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How to get ready for a move to Linux

By Alfredo Mendoza, Chakarat Skawratananond and Artis Walker
June 15, 2006 12:00 PM ET

Computerworld - Are you planning a move to Linux from a Unix environment? If so, this detailed questionnaire can help you get ready for the migration. The following questionnaire, designed for the project's technical leader, is excerpted from Unix to Linux Porting: A Comprehensive Reference   by Alfredo Mendoza, Chakarat Skawratananond and Artis Walker, published in April by Wesley Professional, copyright 2006 Pearson Education Inc. Reprinted by permission of Pearson Education Inc., all rights reserved. Unix to Linux Porting: A Comprehensive Reference

Platform-Specific Information

1. What is your current development platform for the application?

This question is about the platform used to develop the application. It does not assume that the development platform is the same platform the application is deployed on. This is asked in the next question.

2. What platform does the application currently run on?

Porting engineers need to know which source or reference platform the application to be ported is using.

3. Has this application been deployed on any other platform than the development one? If so, which version of the platform is it running on?

Asking this question gives you a sense of the portability of the application, if it has been ported to other platforms. A word of caution: Although an application may have been ported to other platforms, it may have been done on older versions of the platform.

4. Describe any hardware (that is, graphics adapters or cards) used by your application and whether the required drivers are available on the Linux platform.

Make sure any platform dependencies are available on Linux.

Application-Specific Information

1. Please describe your application and its architecture in detail.

This is where the customer describes the application architecture. Have them include an architectural diagram if possible. All components in the application need to be described. This should also tell you what type of application framework, if any, the application runs on. Most Java applications run on product-specific frameworks such as WebSphere or Weblogic. If they are written in C++, they may run on a CORBA framework, which means you may have to deal with a specific CORBA framework that may or may not exist on Linux.

2. What are the different components of your software? Please provide a name and version number for each component.

This gives you a sense of the breakdown of their applications. Being able to break the application into different discrete components can mean that the porting work can be broken into smaller independent tasks.

3. Which of these pieces needs to be ported or not ported? Please include the version number.

The customer needs to tell you what is in scope and what is not in scope.

4. What percentage of the application(s) to be ported is/are written in the following programming languages?

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