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Re: Hurd CDs

From: Ivan Malone
Subject: Re: Hurd CDs
Date: Tue, 01 Sep 2009 22:18:55 +0100

On Tue, 2009-09-01 at 22:17 +0100, Ivan Malone wrote:
> On Mon, 2009-08-31 at 21:35 +0200, olafBuddenhagen@gmx.net wrote: 
> Hi,
> On Sat, Aug 29, 2009 at 07:26:56PM +0100, Ivan Malone wrote:
> > I'm betting my Business on Hurd.
> May I ask what exactly you are doing with the Hurd there? :-)
> -antrik-
> Sure Olaf, but its a bit complicated and I'm not sure my mind is fully
> here atm. Joys of Amsterdam.
> In short I started a small company, based on open source software, with
> a small grant from the government. We sell hardware and supply open
> source software to run them, everything from building machines for
> business's or us regular Joe's to installing Micro ITX sized machines in
> trucks for long haul truck drivers to keep in touch with family, manage
> multimedia, watch movies, make calls and so on. On top of that we help
> business with migration from Windows to Linux or assist start-up
> companies with obtaining what IT solutions they need at minimal cost to
> them. We look for problems where there appears only to be an acceptable
> or costly commercial solution and we attempt to present an alternative. 
> For example, I live in a faily average sized town town (for ireland). We
> have quite alot of taxi drivers. One Guy with a few cabs under him
> decided to bring in a system whereby, he had a nifty, easy to remember
> number, free-phone, the call always goes through to the taxi driver
> who's gps location is nearer relative to you and who is not currently
> on a call and taking into account fair use practices so each taxi driver
> is supposed to get a fair share in the so called "co-op". What he
> "supposibly" did was to pay a small fortune for the system (the hardware
> for the cabs and ISP charges, licence free's etc) - then he got about 20
> or so other cabs into this "co-op", for the privilige of been in the
> co-op the other taxi drivers had to pay a fee, that was not small :p,
> each week and found themselves working 3 days out of their week just to
> pay the fee's for the system. BUt they wouldn't leave because all the
> calls seamed to go to this guys company, so they couldn't afford to
> leave.
> I created a system based on all open source software and off the shelf
> hardware that would accomplish the same goals while avoiding licence
> problems and ISP fees. I gave all the hardware at cost price
> (non-profit) and the software, of course free. We didnt even charge for
> or time to do it. It will be uploaded soon too (i'm not the project
> maintainer, Bishop is and he's slow... you've not met bishop yet but
> he'll be floating around soon) 
> So, we're just an open source company? Right? Nah. Never that easy is
> it... Its our policy to give a fair deal and I think sometimes, in all
> of the world, we're the only ones trying to keep to that - so we sell
> all hardware for cost price (inc tax's), we dont sell software, we dont
> charge for our time or consultation fees (in relation to open source, if
> you go for microsoft, we will charge for the inconvience). We charge
> only Service contracts (for those that choose to keep their service with
> us, ie: pbx's, webhosting and so on) and what we make through grants and
> the selling of various hardware tidbits, dvd players, media-pc's,
> multi-touch tables, car computers, home automation, that kinda thing. If
> we can run it on open source, we'll use it. 
> Soon, (perhaps after christmas everything going well) we'll be beginning
> a test-project here too with some local schools. We'll be teaching
> programming skills, network and computer skills (also free) that will
> lead to professional qualifications over here (red hat, cisco, c/c++,
> database, graphics) and so on. The courses are set to follow along with
> the what they are currently doing in school, ie: Math, Science, Art,
> whatever. Again, everything based on open source and anything learned or
> developed will be based on open source. By the last year in school I'd
> like to have a percentage of the students who stuck it out at the level
> of Linux kernel hacker with a load of skills behind them before they go
> to college, if they choose to, and at the very least - moved many people
> away from the non-sense of non-o/s. This is happening first in some
> local schools and a base we've setup ourselves for weekend and night
> work (nope, i never sleep, neither do our staff - its a passion, not a
> job). But should we fall asleep thats ok because we've managed to
> convince some lecturers (that lectured me on open source in college) and
> others to donate time to the cause. 
> So where does hurd come in? - we're idealists. We like a challange and
> love to teach and Hurd presents something Linux doesn't. Its difficult
> to make waves in Linux, its huge, complex, illogical (to me) in some
> ways. Hurd is still young enough that hopefully, those we teach, will
> make an impact and those we convert who have the will make a
> contribution. 
> For the likes of some media devices, embedded devices, backoffice
> services, hosting services, limited real world applications Hurd has a
> place. 
> For example, one of my staff members is working on Multi-Touch and
> believes adamantly that Hurd would be a perfect host from which to begin
> coding a new window manager. She's made some modifications to X to be
> made better aware (and expect) multi-touch input, fractals and symbols
> and is currently tying with idea's for multi-user interfaces. If it
> continues on like it is I believe she either begin a new window manager
> or start to modify XFCE. Either way, it would be nice for Hurd to enter
> this graphical domain on equal terms as other operating systems. 
> A college graduate that is now donating his time to us also donated his
> 3 years masters project in college based on understanding (with the aid
> of 3 web cams) almost flawlessly sign language! Amazing project, rigged
> it up to festival and everything that was signed by my mate was read out
> by the computers. No, I dont speak sign, the only sign I know is not
> considered accepted public behaviour. 
> I'm betting my business on Hurd because;
>    * I promised (the non-tech-heads who give money to such lunatics as
> me) that I'd have something really special for them in two years time.
>    * I promised myself I wouldn't wear a suit and tie to work if I
> didn't want to anymore
>    * I'm an idealist who hates money, the idea of money, business, and
> all of that and would much rather live in a world without it, but knows
> right now we cant, so I'd rather spend my time programming, teaching,
> learning, sharing and coming up with some cool stuff than work for a
> database company again, or an accounting company, or god forbid,
> helpdesk or whatever.
>   * If Microsoft is a Dictatorship, Linux a democracy then Hurd is the
> underdog hippy who just wants to chill, take his time, develop in his
> own way. I'm a hippy. So umm. Yeah.
> Anyway, all joking aside, I'll make it all much much  clearer when I get
> home. To much drink here and I'm afraid I've talked crap for way to
> long.
> Regards,
> Ivan
> (wow. Just read the word count... i apologise for my long post :p again,
> i do tend to babble. )

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