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

John Back johnaback at gmail.com
Sun Jul 20 17:41:29 BST 2008


With the advent of inexpensive netbooks running various distros of Linux and
the promise by Mark Shuttleworth of  Ubuntu/Remix Atom processor netbooks on
the horizon I am having trouble understanding the NTR mission of spending
hundreds of man hours on resurrecting old hardware to keep Microsoft
software in front of financially challenged people both young and old.
Providing inexpensive old Windows computers just encourages software piracy
since the NTR client base can't afford to got to Staples and buy a copy of
Office or any good gaming software for that matter.

I would posit that a paradigm shift by NTR from Windows to Ubuntu along with
training classes for the client base on how to use Ubuntu, Open Office,
GIMP, etc would create users interesting in using computers for productivity
and eliminate the need for pirated software. I am not a game player but I
have to believe there must be FOSS games for young people.


On Mon, Jul 14, 2008 at 8:39 PM, Kevin Valentine <kevin.valentine at gmail.com>

> 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?
> -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
> 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
> 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 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.
> 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
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