I was wondering if there is an all-in-one solution for small business owners looking into linux. I understand that they can install Ubuntu and set it up but how many business owners have the know-how, time, patience, or contacts to do it. From what I understand now there are technologies available for business owners but they are scattered and not well known. My thought is this, Is it viable to create a derivative of Ubuntu that focus on providing a stable platform aimed solely for small to medium business owners? It could be based on LTS versions of Ubuntu and provide packages specific for business owners. There should be a desktop and server version that communicate as flawless as possible to store and encrypt business documents. Of course this would be difficult because you would have to identify what most businesses would need and find a solution that can be packaged in linux. I do believe that this can be a great opportunity for linux to be exposed to more people and be present in a market that may need such a platform. Many small businesses still use Windows XP for various reasons ranging from dislike of Vista/7/8 to cost of upgrading. I think there should be a discussion on how to turn Linux more into a business solution for a market that may need such a solution.
I will admit that I am no small business owner but I am friends and family to some. I think the first thing we should look at is what are some of the types of programs they may need.
Here are some obvious ones I can think of off the top of my head:
- Office Suite (LibreOffice)
- Financial Accounting software (Gnucash)
- Email (Thunderbird)
- Calendar (Lightning)
- Project Management (This one is kinda hard because the software I've looked into either lack features or are old and almost unsupported but here's what I found, GanttProject and ProjectLibre)
- Publishing (Scribus)
- Invoices (FusionInvoice and SimpleInvoices)
- Note taking (EverNote)
- Customer Relationship Manager (SugarCRM Community Edition)
- Timesheets (eHour)
- Encryption and security software
- Business related templates for business cards, brochures, resumes, etc.
- Retail Management (uniCenta)
I'm sure I'm missing alot of important things but that is why I'm opening this topic to all of you. Is it possible to gather all these software together into one easy to use Linux based OS like Ubuntu and market it to small business owners? With the recent NSA mess brought on by Mr. Snowden and slow adoption of Windows 8 this could be prime time for such an OS. One of the features you can tout is no NSA backdoors. I know alot of work would be needed in packaging and maintaining the packages but once it gets started I think the community can only make it better. There would also need to be available an easy to use and understand tutorial on how to use this software that comes with the OS.
Please share your thoughts on this idea. I admit that I am not a small business owner at this time though I frequent them often. I also admit that I have limited time and resources to undertake this project right now but look forward to the discussions that can come from this and hope to undertake it in the future. Also I apologize in advanced for my late replies since I have limited internet access.