Where Do YOU Send Netbook Users For Help?
As a Linux evangelist, I find myself in an interesting quandary. There are many new netbooks being sold with Linux pre-installed, but often the way Linux is installed is not what I’m used to seeing. I’m not sure if that’s a good thing or a bad thing. I understand the reasoning for custom interfaces, but it has some disadvantages. Love it or hate it, as a Linux community we have to be able to handle these things gracefully, or we lose all the potential impact we gain with pre-installed Linux.
Why Companies Customize the GUI
- Netbooks are trying to fill a specific gap between notebook computers and handheld devices. A simple interface to access full programs makes sense.
- With a standard “Start” menu, new users might assume they could install anything they download from the Internet... for Windows
- Fewer software options means fewer technical support issues
- And lastly, Linux makes it easy to customize, so it’s tempting to do so strictly for brand recognition
Why This Frustrates Linux Geeks
I can only speak for myself on this matter, but I can imagine many of us feel the same way. When a user asks a question about the Eee version of Xandros, or the Aspire version of Linpus -- the question almost becomes unique to that machine as opposed to a general Linux question. Sure, the Eee uses a customized version of Xandros, which is based on Debian, but once it’s gone through those revision levels, most issues are Eee Xandros specific.
I often struggle when helping users of these new netbooks, because even though it’s Linux, it’s still foreign to me. Yes, I usually manage to point people in the right direction, but it turns out to me more challenging than questions regarding standard, common distributions. How does the wireless tray app work in Ubuntu? I gotcha covered. In Fedora? Same deal. In Xandros EeePC? Well, it’s a weird combination of 2 applications that both sit in the task bar. It’s almost familiar, but not quite.
Don’t get me wrong -- I’m happy vendors are pre-installing Linux. I’m not even angry that the versions are highly customized. It just takes more learning on the part of Linux geeks that get asked support questions. I’m curious, how do the Linux Journal readers feel about the new GUI interfaces on Linux netbooks? Are they a wise move by vendors, or are the straight up Linux installs with Gnome or KDE a better decision?
Practical Task Scheduling Deployment
One of the best things about the UNIX environment (aside from being stable and efficient) is the vast array of software tools available to help you do your job. Traditionally, a UNIX tool does only one thing, but does that one thing very well. For example, grep is very easy to use and can search vast amounts of data quickly. The find tool can find a particular file or files based on all kinds of criteria. It's pretty easy to string these tools together to build even more powerful tools, such as a tool that finds all of the .log files in the /home directory and searches each one for a particular entry. This erector-set mentality allows UNIX system administrators to seem to always have the right tool for the job.
Cron traditionally has been considered another such a tool for job scheduling, but is it enough? This webinar considers that very question. The first part builds on a previous Geek Guide, Beyond Cron, and briefly describes how to know when it might be time to consider upgrading your job scheduling infrastructure. The second part presents an actual planning and implementation framework.
Join Linux Journal's Mike Diehl and Pat Cameron of Help Systems.
Free to Linux Journal readers.View Now!
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- Stunnel Security for Oracle
- The Firebird Project's Firebird Relational Database
- Murat Yener and Onur Dundar's Expert Android Studio (Wrox)
- SUSE LLC's SUSE Manager
- Managing Linux Using Puppet
- My +1 Sword of Productivity
- Non-Linux FOSS: Caffeine!
- Google's SwiftShader Released
- Doing for User Space What We Did for Kernel Space
- SuperTuxKart 0.9.2 Released
With all the industry talk about the benefits of Linux on Power and all the performance advantages offered by its open architecture, you may be considering a move in that direction. If you are thinking about analytics, big data and cloud computing, you would be right to evaluate Power. The idea of using commodity x86 hardware and replacing it every three years is an outdated cost model. It doesn’t consider the total cost of ownership, and it doesn’t consider the advantage of real processing power, high-availability and multithreading like a demon.
This ebook takes a look at some of the practical applications of the Linux on Power platform and ways you might bring all the performance power of this open architecture to bear for your organization. There are no smoke and mirrors here—just hard, cold, empirical evidence provided by independent sources. I also consider some innovative ways Linux on Power will be used in the future.Get the Guide