[Haifux] Party????

Oron Peled oron at actcom.co.il
Tue Jan 27 23:27:02 MSK 2009

Hello Yosi, "long time no see". Welcome aboard.

Wow, just browsed my inbox and got smashed with this
huge (multi)-thread subject -- browsed rapidly all (good) suggestions.

1. Technical problems:
   * From complaints, seems like disk-space is causing a lot of collateral
     damage. Since disks are very cheap (500Gb for less then 300NIS) it
     should be easy to put 3-4 likes these in one "server" host in the lab.
     (Maybe as a striped volume group for extra performance).
     Having these disks shared among workstations would:
     - Avoid students most common complaint.
     - May reduce unexplained technical problems (at least some crashes
       were reported as a direct disk-space problem).
     - Since it looks as if students are having general quota problems (as
       usual in big places like Technion), it may seduce them to use the
       lab services more often ("Hey, I have so much storage here, that I
       save some other projects temporarily. This lab is really cool").

   * CR/LF problems are mostly archaic non-issue for the last 10 years.
     Any reasonable editor (VIM, kate, gedit, notepad++[windows]) and IDE
     displays both without a problem (including syntax highlighting etc.)
     I suggest ignoring it instead of giving it a prominent space on the
     wiki (OK, as Schachar pointed, there are some arcane cases, but
     that's true for everything).

   * DOK -- https://fedorahosted.org/liveusb-creator has a windows
     executable as well.

2. Change control and maintenance:
   * A choice of distribution and update policy is critical. I won't
     state my personal preference so we don't divert into distro-wars,
     but would like to give concrete examples about the effects:
     - The version you used contained OpenOffice.org-2.4x while current
       version carries OOo-3.x -- as pointed out this is a major change
       both in interoperability with MS-Office as well as other features
       (select language and zoom directly from the bottom status bar).
     - Distribution specific policy regarding big (and changing) platforms
       like Eclipse. What versions are packaged? Which plugins are packaged?

   * Update policy -- are your workstations fully updated? or are they in
     the same state as first installed? This has a big impact both on
     security and "normal" bugs you hit every day.

   * There is a constant conflict between having "stable" lab and having
     current and up to date software. One possible idea is to have
     a "rolling-lab":
     - Let's assume we have 15 computers, select 2-3 of them and upgrade
       them to the bleeding edge version of your distro.
       CLEARLY MARK THEM (labels on the monitors).
     - Proactively ask students for feedback: What aspects got improved,
       what's got worse.
     - The feedback would gradually lead you to migrate more and more
       machines to this version.
     - Lather, rinse, repeat...

   * There are other advantages to such scheme:
     - The students have an active role, instead of being passive moaners
       and groaners.
     - The same idea could be expanded later to having 1-2 "sampler"
       workstations with different distributions. You'd gradually see
       which are the favorites.
     - This way, the students would not only compare "A Linux" with Win*
       but rather see several different "Linuces".
     - On the same page, do you install more than one desktop?
       (e.g: GNOME, KDE, icewm). Having choice is one of the key features
       and may help students understand the richer world in free software
       ("A: I hate this desktop. all shortcuts are wrong. B: Come look
         at my desktop. It's so better. C: A -- I can configure the
         same on yours, you won't need to change desktops").

   * About lab engineers:
     - What happened to masters degree students? Don't they work in the
       labs anymore, or are they Windows-gurus nowdays?
     - If not, maybe undergrads can take over or help with the maintenance
       core? Then the community would need to help them, but not
       actually do the day to day routine.

> Does Wednesday 12:30-14:30 fit your schedules? It would be real nice if we
> could have a Linux event every two weeks or so that time in the lab, and
> this particular time slot woudl assure nice attendance.
> Tentively I set Feb 18th for the first such event.

Sheesh, we do work sometimes. Anyway, if a "Happy Linux Friday" would
help you can count me in.


Oron Peled                                 Voice: +972-4-8228492
oron at actcom.co.il                  http://www.actcom.co.il/~oron
linux/reboot.h: #define LINUX_REBOOT_MAGIC1  0xfee1dead

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