[Ubuntu PA] Fwd: questions about OSS usage at NTR

Kevin Valentine kevin.valentine at gmail.com
Tue Jul 15 01:39:23 BST 2008

Hello everyone,

I posted a question to the Ntr_Staff mailing list about the use of OSS 
at NTR. Specifically about the use of Ubuntu (see way down below). Steve 
Feldman gave a sobering and well phrased reply. I thought I should 
forward it here for potential discussion. I believe we're addressing 
items 2 and 3 by making a presence at NTR regularly. Can't say much 
about 4. Haven't used lin/win modems. Just know that some are supported 
by Linux (linmodems.org)

What I really want to focus on is item #1. It seems that NTR must cater 
to the needs of their pirating clients. I'm sure they didn't intend for 
it to sound this way but aren't they condoning software piracy. I 
understand they're just being practical. If they know their clients are 
going to install pirated MS Office to replace OO when they get home, 
then why not send them home with Ubuntu so they can replace it with 
pirated Windows? At least they'll get to see Ubuntu for a little while. 
Heck, some may even keep it on there.

Any comments?


-------- Original Message --------
Subject: 	Re: [Ntr_Staff] questions about OSS usage at NTR
Date: 	Mon, 14 Jul 2008 11:34:56 -0400
From: 	Steven Feldman <steve at ntronline.org>
Reply-To: 	NTR Staff <ntr_staff at listsrv.ntronline.org>
To: 	'NTR Staff' <ntr_staff at listsrv.ntronline.org>
References: 	<f1a29efa0807120936g58f56787t51c4a622ba7c94c0 at mail.gmail.com>

Hello Kevin,

I can't speak for the images in its current state, but it's been my 
intention and responsibility to give the images a thorough review and 
keep up with maintenance (hopefully I’ll be able to start that soon). My 
main goal will be to ensure all software is up to date and legitimately 
distributed by us. Of course, open source will best serve our needs 
there, followed by freeware when necessary, and reluctantly the windows 
OS licenses which we have to pay for.

Ubuntu is a fantastic distribution – I’ve been using it myself for a 
couple of years. But a few things make it suboptimal for our images at 
the moment:

1. Compatibility with peer-owned software is limited. Wine is great but 
is not automatic or fully compatible. It’s my understanding many of our 
customers look for a pirated copy of MS office as soon as they get the 
machine home. They also expect to be able to pirate other media 
applications, games, etc. Further, I have little expectation of our 
clientele to be sympathetic to the legal & ethical issues surrounding 

2. With limited peer use of linux, there is one less significant support 
system available for new PC users. As we can expect much of our 
clientele to be new computer users, new internet users, and sometimes 
even have poor literacy, typical methods for acquiring knowledge about 
linux are less readily workable.

3. Knowledge & support in NTR is currently inconsistent.

4. Software Modems. We use a terribly large and unreliable variety, 
linux doesn’t always play nice with ‘em.

I’m well aware these are mostly surmountable problems, and I’m also 
aware of most of the good reasons for using ubuntu or other linux 
distros. Lowering our costs and potentially reducing support 
requirements for some of our placed machines would be huge. Of course, 
the principles behind OSS & the Ubuntu developers are not lost on a 
socially-minded non-profit like NTR. BUT.. such work is relatively low 
priority compared to other current responsibilities, I have no choice 
but to decline for now and reconsider in the future. Macintosh computers 
don’t move well at NTR for mostly the same reasons.

I’d love any input from our staff or volunteers.


Steven Feldman

Tech-Redi at NonProfit Technology Resources

1524 Brandywine St.

Philadelphia, PA 19130

mobile: 267-671-8448

office: 215-564-6686

fax: 215-564-6642


-----Original Message-----
From: ntr_staff-bounces at listsrv.ntronline.org 
[mailto:ntr_staff-bounces at listsrv.ntronline.org] On Behalf Of Kevin 
Sent: Saturday, July 12, 2008 12:37 PM
To: NTR Staff
Subject: [Ntr_Staff] questions about OSS usage at NTR

I know the NTR staff is most likely too busy to fully address any long

winded questions right now but I just wanted to throw this one out

there for you to think about. I continue to be very curious about the

use of Open Source Software (OSS) at NTR. I have many questions but

I'll start with just one for now - and it's heavily loaded ;)

What does a Linux distribution like Ubuntu require for NTR to use it?

Put another way, what is Ubuntu lacking?

Best regards,

Kevin Valentine

NOTICE: Replies to this list go to ALL STAFF


Ntr_Staff mailing list

Ntr_Staff at listsrv.ntronline.org


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