OS Tasting

A pic worths a thousand words. There are a lot of (linu)x-based distros, most of them oriented to specific user or application. This interesting page collects a lot of representative shots.



Desktop GNUs

GNUs -mainly Linux- state of the arts for servers could be entitled as great. But that highlight not shows the same face for desktop usage. There are many issues to be confronted before we can see a really mature approach in migrating to linux environment. They can be organized in four main items, as we see on many posts of experienced admins, by the way, the most crystal approach: migration, stability, simplicity, comfort. Migration deals with the technical field: moving the user and his environment to this new gadget (thanks, wine; not wine for drinking, but the open application that is not an emulator; must include int this topic the learning curve fact). Stability, mainly with applications; if has been seen that the base OS handles tasks as a rock, is not the same with all applications. Comfort, with the maturity and easiness focus of task handling. The four issues lack off in some way. Not as a constant, but as everything, each case is to be handled with most care.

Years ago, we think man will live on the moon, by Y2k. Now we live another type of revolution: internet. We forgot the moon. Same way, on the desktop, we may probably not replace just the OS on final users' computers. Maybe the approach is based on powerful mainframes, generating desktops on dumb terminals. Simple, manageable, echologic. See the DiscoverStation solution as an example.

Anyway, there are new resources on the net, u r not alone. Check them out and you will find the named state of the arts has evolved. Here are a couple of them. You can google for more and be surprised.


Estracted from http://www.swlink.net/~styma/LinuxForTheMasses.shtml:

* Linux/Fedora can supply the functionality that the end user needs once it is set up. It can do this more reliably than Windows.

* The application interface for the Linux end user tools (office, k3b, games, etc.) is similar enough to the windows interface to make the transition relatively painless.

* In it's current state, Fedora needs a technically savvy person to get it set up to a state that the end user can do things. Many of the issues revolve around licensing issues, such as the installs of xmms-mp3 and k3b-mp3. Some of the Firefox plugin issues fall into this category.

* A tool, similar in concept to the wine-tools, would be useful in the distribution. It would have options like "use MP3 format files", and if selected would add the livna repo's and check if k3b, xmms, and others with -mp3 versions were installed. If so, it would yum down the mp3 versions of these RPM's. The same would be true for enabling Java in the browser. Nothing I did could not be done by an automated tool.

* Non-technical users need a support structure to use their Linux machines effectively. I suspect this is mostly true if one is migrating the users away from Windows. If they know how to do something in windows, it is easier to switch back than to go through the learning curve on Linux. The question remains, what do the non-technical Windows users do when they get stuck? I suspect they either thrash around till they get something to work or just give up. I do not have good data on this and don't see how to get it. As Dr. Heisenberg discovered, measuring things affects the object being measured.

* It is possible that some of the procedures used could have been done better. "How do I" requests I got were often things I don't do often so I researched the issue to supply an answer.


VNC tools mainframe-like terminals

What about buying a 50 bugs Pentium-I used computers(32 Mb RAM, 1Gb HD), and using the last Fedora Core 4 release, or Sarge? You can do that with linux VNCServer. VNC, on linux has the ability of creating desktop environments for each client. Here is an example with FC4.

1. Install vncserver on linux server. Install vncviewer from RealVNC on clients. You need 128Mb RAM on server for each client.
2. Create client entries like the line examples on /etc/sysconfig/vncserver

VNCSERVERARGS[1]="-geometry 800x600"

3. su as each user. Run vncserver. It will create the ~/.vnc structure.
4. Edit ~/.vnc/xstartup:

exec /etc/X11/xinit/xinitrc
[ -x /etc/vnc/xstartup ] && exec /etc/vnc/xstartup
[ -r $HOME/.Xresources ] && xrdb $HOME/.Xresources
xsetroot -solid grey
vncconfig -iconic &
xterm -geometry 80x24+10+10 -ls -title "$VNCDESKTOP Desktop" &
exec gnome-session &

5. Check your firewall rules! Start service. Connect from clients to SERVER_IP:5901 (each client is enumerated from 5901).

This method allows you to have a lot of clients working on his own homes. Startup scripts, allowable programs, quotas. But thats a KDE or GNOME issue.