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feravolo
April 8th, 2007, 09:26 PM
I thought it would be a good idea to start this thread, since this is a wide open market for Ubuntu. Small in this case means a business that has one or more employees and gross revenue of less then ten million dollars.

Instead of dwelling on the fact that they have already paid for MS-Office and Windows, point out the fact that they are expected to pay again and again for those products.

For example they can save a whole bunch of money by upgrading to Ubuntu and open Office, instead of Vista and Office 2007. Also that Ubuntu plays well with Windows and you can keep those other Office applications on a windows machine and access them from Ubuntu using RDP or VNC clients. Vino (VNC) servers will even work on the Home Editions of XP, that don't support Remote Desktop Protocol (RDP).

As a bonus; Ubuntu can also provide all the functionality of Windows 2003 enterprise which has a $2500 price ticket. For that matter it can also provide the benefits of exchange, share-point and SQL server all of which could push the price tag up to $10,000 or more including client access licenses. That doesn't include spending an average of $500 per workstation for MS-Office, and what about anti-virus and all the other little applications. That's all lot of money to spend every three or four years when a major upgrade is released.

These are just some of the good reasons to start using Ubuntu in any business with one or more employees.

Mike

rufius
April 10th, 2007, 06:42 PM
I'm interested in how we can also help market commercial hardware to them as well. I know that small businesses try to save money but hear me out on this one!

I'm a huge supporter of Sun Microsystems and their hardware. I've used Sun hardware in several installations at small businesses and have truly enjoyed working with it. That said here's my thoughts:

I believe that if a small business is looking to host say a database, low-traffic webserver, and mail server, there's no better choice than the Sun Fire T1000 Cool Threads (http://www.sun.com/servers/coolthreads/t1000/) server. The last business I worked for upgraded to these and saved a boat load of money on their electricity bills.

For those of you that don't know much about the servers, they come in several models, the base model being 4000 dollars before TT&L. The processor, a UltraSPARC T1, has either 6 or 8 cores, running 4 threads per core. They run at around 1.0 to 1.2 GHz and manage heavy loads incredibly well. Despite slow clock speeds, the 6/8 cores and 4 threads per core comes out to a beefy 24 or 32 concurrent threads. With that many concurrent processes, its obvious how powerful this server could be for webserving and mailserving.

Investing 4000 in a Sun T1000 will save electricity and money for small businesses since they'll only need to run the one server in order to have mail, web, and database serving all in one tiny 1U setup. Imagine the electricty you save.

A final note is Ubuntu 6.06 LTS is one of two Linux distrobutions fully certified for these servers so it seems ideal that we back them since they have such a great power per dollar ratio.

What do you guys think we can do with this?

feravolo
April 12th, 2007, 08:36 PM
It's interesting to know that Ubuntu runs well on Sun's hardware, although Solaris is not a bad "real UNIX" operating system. I agree that Sun makes fine hardware and also has made great contributions to the Open Source Community.

However keep in mind first people have to understand that they don't have to pay to use software, before you can introduce them to hardware that they didn't know existed. The only thing harder to find in a computer store then something that is Windows, is something (other then apple) that isn't a PC. Try to find a SPARC-Station at big box retailer or mega electronics store, but that's okay you are going have trouble finding Ubuntu there too.

People have been "sold" on paying for software and need to learn that you don't always "get what you pay for", especially when you are talking about software. On a lighter note; All the bad press Vista is getting should help the open source community, once the average person finds out there is an open source community.

Peace

loserboy
April 12th, 2007, 09:32 PM
good timing on this thread.

While I do want to tell people about ubuntu being a viable and most likely a better option for small business, I think one important thins to understand is that (at least in my case), most people don't even know how much more ubuntu can do and how much easier it can do it.
There is alot of focus on the fact that ubuntu can do many of the same things (i.e openoffice, wine),
there doesn't seem to be much with entire business solution layouts that windows wouldnt be able to accomplish nearly as easily.

I'm gonna give my situation as a example, but please note that im very much a novice.

