[sf-lug] Need help with VirtualBox on openSUSE and Feisty (or Gutsy)

Christian Einfeldt einfeldt at gmail.com
Mon Apr 7 19:10:05 PDT 2008


Thanks for your feedback.  Even if I don't always agree with you, I
certainly know that you have lots of experience, and so i always read what
you write and consider it.

On Sun, Apr 6, 2008 at 12:07 PM, Rick Moen <rick at linuxmafia.com> wrote:

planning for and construction of that project

I guess you haven't visited a public school in California recently.  They
don't really do that much planning for things that are expensive.  Teachers
typically pay part of their salary to cover basic eduational items.  This
school that we are supporting must fundraise 40% of its annual budget.  The
state gives them $5k per student per year.  New Jersey, hardly a model of
education, gives its students $12k per student per year.

> which
> always greatly increases the likelihood of the customer feeling zero
> commitment to the fruits of your hard work.

this is both somewhat true and not entirely true.  The public school system
is so poor that they do appreciate donated labor, at least some of the
time.  For example, I have gotten lots of cooperation in many areas from the
principal, and they thank me frequently and they have given me cute little
awards and put me in their yearbook.  And they use the Edubuntu Gnu Linux
lab every day.  And they call me whenever they have problems with their
systems, and I muck through it okay with help from this list.

So it is true that sometimes they overlook the good work that many of us
have done for the school.  But you kind of come to expect that from teachers
who are at school at 6:55 a.m. and don't leave until about 6 pm and then are
expected to take phone calls from students until 8 p.m.  All of the students
have all of their teachers _cell_ phone numbers, and are expected to call
with questions, and then are expected to come to school with their homework
_done_ .   So I am inclined to give them a break if they are exhausted and
don't always thank me or us.

> Such rejections then form
> an extremely unfortunate precedent, making it extremely likely that any
> similar proposals will be rejected out of hand -- shooting not only
> yourself but also anyone who comes after you in the foot.

No, they are willing to try things over again later.  If something doesn't
work this year, that doesn't mean they won't try it next year.

> Doing that job properly for a customer
> deployment, so that the entire project doesn't go sideways for lack of
> attention to the basics, is equally as important as is requirements
> analysis, to avoid rejection and ruining the chances for any future
> proposals.

If we had waited for us to get paid, we never would have gotten a foot in
the door.

Microsoft plows lots of money into marketing, and creating the expectation
on the part of the customer that they _must_ have Microsoft; and, likewise,
they provide disincentives to third party vendors convincing them not to
port things to Linux or other platforms; and they lean on OEMs to not ship
GNU Linux pre-installed.  We need to get people basically familiar with Free

And it's working.  Last year's eighth graders never worked extensively with
any office suite except OpenOffice.org.  All of the student-facing
technology at that school is Free Software, except for 15 Mac notebooks and
the occasional minute here or there that they get on Windows.  Kids are
getting Free Software computers in their homes for free as in beer.  We have
made a lot of progress at this school.

> It's nice that you are willing to do work for, I gather, no money.
> Consider, however, the possibility that doing a questionable job for
> free, for example, one without proper requirements analysis or security
> setup, might not be doing your customers a favour.

We are competing against non-consumption.  75% of these kids come from
households below the federal poverty guidelines.

Besides, the people with the higher level admin skills don't show up at the
school every day to make sure that the system is running, and swap out the
thin clients when they go down, or teach the teachers how to do basic admin
stuff.  There have been lots of people who have contributed a whole lot to
the school, but more experienced admins have full-time jobs doing this
stuff, and expect to get paid for it, and that is fine.  Everyone gives in
the way that they feel is appropriate.  In fact, many of the points that you
are making about negative branding are well made, and your opinion in this
regard is probably shared by many people on the list, which is why some of
the more highly skilled admins don't volunteer more.  There is a lot to be
said for requiring the customer to pay for quality.

However, we have to start somewhere with someone who is willing to do it,
and if that person is a Linux wanna be tire-kicker like me, then that's what
we are stuck with.

Of course, I am learning, and my skills are gradually increasing.  In 2001,
Holden Aust told me that I would some day I would be installed distros
myself on computers, and I laughed at him.  I was a newbie who was too
intimidated to do anything with Windows, and I felt that it didn't pencil
out for me to try.  So, like everyone else, I just used Windows boxes until
they got so junked up and slow that I just bought a new box and threw out
the old one.
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