[nSLUG] linux questions

Rich budman85 at eastlink.ca
Tue Apr 10 04:19:38 ADT 2007

On Mon, 2007-04-09 at 22:33 -0300, Michael Gillie wrote:
> Hi,
> My name is Michael, and I'm a brand new member. 
> I am currently in the IT Program hosted by the NSCC.
> Right now, i have some questions or a survey (if you want to call it
> that :-p )  that i am aiming at every member who is willing to answer.
> If this poses a problem, please let me know. 
> I am trying to understand a few key elements, for a school and
> personal project. I am, myself, like you are, a  linux user, and would
> swear by it alone if i were not on a wireless network, and if my
> school work did not require Windows XP to run. 
> So, without further ado, i will ask my questions... (you do NOT need
> to answer them if you feel uncomfortable with them. :-)
Hi Michael :)   no problem.  welcome aboard. :)

> 1. How long have you been using linux?

12 years

> 2. When you use linux, do you use a separate computer, or do you dual
> boot with Windows (That's if you even use Windows)? 

Linux only  - deleted Windows in 1999
Wife's machine is Linux as well.
Use to run a Linux firewall, installed router which took its place.
Gave it away to a kid (17 or so) wanting to learn Linux, but couldn't
afford a computer - he's doing good now. :)

> 3. What is you favorite Distribution?


> 4. If your linux distro has various versions and levels, please give
> that info.

Slackware 11.0 and Dropline Gnome
  been using them since i think it was 3.x (kernel 2.0.29)
	I forgot the version.. haha my age is finally catching up to me.
	I think it was 3.2 or 3.4 ... hmm gonna have to fine out now..
	the CD's are here somewhere.. :P

> 5. Do you use Open-Source software in both Windows and Linux?

Linux yes, and at work when I have to use Windows, there are times I've
used cygwin, and a few other apps.

> 6. Where do you get most of your linux and open-source programs from? 

The source website - compile and install. when I'm lazy, I try
LinuxPackages.net for Slackware

> 7. Are there any stores OR servers, within the Maritimes,  that
> market / distribute linux related items and open-source software?

Still looking - still kind of new to the area.

> 8. If not, would you support a linux and open-source distributor
> within Nova Scotia, and the Maritimes? 

Preinstalled machines?  Yes.  I only use barebone systems, delete
windows if its on it, and install Linux.

> 9. Finally, is download speed something you are willing to pay for, to
> get a better speed (having access to ALL programming whether the
> membership is paid, or free), or would you rather pay membership, and
> have a limited amount of access to a server's contents, whether you
> were a free level member,  minimum member, or maximum member? *** 

Don't we pay for download speed now - its called your monthly bill for
DSL or Cable.  I do miss the Dialup fees.  Would have liked to see the
bandwidth of multiplexing several modem lines :)  but I could never get
an ISP to give me a break on the cost of the lines.  

> 10. Finally, how many other people do you know (outside this group)
> that are into Linux?

Many friends and colleagues use Linux.  I was introduced to it by the
R&D guys back in 94-ish, I started working with it more when we
connected our infrastructure with NY, and started to tap into the
Internet a few months later. 

Some are still forced to use windows as a business platform, but
depending on what they do, I do see Linux office desktops starting to be
introduced.  The company I work for has thousands of Linux servers and
they are installing more and more everyday.

The group I work with has nearly 450 Linux servers used for generating
simulations via distributed processing.  It uses one master and anywhere
from 50 to 250 slaves to do the processing.  

I don't know the exact tally of Linux servers, but I can find out.  A
ballpark figure would be around 3,000 or more.  We have been migrating
off SGI and Solaris machines for the past 4 years. The core is a
customized Red Hat Enterprise for the organization.  

I've heard several techies, talking about experimental Linux desktops.
Many already had Solaris and Windows machines, side-by-side.  So
eventually, I can see just a Linux platform.  I know the Windows-centric
will feel sick, but too bad, so sad. :)  

I was given permission to run only Linux at work - did so for 2 years.
The NT admin was shocked - he said logs show in the past two years, you
only booted to Windows twice. I said yep - the initial time, before I
got permission, and another time when OpenOffice had problem using a
Word template that HR keeps thinking we need... (let me take 10min and
show you how to fix the template that you just cut n pasted) I think it
justifies their jobs.. buts that my opinion and a whole other story..   

In the past 4 years, there were some scheduling issues with the	kernels,
but Red Hat helped isolate them.  Also, because our department pegs
these servers at 100% CPU for nearly 18-20 hours straight, we get to
test out the top of the line babies as they roll off the production
line.  If they make it through us, they get disted to the rest of the
plant.  IBM helped with some of the firmware issues that we came across,
two of the bugs were bad ones.  IBM was happy to fix them for free. :)
The last one we had was with the 64-bit AMD machines, but it was just an
older kernel, so they updated the kernel and the machines are running

Was it worth it - I remember back a few years ago, Microsoft was pushing
2003 server.  LOL, the first week it crashed.  So it was strictly a
unix-based decision.  They looked at SGI, but they said they could get
15-20 Linux machines (trying to recall exact number) for the price of 1
high-powered SGI.  Was Linux the right choice - well we saw simulations
go from 28 hours/day down to 8 hours a day.  So instead of running
one... now we run multiple simulations and the whole server pool is
still only about 60% utilized.  

> ***I know for a fact, that some sites, like Mandriva Community will
> charge fees for access to their products, to help fund their
> operation, and increase download speeds. I also know that other sites
> will charge you a small fee per month/year, which will give you a
> higher download speed, even when you had free access to ALL
> programming, just with a low transfer rate.
I buy the Slackware CD's when I can.   Server space and bandwidth aren't
free, now that ISP's have become data brokers.  

I also buy Linux magazines and books every chance I get.  I like to help
out by buying books, plus I may learn something new in the process.

> I hope that these questions don't overstep any boundaries that this
> group may have, but i figured this would be the spot to ask my
> questions!
> Thank you for your time, it is greatly appreciated!! 
Have fun and learn 

I know the current trend in the industry is to push buying instead of
learning.  Yet they wonder why there is a shortage of talent.  In the
mid-90's, I thought that classrooms would be 100% electronic by now -
every kid knee deep in code and advancing technology even further and
faster than ever before. Boy was I wrong! Did Windows really dumbify the
masses, so much that every one is afraid to pick up a book and read.  

I see it in the Mac ads, why learn C++ API, when you can use a Mac to
play.  I see it with my son as well, it has to be immediate or he
doesn't give it the time of day.  He is still using Windows and just
sits there blue screening, porn ads popping up, spyware, viruses, he
keeps deleting Office apps to free up space for games, then whines when
he goes to use Word and its gone.  My reply - there's the discs, learn
how to install.  :)

Oh well. 
Have a good day!  


> Michael
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