I currently sell sell generators that I import, but soon I will be manufacturing them and I plan on running our entire system on linux. I just recently found out that for our needs and projected 3 years we can use ubuntu and decent desktop as a file server or any type of low traffic server, many people don't know that (hopefully I'm not the only one anyway), and I think alot of small businesses need to know that because they might not have any IT people.
Also it's very discouraging when small business owners that use Quickbooks or similar for accounting are refered to gnucash, please don't tell people gnucash is an alternative. But I have found a great alternative, Mybooks. It's commercial software, but in the big picture there is still a huge savings. the company also has software solutions for different types of businesses, inventory control, barcode support. Anyway I don't mean to drag this out but my point is, when you recommend ubuntu to someone, be ready to give them an entire solution and don't just stop at openoffice. hope I didn't get too far off topic there.

I was also thinking about talking to the forum team to ask if they would make an "Ubuntu small business solutions" area, so that things like this could be discussed.

Swab
April 12th, 2007, 09:41 PM
I was also thinking about talking to the forum team to ask if they would make an "Ubuntu small business solutions" area, so that things like this could be discussed.

I second that.

feravolo
April 13th, 2007, 02:28 AM
I could be wrong but anyone can start a forum thread, I choose to start this one here since our business is located in Florida and would like to hear from other people from our state.

There is a marketing team for Ubuntu if anyone is interested, all you have to do is sign up if you are interested about spreading the good word about Ubuntu. Since that is what our business is about is to work with people to move away from pay per seat software and that other operating system.

For people that don't have any experience in sales, I will let you in on a little secret: If you want to sell something and selling Ubuntu is what we need to do like it or not to get it out there. Don't say anything bad about anything, that includes not only the product but also the competing products. This doesn't mean that you hide anything or mislead anyone, you are just trying to make them want to use Ubuntu.

Our organization is staffed by members of computer systems and software engineering professional that work with people to meet both their present and future computing needs. The greatest benefit from Ubuntu is both to eliminate the need to pay for upgrades and to extend the life of existing computing hardware. This means that Ubuntu can save people money [ on hardware] right now and [ on software upgrades ] well into the future.

Ubuntu plays well with windows and there is no reason not to keep it around if it's already paid for. If people really need to use windows for some specific application or set of applications. Ubuntu includes terminal services clients that support Remote Desktop Protocol (RDP) and Vino (VNC) which can be configured on any version of Windows since NT 4.0. Allowing them to access the windows based machines from systems running Ubuntu.

The question is: What applications can be migrated to Ubuntu, for the greatest cost savings? Office productivity applications are the obvious choice, since most offices have more people using word processors, spreadsheets and presentation graphics applications then keeping the books.

If a business needs to run web based applications or web services, more then likely they are running on a system the runs Linux.

The bottom line is that: We are not about being anti-anything, iWe are just about being pro-Ubuntu!

Peace
Mike Feravolo
Cocoa Beach

loserboy
April 13th, 2007, 05:13 PM
I could be wrong but anyone can start a forum thread

Yea, I just meant they should have a section for it, not just random threads.

dbqp
April 17th, 2007, 07:54 PM
Also it's very discouraging when small business owners that use Quickbooks or similar for accounting are refered to gnucash, please don't tell people gnucash is an alternative. But I have found a great alternative, Mybooks.

Is this the only accounting program you have found that works well with Linux? Looking for a great open alternative...

dbqp
April 17th, 2007, 08:40 PM
^

Nevermind! After searching, I found this thread: http://ubuntuforums.org/showthread.php?t=398484&highlight=accounting

dbqp

loserboy
April 17th, 2007, 10:20 PM
glad you found something :)

feravolo
April 19th, 2007, 05:55 PM
As an update to this thread I wanted to share some experiences that I have had recently since my last post in the area of promoting open source software. For some reason people find it hard to grasp that something is free and there aren't any catches, I guess this is why the term "open source" was coined in the first place.

