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I want to start working with linux, and I know I should work in that regularly to improve myself.
I work with sql server, office, c# at the company. can I install and do my tasks in linux (i.e. red hat)?

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up vote 5 down vote accepted

You have three options:

1) Emulation (Wine, Crossover Linux, Bordeaux)

2) Virtualization (VMware Player or VMware Workstation, Parallels Desktop, Oracle Virtualbox)

3) Dual Boot

For C# development on Linux, Mono Project is the way to go. You can develop in MonoDevelop IDE and connect to SQL Server hosted in a virtual machine using SQL Client (for more info see: Mono/ADO.NET, Mono/ODBC, Mono/Database Access)

For more information about Mono have a look at the Start page: http://mono-project.com/Start and Mono FAQ Technical, Mono FAQ General, Mono ASP.NET FAQ, Mono WinForms FAQ, Mono Security FAQ

Also see their Plans and Roadmap

Thanks to the Mono project you can even build apps with C# for Apple devices using Monotouch or for Android using Monodroid.

Also if you want to have the latest version of Mono and tools I recommend using openSUSE because thats the first place where you'll find the latest updates, Mono being a project backed by Novell which is the company that also sponsors openSUSE distribution.

EDIT: (Completing the Office part of the question)

// Office suites //

1) IBM Lotus Symphony -> http://symphony.lotus.com/software/lotus/symphony/home.nsf/home

2) Oracle OpenOffice -> http://www.oracle.com/us/products/applications/open-office/index.html

3) OpenOffice.org -> http://www.openoffice.org/

4) GNOME Office -> http://live.gnome.org/GnomeOffice

5) Go-oo.org -> http://go-oo.org/

6) SoftMaker Office -> http://www.softmaker.com/english/ofl_en.htm

7) KOffice -> http://www.koffice.org/

// Online Office suites //

0) Microsoft Office Online -> http://www.officelive.com/en-us/

1) Google Apps -> http://docs.google.com/

2) Zoho -> http://www.zoho.com/

3) ThinkFree -> http://thinkfree.com

4) Live-Documents -> http://www.live-documents.com/

5) Ajax13 -> http://us.ajax13.com/en/

6) ContactOffice -> http://www.contactoffice.com/

7) FengOffice -> http://www.fengoffice.com/web/

8) Zimbra -> http://www.zimbra.com/

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kvm isn't bad for virtualization, and it's built into linux now. – xenoterracide Oct 25 '10 at 12:55
You can use kvm with any tool based on libvirt, and some of these are certainly usable on a desktop (e.g. virt-manager). – JanC Oct 26 '10 at 4:42
I thought kvm was pretty easy once qemu was installed to work with it... but that's just me – xenoterracide Oct 26 '10 at 11:32

Sadly, SQL Server is a Microsoft product, and I don't think they are stupid enough to support a platform that competes with Windows (i.e their bread and butter). Things that use SQL Server are hardly configurable to use another database server, and I don't think you can change it in your company anyway.

The same thing goes for MS Office (if you meant it). There are alternatives for MS Office, the most notable being OpenOffice.org, but no there won't be MS Office on any Linux (unless you plan to run it on WINE, which is quite cumbersome to setup or maintain, and there is no guarantee that it will work).

C# is a longer story. Still it's meant to be used on Windows (ask Microsoft for more information), but there is Mono, the opensource implementation of the .NET framework. There have been debates whether a Linux user should use it. Technically I can see a major obstacle when everybody else uses Visual Studio on Windows and you try to make it work on Linux.

I hate to say this but frankly, I don't think you should try to use Linux at your workplace. If you want to learn Linux (which I encourage), install a user-friendly distribution (Ubuntu maybe?) on your personal computer is your best shot.

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@phunehehe and @ddeimeke have given good answers already. But I disagree with the statements on MS Office, yes there are alternatives (and it appears Go OO was left off), and wine, but I never see anyone mention Crossover Office. Crossover is a fork of wine that's commercially backed. If you really want to run Microsoft Office for professional use I'd try that. This may also allow you to use windows tools for SQL Server.

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I assume Go-OO will go away now that there is LibreOffice. – JanC Oct 26 '10 at 4:46
You are right, I forgot about Crossover Office. But honestly, I am not a big fan of not using native Software. – ddeimeke Oct 26 '10 at 11:04
@JanC I refuse to speculate, honestly I use google docs now on the rare occasion I need an office product. @ddeimeke me too... but I will admit that MS Office does some things that OOo (and forks) can't, and sometimes it's require due to proprietary needs. I'd rather someone use linux, and run Crossover for Office etc, than run windows because no one told them about Crossover and they need office. – xenoterracide Oct 26 '10 at 11:34
@xenoterracide At work I am forced to use MS Office. For the documents I need at home (these are only about ten per year ...) I use LaTeX, seldomly AbiWord and Gnumeric. – ddeimeke Oct 26 '10 at 17:30
@ddeimeke just saying that some people might need MS Office to actually do whatever it is there doing. – xenoterracide Oct 26 '10 at 21:49

MS SQL Server is a windows application, which is designed to run on windows. Linux is not Windows. It is possible that there are some tricks to get it up and running on Linux, but I would not recommend it.

Same applies to MS Office. There is an alternative called OpenOffice.org (or LibreOffice) which is able to read and write MS Office documents. If you need SharePoint integration you are lost.

Mono is a C# and .Net development environment for Linux.

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can I use something like remote desktop to work with sql server? and IDE(visual studio) is not important for me to write my c# codes. can I use something else? – LIX Oct 24 '10 at 8:07
@LIX yes you can remote desktop into a windows server and access whatever from there. Alternatively you could also run windows in a virtual machine (probably kvm) for local development. Remote desktop clients for windows have the letters "rdc" in the name. So krdc is the remote client for KDE. – xenoterracide Oct 24 '10 at 20:20
There is rdesktop as well and tsclient is a wrapper for remote desktop protocols, it covers VNC, Citrix and X-Server as well. – ddeimeke Oct 25 '10 at 5:07

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