Frank Shute frank at esperance-linux.co.uk
Wed Jan 5 03:12:58 GMT 2005

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On Tue, Jan 04, 2005 at 02:53:11PM -0000, Jon Mercer wrote:
> We're really just agreeing on most of this stuff. I'm just saying I want
> an all singing all dancing no admin workstation for my parents to use
> without hassling me. You're more realistically saying that's not what it
> is.

That's what I want too...desperately. What's more to the point is that
there are 1000's upon 1000's of people who want a no admin workstation
but there seems to be no such thing on the market.

ATM, I've got pesky neighbours/family/friends galore asking for
assistance and I'm sure I'm not alone on this list. I've tried the
"I'm a *nix man and I don't really know my way around Windows".

Well that's perfectly true but I still feel like I'm leaving them in
the lurch and more importantly *they* feel like I'm leaving them in
the lurch!

The thing is I really don't mind helping them out. If you can't take
time to help your friends out then your life isn't worth living IMO.
Also help people out and one day they'll help you out, right?

I want to be able to offer them a computing platform that means:

1. Minimum amount of my time helping out
2. Minimum outlay to them. ie. use existing hardware
3. Minimum outlay to me :)

I think Apple hardware/software, irrespective of it's merits (and I'm
sure there are some;), rules itself out on the basis of 2 and Windows
with 1 (and 3).

Dual boot FreeBSD boxes remotely managed via ssh, using portupgrade, a
pile of scripts and cron jobs running a basic suite of software. Not
an original plan by any means but I think it's the only realistic way
for me to help out my friends short of getting to know Microsoft's
knowledge base inside out (I'd rather nail my tongue to the ceiling).

Anyway, I think I'll give it a go. I've got any number of willing
victi^H^H^Hguinea pigs and they're getting a bit desperate.

I want to work out the time and costs and see if it's the possible
basis of a business. It would be interesting to see how little time
could be spent on admin, after all FreeBSD has got a pretty good
toolset for automating lots of things. I suppose economies of scale
would come into it.

The unknown factor is how many people would take to a Unix machine,
would they care at all? I haven't the foggiest idea really, any
observations greatly appreciated.



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