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Re: geekyness and ESR's recent tome

From: GreyGeek <jkreps_at_neb.rr.com>
Date: 2004-03-04 04:48:11 CET

---------- Forwarded Message ----------
Subject: Re: geekyness and ESR's recent tome
Date: Wednesday 03 March 2004 1:23 pm
From: GreyGeek <jkreps@neb.rr.com>
To: Mike Mason <mgm@thoughtworks.net>

On Wednesday 03 March 2004 11:15, you wrote:
> GreyGeek wrote:
> >Remember, the idea is to migrate away from Windows.
>
> Why? You're in a Windows shop, where all the developers and business
> people are happy using Windows, and spent 3 years ridiculing you for
> mentioning Linux. Maybe for your servers you'd like the extra stability,
> performance and remote maintenance you get from Unix, but why are you
> trying to foist Linux onto the desktop users?

Foist? Using that kind of term suggests you are a Microsurftie... ;-)

 Actually, I was asked. We had a WildCat BBS system that tax preparers were
calling into to download the results of their filings for their clients. It
was installed on top of a P450 with 250MB RAM running Win98SE. The only
problem was that it would NOT stay up. Six IT support staff with MSCE's and
a bunch of other alphabets behind their names couldn't make it run an entire
day without crashing. New RAM, different HDs, different monitors, different
keyboards, upgrading WildCat and reinstalling DLLS, moving WildCat to another
box, and I don't know what else... nothing would keep it running. It was
supposed to be left on during the evenings and weekends, but too many after
hours trips by IT staff to bounce the machine led to the Dept manager asking
me if Linux could act as a BBS. The IT staff gave me a P75 with 32MB RAM
and 2 HDs (!GB each) - the oldest, slowest box in the dept, even though I
asked to use the P450. I went to BestBuy and purchased SuSE 6.4 for $36, for
the manual and CDs. I installed it on that relic they gave me, wrote two
bash scripts and one python script, none over 1 page long, put in a rollover
mgetty spawn to two phones, and fired it up. During the demo to the boss and
the IT staff, the 2nd HD (/home) died but reiserFS kept going on the /root
drive. The boss told the IT guys to give me a good machine, which turned out
to be a P160 with 64MB and two 1GB Quantum drives. The Linux BBS ran for 30
months 24/7 without a single crash, until the BBS stuff was outsourced. Then
came a request to look into a Linux HA cluster for our Oracle intranet
server... Linux is gradually filling up the server room.

Why? Surely you jest.

Being a state agency, the IRS requires strong security measures (certainly
stronger then they take themselves!) relating to their data in our
possession. (When I am working with IRS data and someone walks by or into my
office I have to make a note of who, and when, and what was on the screen at
the time. Our offices have no doors, so monitors are often turned away from
the door.) With the advent of the EULA that came with the MediaPlayer virus
patch, and then XP, and I don't know how many other MS applications, the user
is required to allow Microsoft, or selected third parties, access to their
computers to add or remove software they deem necessary for 'security'. You
remember that, don't you? Then, there is the matter of revenue shortfalls
that will probably go over $1B for my state, which is causing layoffs,
reduced expenditures for hardware and software, including 'licenses', and
lots of hardships. So, when your income suddenly drops below your outcome,
what do you do? Cut expenses, of course. Volume licenses that force
upgrades in a unit of time is one big expense. Repeating the MS mantra
(reboot, rebuild, reinstall) on several PCs a day is a huge waste of time and
money, to say nothing of the time and money lost to rebooting after crashes,
restoring lost or corrupted data, maintaining virus patches and recovering
from viruses not patched, etc.

 Now that Novell has purchased SUSE I expect SUSE to play a major role in the
future as we look for ways to save money by moving workstations to Linux.
The problem, of course, is keeping the current crop of WinXX based apps
running while we find good GUI RAD tools with which to create crossplatform
applications, etc... You know the drill. I was very pleasantly surprised to
find out that I could run Visual FoxPro 6.0 under Linux using WINE, and that
the apps I created would also run under WINE on Linux, but we are not going
to go that route.

> The fact that Subversion, including the server, works great on Windows
> and is easy to install is a *credit* to the Subversion developers.

Who said it wasn't? But, considering that the WinXX version of Subversion is
for Win32 based platforms, and not for Win95, WFWG 3.11, NT3.5, NT4.0, WinME,
etc., their task is somewhat easier.

> Linux package support for Joe's DIY Homebrew Linux Distro might not be
> there yet, but it's mostly because Joe hasn't needed Subversion yet or
> got around to packaging it. If the Subversion developers actually tried
> to keep up with all the Linux distros, we'd still be waiting for 1.0 to
> come out...

The DIY HLD is almost a myth. I doubt if more than a fraction of a percent of
all Linux power users build their own distro from scratch, even if they've
read "Linux-From-Scratch".

But, developers wouldn't have to "keep up" with all the distros if they went
to creating a fully self-contained binary that would run on all distros.
Every distro has /usr/bin in their path. Drop the binary in there. When it
runs it stores in memory all the libs it needs to run.

Those that wanted to play the tar game could download the tarball exported
from the svn tree.

> p.s. Apologies to anyone called Joe who's working on a Linux distro... ;-)
>
:-)

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Received on Thu Mar 4 04:46:56 2004

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