Making good on your Linux strategy
Installing Linux onto a few desktops is easy enough. Successfully migrating a large number of PCs, however, calls for centralized management and maintenance capabilities. Windows customers have it easier in this area, although work is being done to narrow Microsoft's lead. Still, a healthy number of options are available for managing Linux desktops today.
Here, again, it is helpful to standardize on a single, enterprise-focused Linux vendor. Novell's well-established ZenWorks management software supports both Red Hat and Suse systems, while Red Hat offers centralized software management through its Red Hat Network product (which will soon be open source). Users of other distributions may need to search for options from third-party vendors, such as Hyperic.
The bottom line is that, while Linux is a mature and fully functional desktop OS, the process of migrating away from Windows is complex and should not be undertaken lightly. An effective migration strategy must set realistic goals, plan contingencies, and be flexible enough to change direction in the event of unforeseen roadblocks. Making the break from proprietary software vendors isn't easy, and that's by design. Open source developers have made the first critical steps for you. Now it's up to you to take it the rest of the way.