[sf-lug] 7th & 8th grade sci teacher now using primarily Ubuntu

Rick Moen rick at linuxmafia.com
Tue Dec 16 16:04:17 PST 2008

Just an afterthought on a couple of points:

> You also want to provide the customer with information about how to
> recover from common non-root-level problems, e.g., by moving dotfiles
> and dotfile directories in the user's home directory that are in a
> questionable state out of the way, to return user software to system
> defaults.

This is particularly often needed, in my experience, with GNOME setups, 
because of GNOME's habit of mangling (corrupting) its own dotfile trees,
especially (from memory, so this might not be an accurate list)
~/.gconf, ~/.gconf2, and the ~.gnome* and ~/.metacity subdirectories.
One fine day, you find either that login takes you only back to the gdm
graphical login screen, or that some desktop features (Panel, etc.) are
mysteriously missing.  Logout, go to a text console, and mv the above
trees out of the way so they can be rebuilt from defaults, and you're

> In my experience, one killer of Linux deployments is customers'
> perception that the easiest way to make problems go away is to
> reinstall machines, and their habit of whipping out a CD of
> $PROPRIETARY_OS to do so.  Customers with root-equivalent access will
> feel that need sooner rather than later.
> Thus, it's extremely useful to provide the customer with technical
> means to reload your Linux work, and make the customer perceive that
> step as being easy.  (Use whatever works to make that happen.)

In that regard, something Christian said popped out at me:  "The teacher
also has a Ubuntu Intrepid CD and a legitimate copy of Microsoft
Windows that he told me he is permitted re-install Microsoft Windows XP
if need be."

Eh?  The intended means of recovery is nothing more than an Ubuntu CD?
But what about all the work that was done to set up the machine(s) for
the school's environment?  And also why expect a teacher to navigate
through a generic distro installation disk and make the right choices?

Even if the teacher takes only uncommonly sensible actions during
installation, he/she loses and must independently reinvent your mail
setup, your network setup, your printer setup, your configuration of
local services, and so on.

This assumes such work was ever done....

Er, Christian, your idea of helping that school wasn't just doing a
default (dual-boot) OS installation, was it?

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