[Techtalk] "I need to use Windows because ..."

Suzi Anvin suzi at anvin.org
Sun Aug 11 10:45:16 EST 2002

>>2) Data analysis tools.  I needs an SPSS (Statistical Package for the 
>>social sciences) clone for linux. 
> Did you look at R (as was suggested on grrls-only by Kathy)?  Will it do
> what you need?

Almost, not quite.  It is primarily a scripting language.  I need a 
database program that happens to do sophisticated multivariate analysis. 
  I was given a link to PSPP here as well, and when it is finished, it 
will be exactly what I'm looking for!  :)  I'm signing on to help with 
development there, willing to test and do whatever an novice programmer 
can do!  :)  Will write documentation in exchange for feature?

> No, it sucks to *you*.  I've installed Linux on a number of *very* new
> Toshiba and IBM laptops and got everything working relatively
> painlessly.

No dear, it sucks to the kernel hacker I'm married to, and several 
other's I've spoken to.  It's something I know is in active development 
for future kernel updates.  It is just, due to the nature of open source 
and the moving targets of laptop firmware, fundamentally a difficult 
field for open source.

> Er... yes, it does, if you tell it the flash card is there.  It will not
> autodetect it.  You have to create a mount point and add it to your
> /etc/fstab file.  Then, when you install the flash card you have to
> mount it.  It is treated just like another hard drive.

Been there, done that, didn't work.  It wouldn't mount.  I've tried 
fancier things than your instructions, gave up, asked others, asked 
people who write chunks of kernel, and with my firmware and the current 
kernel, there is no way.  Something incompatible with the way it treats 
ACIPP or something or another.. I forget the alphabet soup

>>drive support for things like rescue CD's
> Huh?  There.  Has been for a long time.  It was there in Red Hat 5.x. 
> Red Hat 7.3 comes with a little sysadmin's rescue CD.  What specifically
> are you looking to do?

Again, not with my particular laptop.  I'm pretty sure this isn't me and 
the people who advise me: the guy that WROTE syslinux and SuperRescue 
happens to be my spouse?  His rescue CD is the one that doesn't work? 
What happens is the USB CD drive can boot into the rescue CD's menu, 
then the rescue CD's OS cannot recognize the drive.  We've even 
recompiled and rewritten the kernels on the CD, and no dice. Luckily, 
network connections are often still available, so we've settled on 
copying a disk image to a server and mounting that instead.  :)  so 
there is a workaround for me, but doing it the natural way would be nice.

Laptops are a bit of a moving target, and that makes it harder for the 
developers to keep up with every firmware oversight and shortcut and 
every wierd piece of specialized hardware laptops use.  I understand the 
problem, and am willing to work around it, but that does not make it not 
exist.  It is a weakness on Linux, and even when working closely with 
developers, sometimes I can't get everything to work.  I still use 
Linux, I still usually prefer it to windows or I wouldn't be here trying 
to make things work.  But Linux is very much a work in progress and 
there are things that just aren't up to speed yet.  If it was, we could 
all go home...  :)

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