Another thing is that when you "selling" ubuntu you are going to have to address peoples concerns. This isn't something that a salesperson really want s to do, but in this case we have to. Now this doesn't mean spewing endless technical jargon at them. Since all that is going to do is scare them away, but you have to let them know that things are going to be a little different and they need to know what they are doing before that they install an operating system.

But this is a good thing since if they don't know what they are doing, they need to call someone who does.

That it for now.

Mike

shanerdaner
April 19th, 2007, 06:05 PM
I am running my own small business and I have begun to install UBUNTU on 2 of my laptops. The only problem I seem to have with the new release is the way I cannot seem to sync my treo 680 smartphones. I think it may work so I will tinker with it over the next week or so.I have a 2005 Pavillion ZV5000 I am having the sync troublw with and an pavillion N5495 is the same way. i dont know if I need drivers to make it work or what. All and all I love the OS it has saved me thousands by not needing to get virus software or office suite or paying gates more $$. I would love to help you guys spead the word and even become trained to help small businesses install it.

feravolo
April 24th, 2007, 05:34 PM
I am not a big smart phone fan. but I have noticed improvements in the latest release that could help you out.


I am running my own small business and I have begun to install UBUNTU on 2 of my laptops. The only problem I seem to have with the new release is the way I cannot seem to sync my treo 680 smartphones. I think it may work so I will tinker with it over the next week or so.I have a 2005 Pavillion ZV5000 I am having the sync troublw with and an pavillion N5495 is the same way. i dont know if I need drivers to make it work or what. All and all I love the OS it has saved me thousands by not needing to get virus software or office suite or paying gates more $$. I would love to help you guys spead the word and even become trained to help small businesses install it.

For example Drupal a Content Management System (CMS) installs a lot easier on Feisty then Edgy. Since a newer version (Drupal 5.1) is in the Feisty repositories. Maybe your smart phone problems will also go away with Fiesty (or maybe not?)

Mike

feravolo
May 20th, 2007, 03:36 PM
MikeFeravolo is hosting a table at the East Orlando Chamber of Commerce Business Expo on June 1st (details at bottom). This event is open to the public and everyone is welcome to attend, and help spread the good word about Ubuntu.

EOCC Business Expo starts at 1 o'clock in the afternoon and is open to the public. Meaning that anyone can just show up and just hang out, I will be bringing at least two computers attached together with a crossover cable, a 4-port switch and USB Wifi Adapters. I appears that the Holiday Inn Select at the University of Central Florida (UCF) has free Internet, but just in case we experience problems with the connection. We will load the both systems with all kinds of application software.

Along two computers I will have as all the Ubuntu Trade Show Swag along with whatever other else I can think of bringing to lure people to our table. I will also bring a Ultra Mobile PC (UMPC) to show how well Ubuntu plays with windows and to show how to boot ubuntu from a USB key for demonstration purposes.

It's okay to just show up with a notebook system with you or anything else that you can easily carry. Follow the link below for more information about the Holiday Inn Select University of Central Florida (UCF):

http://www.ichotelsgroup.com/h/d/sl/1/en/hotel/mcouc?rpb=hotel&crUrl=/h/d/hi/1/en/hotelsearchresults

See our wiki page for more information:

https://wiki.ubuntu.com/FloridaTeam/UpcomingEvents

shanerdaner
June 8th, 2007, 04:45 AM
sorry I missed your post brfore the date I hope it went well. Anymore coming up?

dantrevino
June 14th, 2007, 09:04 PM
I am running my own small business and I have begun to install UBUNTU on 2 of my laptops. The only problem I seem to have with the new release is the way I cannot seem to sync my treo 680 smartphones. I think it may work so I will tinker with it over the next week or so.I have a 2005 Pavillion ZV5000 I am having the sync troublw with and an pavillion N5495 is the same way. i dont know if I need drivers to make it work or what. All and all I love the OS it has saved me thousands by not needing to get virus software or office suite or paying gates more $$. I would love to help you guys spead the word and even become trained to help small businesses install it.

