it to the edge you wanted it on - EXACTLY THE WAY IT WORKS IN WINDOWS ???

    A lot of people complain that KDE is too much like Windows for their tastes. A lot of the time, you can just do whatever you would have done in Windows, and it just works.
  • by vbprgrmr ( 411532 ) on Monday October 01, 2001 @07:12PM (#2376154)
    I remember over the last month or two reports of major switchovers from Windows to Linux because of the licensing thing.

    So I tried a Google search on 'Linux installations corporate' and found a good list. Also, if you do a search here in 'older stuff' I'm sure you can find many posts, since anytime even when a medium size company switches over, someone reports it.

    But this was a good reference which contained a list of case studies of businesses that switched to linux. also provided an incredible study of Linux Enterprise Computing.

  • by totro ( 99112 ) on Monday October 01, 2001 @07:35PM (#2376234)
    I am a BOFH at Analog Design Automation, a software company of 47 people. We have 48 Linux desktops (some people have two), and 12 Win2k desktops for our business types. ie. 80% of our desktops are Linux. We also have a Debian GNU/Linux compute farm with 32 nodes, and about a dozen "specialty" Debian GNU/Linux boxen (servers, tinderboxes, dedicated db boxen, auditors, a firewall, a dumb terminal for a sun server).

    I especially enjoy busting off one-liners that upgrade/patch all the Debian boxen. ;)

I've noticed several design suggestions in your code.