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RE: [Fsfe-uk] Low cost computing for small business - Commentswanted

From: Daniel Hedley
Subject: RE: [Fsfe-uk] Low cost computing for small business - Commentswanted
Date: Mon, 15 Apr 2002 14:48:01 +0100

Many, many thanks for the feedback, Phil.

What I probably should have specified is why I'm trying to achieve this.

I work for a not-for-profity company offering IT services in the SE
London area to micro businesses and charities.  Many of these
organisations have little or no cash to spend on IT, and I am looking
for cheaper alternatives to the Microsoft OEM thing.  GPL or GNU is
important to me on an ethical level, but what I meant by free in this
instance is literally not having to pay for it or sign up to some
horrendous licensing scheme such as the Microsoft Open License, which is
what prompted the project in the first place. In this instance
availability of source code, though desirable, is a secondary

I'm looking at Mandrake and Lycoris (Redmond) principally, as these seem
to offer the best experience for the newbie and the best
interoperability with Windows (I know, I know ...).  My goal is to
produce a fully functional system that costs less than 500ukp per seat,
including quality hardware (ie Dell or similar).

If people are interested I can post progress reports to this list. It
could be an interesting case study for Linux in the SME, where I think
it has a real place, as (so far) most commercial Linux deployment has
taken place in the Corporate/Enterprise sector.

Penguins forever.

Dan Hedley.

-----Original Message-----
From: Philip Hands [mailto:address@hidden 
Sent: 15 April 2002 13:01
To: Daniel Hedley
Cc: address@hidden
Subject: Re: [Fsfe-uk] Low cost computing for small business -

On Mon, 2002-04-15 at 10:17, Daniel Hedley wrote:
> The problem:
> Computer software is too expensive for micro-businesses and charities 
> to be able to take full advantage of modern IT.
> Microsoft's virtual monopoly on desktop computer software and their 
> punitive license agreements mean that organisations become locked into

> endless upgrade cycles without reaping any real benefit.
> The proposed solution:
> To source or assemble a complete IT solution for microbusiness using 
> low-cost hardware and GPL/GNU software.

That is too restrictive --- you should say "Free Software" and probably
use the Debian Free Software Guidelines:


as your criteria for judging what's acceptable.


> The obvious software choice here is Linux.  There are a number of more

> user-friendly distributions, such as Mandrake, Suse and Lycoris

SuSe is not Free Software, and so does not qualify for consideration
(Yast in non-free, and apparently SuSe USA is enforcing this fact by
insisting on per seat licensing --- this seems to be at odds with SuSe
Germany's more liberal "feel free to copy it" line, but the license is
non-free regardless)


> Corel WordPerfect Suite (not free but still quite cheap).
Comparing free with cheap shows you were thinking of the wrong sort of
free when you wrote that.  WordPerfect is non-free software, so doesn't
qualify for consideration.

> Web Browsers available include Mozilla, Netscape 6, Galleon, Opera and

> Konqueror.

Likewise, Netscape an Opera are non-free.

> The two big guns in Linux/XWindows desktop environments are GNOME and 
> KDE.  Of the two, KDE is probably the friendlier and less "techie," at

> the cost of some performance.  Both environments offer Cut & Paste, 
> drag and drop, and one-click printing.
> Laser printers are far easier to get working under Linux as they 
> understand Postscript.  Many inkjets, particularly low-cost models, 
> will not work at all.
> Backing up Linux is not as easy as Windows, but can be automated. 
> Backing up personal files can be done in exactly the same way.

What's the normal way of backing up Windows?

I imagine that an approach like http://mkcdrec.ota.be/ would actually
provide a more useful backup than is normally available under Windows,
because I'd imagine that MS would be a little upset about a program that
produces install CDs from a live system.  With a friendly front end,
this might fit the bill.

Cheers, Phil.
Say no to software patents!  http://petition.eurolinux.org/

|)|  Philip Hands [+44 (0)20 8530 9560]    http://www.hands.com/
|-|  HANDS.COM Ltd.                    http://www.uk.debian.org/
|(|  10 Onslow Gardens, South Woodford, London  E18 1NE  ENGLAND

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