What part of the sync is not working? Or what error are you getting?

I have an unlocked 680, and mine seems to work....make sure you set your "device" to "usb:"

dan

feravolo
June 15th, 2007, 08:44 PM
sorry I missed your post brfore the date I hope it went well. Anymore coming up?

I am considering doing a table top demonstration at the next Coca Beach Area Chamber of Commerce "Wednesday Friends Day" July 11, 2007 at 5:30 - 7:30 which sponsored by The City of Cape Canaveral at the Radison Inn On A1A. I also may just go there with the other 600 or 700 people that show up for these things.

You can google Cocoa Beach Chamber for more info, as far as Chamber of Commerce "After Hours" functions this one should be one of the better ones. The cost is $10 for members (so act like a member and just pay $10) and you get what ever food they have and two beers [at least] with the cost of admission.

There are also other events throughout the year where businesses can set up a table and show off their wares and give away free swag.

bodycoach2
June 28th, 2007, 05:25 AM
Small Business Stumble:
I've been working to help a new Yoga studio setup their computer system. The owner was greatly willing to try Ubuntu. The whole idea of Free and Open Source Software, and Ubuntu in particular appealed to her.

But, when I asked about their business requirements, the one stumbling block was that she HAD to use QuickBooks. It seems her Small Business advisor and her accountant insisted on QuickBooks for her book keeping. They were not happy with GnuCash or Grisbi as alternatives.

The owner has committed to using Ubuntu in the future, but for now she has to use a system that supports Quickbooks.

When there is a version of Quickbooks for an Ubuntu LTS release (like 6.06, or the upcoming Gutsy+1), small businesses will be willing to try Ubuntu, especially if they can use it on current or even older equipment, thereby greatly reducing overhead.

Bordy
June 28th, 2007, 02:31 PM
Intuit just recently, like in the last week or two, announced they will start supporting linux.

http://www.intuit.com/about_intuit/press_room/press_release/2007/06-13.jhtml

w00t!

feravolo
June 28th, 2007, 11:03 PM
It's good to know that Intuit is going to support Linux, but are they going to release Linux versions of all of their applications or just the $3000 Enterprise edition ?

At least they are acknowledging that GNU/Linux is a better Server Solution then Windows Server, regardless of what software is running on your workstations.

NeoTaoistTechnoPagan
July 1st, 2007, 11:49 AM
Small Business Stumble:
But, when I asked about their business requirements, the one stumbling block was that she HAD to use QuickBooks. It seems her Small Business advisor and her accountant insisted on QuickBooks for her book keeping. They were not happy with GnuCash or Grisbi as alternatives.


I picked up the latest edition of Linux Format and it has an article on WINE that has info on running Windoze apps on Linux. QB 2002 should work fine under WINE. Which one do they need?

NTTP

hosscomp
July 1st, 2007, 06:44 PM
. . .
Also it's very discouraging when small business owners that use Quickbooks or similar for accounting are refered to gnucash, please don't tell people gnucash is an alternative. But I have found a great alternative, Mybooks. . . .

I really need to import my QuickBooks data to a compatible program on linux. I saw post from someone else saying that Mybooks is buggy and hard to use, so I would like to try it before buying it. Can you give me some info on how to install Mybooks on Ubuntu? I downloaded a linux trial version of it, but had problems installing it. Either I downloaded the wrong one or the instructions didn't work for Ubuntu.

Thanks,

Ron

bodycoach2
July 2nd, 2007, 02:35 AM
I have tried setting up QuickBooks in Wine - a few different versions. Very difficult, and far to buggy to be usable for small businesses.


I picked up the latest edition of Linux Format and it has an article on WINE that has info on running Windoze apps on Linux. QB 2002 should work fine under WINE. Which one do they need?

NTTP

raptor2552
July 3rd, 2007, 02:12 PM
Here's my two cents worth. I create video's using Sony's Vegas Movie Studio and DVD Architect, something that in Linux there is no equivalent. I've tried using Wine, Qemu and VM Player & Server but found them all inadequate as far as speed and ease of use. The screen draw times were very slow as well as load times for the programs, they just didn't run well and XP always needed some driver or .dll file.

