[Grrltalk] Re: [Techtalk] What do you all think?

David Merrill david at lupercalia.net
Fri Nov 16 06:42:20 EST 2001

On Fri, Nov 16, 2001 at 08:58:55PM +1100, Emma Fox wrote:
> pmurphre at indiana.edu wrote:
> >> Any suggestions on how to convert supposedly 
> >>intelligent academics from the dark side of the force are welcome.
> >>
> > 
> > HI, well all I do is simply state, whenever anyone complains about
> > some horrible fault w/ windows about how much better linux is--don't
> > know how much this helps on a grand scale, btu at least it is positive
> > word-of-mouth.
> :) things like "linux never does that" can be a bit tiresome on the ears 
> of the helpless.  I'm afraid the administration are suffering from the 
> "compatibility" complex (they have enough trouble switching from Mac to 
> Windoze most of the time) and the "we've already invested so much money 
> in Windoze" complex, also the "no-one knows how to run that sort of 
> network at LaTrobe" complex.

I faced exactly the same problem on several jobs, and have friends
face it. Few shops will voluntarily migrate off of NT or any version
of Windows on a server. Microsoft did a really incredible job of
locking people into their solution, IIS. If you develop in ASP, you're

Chillisoft (sp?) supposedly makes an ASP workalike for Unix, but the
one report I've heard directly is that it is a pain. Don't know how
reliable that is, he was a Windows guy. :-)

What you *can* realistically do, if your manager is at least open to
learning, is to try not to do any *new* system develoment on Windows.
I sold it that way to one company, and they were like yeah, that makes
sense. Their front end webservers are still tied into IIS, but as
other systems are reimplemented over the past 3-4 years, a few have
been reimplemented in perl or python cgi, so they are now portable.

> My aim is to get Lunix running on an old box of theirs so that people 
> can at least successfully use the internet and check their mail, and see 
> where it goes from there.  At the very least, I can be confident that 
> Linux will run a tad faster than windoze if it's set up right.  I have a 
> _great_deal_to_learn_ before then though!

Yes, you don't want to make the mistake I did and install Linux, with
you as the person responsible, before you're really ready. I muddled
through thanks to friends and lists like this and such, but it was
touch and go sometimes. Felt that way, anyway.

> >  my best
> > suggestion would be to make linux as simple and non-scary as possible.
> Fingers crossed.  I think to be successful in my environment it would 
> have to work right first time... you know, that, "have to be three times 
> better to be considered at least as good..".

It almost always *does* work right the first time, and every time
after that. IF (note capitals!) you have a skilled administrator. If a
novice approaches it, it will likely turn out catastrophically. Things
are getting way easier than ever, but we are still probably 2-3 years
away from it being a plug-and-go system. I think it will get there,
though, eventually.

> >  Now this may be a gross generalization, but I imagine that most
> > academics would be impatient with having to learn a lot before being
> > able to use their machine
> Yep :)
> > they should be able to pick up something like KDE or GNOME
> > without much trouble--don't you think?
> :) I definately think they could.  I think everyone's right, it's just a 
> matter of removing the fear of something new.  And combatting the idea 
> that if it's not paid for it must be no good. :(

I hate to go against some elements of the Linux crowd, but Linux is
not yet as easy as Windows. Within some areas it is, which is an
improvement from my early days when configuring X was a rite of
passage. But we still have a ways to go, I'm afraid.

Dr. David C. Merrill                     http://www.lupercalia.net
Linux Documentation Project                   david at lupercalia.net
Collection Editor & Coordinator            http://www.linuxdoc.org

The software empire that was built on a C:\ prompt, Microsoft has done for
software what McDonald's did for the hamburger.
	--PC Magazine, June 1997

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