Archive | October 19, 2003

Where to next, Part II

Perhaps switching off the Microsoft OS is not possible for you right
now, or you can’t afford a second machine to mess with. There are still
alternatives. On my main development machine, a Windows XP Professional
machine, Mozilla is my default
browser. Mozilla is more than just a browser, it’s an internet
application development environment, with HTML markup editors and
javascript debuggers. And
is my default office suite, with built-in word processing, spreadsheets
and presentation packages competitive with any of the commercial
suites. I used the Write and Impress packages at the
recent Great Lakes Great Database Workshop conference to present my white papers and slides, without any problems.

And, if you’d like to dip your toes into the water without fully committing to a Linux install, check out Knoppix.
Knoppix is a full Linux distribution that boots and runs from CD,
without writing to your hard drive at all. This is a great way to try
Linux out without messing with your machine, although, of course, you
lose any changes when you shut down your machine. I’ve heard that
people have gotten their USB storage devices to work with Knoppix to
save documents. Check it out. It’s free.

Internet Week: Sticking with Microsoft could cost 10 – 40% more

Microsoft’s Integration Strategy Is Costly For Customers
, according to this article at Internet Week. It starts:


Microsoft’s strategy of increasingly integrating its
server and client products — as best evidenced by the Office System
line-up which officially launches next week — means some enterprises
may end up paying 10 to 40 percent more to stay with Redmond’s wares, a
recent report from Jupiter Research suggests.

Information Week: Staring Down Linux

Information Week has an interesting articled called Staring Down Linux
that has some thoughtful points about how Microsoft plans to play the
game when dealing with customers and partners and Linux. Not
surprisingly, the word uncooperative describes much of their
\”strategy.\” Also, read the embedded surveys on why customers choose
Linux vs. why Microsoft. Pretty interesting stuff.

So, where to, next?

So. You heard Whil’s keynote (or read Andrew’s summary)
and you’re ready to take the next step. What to do? Here’s how my
experimentation has gone, so far (I’ve been messing with Linux
part-time for about four years now, btw). First, if there’s any way you
can do it, find a separate machine you can experiment on. Invariably,
an install will go awry or some piece of hardware won’t work and need
to be swapped out, or you’ll just want to blow the whole box away and
start over. If you’ve got a junker designated for that purpose, it gets
so much easier. It doesn’t need to be a state-of-the-art machine,
although of course, speed and memory and power contribute to a better
feeling with all machines. A beater you’ve retired as a development box
or a $400 eBay special can do the trick nicely.

At TR&A Labs, we’ve got three machines we’re messing with: at the web site, a dual PII-333 Dell Workstation is an alternative web
server. In-house, a white box we assembled ourselves runs an Athlon
processor and coffee-stained keyboards and mice on a borrowed
monitor, serving as file server and intranet web and wiki server.
Finally, on the road, a Dell Lattitude PII-366 is the road warrior.
Download the latest ISO files for your favorite distribution, burn CDs,
and try a couple of installs just to see what happens. Once you’re
feeling like you’re getting it, try installing a spare (but properly
licensed, of course) Windows installation and see if you can get the
machine to dual-boot.

Find a support group. There are many Linux user groups worldwide (check our GLUE: Groups of Lunux Users Everywhere),
and there are many mailing lists and forums for support as well. Don’t
ask dumb questions: check the man pages and help, rtfm second, Google
it third, search for likely synonyms, and then ask a question with
sufficient (but not excessive) Who-What-When-Where-How information to
get a good answer. Volunteers on newsgroups don’t want to answer the
same question all day long, or a question who’s answer is already on
your machine. I’ve taken several old boxes with non-standard or
relatively unsupported hardware and gotten them running through this
technique. You can, too. Good luck!

Powered by WordPress. Designed by Woo Themes

This work by Ted Roche is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 United States.