[sf-lug] Volunteer InstallFest (Dec 15th)

Rick Moen rick at linuxmafia.com
Tue Nov 20 10:55:22 PST 2007

Quoting Tom Haddon (tom at greenleaftech.net):

> I've also attached a first draft of an "Intake Sheet"
> which would outline what hardware is being processed, and then look at
> what distro to install based on hardware specs (Rick's recent comments
> about stripping down standard distros notwithstanding).

The relevant snippet of your intake sheet is:

  Choice of Distro to install

  ( ) Puppy Linux < 256 MB RAM -- Min 512MB Disk Space
  ( ) PCLinuxOS 256 -- 384 MB RAM -- Min Disk Space ?
  ( ) Ubuntu - 384 MB RAM or more -  Min Disk Space 5GB + 

As an aside, our experience at CABAL is that most random computer users
don't know anything about their hardware _if you're lucky_.  If you're
unlucky, they know things that are just plain wrong.  We had a
questionnaire (can't find it at the moment) and an old info-sheet
(http://linuxmafia.com/bale/linuxprep.html -- note how old it is!),
but quickly gave it up, when we realised machine owners give you either
no information or bad information.

However, since you're (probably) intending that to be in the "Admin Use
Only" section, that's all right, I guess -- as long as your techs apply 
the rule of reason:  "<256 MB" starts just above zero, but in 2007 a
486DX2/66 with 16MB RAM is not a reasonable installation target,
especially for non-technical users.

Puppy Linux curently defaults to the (obscure) JWM window manager and
the Rox file manager.  It has a non-standard package manager called
PuppyGet, and necessarily a rather narrow software selection.
Recommended minimum hardware is Pentium 166, 128MB RAM.

The fact is, only experienced Linux users can get much satisfaction from
Linux on low-spec hardware, regardless of distribution (though giving
them a limited, non-mainstream distro like Puppy Linux will compound the
problem).  Novices will tend to experience frustration, and to blame
Linux.  Personally, I think that's a bad idea.

Aside #2:  I'd recommend that users leave your event with reinstallation
media for their installed distros, and some idea how to use them and how
to contact the surrounding Linux community.  Otherwise, you'll find out 
that 90% got frustrated, blew their systems away, and reinstalled
bootlegged Win98 within six months.

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