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If an enterprise has an environment with users on Linux what of the core SharePoint features would be missing for them?

For example could they access and administer from central administration web site?
Does Office 2010 on Unix have the same integration as that on Windows?

I realise this could be quite a big question so if there are some resources that could be suggested that would be useful. An initial search has come up with some linux forums but I would be interested in sources from the SharePoint side of the fence as well.

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closed as not a real question by Anders Rask Nov 2 '12 at 12:48

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5 Answers

up vote 7 down vote accepted

There a few notable features that will not work properly for uses who don't work with Windows (or, to some extent, Windows users with Firefox).

  1. Most importantly - you cannot check out and edit documents directly from the browser, or save them into SharePoint. (You can edit them in-browser using Web App though, which is probably better for Linux users anyway, to avoid compatibility issues).
  2. Datasheet view will not work.
  3. Explorer view isn't supported ("Open with Explorer" on 2010)
  4. The upload multiple files isn't supported either (that means they are pretty much limited to uploading one file at a time)
  5. Outlook integration - There are RSS feeds, but they are not as good as the way Outlook handles SharePoint lists (most notably Task lists and Calendars)

A official, comprehensive list can be found on TechNet: Plan browser support (SharePoint Server 2010)

The next part of your question regards site administration. The lack of batch operations means there are some limitations on users, but for most tasks, they should be OK.
Central Administration shouldn't be a problem (it is a site, and can be accessible from outside of the central server), but why would you have people there anyway? Another obvious administrative limitation is not being able to use SharePoint Designer.
In all cases, we try to make our sites as compatible as possible for all users, but not for all administrators - an administrator can RDP into another computer if needed, or switch temporary to Windows if that what it take to do their job.

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It all depends what you want those users to be doing. SharePoint's UI is browser-based, so in theory your users could be doing many of the same things a Windows user could do, especially if it's mainly consuming information. If you want them to be using SharePoint as a collaboration platform, then I'd do an inventory of the types of content likely to be involved and see how SharePoint would handle them.

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In a nutshell, anything that requires a browser alone you'll be good with. Microsoft has taken good care of Firefox users this time around with SharePoint 2010. However forget design (SharePoint 2010 doesn't work and I'm not aware of any Linux IDE that can do what it does). Mono has little hope for development of SharePoint features and OpenOffice just can't see SharePoint the same way as Microsoft office.

In short your best use for Linux desktop is probably to remote desktop into a Windows Client to access SharePoint.

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Visit www.owncloud.com it doesn't do a lot of what SharePoint can but it is an weaker open source (and can be linux run) alternative to SharePoint.

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Many controls in SharePoint use SilverLight, which will be a problem for Linux users. It will gracefully fall back to a non-SilverLight interface, though, but it can be confusing for people who are used to the SilverLight elements.

Personally, I run a Linux distro as my main OS but do all work-related stuff (that requires SharePoint) in a VirtualBox that runs Windows. I also have a separate VirtualBox for development for SharePoint. Then I have another VirtualBox for any SharePoint project I am working on. With this approach it doesn't matter much what base OS you're using.

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