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Re: [Computerbank] CBAUS Debian Install Build, Packages and Goal

Hello Dale,

Just a few observations --

The set of software packages that the Victorian group has been using is
basically a Debian install with a number of custom packages.  Experience
with these packages has shown a few shortcomings, and Grant Diffey and
some others (sorry, don't know all who are involved) are working through
some modifications with a view to creating a new set of Debian packages
based on the upcoming Woody release (currently in testing). This is
projected to be completed over Christmas/New Year, as we will need to do
quite a bit of file shuffling to set up the new packages on the CBV
intranet, not to mention testing etc.

At the same time, for a number of reasons, this group is also working
through the implications of using the reiser file system and kde as a
desktop.  The main advantage for this approach is considered to be
greater ease of use for the recipients and less frequent occurrences of
file system corruption caused by recipients not shutting down linux
correctly - in spite of the emphasis placed on this in training
sessions. This in turn would hopefully reduce the number of support

With regards to applications software, the two most frequently asked for
programs are 'something to write letters/homework/theses with' and
'something to allow me to send emails/access the web'.  

One of the issues here is interaction with files which originate in
Microsoft applications, especially Word. If the user simply wants to
read these files, the situation is not too bad, but exchanging modified
versions of Word files can sometimes be a bit problematic. There are
often ways around this, but if MS Word compatibility is an overriding
priority, the individual circumstances need to be evaluated carefully
and possibly additional software loaded and/or a more powerful machine
provided.  Recipients studying office computing at TAFE colleges can
also need something which is reasonably Microsoft look-alike, eg/.

One area where this has been quite a problem is with schools who don't
have the IT people with adequate computing background to cope with
something non-microsoft, and hence have made life difficult for kids
whose parents have come to Computerbank to ask for a system to help with

For email and web surfing, we mostly use Netscape Communicator, but we
are on the lookout for alternatives, particularly for 'low end'

We could organise a list of currently used packages to be placed
somewhere convenient or emailed to interested people if that was thought
useful.  I'm also hoping to make more widely available the current cbv
docs for installing Debian - possibly via the computerbank documentation

Hope this helps,


David H.

David T. Hatton

Dale Long wrote:
> Does CBAUS have a standard build list for its Debian install which could
> be placed on the CBAUS web site? This could be linked from the Mission
> statement or standards pages. For the momment it can include what CBAUS
> currently loads on machines and which packages are selected and what the
> default configurations are.
> Where there are desisions to be made, these should also be listed. Eg: "We
> plan to use Abi word because...", or "We plan to use KDE because...., but
> we are considering standardising on Gnome because...."... Over time this
> would fix on the final choices, perhap indicating options and possible
> considerations for the future.
> This would allow for more awareness of the directions being taken and
> why. CBAUS volunteers will then have a better understadning of what will
> be loaded on machined and the variations in installations. Variations
> would be "A dedicated firewall/gateway" vs "A default home desktop
> install".
> Custom CBAUS packages would also be listed here.
> This would be considered a subsection of the business plan and/or mission
> statement, in parallel with other forms and standards.
> What further actions need to be taken to finalise the standard CBAUS linux
> install and build?
> Dale.
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