[nSLUG] NS OSS Foundation?? [was]:Maritime Linux Shops [was] ubuntu iso a dud

Robert Ashley rb.ashley at gmail.com
Thu Mar 1 00:34:05 AST 2007


Thanks for the coast-to-coast Linux Yellow Pages, Mark.  :-)

It's a little discouraging for me because I would love to explore a
migration from MS to Linux in the municipal office I head up
(Berwick).  I've raised this question before in NSLUG, more generally,
about how to even "think" about a migration because there are manifold
options. Thanks again to those people who chimed in on that, if they
even remember!

We're a small town, with twenty or so staff, and about 10 desktops. To
my rustic sense, it seems that we should be able to make a virtue of
our smallness because any Linux migration would be in small scale.

Further to that, I've chatted briefly with Chris Jordon, our esteemed
PhD student-NSLUG participant from Dal's ACM.  I put the idea of a
provincial OSS Foundation to promote OSS to the wider public, but also
to government, local and provincial. He seemed to like the idea.
Partners might include municipalities, the Province, the
University(ies), NSLUG people, students, and like-minded corporations.
This is a big, big idea but perhaps it has potential.

With that in mind, if Berwick as a test guinea pig were the subject of
successful pilot program, I would take the show on the road, around
the Province, campaign style.
Two or three egov/Linux migrations would spawn a band-wagon effect, or
that's what I'd hope for, anyhoo. Then there's the other eastern
provinces.

I think University buy-in is possible, but my nagging doubt hovers
over the question of the private sector. Could we talk to IBM, HP?
What other kinds of potential partners?

That said, I don't have the expertise to evaluate the throngs of
business cases for or against migration, other than refusing to take
any MS-sponsored study seriously.

I suspect that one or several of our NSLUG gurus could easily manage a
basic OSS setup in our town offices. My pressing worry, however, would
be the continuity, immediacy, and reliability of expert support. One
idea I had was to create a "shadow" OSS system, completely redundant
of our existing system, with perhaps only 4 or 5 non-critical
workstations (no accounting or billing).

Comments really appreciated on this!

Thanks,

Bob




On 2/28/07, Mark Lane <lmlane at gmail.com> wrote:
> Maritimes, I don't know much about the support houses though I
> probably work for the one of biggest in Keane. My team works with a
> custom Redhat Enterprise build but I don't know what the others use.
>
> Across Canada though it's a mixed bag. Here's just a few off the top of my head.
>
> Starnix in Thornhill, ON is a Debian Shop and provides Linux Solutions IIRC
>
> Net Direct in Waterloo is a Redhat Shop and offers various levels of
> IT support to Businesses.
>
> Hard Data in Edmonton is usually installs CentOS or Fedora Core and is
> one of the oldest Linux Vars in Canada.
>
> I use to work for Hard Data and we would get requests for Redhat,
> Mandrake (Now Mandriva), Fedora Core, CentOS, SuSE, FreeBSD, Debian,
> and Gentoo. A vast major of the requests though were for RedHat/Fedora
> Core/CnetOS. The only shops that were asking for Debian, were shops
> that had their own staff to support debian.
>
> On 2/27/07, Robert Ashley <rb.ashley at gmail.com> wrote:
> > Do we have well-established [professional] Linux shops in the
> > Maritimes? If so, would these firms be working mainly on Red Hat and
> > Suse? It would seem to me that market dominance of RH and Suse in the
> > business sector would spawn  mirror images in the support sector.
> >
> > bob
> >
> > On 2/27/07, George N. White III <gnwiii at gmail.com> wrote:
> > > On 2/25/07, Robert Ashley <rb.ashley at gmail.com> wrote:
> > >
> > > > Is it true that Red Hat is a frontrunner for business environments? If
> > > > so, why is that? I see too that in Canada at least, Xandros is trying
> > > > to, or has made business a key target market.
> > > >
> > > > Whadda they got that the rest ain't?
> > > >
> > > > bob
> > >
> > > Many commercial products from the US are developed and tested on Red
> > > Hat.  Part of this is simply that Red Hat was there first.  When SGI
> > > introduced IRIX 6.5, one vendor of widely used remote sensing apps
> > > switched from IRIX 5.3 to Red Hat.  For us, without access to Red Hat
> > > engineers who could talk directly to SGI and Sun engineers, it is
> > > highly unlikely that we would have found a way to make NFS work
> > > reliably with switched ethernet and
> > > hierachical storage (clients see disks, but files are migrated to
> > > tape, leaving just a few K bytes on the disk).
> > >
> > > If your workload is similar to that of millions of others, you don't
> > > need commercial support because others will have solved most of the
> > > problems for you.  If your hardware comes with serial numbers under
> > > 100, you need to get all the help you can.
> > >
> > > SGI, however, used to have their own linux distro for large parallel
> > > machines but is now using SUSE.  I think this is largely because RH
> > > commercial users count pennies and have very different workloads from
> > > SGI's very few remaining very well-funded customers.
> > >
> > > The recent discussions about the pressure from customers for Dell to
> > > sell linux systems will be interesting.  I think Dell has been relying
> > > on suppliers to provide drivers for the hardware bits (disk, video,
> > > sound, etc.) they use.  Suppliers often sell dumbed down versions to
> > > Dell in order to cut costs and underbid other suppliers.  There have
> > > been problems running generic linux on Dell hardware, but there are so
> > > many of then being sold (and other vendors that copy Dell designs)
> > > that people eventually find ways to make things (mostly) work.  If
> > > Dell really believed in linux they would be selling Dell Linux, but
> > > that is a big leap for a company that has always worked by doing what
> > > others have done before only cheaper -- it will be a neat trick to do
> > > a cheaper version of "free"!
> > >
> > > --
> > > George N. White III <aa056 at chebucto.ns.ca>
> > > Head of St. Margarets Bay, Nova Scotia
> > >
> > >
> > >
> > > _______________________________________________
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> > >
> > >
> > >
> > >
> >
> >
> >
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> >
>
>
> --
> Mark Lane, CET <lmlane at gmail.com>
>
>
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