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Subject:Re: Back to the Dark Ages. From:Kevin McLauchlan <kmclauchlan -at- chrysalis-its -dot- com> To:"TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com> Date:Wed, 19 Jun 2002 09:44:28 -0400
On Tuesday 18 June 2002 12:40, Bruce Byfield wrote:
> Kevin McLauchlan wrote:
> >And I should have made clear that paying the (say)
> >75 bucks for a boxed set of (say) SuSE Linux 8.0 is
> >a ONE-SHOT thing.
> Why pay even $75? You can download a complete
> distribution via a fast connection in under half an hour.
> Of course, you don't get support, but you don't get more
> than basic installation support for $75, either. If you
> want more, you'd have to pay.
Well, some of the distributions do not make available ISO
images for download, or like SuSE -- which includes nearly
2500 apps in addition to the kernel and core files -- they
don't include most of the apps in the downloadable version.
I suppose that's because so many people still do have
slow-speed dial-up connections and they're catering to the
Certainly, you can download source and compile your own.
If you are up to it, that's the most flexible way to go, and
is the method of choice for integrators and for some
consultants who build custom installations for their
clients. It's also a great way to learn, if you are a geek
From the distro companies that make ISO images available,
you can download those and create your own CDs. And for the
rest, you can download and futz with a mess of RPMs or
other package-manager packages. APT-get is really starting
Actually, I paid over $100 in my dollars for the most recent
"Pro" version of SuSE (I'm Canadian, our dollar sucks),
just 'cuz I like the convenience of having it all nicely
packaged on 7 CDs -- and even better -- on a single DVD.
As well, being an old-fashioned kind of guy, I like having
the hefty printed manuals to fondle (although they are also
included in the distro as PDFs and HTML docs, for ease of
You are correct, that the "support" you get from buying
the boxed set, ends with getting it installed on your PC,
sufficiently that it'll start up. Getting it configured
beyond that is up to you. But on the third hand, the
automated installers do an excellent and transparent job
when they detect and configure most common/standard
hardware. And when there are problems, you generally
get useful logs and error messages to help you figure
out why your BassoProfundo Mark III combination sound card
and central vacuum cleaner is not being properly configured.
Red Hat has already teamed with some PC companies to
have fully-configured, pre-installed Linux computers, in
place of the pre-loaded Windoze that we've been accustomed
to seeing. SuSE recently partnered with IBM and others.
My experience with SuSE is that the suse-linux-english
<suse-linux-e -at- suse -dot- com> mailing list has been a fabulously
comprehensive and responsive resource. Much like this list
and the two Framers lists, as a matter of fact.
The people who who might actually pay a Linux company for
support would tend to be corporate IT departments. But then,
they'll pay less than they would pay to Microsoft and get
more for the money. As well, their servers and network
systems will be more reliable... at least that's what all
the converts have been reporting. My own employer is rushing
to swap out all our NT servers for Linux, except for the one
running Great P(l)ains. They'll also upgrade ONE server to
keep running Exchange Server 2000 for a while longer, but
even that one is living on borrowed time.
The nails in the coffin were:
1) Uncle Bill wanted some really big bucks for Win2K on
our servers and our desktops (we're still an NT house),
and was using pressure tactics to get us to upgrade
sooner, rather than later (i.e., a price window that
closes this summer).
2) The intrusive nature of WinXP. There's a rumor that
our beloved IT manager threatened to quit if she had
to roll out XP. Given that she's not only competent
and hard working but literally beloved around here...
> >You don't need to pay again when
> >you install on the PCs of the next 600 employees.
> Unless, of course, you use Caldera, which has moved to a
> per-seat licensing program. Fortunately, however, there's
> no compelling reason to use Caldera as opposed to any
> other distribution.
Exactly. So, don't. :-)
Meanwhile, our company push toward Linux desktops had
stalled for a while, but is back on track. I was not ready
to abandon FrameMaker, until OpenOffice1.0 and StarOffice 6
came out, but now I'm re-working all my current documents.
As soon as our ClearCase/ClearQuest administrator gets
the Linux access working, I'll be able to finally stop using
So, that'll be one less MS-Office license, one less Outlook,
no more upgrades for FrameMaker or Illustrator or Visio
(OpenOffice, the GIMP and Dia and Qcad are good enough
for me). Feels good to be a successful guinnea-pig.
Software wise, I now cost much less than before.
Geof H. did make the point that some of you are required to
produce WinHelp and, while I haven't needed it myself,
I've not found a Linux tool for that format (I've only been
looking since yesterday afternoon... :-). But, for HTML,
XML, etc., etc., there are plenty. Of course, if a demand
is perceived, then somebody in the Linux world will surely
develop a WinHelp composer or converter.
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