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

Christian Einfeldt einfeldt at gmail.com
Tue Apr 8 12:08:24 PDT 2008


On Mon, Apr 7, 2008 at 8:52 PM, Rick Moen <rick at linuxmafia.com> wrote:

> Quoting Christian Einfeldt (einfeldt at gmail.com):
> > 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.
> That's too bad, but irrelevant to the point:  If you are doing work, you
> presumably don't want it to be _bad_ work, and don't want it to fail for
> lack of attention to utter basics such as requirements analysis.

It is not a binary outcome of failure versus success.  There are shades of
performance.  And it it is crucial to remember that the California public
schools have been so neglected, they are grateful for someone who helps, and
they are thus more forgiving of "failure" than enterprise customers with a

> Such
> failures are demoralising for you and your customer, are bad for your
> reputation, and poison the work environment for anyone who might come
> after
> you with any even vaguely similar proposal.

We have been working at this school since the beginning of the 2004 - 2005
school year, and we have not had any really bad outcomes since that time.
Of course, much credit for that success goes to the high level sys admins on
this list who have helped out.

> > this is both somewhat true and not entirely true.
> ...says the attorney and self-described "simple end user" to the
> professional consultant and sysadmin.

Occasionally, I have added a technical solution that more advanced computer
users have overlooked.  It doesn't happen all that often, but I do apply
myself and I do study Free Software, and so despite the fact that I have not
yet had time for formal training, I do occasionally add value to the

> And _do_ listen to the people who're telling you "Excuse me, but that
> application is reported to work under WINE" before resorting to
> overengineered solution like entire virtualised machine environments.

AFAIK, there is no WINE solution to the Adobe Premier Pro tools that the
school is sort of being forced to use.  Here's how that works.  Two of the
teachers were paid $1,000.00 each by Adobe to attend a one-week training
session (a lot of money for teachers).  They were then "given" software
licenses "valued" at $23,000.00 !!!! (according to Adobe.  Never mind that
much of that functionality can be had with Free Software for free as in
beer).  They were also told that this program would probably be repeated
next year for schools that were "active" in the first year's program and
produced videos with the software.  The message was really clear.  Adobe had
basically bought the teachers' time and used the teachers as conduits for
marketing Adobe's products.  This is why I believe it is better for us to be
engaged with the schools, even if our solutions are less than perfect; Adobe
and Microsoft and Apple and the other non-Free vendors certainly are not
sleeping.  Do we really want to step back and not have a presence in these
schools simply because we don't have the benefit of having trained,
certified sys admins available in our communities to do the work?

I believe that there is a role for an advocate such as myself, who is
interested in placing Free Software options visibly before schools.  Of
course your point about emphasizing quality is well-taken.  And I think that
we have delivered relatively high quality solutions and have seen good
results.  We have 3 thirteen year-olds and two 12 years-olds gaining command
line experience on the Edubuntu server, as well as exposing 10 year-olds
through 13 year-olds _and their teachers_ to standalone Free Software work
stations in several classrooms.  That is a total of about 450 students who
now know that OpenOffice.org and Linux are adequate solutions to their
computing needs.  That is some modest progress.
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