I then tried Innotek's VirtualBox. At first I was sceptical but decided to give VirtualBox a shot. WOW, what a difference, load times where amazing, and screen redraws were nothing short of remarkable. In fact I think the software runs better under Windows XP running as a virtual machine under VirtualBox than it does natively under Windows.

Install Virtual Box using Synaptic, setup the guest environment, I gave XP 852 MB of real ram plus 128 MB of video memory, load windows and do all the updates, Install the Guest Additions (you'll understand as you install) load your Windows programs and Voila. I think you'll be very happy with this setup.

The only trouble I had was connecting with my other partitions and folders but using GSAMBAD to setup my shares corrected the problem.

Maybe this will solve your troubles maybe it won't but I think it's worth a shot and if VirtualBox works for you you won't have to learn new software and you may be able to connect to your existing QB files.

There's also a tutorial here: http://www.howtoforge.com/virtualbox_ubuntu if you'd like to see what its about befor you start.

bodycoach2
July 5th, 2007, 08:16 PM
I discussed using virtualization software with the owner, but she asked a valid, non-techy questions,"If I have to still use Windows to do what I need, why not just install Windows the computer and be done with it."

I could explain the litney of reasons; fewer malware problems, better up time, etc. All the reasons we in the IT world know, don't mean squat to a small business owner.
"I don't care about Mac, Windows, or the new Ubuntu thing. I just need whatever will work for my business."

One reason I stick with Ubuntu is that I think Shuttleworth has the best chance of all the systems of getting other companies to build Linux versions of their software. Ubuntu has done a tremendous job at "Speed to Market" and acquired many users in a short amount of time.

But, until Ubuntu can provide an easy installation of business software, especially the ones used by small business, we will be limited to home users, and a few tech based companies.

raptor2552
July 5th, 2007, 11:14 PM
Well you know you're not going to win them all but it would be a good way to keep the stuff she's familiar with while trying out all the things Linux has to offer at a good price. I think that if she had to reboot to switch OS' each time that would be a hassle.

In my case being able to have an intensive application doing what it needs to do while I go off to accomplish other tasks is a huge plus. The graphics app uses all available resources on Windows making it nearly impossible to get more than one thing done at a time, but running as a VM with its own address space and resources allows me the freedom to get more done.

I would agree that Linux or any *nix currently is more geared toward scientific and mathematical pursuits than ease of use plug and play an average user wants.

Truth be told, if I had not happened across VirtualBox I too would not be using Ubuntu right now. In fact I still have a Windows XP partition because it seemed to be a prudent migration strategy.

dantrevino
July 24th, 2007, 05:02 AM
One of the things that came up recently on the gatorlug list was that some small businesses require windows to run some specialty applications. For instance, one business I'd set up had some special dial-in software for updating orders. Another had some kind of document manager that required a "server" to track licenses.

In both cases I set up the "server" part on a desktop, and used samba for file/print serving. But that may not always be viable.

curuxz
August 1st, 2007, 10:08 AM
please see http://ubuntuforums.org/showthread.php?p=3114805 if you guys are interested it sounds like your just the kind of people I'm looking for! :)

mlsquad
August 1st, 2007, 04:05 PM
I am one to always recommend Linux (and Ubuntu) where I can, but I'm not one to push the issue. The OP mentioned something about "selling" Ubuntu. I completely disagree with this approach. When it comes to a business the only thing that matters is what is the best solution for your problem and how much does that solution cost. For some companies the answer is that Windows is the best solution for the cost. I'm not looking to convince those people otherwise. For others Mac may be the best choice. And there are many that could also get many benefits from using a Linux solution. I am looking to help those people understand how Linux can be a cost effective solution for their business and/or personal needs. If it is not the best solution I don't try to pretend like it is. Forcing things to fit where they don't doesn't help anybody.