A recent post on SmallOfficeBlog.com asks the question: Is small business ready to embrace Linux? I was actually asked a similar question by a client a few weeks ago. I gave them basically the same advice: No.
If you’re thinking about a server, then Linux should be certainly be considered, but for normal workstations, it’s just not worth it.
Sure, the software is free, but the real costs come after that. You can’t get Microsoft Office for Linux, and for better or worse, that’s the standard office suite. You could download alternatives like Open Office, but then you have to retrain everyone. And you have to worry about exchanging files with other people who do use Microsoft Office (They’re mostly compatible, but there always seem to be little things that don’t quite line up as intended).
Nor can you get mainsteam accounting software, desktop publishing software, and the list goes on. Linux alternatives are out there, but do your staff know how to use them? Probably not. More training.
Linux is getting more user-friendly all the time, but for now, better the devil you know.