Thursday, July 03, 2008

installfest 2.0

We will be doing the next installfest at linuxworld in august. This is a joint project with Untangle and with the gracious support of linux world.

We have been working on getting the servers updated and can now load ubuntu 8.04,xubuntu,edubuntu and gnewsense.

The ubuntu will be for conventional machines,xubuntu for low resource machines, edubuntu, for classrooms and gnewsense because we can and should promote the four basic freedoms whenever possible.

Observations on the above so far:

ubuntu 8.04 just works as claimed and the other ubuntu variants use the same repositories so we can load all of the 'buntu's from one set of local mirrors,

xubuntu seems to be viable and we will be trying to get it loaded on a bunch of old (p1 75mhz) toughbooks that we got from various police departments and should allow us to make some use of older hardware and demonstrate that our motto (obsolescence is just a lack of imagination) . Plus we get to play with bad ass millspec notebooks (will your notebook stop a bullet?)

Edunbuntu. very cool, lots of apps. I have an issue with client- server based systems. (single and potentially expensive point of failure in the server, lack of flexibility and poor performance unless you can afford a high end network)

Gnewsense. As far as I know this distro is fully compliant with the fsf's four basic freedoms and I applaud the developers and the fsf for developing and promoting it.
It is also much more functional and polished than I would have thought possible.

It does still have issues but these have nothing to do with the code. These come from an unwillingness of some vendors (hardware and software) to provide drivers or release specifications. This "dog in the manger" attitude is slowly dieing off (good riddance) but at this time our biggest problem with gnewsense is multimedia (there are open source flash players out there but last time I tried one, the steps required to get the video to play far exceed the skills of our average client.) we've also had some issues with drivers for various network and video cards. (just to beat this horse further, this is not a failing with Gnewsense or the FSF, it is a failure on the part of the manufacturer).

The FSF is correct in that software should be free (freedom and beer) and gnewsense demonstrates that it can be.

We expect to have approx 1000 machines ready for install fest but I doubt that we will have room,time or power at linuxworld to do that many installs so we will be running installs at linuxworld and our berkeley and marin facilities during the event.