Oh. Ubuntu 3. Vista 0.
1. Reading Microsoft Documents.
No problems. Open Office support everything up to Office 2003 (the latest version pretty much - and widely used). It imports and saves into compatible formats pretty easily. Wasn't this a problem before? Cross platform difficulty? I'm not sure - but if it was - it's definitely not anymore.
2. Connecting to a Microsoft Domain.
Everyone's got one. It's the MacDonalds of the the corporate network. And it would be a bitch if you couldn't get on it. Thankfully, Ubuntu just works. It picked up the office network, allowed me to connect and authenticate with my normal username/password - and remember that password so I wasn't forced to type it over and over again. Magic.
3. Connecting and using Internet Services.
Bah. Nothing to it. Firefox. IRC. GAIM Instant Messenger (connects to MSN and even looks better). Skype. Limewire (tsk - I deny it!).
4. Connecting to Microsoft Exchange.
Now this, promised to be a doozy. How could it be? A FREE operating system having the platform, capabilties and software (pre-installed nogal) to connect to the world's most popular email client?
Impossible? Nah. First I tried Thunderbird - no go. IMAP support (what the hell is that? Something about downloading headers only the techies tell me) but no Exchange support.
Then, I decided to go back to what originally came with the OS. Yes, ladies and germs, no extra installation required. Evolution Mail support Exchange Server. It took me 30 seconds to enter some fairly obvious settings and... done. 1 x Exchange Server, locally sync'd email.
Now, I'm impressed. Ok, so it's not as feature rich and not as great - but as I heard it - we don't use 95% of Office's functionality anyway...
Jury's back. What else do you really need to survive in a Microsoft World? The only question remaining is: am I going to renew all the expense Microsoft licenses for the office next year?