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

Christian Einfeldt einfeldt at gmail.com
Fri Nov 23 14:10:18 PST 2007


On Nov 20, 2007 10:55 AM, Rick Moen <rick at linuxmafia.com> wrote:

> Quoting Tom Haddon (tom at greenleaftech.net):
> 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 +

I agree with Rick here:  IMHO, we should not do any hardware below the PClos
option above.  In other words, we should sadly bid Puppy a loving and fond
farewell, along with the hardware for which it is suited.

> 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.

Good point, but one or two people *might* know this info; and it at least
gives us a piece of paper to use to organize our work, so that the paper can
follow the box.

This also raises the question as to whether we might want to write down the
serial number of the boxes that come through, and record the specs on a wiki
somewhere (I volunteer the DTP wiki) so that if someone comes back, we don't
have to reinvent the wheel in specing out the machine from scratch.  Also,
if someone goes to a support forum, they can just point to the specs on that
page.  We could give people who come in a printed page with the link to the
URL for the wiki.

> 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.


> 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.

IMHO, this is a great idea.  We need feedback loops to get them involved in
community activities.  Don't forget, some of these people very well might
become leaders of their own small FOSS communities in the Tenderloin (TL).
It would help us support people in da hood if we could give them the tools
to more easily grow their own skill set.
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