2.2. Linux Desktop Migration
In some ways, migrating desktop systems to Linux is more difficult than migrating a server. The problem isn't the migration process itself; that's very similar, although configuration of individual programs obviously differs. The problem is the scale of the migration; if you plan to migrate all of a site's users to Linux, you need to install and configure the OS on multiple systems, train the users, and deal with the inevitable glitches that will arise.
When considering a Linux desktop migration, you should begin by examining several factors that will likely influence the likelihood of a successful transition. These factors include the availability of administrative expertise, the need and your capacity for end-user training, the availability of appropriate desktop software for your site, the need for generating Windows-compatible files or reading files generated on Windows from off-site, and Linux compatibility of your existing hardware. Any of these factors might present a real challenge to Linux migration. Other changes you're planning can also interact with these factors; for instance, if you intend to upgrade some hardware, existing hardware compatibility may not be as important. In the end, you must evaluate the feasibility of a Linux migration yourself, based on your own site's needs.
If you decide to proceed with a migration, you should begin by examining your needs and developing a plan of action. Decide what software you'll need (both the distribution and the applications you'll run) and begin the migration with a small-scale test; it's better to iron out any wrinkles you encounter on a dozen machines rather than on a hundred machines. The small-scale deployment will enable you to fine-tune your deployment strategy before scaling it up. In fact, for a very large deployment, you may want to scale it up in several stages, starting with one or two test systems, then moving to a dozen or so, then a hundred, and so on.