[Ubuntu PA] questions about OSS usage at NTR
freelancer317 at gmail.com
Tue Jul 15 18:23:51 BST 2008
Thanks for sharing this. Let's talk about it!
1. It does make it pretty clear what challenges Ubuntu and Linux face. A
lot of the problem is image. After all, why on earth would anyone need to
rush right out and get a pirated copy of M$ Office when there is OpenOffice
and other alternatives available for free and already installed, legally?
With the exception of games, there are open source packages in the
repositories that can do almost anything that people could need. The
consumer doesn't know about the alternatives, and they won't research the
options. You and I will, but the general public doesn't have the gumption
to look for alternatives unless it is already installed AND right in front
of their face. Perhaps a "Tour of the computer" package that kicks up when
first started (like Windows does), to show the people what OpenOffice is and
where to find it, how to play music, how to access the web, how to setup
mail, etc. Is there anything out in the community like this?
2. Peer support is somewhat of an issue. Ubuntu's internet based community
support is pretty darn good, however, it does nothing if people can't access
the internet for help. Is there a way to make support even more
3. I think that you're right, Kevin.
4. Hardware issues, while getting better all the time, are a monkey on our
back as well. The big problem with the WinModems, are without knowing which
models (and with donations they will always be training) there will frequent
problems with the installations. Also, if these folks are connecting
through dial-up we have to think about the software package downloads and
update issues (synaptic and long download times) that may be a concern.
2008/7/15 Kevin Valentine <kevin.valentine at gmail.com>:
> For any of you interested in following NTR's responses to my question,
> here's a direct link to the thread:
> For any of you unfamiliar with what NTR is and what we have done with them:
> On Tue, Jul 15, 2008 at 8:39 AM, Kevin Valentine
> <kevin.valentine at gmail.com> wrote:
> > 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
> > it here for potential discussion. I believe we're addressing items 2 and
> > by making a presence at NTR regularly. Can't say much about 4. Haven't
> > lin/win modems. Just know that some are supported by Linux (
> > What I really want to focus on is item #1. It seems that NTR must cater
> > the needs of their pirating clients. I'm sure they didn't intend for it
> > 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?
> > least they'll get to see Ubuntu for a little while. Heck, some may even
> > it on there.
> > Any comments?
> > -kevin
> > -------- 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
> > 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
> > followed by freeware when necessary, and reluctantly the windows OS
> > which we have to pay for.
> > Ubuntu is a fantastic distribution – I've been using it myself for a
> > of years. But a few things make it suboptimal for our images at the
> > 1. Compatibility with peer-owned software is limited. Wine is great but
> > 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
> > piracy.
> > 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
> > 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
> > most of the good reasons for using ubuntu or other linux distros.
> > 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
> > the future. Macintosh computers don't move well at NTR for mostly the
> > reasons.
> > I'd love any input from our staff or volunteers.
> > Thanks,
> > 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
> > http://www.ntronline.org
> > -----Original Message-----
> > From: ntr_staff-bounces at listsrv.ntronline.org
> > [mailto:ntr_staff-bounces at listsrv.ntronline.org] On Behalf Of Kevin
> > Valentine
> > 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
> > http://listsrv.ntronline.org/mailman/listinfo/ntr_staff
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> > 6:47 AM
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