End-user computing on the desktop is perhaps the most eagerly examined part of the open source stack. Thousands of megabytes of Internet bandwidth have been spent discussing the relative merits of the various options available, along with when and if they will be ready to replace the domination of Microsoft Windows and its Office suite. The good news is that they are. The bad news is that, as with other solutions in the open source space, caveats apply.
A large body of software exists in this space. Here, we will focus on the major areas that are of immediate use to the enterprise. In some cases, multiple open source alternatives to proprietary desktop applications are available. We evaluate and recommend alternatives based on attributes of value to an enterprise: ease of use, consistency, a well-defined migration path from vendor alternatives, and continuing interoperability with popular Office document formats.
We also focus on five primary user segments:
Users who run only one application on the desktop and use the desktop only for that application.
Users who run industry-specific desktop applications, and don’t care about the operating system or windowing environment being used to run the application. They might use the desktop for basic email and web browsing as well as for instant messaging.
Users who run several structured or forms-based web applications as their primary interaction ...