[ubuntu-uk] Project Proposal - ?Biobuntu?

Michael G. Wilkins michael at nackles.freeserve.co.uk
Sat Oct 14 15:14:44 BST 2006

    Hello everyone on the list - a new member here, living in rural Pembrokeshire where I am 
happily retired with a younger wife, older malt whiskey, 5 Border Collies, 2 cats and chickens 
in the orchard.  Maybe a brief intro before some ?Biobuntu? comments?  

    I am an old code pusher/scientist - scientific programming, physics, graphics, etc  etc. [The 
horrors of Fortran77!].  I did do some bsd and Silicon Graphics (purple machine)  unix back 
in the early '80s - '86 or so, but thats mostly all gone now, so basically I treat myself (and want 
to be regarded as) as a Linux noob.  It is far friendlier than I remember all that stuff being back 
then ... vast improvements in useability and effectiveness have obviously occured.  And I even 
still recognize some of the words!  Nowadays my interests run more to Guild Wars and Oblivion, 
and modifying and fiddling with my PC, rather than code pushing.
    Why am I moving to Ubuntu? [Dual booting XP Pro and Ubuntu Dapper right now].  I HATE 
Windoze! And Vista promises to be a real monster.  And one can buy a lot of single malts and 
dog food for its price!
    A special 'Hello' to Tony Arnold, University of Manchester, simply because of his location.  
1959, old EE Building, U Manchester is where I was first seduced by computers -  the old Ferranti 
Mercury machine.  Two 8kb disk drives (Wow!), stone tablet input, illuminated manuscript output, 
racks of glowing 6SN7 double triodes ... .  A real computer!  I was an undergrad over in Physics, 
Schuster Building?  Happy memories!  [Got my degree in '61 and immediately left for the U.S.A. 
as part of the 'brain drain', had a semi-decent education and career over there for 40+ years].  
    I would have loved to have volunteered to help at Linux World somehow (we very occasionally 
visit London) but that time frame is out, and anyway I have some  minor difficulties with travel (like 
wheelchair, oxygen ...).  But if there is maybe a way I could help the ubuntu cause, at least please 
ask ... .   [Especially if it involves killing Orcs, Trolls and Goblins!]

    ?Biobuntu?   O.K., WHY another release based on another (admittedly good) distro?  Most 
potential users of the Vigyaan live CD are, imho, not going to be opening it up and  modifying 
codes.  They want packages that work "out of the box" and with all the gory OS details hidden. 
Imho, anyway.   And why should the originators of all the separate packages be in favour of and 
support yet another distro basis?  Knoppix is not, imho, too friendly, but it is hidden from the user 
in Vigyaan, and does the job reasonably well.

    ?Question? on the side - anyone know a ref to a decent and fairly objective review and 
comparision of a number of the current live cd distros?  Friendliness, useability, bugginess (is 
that a word? - you all know what I mean!), modifiability, blah blah blah?  By the way, on the topic  
of distros, a friend turned up the other day with a copy of mepis.  I was not too impressed with the 
package itself, except for the documentation!  Which I think  was first-rate!  Ubuntu could maybe, 
imho, learn from the mepis style and content of docs??

    Back to ?Biobuntu? 
    There are any number of fields where a collection of packages, comparable to Vigyaan but 
running on Ubuntu, might be useful/valuable.  At random: 
         - Statistics (Stabuntu?), emphasis on ecological, zoological, biological - spatial patterns, 
            clustering, dynamics, classification  ... .   
         - Or Pure Mathematics: topology (folding, knots, polyhedra,..); cellular automata; number 
            theory; tensor calculus (thats symbolic stuff); graph theory; some basic symbolic maths?,  ... .
         - Or an area I came across recently - systems and compartmental, state variable modelling, in  
            biology and medicine.  Korn & Korn's Desire; the NIH compartmental modelling codes (name 
            escapes me);  s-plane transfer function modelling; etc etc .... .  Since a lot of the users might be 
            medical  and  clinical, you really need to insulate them from the OS details!  Ubuntu may be ideal here.

    The key here, I think, is to get 1 or 2 captive experts in the area, who can reliably advise on packages .... .  
Plus someone to handle all the (massive?) paperwork!

             Anyway, Hello People!

             Off to a Maddy Prior concert!

                 Michael aka Nackles
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