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[1/2] experiences with refurbishing

 >>> Part 1 of 2...

It's 30 Dec 98  09:46:08,
We'll return to ken@nlc.net.au and All's
discussion of experiences with refurbishing

 ke> I like to cetegorise equipment in generations because it's a rough
 ke> indication of the sorts of applications that can be run on them.

 ke> 1. Pentium and above, >=32MB RAM, SVGA, >400MB disk, more if apps are
 ke> to be installed, X, Netscape, office packages, the works.

 ke> 2. 486, >=16MB RAM, SVGA, >300MB disk, X, some GUI apps, maybe
 ke> Netscape.
 ke> 3. 386, >=8MB RAM, VGA, >200MB disk, text mode apps, e.g. lynx, pine.

 ke> 4. 286, telnet or serial terminals in networks.

I'd tend to agree, and also lump the odd XT in the bottom category
(Isn't there a DOSLinux that can run on all x86 processors?).

 ke> There is one exception though. RH is not good for small disks. I could
 ke> not get a very minimal install under 100MB so I turned to Debian for
 ke> this. Before you Slackware users email me, I haven't used it for a
 ke> while but I'm sure it could have served as well.

My experience is that the same, with the additional hassle that RH also
tends to consume more RAM than some of the other distributions (e.g.
Slackware).  I'd imagine Debian would be more in the same league as
Slackware here, or in the middle somewhere.

 ke> GUI apps are nice but we don't know what percentage of the donations
 ke> will be able to run those. There is a sad lack of text mode
 ke> productivity apps for Linux/Unix. (Here are the roots of the Wintel
 ke> domination of the market, DOS machines could run word processors,
 ke> spreadsheets, etc. while Unix users were concentrated at the high end.)
 ke> Currently I'm pushing the use of something like pico which has onscreen
 ke> prompts, line justficiation and spell checking and would allow small
 ke> text files to be created. Besides the fact that it's similar to the
 ke> editor inside pine.

Agreed, and I also agree pico is a great little editor for new users.
Although the keys are different, the concept is also similar to the old
Wordstar concept in DOS (I picked up pico in no time because of this).

 ke> More to the point and this I think is really a far important point
 ke> than the mechanics of Linux distributions and installation: Who are
 ke> our users and what do they want to run? How much training will they
 ke> need? My friend, who is hardly a computer illiterate person, having
 ke> used word processors and such, had difficulty with pico bindings, email
 ke> conventions and that sort of thing.  This he will overcome with time.
 ke> That is why I have been stressing that we need auxiliaries to train
 ke> users who may not had had much contact with computers.  GUIs don't
 ke> remove the requirement to explain how an email address is formed, what
 ke> is a URL, etc.

Training is a complex issue, and I feel the first thing that we need to
understand is that there will be many different users.  Probably many
would be firly computer illiterate, not having had the opportunity to
use computers under any OS.  Many others may be experienced in the
DOS/Windows world, and a small number will be quite proficient, and
might seek more advanced training.

Just to toss a few ideas into the ring, some of the training we may
offer could include:

Introduction to Linux (and PCs) - basic concepts and Linux use.

Conversion to Linux - intended for people with good knowledge of
                      DOS/Windows. Probable need X and text mode
                      variants of this course.

Introduction to X - Similar to the first, except it covers using a
                    system running X.

Intermediate level courses - A range for those wishing to learn more
                             about Linux.

Application Specific - e.g. Internet (using Netscape or Lynx/Pine,etc as
                                      required), Star Office/WP8

System Administration - Intended for volunteers participating in this or
                        other community projects.

I'd envisage the basic courses being through either "class contact" at a
suitable premises (e.g. volunteer organisation which had publicly
available PCs, or in the person's home, with the aid of a tutor (spread
over several evenings).

More advanced courses may be able to be delivered over the Internet on a
self study basis (limit the load on volunteers).

Because of the obvious work in getting this sort of training would be
considerable, I may be off base, but just tossing in some ideas (working
for a training company and seeing how Windows users are trained is the
basis for these ideas).

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|Fidonet:  Tony Langdon 3:635/728.18
|Internet: tlang@freeway.apana.org.au
| Standard disclaimer: The views of this user are strictly his own.