Popularity of Linux vs. MS Windows in the real world.
As millions of users already know, Linux is a great choice for office use because it's virus resistant, secure, reliable, and cost-effective. Recently, worms and viruses have wrought havoc on Windows PCs but did not affect Linux. The user interface for the Linux operating system is now graphic, it is becoming closer to what we need and it already has all the basic functionality we use in MS Windows. Searching on Google, you can find that Linux's share of the desktop market is approximately 10 - 12% and is even greater for the server market.
How will your management react if they find that they are loosing the opportunity to increase their profit by 10%? Now you can see it is time to start.
On the other hand, many enterprises are now seeing significant financial returns from QA-labs. The savings on OS such as Linux and QA tools such as Bugzilla, JMeter are another opportunity. If you search the web, you will find that current experience shows that open source software like Linux is the greatest insurance policy a QA lab can have. Linux is now trying to find a place on the desktop in the software testing lab.
Let us begin with some popular definitions that will be used: (All definitions in this article are from www.webopedia.com)
"Maybe it goes without saying, but GNU/Linux is not Windows. There are distros that try to be as Windows-like as possible, but there are still some differences. It's going to take some time to get used to any new operating environment. You have to install this distro and adjust to new programs, a new interface, and a new way of doing things.” [Jem Matzan]
You know this from your experience of switching to a newer version of a well-known application.
Once you're over that initial critical moment, you'll be fine and ROI begins.
Selecting a Linux distribution for your office can be a topic for a separate article and you can search the Web for this information. But begin with Red Hat Linux and look at Debian Linux as an alternative choice. Debian is considered to be more powerful but Red Hat Linux is looking more user friendly. Just remember that Linux (Debian) should be installed with its maximum set of features. Looking for right distro, you can go ahead and compare the more popular Linux distributions: Fedora Core, SuSE, Mandriva, Xandros, Linspire, and Knoppix.
"If you've purchased a commercial distribution, you'll get enough support from the distribution company to help you get through the hard times. You'll have email lists, forums, and sometimes phone numbers to call to talk to a support technician. Beyond that, there are many independent forums and mailing lists on the Internet that can assist you." [Jem Matzan]
If you've bought a boxed distribution, you've probably also got CD with a manual to read that can help you avoid some problems.
Buying books is another way of surrounding yourself with resources. There are a number of pretty good Linux books, and some of them come with a CD that has distros and other useful applications.
Let us assume that you choose a distro of Linux. Anyone who has experience with application installation on Windows (not necessary OS installation) can now install Linux on any old PC if enough time is scheduled. For the first installation, schedule one day, but in the future this time can be reduced to half a day. Alternatively, you can use any Ghost Imaging Software, also known as Disk Cloning Software. Also you will be surprised that any network support personnel will accept this installation with pleasure, because for them it is like tasting a new, delicious meal.
Either way, you will need help from a PC support person to put this new computer on the company’s network and set connection to a printer in case you ever need to print documents from this PC such as screens with bugs found. Setting up a printer from Linux can be a challenge. Also, as many network connections as possible should be configured.
For installing additional software like browsers, office software and testing tools use the RPM Package Manager (RPM). “RPM is a powerful command line driven package management system capable of installing, uninstalling, verifying, querying, and updating computer software packages.” [www.rpm.org]. All you need to do is download the file and double-click on it and follow simple instructions. A very nice thing about installing and updating software for Linux is that in most cases there is no computer restarting required after any installation or software update.
In a week, you will realize how user friendly Linux is and how easy it is to learn. You will also see the advantages of open source over windows, and you will loved it.
Coming into the world of Linux will give you a great opportunity to use many free tools that were design only or mainly for this OS. There are a lot of tools for the testing of your system security that work only under Linux.
Let us create a list of free software that can be useful for testing (use /usr/local/ as a place where to install these applications in Linux). Use the latest available software version.
1. Browsers such as Firefox, Mozilla, Netscape and many others (see your requirements list for compatibility testing).
2. For tools that are mainly written in Java, you will need to install JRE (Java Runtime Environment) from http://java.sun.com/j2se/
3. For creating testing documentation, OpenOffice may be the best choice. It is 100% open source, runs on several platforms, and is freely available from http://download.openoffice.org
4. For database testing, you can use DbVisualizer from http://www.minq.se/products/dbvis/ or Squirrel from http://squirrel-sql.sourceforge.net/ Both allow the user to work with databases using graphical interface as well as SQL prompt.
5. For version management check SmartCVS http://www.smartcvs.com/smartcvs/download.html
6. For bug tracking, use Bugzilla open-source bug tracking software, with a web-based interface. Written in Perl, with MySQL database back-end, you can download Bugzilla from http://www.bugzilla.org/ Bugzilla is the best choice if the number of users is greater than 20. Otherwise look for something simpler.
7. For test automation, use JMeter, a graphical server performance testing tool, for both static and dynamic resources. You can download it from http://www.jakarta.apache.org/jmeter/ Apache JMeter is a very powerful tool with the ability to create a regression testing suit. It can also be used to test performance both on static and dynamic resources (files, Servlets, Perl scripts, Java Objects, Data Bases and Queries, FTP Servers and more). It can be used to simulate a heavy load on a server, network or object in order to test its strength or to analyze the overall performance under different load types.
Remember that the use of expensive QA tools does not inherently lead to the creation of a bug-free environment. The brittle, buggy and costly systems can be built with any methodology, technology and software tools for automation testing. For example, try to compare one of the most expensive defect and change tracking system – ClearQuest with Bugzilla free open-source bug tracking software and you will find that there are no big differences.
And remember: Better is the main enemy of good.
Of course Porsche is better than let as say Ford, but this does not mean that you will come quickly to job or you do not need to go to the driving school and past the driving test if you have no driving license and plan to buy Porsche. The same is with software testing tools. So it does not matter what tool you are using – it is important how you use it.
In this article, I would like to summarize my 2 years of existing testing experience in a .COM Company, sitting on Linux PC and using a great number of free and open source software for testing.
On this page I put some ideas -Why do we need Linux in our test lab, and how do we start using it. It can be useful software testers This ideas are very simple to implement but can be very useful for software testers.
END Why do we need Linux in our test lab, and how do we start using it.