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Ask Slashdot: Recommendations For Linux Telecommuting Tools? 212

First time accepted submitter rodrix79 writes "Hi all. I am trying to move from Windows to Linux (Ubuntu, but maybe to Mint). The problem is I telecommute full time and I am having a hard time trying to find the right tools to keep communication flowing with my clients (which are mostly on Windows / Mac). Any good recommendations from Linux telecommuters?"
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Ask Slashdot: Recommendations For Linux Telecommuting Tools?

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  • Usual rule (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Tim Ward ( 514198 ) on Thursday April 05, 2012 @03:01PM (#39589207) Homepage

    (1) Decide what you're trying to do

    (2) Decide what application level software will do what you need

    (3) Use whatever platform (2) runs on

    I would not put my income at risk by playing silly games with the platform I use to earn my living. If I want to use something else for other purposes, then jolly good, I'll buy another box.

  • Skype (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Johnny Mister ( 2610721 ) on Thursday April 05, 2012 @03:02PM (#39589217)
    Sorry, but for business things you really do have to use Skype. It is what everyone uses, so you just have to go with it. That is cold hard truth. If you want UNIX OS, then just use Mac. I do and love it.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 05, 2012 @03:02PM (#39589219)

    In all honesty... an IM program, an email program, and a web browser. Without saying what tools you're looking to replace, I really don't know where to go with this one.

  • Re:Skype (Score:5, Insightful)

    by MickyTheIdiot ( 1032226 ) on Thursday April 05, 2012 @03:04PM (#39589249) Homepage Journal

    And using Skype on Linux is a problem because.... ?

  • Wrong question (Score:4, Insightful)

    by pla ( 258480 ) on Thursday April 05, 2012 @03:09PM (#39589307) Journal
    I generally hate it when people don't answer the "real" question posted to an online forum, so for starters: Jabber and rdesktop, and at every turn, promote the use of Google's online collaboration tools if they don't already use them heavily (they actually don't suck, but I wouldn't run a company depending on Google to say non-evil).

    That said, you have asked the wrong question. You need to start with "I make my living serving people using X but don't want to use X, should I drink the Xool-ade or risk losing my shirt?"

    And if you don't already know the answer to that question, we can't help you.
  • Use a Mac (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 05, 2012 @03:11PM (#39589331)

    Tell yourself it's based on BSD and that's kinda close to linux. I've long ago given up on using linux as a desktop/laptop. Run a Mac, be happy and put a linux virtual machine on your mac for the hardcore geeky stuff. Best of both worlds, IMHO.

  • by Wee ( 17189 ) on Thursday April 05, 2012 @03:32PM (#39589657)
    Can you be more specific? Like telling us what doensn't work?

    Having already posted a reply, I have a gut feeling this submission is in some way trollish. No specifics, vague notions of "telecommuting" (do people even use that word?), and management-buzzword phrases like "hard time trying to find the right tools to keep communication flowing with my clients". Really? IM, email, online doc sharing, VOIP, video chat, Libre Office (or even MS Office in Wine)... shit even old-school ftp drop boxes: none of those will work in keeping communication "flowing"?

    I get the feeling the submitter is looking to say, "See? Even Slashdot -- largely regarded as Nerd Central -- can't think of ways Linux can provide the tools and services necessary to serve the business-ready needs of today's modern telecommuting professional". Or some such reverse-astroturfing thing.

    It could also be that the submitter isn't a technical person. But the submission smells funny.

  • Re:Wrong question (Score:3, Insightful)

    by DrgnDancer ( 137700 ) on Thursday April 05, 2012 @03:43PM (#39589833) Homepage

    Even more to the point I don't know that we can answer the question as asked. There's no standard answer to "what do I need to telecommute?" What do you do? What tools are commonly used by your employer(s)? Do you need voice or video chat? If so, what kind? Skype is easy, but Polycomms don't work with it. What do you do? If your job is "develop .NET applications", it's going to be really hard to just switch to Linux. Does your company use Exchange? Is there an OWA server available so you can hook it up to a non-Outlook client? If not is there POP or IMAP (not as good as OWA which can forward contacts, calendar, etc)? Do you use any proprietary Windows only tools? Do you have to use IE to get to certain internal web sites? What VPN solution does your company use? Is there a Linux client? My company is standardized on Office Communicator, I'm not aware of any other IM system that can hook up to our internal OC servers, that could be a huge problem with telecommuting.

    I mean... Telecommuting can be as simple as "I need a phone, a VPN client, an e-mail client, and a terminal to SSH in with" or as complex as "I need a full suite of proprietary in house Windows tools, Visual Studios, and Outlook or I can't do my job". I could telecommute for a day or two with nearly any computer using any OS. Eventually I'd need at least a VM with a domain connected Windows OS or I'd be unable to do a lot of communication, internal paperwork, documentation, etc.

  • by megalomaniacs4u ( 199468 ) on Thursday April 05, 2012 @04:10PM (#39590223)

    Slap you vpn admin until he sets up split-tunnelling properly if your vpn locks out your lan.

    I use a cisco asa based vpn and with split tunnelling turned on at the host i can still use my lan while vpn is connected.

    You just must have a different subnets for the local & remote.

  • Re:Easy fix... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by slo ( 673297 ) on Thursday April 05, 2012 @05:42PM (#39591535)
    Or do the reverse and run Windows in a VM where necessary.
  • Re:Skype (Score:4, Insightful)

    by guruevi ( 827432 ) <evi&evcircuits,com> on Thursday April 05, 2012 @10:02PM (#39593683) Homepage

    Video calls over SIP is hardly standardized. Every other manufacturer (especially Tandberg/Cisco) has proprietary codecs or don't follow the standards in them.

An elephant is a mouse with an operating system.