TechRepublic has an article showing how one of its members slashed IT costs switching to Linux and StarOffice while maintaining access to important legacy Windows applications.
The basic recipe goes something like this:
- Switch all servers to Linux except one. This one is left running Windows to serve up legacy applications
- Install "Tiny Linux ... a dial-up connection for access when away from the office, a minimal X server, and a VNC client" to connect to the servers to run software including Windows legacy applications and StarOffice.
- Maintain a couple of 'fat' laptops for trade shows and occasions when they are needed.
There's are lots of reason why this sort of IT setup offers a cheaper alternative. The most noteworthy is that because all applications and files are kept on the servers there's very minimal maintainance required for the clients. Workers can work from anywhere, and if something goes wrong with the client, another client is issued and the employee is back to work with minimal delay.
Importantly, the workers are quite happy with the new setup. "They are more than happy to get some extra cash around the holidays as a trade-off for not having the typical fat-client Windows PC setup."