[sf-lug] Another victory...
jim at well.com
Mon May 15 17:41:01 PDT 2006
the headless variant gets a box on their network
that we nixniks can share, huddled together in
our noisy little corner, mainly for those wanting
comfort of a RHCT/E study group.
my look at the time, gotta go take glo the paper
(not a computer this evening).
What a bunch of good advice: I hope, if we get
the box in, that we follow some of it--thank you.
On May 15, 2006, at 10:28 AM, Rick Moen wrote:
> Quoting Jim Stockford (jim.stockford at gmail.com):
>> Gloria (one of the owners) says people are complaining
>> that the machines aren't running the other OS. She'll
>> probably change them.
> OK, so time to re-post some of the lessons of The CoffeeNet, the
> Linux-based Internet cafe I helped build in SOMA (and lived upstairs
> from it), and that thrived and was a huge hit from its Auguest 1996
> opening until it was forced by real estate machinations in July 2000 to
> close. Proprietor Richard Couture then moved to Guadalajara, Jalisco,
> Mexico, and re-opened the business there as "LinuxCabal"
> (http://www.linuxcabal.com/), where it's still doing well.
> I have a mirror of the CoffeeNet Web pages, here:
> ...including the cafe's "help" pages describing its workstation
> machines' fvwm2 interface using the tkGoodStuff button bar:
> You'll notice no special effort was taken to imitate the MS-Windows
> releases of the day. Moreover, Richard deliberately did _not_ go out
> his way to install MS-Office-imitation business-productivity software,
> because of one very key decision he made: He did _not_ want to
> encourage people to bring in their high-stress business world (or
> completing-one's-thesis-on-deadline) concerns, or other general
> computing tasks. By contrast, he wanted to offer Internet access (Web
> browsing, IRC, e-mail, newsgroups) as an amenity to people visiting to
> have coffee and sandwiches in pleasant surroundings. He did not seek
> sell computing or connectivity, both of which people already had at
> and at home.
> And yes, there were a small minority of people who came in and bitched
> about this: These were the MS-Windows true believers and/or people
> wanting to bring their office work with them. Richard figured the fact
> that _they_ were unhappy meant that he'd make exactly the right
> for exactly the right reason.
> And, you know what? Despite the fact that fvwm2 didn't look a whole
> like Windows 95/98/NT, hundreds of people per day used the (IIRC) eight
> Linux-equipped Pentiums to browse the Web and read their mail without
> even knowing or particularly caring what OS those ran. Once a week or
> so, a customer would get up and absent-mindedly ask the staff, Richard,
> or me "Which versions of Windows is this running, anyway?" They did
> this because they were just curious, as an afterthought. Which meant
> was a success for the general-public target audience: OS identity
> _should_ be an afterthought.
> Anyhow, Gloria should consider _who_ is complaining -- and what she is
> trying to achieve -- as Richard did. Several competing Internet cafes
> went bankrupt trying to compete with the CoffeeNet: They (e.g.,
> Cyberworld on Folsom) were driven out of the running by the high cost
> maintaining an entire IT departmental infrastructure, to deal with the
> inevitable malware plagues, security breaches, etc. -- while Richard's
> Linux/NFS/NIS-based setup just kept right on running with _zero_ IT
> staff, while its focus _away_ from Windows-type business tools
> contributed to the reliably pleasant atmosphere that kept people coming
> A lot of people (especially managers), however, simply cave in to a
> perceived need to reduce complaints, and never bother to contemplate
> what those complaints really indicate, in light of what the business is
> trying to achieve.
> Doing differently requires actually spending some thought about what
> _are_ really trying to achieve. I'm not sure Gloria has yet done that.
>> I've offered to help make them look more like the other OS.
> In my opinion, this is solving the wrong problem. The people who bitch
> that they "can't use" (e.g.) KDE because it "needs to be more like
> Windows" are using a code-phrase that actually means "I won't be happy
> with anything _but_ MS-Windows -- which I'm insisting on because I can,
> because I think you're wishy-washy on the subject, and because I think
> can redirect your business priorities through complaining."
> KDE (to pick the most obvious example) and even typical GNOME setups
> so damned close to the look of MS-Windows that the notion of them
> needing to be closer is simply bleedin' ludicrous.
>> I'll write up a proposal for us to put in a linux box, probably
>> headless, but accessible physically and via their network.
> Why? What does this achieve?
> If you want to have a showcase for Linux, then configure and deploy a
> single desktop box (_not_ headless) and have it be available for
> CoffeeNet-style Internet use. Gloria and co. can be asked from time to
> time whether it's given them any problems, e.g viruses -- and be
> on to eventually realise it's been the only problem-free box in the
> entire joint, along with the only one that didn't require gobs of
> processor power and RAM just to get half-reasonable performance.
> The CoffeeNet's workstations were all cheap P266 boxes with 64MB EDO
> (32MB, at first), a single 4GB IDE HD, a cheap 100Mbps Intel NIC, some
> commodity video card with 2MB VRAM, a 17" ViewSonic monitor, a Logitech
> TrackMan Marble trackball, and a KeyTronics keyboard. /home, /tmp, and
> /var were NFS-mounted from the NFS/NIS master in Richard's apartment
> upstairs, and passwords were kept uniform across the LAN using NIS.
> If some joker cracked root on a workstation and clobbered the system
> load, the food servers had instructions on how to boot a custom
> floppy, which automatically reimaged the system from the master server
> upstairs, rebooting it and putting it back into service 15 minutes
> later. I'm not sure the procedure was ever even needed.
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