Story: Open source debate brought to a close - for nowTotal Replies: 4
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Jun 01, 2006
10:01 PM EDT
I'm aware of some of what's mentioned here. The Birmingham Library trial is local to where I live. The problem they're having is with SuSE and its messed up way of accessing USB sticks and floppy disks. Often the pc won't unmount drives automatically and users just don't listen so don't unmount them properly and once this happens, SuSE more or less loses the ability to read another USB stick or floppy drive without being rebooted. I've come across this myself using SuSE and frankly it's embarassing that it gets into such a mess over something so small. (To be fair, most of the time when you unmount it properly it still gets into a mess). I've had to cancel installs because of this problem. The original trial was supposed to be 1500 SuSE desktops, now scaled back to 150 and that's looking doubtful. A real and serious shame. OSS kneecapped at the starting gate. They chose the wrong distro, with sad results.

In the larger picture, vested interests play a part and certain people are guilty of blatant nest feathering. It's a sorry sorry state. It was a given that the UK would mess up OSS. Just as it's a given that when the time comes Microsoft will be shown the welcome mat and allowed to sign more multi-year deals with all our public offices. A sad and sloppy nation.

The OSS trials that have been happening in various parts of the UK are by and large not talking to each other, this is down to the partisan state of local politics and absurd and perverted way the UK makes people behave in order to get next years funding. People at management level get together and argue about how many biscuits are on the plate (literally), argue about who gets which seat at the table, who's chairing the meeting and then proceed to attempt to nobble each others projects and refuse to work with each other. This isn't true across the whole country, but I know someone who sits on a lot of these meetings and I hear things that would make your hair stand on end. It is truly nauseating and demoralising.

The opportunities that have been wasted are heartbreaking. The way OSS has been sabotaged, whether knowingly or otherwise, is a tragedy. Organisations too busy deliberately leaving other organisations out. Deliberately rigging things so their company/favourite supplier gets preferential treatment. Money to be made chaps, plenty of room at the trough, Government throwing money at OSS in the way that Government always throws money at IT - by the cart load, largely without any real accountability or any idea of what to expect. (Perhaps they have this vague idea that it will save money so are enthusiastic because if true, they can slash IT budgets in the Gov' sponsored sector).

As for the poor and those on the wrong side of the "digital divide"? Who?

Jun 02, 2006
6:53 AM EDT
That is very sad sal...the usb sticks that is. Very sad. You'd think something like this would be relatively easy with HAL in the kernel now...I mean, I know of at least 10 distros that handle USB stick insertion better than this. You'd think a commercial version would have this whipped.

Sad indeed.

Jun 02, 2006
9:45 AM EDT
Thanks for the background, Sal. I hope this is read and digested by those who want to increase the usage of GNU/Linux. If the tools you are trying to promote are not suitable to task, you are not helping the cause. Insist on testing, and make sure you are not making empty promises.


Jun 02, 2006
9:49 AM EDT
Let's not even get started on how the current linux darling, Ubuntu, borks printing by disabling the CUPS web interface for "security reasons." GAAAHHH. Stoopid, because they do not provide a usable alternative. Even the KDE printer manager, which is pretty good, has glitches. Don't even bother with the gnome printer manager; better to stick with pen and paper.

OTOH, once you have poop-canned the useless gnome printer manager and restored the CUPS web interface, and installed the Gutenprint drivers, happiness will return.

Jun 02, 2006
12:36 PM EDT

Or you can use the pclinuxos printer manager in the pclos control center which operates as front end to cups and have magic happen before your eyes and not give two squirts about how anyone else wrecks the function :)

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