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Re: SEUL: User Profiles (?)

Jeffrey S. Dutky wrote:

> I have trouble with 4) for two reasons: First, LINUX doesn't
> have any NEED for a "cutting edge" computer. Second, this will
> rule out the vast majority of users. While the PC market is
> growing rapidly there are still a lot of 486 class machines
> out there. This is true in the Mac world as well where many
> users have old PPC601/Nubus based PowerMacs. In either case,
> since LINUX will run quite nicely on either a 486 or a PPC601
> we should target those machines as the base model. Anyone who
> has a better machine will just get better performance.

I'm agreed with this. The main difficulty is that Linux for PowerMacs
has two distributions, and the systems they support diverge a bit.
MkLinux support Nubus systems but no 603/603e-based systems, while
linux-pmac is the opposite story. In any case, if Nubus is supported
when the two source trees converge, it should be supported by SEUL. If
not, there you have it. At any rate, any supported machines will be of
sufficient power to handle SEUL, as I see it.

> With the above critique in mind I would adjust the hardware
> profile like this:
> 4) Intel PC                  PowerMacintosh
>    486-66 or better          PPC601 or better
>    8 MB RAM                  (what is the MkLINUX minimum?)
>    VGA or better             (what does MkLINUX support?)
>    VGA monitor               (see above)
>    300 MB hard disk          (what is MkLINUX minimum?)
>    3.5" floppy               N/A (all Macs have standard fd)
>    IDE or sound card CD      SCSI CD
>    pointing device           N/A (all Macs have standard mouse)

8MB of RAM is a good minimum regardless of platform. MkLinux has its own
video requirements, typically Apple built-in or ATI cards shipped with
9500s. Third-party devices are not generally supported but eventually
one could expect any PCI video card to work. I doubt it would be
feasible to expect third-party Nubus video support. Any monitor should
be fine, but 640x480 modes should absolutely be supported as a minimum.
As for disk space, expect at least 500MB of space for a MkLinux install.
Many Macs, it should be noted, will have EIDE interfaces, and such are
supported by linux-pmac.

> This configuration should cover a large majority the prospective
> users and has the advantage of actually being pretty speedy as
> a LINUX system (The Intel PC setup is pretty similar to what I
> use right now. Its not the fastest thing in the world but its
> not painfully slow unless I'm doing a kernel compile)

I would also note that shared library support should be expected on
MkLinux/linux-pmac installations. This might sound funny, but the
transition is being made right now, and while a majority do not have
shared library support now, they can be expected to have with the next

> If we are aiming at the end user I think we can assume that they
> won't be wanting to program in C. Similarly, anyone who will be
> writing C programs can probably handle a more complicated and
> involved installation process.

Unfortunately, experience with C does not imply sysadmin capacity. I
know several compiler geniuses here at HP/Convex who cannot use 'tar'.
Assume the worst, regardless of programming experience.

> If we want the SEUL distribution to be able to install tools for
> more experienced users we should put that into a custom install
> process (think of the MacOS Easy Install and Custom Install
> options) and let the new users just run a default config at first.
> If we choose the tools carefully, if they are easy to use and not
> too crippled, the user will be plenty happy until they get a
> little more experience. One they have their LINUX legs they can
> go back and install other things.


Michael J. Peck
Hewlett-Packard, Convex Division
Opinions expressed above are not necessarily those of my employer.
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