FLOSS PC Repair Shop

Amichai Rotman amichai at iglu.org.il
Fri Jan 2 17:53:19 UTC 2015

Thanks Jason - for your comprehensive reply!

I'd appreciate some more specific scrips and/or CLI examples for gddrescue
and post-install bash scripts that make the necessary changes to the
vanilla stock Ubuntu installation.



On Thu, Jan 1, 2015 at 6:51 AM, Jason Sauders <jasauders at gmail.com> wrote:

> This is a great idea, but I would advise that a few things are kept in
> mind. Windows users will still likely be the majority of a potential
> customer base. That said, it doesn't detract from the roots and the real
> point of a FLOSS related computer shop. After all, part of the point of
> open source is to be open minded. Alternatives exist, and embracing that
> open minded stance on accepting customers of all walks will only help you
> from a reputation standpoint. I do tech work on the side, and on my web
> site clear as day I have a dedicated page for Windows, Apple, and Linux.
> Another thing I do is I have a PDF I wrote up in LibreOffice Writer. It
> has a list of the common programs installed on the computer with a short
> 2-3 line description of each. That way people can use it as a quick
> reference file to see what the Ubuntu equivalent for say "Windows Movie
> Maker" is. I put this PDF in /etc/skel in the Desktop folder, so that way
> new user accounts that get created also get the same file on their Desktop.
> Of course, they can delete it if they wish, but I figured this was a nice
> touch as it helps bridge the gap of what the heck Brasero is, or
> Clementine, etc.
> As far as tools and utilities, there are some I highly recommend. TestDisk
> and PhotoRec are obvious ones. Sometimes people are careless about their
> data, or perhaps they had an accidental whatever-it-was that caused a major
> partition/file loss issue. Of course, I say up front there are *absolutely*
> zero guarantees with any sort of data recovery work, but I'll always try as
> much as I can for the customer. Recently I worked with a former co-worker
> to get some pictures recovered. They thought they were missing about 100
> photos, but I found nearly 3,500 that they were missing. That was quite an
> emotional happy-moment for her. ;)
> Gddrescue is a life saver as well. When a system boots up slow, before I
> even bother troubleshooting it, I boot to an Ubuntu Live USB/CD and check
> the drive with the Disks utility first. At a somewhat alarming rate, often
> times the hard drives are failing, hence the slowness of the OS. I'll
> purchase (after discussing options with the owner, of course) a drive of
> matching/larger size, and do a gddrescue of the drive. Gddrescue works by
> retrying bad sectors any number of times you specify (i.e. the -r3 flag
> will try 3 times, if all 3 reads fail, it writes a 0 and moves on) in an
> attempt to rescue the drive. Again, no guarantees, as sometimes the drive
> is too far gone to recover, but sometimes this is the golden ticket. Make
> sure you have data backed up before attempting this (I just copy the data
> while in the live session if at all possible) and you quadruple check (via
> serial numbers, etc) what is sda, sdb, etc. Gddrescue is in the universe
> repo.
> Clonezilla is pretty self explanatory as well. Sometimes it's necessary to
> clone a system, whether they want to migrate their system to a larger hard
> drive or whatever the case may be. GParted is likely to get lumped in here
> as well if you need to do any partition based work. But of course, ensure
> data is backed up before-hand. You never know when something is going to
> throw a fit, especially when working with the heart of where the data lies;
> the storage drive.
> I'd also familiarize yourself with different products out there as much as
> possible. Recently I added home backup/file servers to my list of services.
> While dozens exist, it's kind of hard to deny that Synology is a very
> attractive option. Likewise, I also have OpenMediaVault in my arsenal of
> recommendations. OMV is rather FreeNAS-ish, but Debian based with an
> exceptional web based UI and it works wonderfully on older hardware. That
> way I can offer a pre-boxed solution or more of a DIY (but I'd happily set
> it up for them) solution, provided they either agree to a custom build that
> I can spec for them or have an available tower to utilize. I frequently
> spec out systems on NewEgg so I have an idea offhand of what a custom built
> NAS would run them if they were interested.
> It's understandable for people to be a bit hesitant about having a totally
> new operating system (to them) installed on their computer. As Scott
> mentioned, being able to provide them with resources to getting help, such
> as the forums, is key. That way people don't feel alone when it comes to
> dealing with issues. The last thing anybody in their right mind would like
> is an operating system on their computer where, in their world, only one
> person can help; you. Of course, we all know that's not true as multitudes
> of resources exist online for assistance, but they don't know that. This is
> new to them. I think it's important to not push alternative resources in a
> way that makes them feel like once you're done with the job, all ties
> between you+customer are cut. I more-so push online resources as an aide
> since I don't want people to get the wrong impression that I just want
> their business one time and won't care about them whatsoever into the
> future, but at the same token, deep down, I also don't want a flooded inbox
> first thing Saturday morning either. ;)
> Making a decision about what specific distribution/desktop environment you
> want to utilize is also key. I quite like using stock Ubuntu, but let's
> face it, Unity is not the lightest kid on the block. Sometimes people are
> wondering how they can re-utilize their old XP box. If they don't want
> their main system touched, but are curious about Linux for their old system
> to check out, what will you use? Me personally, I use Ubuntu and Xubuntu
> nearly exclusively (though Ubuntu MATE certainly has my interest, but I'm
> hanging on to Xubuntu for those lighter tasks for the time being). Of
> course, some people may prefer the idea/looks/feel of Mint, elementary OS,
> or insert-30-other-distros-here, and if that's the case go with what they
> prefer. I would be careful about going too deep into the distro exploration
> world of things though as it can very easily seem overwhelming to a new
> user. Keep it simple until *they* specify otherwise. After all, you're
> going to be a FLOSS shop, right? It's not just a Windows world out there,
> and likewise, it's not just an Ubuntu world out there either. ;)
> Hope this helps!
> -J
> On Wed, Dec 31, 2014 at 3:01 PM, Amichai Rotman <amichai at iglu.org.il>
> wrote:
>> Hi All,
>> I am about to open my own PC Repair Shop in my neighborhood and I'd like
>> to use FLOSS as much as possible.
>> I will repair PCs and Laptops and I intend to promote FLOSS to my
>> customers (GNU/Linux in general and Ubuntu in particular).
>> I would like to hear your thoughts / ideas / advice etc.:
>>    - Tools to use
>>    - What to install on the server
>>    - Which programs and apps to promote to new Linux user for faster
>>    adaptation
>>    - Resources I could use: Wikis, Knowledge Bases etc.
>>    - Where to get Posters, stickers, stuffed Tuxes and the like to put
>>    on display and sell
>> You get the idea....
>> Thanks!
>> Amichai.
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