[vox-if] Re: [LUGOD] Installfest
Christopher James McKenzie
mckenzie at cs.ucdavis.edu
Mon Apr 30 11:20:41 PDT 2007
Michael Ziser wrote:
> Hi, Chris:
> My babysitter just canceled on me at the last minute, and I won't be
> able to come today at all. I am very sorry to cancel my appointment,
> and I hope that it will help you clear some of the traffic you
> mentioned. I will be back next month, I hope, to install Linux on an
Many children have come to the installfest before (one of which I gave
my camera to take pictures and ended up on the ground 1 second later ...
Anyway, if you would like to bring your kid, we have a demo machine
loaded with educational software and even games if you give me enough
I will be perfectly willing to try to accommodate the needs ot children
in whatever limited capacity I can.
> old laptop (Pentium II, 333mhz, 160mb Ram, currently running Win98).
> I started doing some research into Linux distributions, but it was a bit
> overwhelming. I want something for the new Linux user, need not be too
> sophisticated, computer will mainly be used as a "beater" web surfing
> device. I settled on Xubuntu, but that was more out of exhaustion than
> thoroughness! Do you have any recommendations for me, so I can come
> next month with a distro burned to disc? No rush at all....I imagine
> you are quite busy this weekend!
Xubuntu is great for the hardware described. Their are faster solutions
out there, but after a while, the amount of work needed to get something
working far exceeds the performance gain.
I wrote these things below before writing the thing above. They are
valuable, so I am sending them too. They answer some of the concerns I
saw above. I present them as a FAQ
Why is software so slow on my laptop. It wasn't slow when I got the
laptop, why is it now?
A currently fashionable paradigm of computer programming is to not worry
about writing slow programs because computers will get faster by the
time you are done writing it. That is why lots of stuff will not run
very fast on old computers like yours.
Why is the linux world so confusing?
We had a casual conversation about this during the installfest.
Basically, some of the linux community is intentionally shooting itself
in the foot.
The root of the problem is that quite a number of projects were not
started out as serious ventures, but as hobbiest projects that PhD
students, and seasoned programmers did - much like how people restore cars.
However, just like in car restoration, the hobby soon produced very
respectful works. More people got on board, and many years hence, these
become large products that provide enterprise solutions.
The biggest problem is the creation. They were created first and
foremost as a pasttime for smart and talented computer programmers - not
to respond directly to a market need (as done in commercial software).
As a result, there are dozens of projects (such as linux distributions)
that look nearly identical or are similar to each other.
Understanding this, that it is because some man or woman wanted to know
how to say make a linux distribution, did a good job at it, and is now
maintaining it by momentum, makes understanding your options much
easier. And depending how deeply you get involved, you will see this
fact manifested in many interesting ways.
That said, the current dominating force is Ubuntu. I don't want to
confuse you too much so I'll try to make it as little information as
In the mid to late 1990's, there was a difficult distribution to use
called "debian". A number of important people in the Linux community
supported this distribution and a number of very talented people worked
In the 2000's a multi-millionaire named Mark Shuttleworth got involved
in a project to
. produce an easy to use linux distribution
. produce a linux distribution for almost any hardware
. produce a linux distribution for almost any language
. set up an organization that will give the distribution away to needy
They took "debian" and created "Ubuntu" out of it - which the debian
So now we have, chronologically speaking:
Debian ----> Ubuntu.
Ubuntu, however, was able to be reconfigured and most importantly
repackaged, and resold, as something else under certain legal guidelines.
This is where things get really confusing.
Ubuntu forked into many projects including "Kubuntu" "Xubuntu" and
"Edubuntu". They are all based on "Ubuntu". Ubuntu as stated above is
based on "Debian".
As a result there are now "flavors" of linux. Many of the
"distributions" can be traced back chronologically to a small handful of
distributions available in the 90's. They are said to be of the
"flavor" of the source distribution.
> Many Thanks,
> Mike Ziser
> On 4/27/07, *Christopher James McKenzie* <mckenzie at cs.ucdavis.edu
> <mailto:mckenzie at cs.ucdavis.edu>> wrote:
> Hi Michael,
> My name is Christopher McKenzie and I'm LUGOD's installfest coordinator
> for tomorrow's event. I saw your RSVP come through and that you
> requested a 3 PM time slot. Given the traffic load for the day however,
> I was wondering if I could reschedule you earlier at about noon. If
> not, I'll see you at three tomorrow. Thanks.
More information about the vox-if