[nSLUG] Re: Any nsluggers in Valley?

Jack Warkentin jwark at eastlink.ca
Sat Aug 27 14:56:24 ADT 2005

Hi Everybody

On August 26, 2005 09:48 pm, Bob Ashley wrote:

> I'm moving to Berwick next week. Any nsluggers in the Valley area? 
> I'll be working for the Town office. I envision a small OSS
> pilot project, maybe just a single desktop or two (like, say, my
> desk!) to see if it piques office and council curiosity. The 
> objective, of course, would be to save taxpayers' money, and to
> raise consciousness about the OSS alternative. 

I think this is a great idea but advise proceeding with caution. 
People are notoriously unwilling to change without a very good reason 
for doing so. The best way to gain acceptance of FOSS would be for 
the customers of your project (ie council members and other council 
employees) to observe that (a) it works and (b) it has definite 
advantages over the M$ alternative. I would also suggest starting out 
in a very low key manner without a lot of fanfare. It it's there and 
it's working and people see that it's different and get to wondering 
about it, then you can show them its advantages on a one-on-one 

> Part of the pilot might also include distributing free OSS to
> employees/officials for their home machines.

Again, I would advise caution. Once a GNU/Linux system is installed 
and working anyone who has used M$ Windows can use it (assuming the 
system is running KDE or something similar). But installing and 
getting everything working can be a real challenge.

Example. I just bought a cheapy laptop computer at Zellers for $799. I 
had a lot of trouble getting the sound card to work. The reason was 
two-fold. First, the hardware detection software was picking the 
winmodem up and setting it up as a sound card. Second, because 
hotplug detected the winmodem before the proper sound card, udev was 
assigning it device files dsp, etc, and the proper sound card was 
assigned dsp1, etc. The sound programs all were trying to use dsp.

I found a way to prevent the problem by listing the name of the driver 
assigned to the winmodem in a "blacklist" file (that wasn't 
documented except within the file itself) in the hotplug 
configuration directory.

I would guess it took me at least 20 hours to come up with this 
preventative. (I don't call it a solution. A solution would be to 
find a way of specifying that that particular device must be assigned 
some specific driver.) Giving an inexperienced user a set of 
installation CD's and telling him to give it a try could be 
exceedingly frustrating for a potential devotee.

Remember the hare and the tortoise and give it your best.

(By the way, I still have not been able to get music CD's to play on 
this machine. I am also having a great deal of difficulty getting 
used to the 1024 x 768 resolution - the titlebar, menubar, toolbars, 
etc, take up so much space that there is not enough left for the bulk 
of the window. I plan on returning it to Zellers before the 30 days 
are up.)



Jack Warkentin, phone 902-404-0457, email jwark at eastlink.ca
39 Inverness Avenue, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada, B3P 1X6


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