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The Cherry-Lime Swirl: What You're Going to Love About Novell Linux Desktop

Articles and Tips: article

BrainStorm Inc.

01 Apr 2005

As an IT professional, you know why you want Linux on the desktop, but selling your ideas to your end users may be like selling ice to penguins: They think they already have what they need. Here are a few of the flavored syrup temptations you can use to sell Novell Linux Desktop to your end users.

Less Minimizing

Just as a hotel convinces customers to accept a room change by offering an upgraded size, you can sell your end users on the change to Novell Linux Desktop by telling them about the extra workspace it offers.

By default, Novell Linux Desktop features four different virtual desktops that you can customize with the applications you need. Instead of constantly minimizing, moving, resizing and restoring 10 different applications on one desktop, you can organize application windows in specific workspaces. Once set up, you can view your different workspaces with just a click, not the series of clicks it takes to find one minimized application. (See Figure 1.)

Figure 1

These separate workspaces are just like having more than one monitor, and if you've ever used multiple monitors, you appreciate the benefits more workspace provides. The Novell Linux Desktop virtual workspaces can hold the same applications and plug-ins that the main workspace does, but they increase organization and productivity.

Death to the Blue Screen

Most users can still relate to suddenly seeing the blue screen of death. This fatal system error, that may or may not be solved by shutting off the computer and turning it back on again, became a nagging fear--after it happened once, you could never get rid of it. Inevitably blue screens of death meant a certain call to the help desk and at least 10 minutes of lost productivity every time. Multiply that by the number of blue screens you've seen. Ouch!

With the increased stability that Novell Linux Desktop provides, however, you can tell your end users that the blue screen of death is dead. Because Novell Linux Desktop is built on the stable Linux kernel, the operating system will never shut down and it is very unlikely that users will ever receive a fatal error. You can assure your users that they won't be making a blue-screen call.

Reboot, Again?

Every user can relate to the dreaded "reboot" advice from the help desk. Inevitably this advice comes after the user has been working on an important project. When the application suddenly freezes or exhibits abnormal behavior, he calls the help desk hoping for some type of magical remedy that won't mean he has to start all over again. But, instead he hears the worthless advice: "Try rebooting and see if that works."

With Novell Linux Desktop, you can tell your users that rebooting orders are a thing of the past. Not only is the Linux kernel that Novell Linux Desktop is built on more stable, the applications in the open source community are updated more regularly with patches, making them more stable as well. With stable programs and a stable operating system, your users are less likely to get frozen screens and file errors, therefore reducing the amount of reboot advice.

Running Home

Once users are accustomed to using certain applications at work, they inevitably want to use them at home, as well. With traditional software, this meant each user had to have at least two licenses, one for work and one for home. Trying to cut software budgets with each user requiring at least two licenses is usually impossible and most end users throw a fit when their home licenses are revoked.

Especially if your company has revoked software licenses for home or is planning to, your users will appreciate the freedom of open source software on Novell Linux Desktop. Your users will be able to use all the software they use at work at home because there are no licenses or licensing fees. Just make sure to leave out the fact that they can always get done at home what they don't finish at the office.

Easy Reading

Most users can identify with not being able to read an attachment or file from a colleague. The lost time trying to get the file to convert and then asking for the file in another format is enough to make most users scream.

Understandably, the prospect of this nightmare happening all the time along with the possibility that users will do the same thing to their colleagues is one of the main worries most users have about switching to Novell Linux Desktop. They worry that others won't be able to read or manipulate the documents they send or that they won't be able to read or manipulate the documents sent to them., which is installed on Novell Linux Desktop, solves this document compatibility problem two ways: First, documents can be saved or converted into many other document types, including Microsoft Office compatible documents. (See Figure 2.) As easy as using the Save As command, this document conversion makes reading and sending documents to other users problem free.

Figure 2

Second, Novell Linux Desktop is completely PDF compatibl. This read-only document viewing option is quite universal among operating systems and Novell Linux Desktop is no exception. Novell Linux Desktop comes preinstalled with a PDF viewer; you don't need to install one to read the PDF documents others send you. And every document can be converted to PDF format with the click of a button and without any extra installations. MS Office can't do that by itself.

