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

Tom Haddon tom at greenleaftech.net
Tue Nov 20 11:01:58 PST 2007

On Tue, 2007-11-20 at 10:55 -0800, Rick Moen wrote:
> 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.

Yeah, it's intended that the hardware specs get filled out by either us
or the hardware guys who have agreed to be there to check the relevant
pieces of hardware are operating correctly. I agree that a minimum
rather than just <256MB RAM might be a good idea.

> 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.

Another good idea.

Unfortunately I'm not going to be available on the day itself, but I'd
encourage those who are to see how they can incorporate these ideas.

Thanks, Tom

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Tom Haddon
mailto:tom at greenleaftech.net
m +1.415.830.6822

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