[NMLUG] Truman MS

Ed Heron nmlug@swcp.com
Sat, 10 Nov 2001 09:47:58 -0700


>While your enthusiasm is admirable, Don, I think you should set a
>cut-off point or bottom line for the kind of equipment really useful
>for the Truman HS project. I'm not about to give ANYTHING to Technet
>(I explained my opinion once before). As I have said, you can go to
>Bentley's Auction any other Friday and find a WAREHOUSE full of
>outmoded computer equipment to be bought for a song.

>Judging from the boot-up time I observed for Linux Mandrake 8.0 on the
>Pentium 233 system I donated, I would think a Pentium would be your
>bottom line. Otherwise YOU are going to wind up with a warehouse full
>of "junk".

  While there is an argument for a minimum processor speed, there are 
also strong reasons to use multiple computers with identical configurations.  
One of the major points of Linux is its ability to do useful work with slower 
computers.  It seems that M$ and the computer industry have inadvertently 
conspired to convince consumers that they need faster and faster computers.

  Yes, they just barely run Win95.  But that is because M$ is a memory, 
drive and processor hog.   If I could run Linux on the desktop in the office, 
you would not be hearing about these computers.  They are sufficient as 
smart terminals and it would be less expensive to install a new computer 
as a process server, than to replace all of my workstations.  Also, I'm not 
getting rid of all of them.  I am keeping some 2 dozen sx's, because they 
work great under Win95 as dedicated print servers as well as numerous 
uses under Linux.  Your argument seems to be based on the propaganda 
that M$ puts forth, and a Linux distribution that attempts to placate M$ 
users by providing a familiar interface.

  How much time do we spend debugging hardware configurations?  How 
much time do we spend supporting various hardware?  While I would like to 
volunteer some of my time,  I personally don't wish to support 50 different 
configurations or spend hours on each of these computers, tweaking refresh 
rates. Having to do this every time a student messes up a computer and the 
OS has to be re-installed is going to be time-consuming and annoying, at best.  
If every computer in the lab is different, the volunteers will probably be spending 
a large part of their time fixing computers, and being forced to determine the 
configuration for each different computer.  If we had 50 identical fast computers 
and there wasn't any difference in cost, I would opt for the faster computers, 
however that seems unlikely.  I do this for a living and I don't wish to waste my 
time configuring many different computers, often.  How many of the current 
volunteers will do that?

  Linux and other open-source un*xs were designed to offer an alternative to 
high priced, proprietary, and resource-wasting OS's.  Many people benefit from 
these options, including those who do not take full advantage of them.  We, as 
supporters of open-source software, should reject the wasteful business 
mentality that leads non-programming decision makers to believe we should 
wait for faster hardware in order to make their software perform at acceptable 
levels.

  I am offering the group one alternative, that can be used to teach the students 
to think outside of the M$ box.

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