I was off for almost two weeks, the first time that I have taken an extended vacation and it sure helps recharge the batteries. Some things took place in my absence and this week has been super busy.
While I was on vacation the IT Director and Infrastructure Manager continued to review options for moving email into the cloud and met again with Google. There are a lot of considerations concerning security and bandwidth and based on all of your comments many you agree that deploying email and calendaring to hundreds of users is never pleasant. :) The IT Director has not been satisfied with milestones in regards to Evolution improvements. Evolution is a work horse for us, thousands of messages a day go through and for most people it runs 8 hours a day. But those with more messages and huge calendars seem to have more crashers; and these people tend to be in management positions.
GNOME Desktop Upgrade To OpenSuse 11.4
Everything was working very well on our beta desktop server running OpenSuse 11.3 that it was tempting not to upgrade. But we decided that we didn't want to be a version behind when pushed to all of our users and performed the upgrade. For the most part all of our customizations came forward and after installing the new desktop-agnostic I was able to sync avant-window-navigator with newer code. A few addon programs needed some changes and patches and we now everything is running as it did before.
The one oddity that I have seen is that gsf-office-thumbnailer now creates thumbs with transparent backgrounds. :\ Does anyone know why this was changed? Possibly to make it blend in better with themes? It's really not working well for us. Users use the thumbnails all the time to locate documents based on the first page.
iPad Testing Continues
We are still finalizing ideas and a scope of work for exactly how to use iPads as thin clients on out network. After meeting with a few end users, a few minor changes were requested to the UI and that's almost done. We should be able to allow some limited testing of these ideas in the next 1-2 weeks. There are opportunities for very real dollar savings by decreasing printing costs.
Now that it's out, I'll spend a bit of time testing it again over remote display. We also have some Intel based thin clients (HP t5745) which might produce different results than the ATI models. Initial testing a year ago did not demonstrate this to be a viable option for us.