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Re: [SLUG] Another report from the trenches


<quote who="Jamie Honan">

> Hopefully the two people in the room who were interested haven't gone to
> sleep by now. Hit the 'd' key now if long posts aren't your thing today.

Always love to read your long emails Jamie. To boot, you're on the usability
warpath this time - one of my favourite topics.

I'm due to leave for Jamie Wilkinson's gig tonight (at the Northpoint
Tavern), so I'll have to be quick. :)

> I started with 16 Meg of memory, but bumped this to 64 Meg. S3 video card.

64 or preferably 128 are probably ideal. If you need the KDE/GNOME
environments, 128 is better. If Window Maker or FVWM can suffice, 32 or 64.

> In the back of my mind, I envisage this setup as being able to be
> supported remotely, through an ssh tunnel. In my mind's eye, I imagine a
> support person handling a number of sites remotely, with an occasional
> visit.

Whee! This is what I do. :)

> That dropped out Mandrake, Progeny. I was already familiar with
> RedHat, but wanted to try something different.

Debian is awesome to administer remotely, and automate. It's very reliable
and familiar once you catch on to the way it works. Documentation is good,
but I've learned about all this stuff from Real Live People. ;)

> I was impressed by Kde on another system I had seen, and wanted to give it
> a go. I had heard excellent reports of Konquerer. Kde seemed to tie
> together well.

KDE is the best choice at the moment for "unfamiliars". I do prefer GNOME,
but absolutely concede that it won't come into its own until 2.0/2.2. There
is some amazing work being done though, so it's worth keeping in mind.

[ Of course, there's nothing but memory stopping you from running apps from
either environment concurrently. Many KDE users still use X-Chat, for
instance. ]

> A question for debian experts : is it possible to take the dselect
> database, have it tell you what changes _you_ made (e.g.  /etc/printcap)
> and bundle all up in a load and go for other machines?

This is a BIG missing feature with Debian's releases to date. I highly
recommend FAI (Fully Automated Install) to solve this problem.

> The torture test.

A good read - lots of things to think about improving here.

> Ok this is Linux, let's try abiword or ted.

I find Abiword to be a very good word processor. Oddly, I haven't needed to
use one for a long time, but when I've needed to read Word docs, or write
things up for people who are Free Software deficient, it has done well. The
RTF stuff is a known problem with both programs.

> I wanted to say more about my Debian experiences, but I want to hold off
> for now. I feel I could be generalising from a limited exposure. I what to
> explore this system more.

*applause* ;)

It's really worth chatting to people who've used Debian for a while as
you're trying things. There are lots of handy little utilities and
administration tools that are great for automating and standardising your
systems, etc.

> However, a simpler, cheaper, quieter device may be just what the public
> wants. It may prove more attractive than old loyalties.  Who will provide
> such a system in the future?

... there are some already out there, but it's much simpler for businesses
at the moment. Especially remote X and thin clients (X servers!) etc.

Thanks Jamie!

- Jeff

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