Burn, Baby, Burn

Running or burning a CD, being able to network, sending instant messages, using terminal services, and Web browsing are only a few of the things most users are afraid they will not be able to do if they switch to Novell Linux Desktop. Like every other excuse, however, users don't have to worry about this one either.

Novell Linux Desktop is completely compatible with industry standards. Not only can Novell Linux Desktop run or play a CD or DVD, but it can also burn CDs and read and write to a flash drive or network computers and printers--as easily as traditional operating systems. In addition, the Novell Linux Desktop includes Firefox Internet browser which can be used for browser-based intranet applications in addition to surfing the Internet with increased security, reliability and speed. (See Figure 3.) Novell Linux Desktop is also compatible with popular instant messaging programs, Citrix clients and terminal services. (See Figure 4.) You can also print from the operating system just as easily as from other operating systems and it comes with intuitive guides to help even novice users set up these basic functions.

Figure 3

Figure 4


A user calls the help desk to report that she can't get anything to work on her computer. When the help desk arrives to fix the problem, he realizes that just because of an inadvertent mouse click, she has moved her windows folder. Now the system needs to be rebuilt and the user loses at least half a day of work time.

Many users and help desk personnel alike share this nightmare as end users manipulate folder locations, mess up settings, delete important files or fix what happens when users do so. Users are therefore leery of exploring their software environment for fear of deleting something important.

The root access feature of Novell Linux Desktop can set everyone's minds at ease. Because users can't change the system's main functionality without having root access, they know they are safe changing anything until the program prompts them for root access. More important, you know that you as an IT professional won't get the call to fix an inadvertent mouse click. (See Figure 5.)

Figure 5

Not a Target

Most end users are terrified of viruses. They know how dangerous these kinds of malware can be and are always scared that they will be the target or spread the germ throughout the work place. Because of this fear, sometimes users are overly cautious and must be constantly vigilant.

Although you already know that Linux isn't as likely a target for hackers and virus writers, you can sell Novell Linux Desktop to your users by letting them in on this little secret: Literally thousands of developers around the world contribute to the stability and security of the Linux kernel. With that many eyes poring over every line of the code, security breaches like those of proprietary operating systems are really only vaporware. Users will be happy to know that with Novell Linux Desktop, they won't be the ones spreading a virus around the office.


Change the desktop wallpaper--that's the first thing most users want to do when they get a new computer. And once they change the wallpaper, they want to personalize everything else such as application skins, desktop themes and screen savers. Then they explore looking for anything else they can change in their new sterile environment. Unfortunately, if they stray far from the preinstalled decorations, they may be in danger of inadvertently installing malware such as spyware.

With Novell Linux Desktop, however, you can personalize as much as you want with almost any open source skin, theme or wallpaper you want. You don't need to worry about inadvertently installing anything harmful. And the open source community has a much better selection of different application skins, themes and screen savers, etc. In fact, chances are with the 200 plus wallpaper designs and screen savers that come installed with Novell Linux Desktop, you're bound to find something you like. (See Figure 6.)

Figure 6


Just because you're already convinced that Linux is the way to go doesn't mean your end users share your excitement. It might take a little bit of creative selling to help them see why Novell Linux Desktop is worth the switch. You can convince them of its worth and make the transition as painless as eating a snow cone, by pointing out the above reasons of how Linux can solve some of their biggest concerns. Yes, what they use now works as well as ice, but it also tastes like it. Wouldn't it be better to have some flavor? Welcome to the cherrylime swirl--Novell Linux Desktop.

BrainStorm, Inc. is a Novell-Authorized End-User Training Partner and has developed solutions to ensure that end users can fully utilize Novell tools. BrainStorm offers training services and materials (including its popular QuickStart Cards) for the Novell Linux Desktop,, GroupWise, Virtual Office and other desktop applications. Contact BrainStorm at 1-801-229-1337 or online at

* Originally published in Novell Connection Magazine


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