This allows for control over the RPMs included with the customized distribution, while at the same time providing the tools to brand things with the company's personality. More important than appearance, SUSE Studio will give you control over drivers, graphics, software inclusion and other aspects of the desktop.
Linux on your terms
With proprietary desktop operating systems and the software provided with it, each update can be an exercise in patience.
Will the new updates conflict with something? How necessary is the provided update from a security point of view or is it just a feature release? Does this conflict with other updates or software? These concerns are added stresses that I think most people would like to do without. Some might even argue these issues are unavoidable.
I happen to think that more often than not, these concerns can indeed be avoided as many updates are for features not even used by your company. Think about it. How annoying is it to update your operating system only to fix a feature that you'd preferred to have left off in the first place? With some OS installations, this happens more often then vendors would like to admit.
Now imagine the same set of workstations need updates, but only for items that you have personally signed off on. So you're not updating unused features on your workstation PCs. This helps everyone, from the network administrators down to the end-user working for your company.
Workstations, kiosks, and new opportunities
There are bound to be circumstances where the company you work for is either perfectly content with their existing operating system configuration or perhaps the need for a change simply hasn't come about yet.
At the same time, there are many businesses that are now providing customers with access to kiosk computers, non-networked workstations and other computer-based points of access that aren't really part of the existing company scope. This leaves an opening for a remastered Linux distribution to prove its possible value.
With a kiosk, having a well branded PC makes a lot of sense as this is likely to be used by customers of the business in question. Wouldn't it be nice to have your company as a focus and not whatever OS happens to be installed? A remastered Linux installation can be of benefit here.
How about those old workstations that were just replaced? Before getting rid of them, how about removing the hard drives completely and installing a remastered copy of Puppy Linux on included flash drives. Donate them to charity and your company becomes an instant rock stars (and might just garner some free press and publicity).
Now to be fair, your company could carry out the above idea with any Linux distribution. And the results would certainly be about the same. The problem with that approach is that after the press dies down on your donation, no one remembers where the PCs came from. With a remastered and branded distribution installed, however, there is no question who the donation came from.
Is a remastered distribution worth it?
Chances are fair that your company doesn't care about branding their operating system and the idea of passing out CD business cards isn't really a priority for them. I realize this, even though I still feel it was worth highlighting earlier as a proof of concept.
One thing I firmly believe in, however, is that a company that wants to keep tight control over their computers might be interested in at least considering the advantages of a remastered, customized distribution of Linux.
While the reasons may vary, if you're working in an environment that is deeply hesitant to risk moving toward badly needed upgrades, then perhaps going with a remastered solution isn't such a bad idea after all.
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