[frgeek-michiana] Investigating alternative distros

  • From: Tom Brown <tbrown@xxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: FreeGeek Michiana <frgeek-michiana@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Thu, 12 May 2005 10:39:22 -0500

I am concerned that replacing VL right now may actually delay getting FreeBox classes going again. I would prefer that we focus on getting VL 4.3 to install and configure properly. Once we are building 8 FBs every Tuesday night, then we may have the time to look for an alternative distro.

1. We have the install problem at least temporarily resolved with Ghost. The Ghost standalone version worked in my tests (although slightly imperfectly), and the corporate version has worked flawlessly for Jay and Goose. Cloning a drive takes 15-20 minutes. Ghost is unfortunately proprietary software.

2. The longer people wait for a class and a computer, the more likely they are to drop out. While we are exploring other distros, FreeBoxes are not getting built. Until we can build 8 FBs every week, we will continue to postpone classes. The last time we suspended classes for 8 weeks, we lost 50% of our waiting list.

3. Instructors will need additional time to to revamp the classes to fit a new distro. So classes will be postponed again.

4. Previous explorations of alternative distros have ended with the same conclusions:
(a) the distros are too large for our hard drives;
(b) the installers require too much memory;
(c) to make other distros work we would need to customize the distro,
essentially creating and maintaining our own distro -- this adds more
on our plate;
(d) smaller distros (RULE, puppy, etc.) don't have enough apps and the
desktop managers are uncommon so we again face creating and
maintaining our own distro.


5. We have already agreed that VL 4.3 provides everything our clients ask
    for except games.

6. We have the additional issues of building a new lab and transferring
    refurb/recycle activities to our new warehouse space. These projects
    are falling behind.

7. John and Jay have skill at configuring sound cards. They need to teach
    the rest of us. Configuring sound is the biggest stumbling block right
    now.

Jackie and I are frustrated because we cannot tell new prospects when they are likely to take the class and get a computer. I fear that distro shopping will just prolong restarting classes. Then we lose more clients.

Tom




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