It’s official, I despise Microsoft’s user experience. We have to update our department’s 50 PCs again. Sometimes it Windows patches, today it’s Office patches. It is a pain-in-the-ass. Even after moving a disk images of all Microsoft software to our shared NAS (this was only done for software we have a department license or enough individual licenses for every member in the department) the M$ updater won’t recognize the non-CD-ROM media. Meaning we have to manually insert the CDs at every workstation for the update. This coupled with Visio 2002 wouldn’t start until I reinstalled the VB and VBA6 runtime because it conflicted with Network Associates VirusScan. Argggh! I am starting to think that costs are outweighing the benefits of running Microsoft software.
As part of our next desktop build, FireFox will be the default browser. While we are still exploring moving to Windows XP or 2K3, we have begun investigating a desktop Linux distro for our users. We use GroupWise as our enteripse messaging solution, SUSE desktop is on the top of our list to evaluate. RedHat is the other obvious choice for us. Debian and TurboLinux are also considerations. My plan is to build 2 or 3 machines (one for each distro) and then do some usability testing with our non-technical users. Basically, I need to see if they can figure out how to access everything like they do today. We really want to try and replicate the Windows user experience and Linspire and Xandros.