[nSLUG] linux questions

George N. White III gnwiii at gmail.com
Tue Apr 10 18:28:51 ADT 2007

On 4/9/07, Michael Gillie <mikegpc at gmail.com> wrote:
> 1. How long have you been using linux?

when NeXt stopped selling m68k (early 1990's) -- a 2.0.x kernel on i486

> 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)?

What's Windows?  Seriously, a number of mission critical apps at work
use Win32,
so I can't avoid it at work.  In the long run, the open source
community needs to pay attention to file formats.   Many open source
packages are developed on linux but have vastly more users running
Win32 -- ghostscript, web2c tex/pdftex/xetex, emacs, R (S-plus clone).
If Win32 users embrace these tools, they can move to linux with little effort.

> 3. What is you favorite Distribution?

debian, but a couple mission critical apps at work use R.H.E.L., so I
run R.H.F.C.

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

Core 5, but only until a 2.6.20 kernel supports my hardware or I win
the lottery (but then I'd go for OS-X)

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


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

Comprehensive TeX, Perl, and  R Archive Networks: CTAN, CPAN, CRAN
and FSF and distribution mirrors

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

Chebucto Community Net

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

A small organization can't provide the level of support needed to get
large organizations to purchase hardware with pre-installed linux.  If
someone does get traction, HP and Sun will squash them.

For software, I like the archive network model, but the current
funding models are under attack.  Many archives are run by user
groups, but some are hosted on university or government servers where
commercial interests have complained about public funds supporting

When an app gets traction in Win32, the bandwidth costs are 100x
higher than when the
app was only used by linux users.  This is currently a challenge for
CTAN, and resulted in
.iso images being removed from servers to keep costs manageable.
There are ways to
deal with the problem: multiple layers of mirrors with top level
servers only sharing with
mirror sites, distributied sharing systems

As Win32 users discover VM's, pressure on the linux servers will be
enormous.  Service providers are already seeing problems with content
sharing.  Hopefully they will add
mirrors when they see too much bandwidth going to

> 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? ***

I'd prefer to support the user groups and community sites.

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


> ***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 .

Mandriva also tried delaying free releases.  This is
counterproductive, as it just
lets debian forge ahead.   When you are trying to get people to move
to your distro, you want to get as many people using it in as short a
time as possible, but you better make sure it works!

> 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!!

George N. White III <aa056 at chebucto.ns.ca>
Head of St. Margarets Bay, Nova Scotia


More information about the nSLUG mailing list