> I was working on the assumption that because Windows 95 and Office (what I
> usually use at home) can survive on 16MB (what I had last week, the rest I
> "borrowed" from work"), then a simple Linux GUI would as well.......
I always tell people that Linux + X requires the same resources as
Windows NT - hence more than Windows 95. This is because of the
networking capabilities of X. Of course, compared to NT, you end
up with more facilities - but compared to Win 95 (which is what
most Windows home people have) - there is a performance hit ...
and most people probably won't use X in a networked way.
I use X on a P90 with 32 Mb RAM and a P60 with 48 Mb RAM.
The P60 actually out performs the P90 due to the memory use.
Netscape takes a minute or 2 to start - and I wouldn't even
attempt to use Star Office - so I would agree with richards 64 Mb
minimum for Star Office/Netscape things.
For everything else I do in X (email, editing, etc) my 32/48 are fine
- and of course, I can use X and the network - I usually use the
P90's desktop (it has the modem and my internet apps) remotely
from my P60 (which is in my study) ... so the performance hit is
far outweighed by these perks - for me.
I've now got Squid successfully running on my Redhat 6.2. My final problems
all boiled down to fine tuning the squid.conf script. While getting Cache
Manager up and running, I had somehow persuaded myself that I needed
always_direct allow school-network.
Don't ask me how or why as it had the effect of causing all those machines
to try and bypass the default parent cache. This meant that they could only
see files that had already been cached by localhost.
It will be interesting to see what happens when people get back from half
term. I won't be surprised if I have to rapidly retract the first sentence
of this email!
BTW, I'm running Squid for a network of 35-ish machines with a max of 24
concurrent web browsers on a machine with 64MB of RAM, a 450 Mhz PII, and a
4 GB HDD that is dedicated entirely to Squid i.e. it's /usr/local/squid.
>From other people's experience am I likely to find I'm over specified, or
under or what?
Despite the postings here bemoaning the bad publicity given to Linux,
certain facts have to be considered, and the most painful of these is that
Linux is a very unfriendly operating system to come to terms with, and
intimidates and frustrates the hell out of those who do not have advanced
I have had SuSE 7.0 personal all week now, and on the 2 machines I have
tried to set it up on, I still have not fully succeeded. I've had partition
trouble (gotta be REAL careful which device to install on - hda/hdb, which
partition etc...), multiple installation crashes (at the 100% mark where the
kernel would not install), mouse configuration trouble (why does choosing
the 'Microsoft Intellimouse' option cause it to go haywire when I do in fact
have this device? How do I then rectify it when I cannot then use the GUI as
the mouse has gone haywire!?), and last night after failing to detect my
modem the system unexpectedly rebooted (that happened 2/3 times for no
apparent reason). And that's on the better of the 2 machines! The other one
still will not run KDE as it complains of the lack of installed servers,
does not recognise my video card, and gives me errors that 'routing' has
failed. Certainly, I have been a long way short of having a running system
within 20 mins of opening the box as SuSE have suggested!
If I were a reviewer evaluating the product, I would have little choice but
to slate it, and advise people to choose Microsoft products - I've installed
1 server & 2 workstations with Win2K, implemented a domain, set up printers,
and connected to the internet in the same time period that Linux has done
little more than frustrate and annoy me.
But I will persevere, as I am nothing else if not inquisitive and resilient!
It does seem to me however that the Linux community suffers from an overdose
of that sorry old computing tale - assuming that everyone else in the world
knows as much as you, and despising them if they do not!
I would like to add a few points from my 'User group
coordinator' point of view ...
> It does seem to me however that the Linux community suffers from an overdose
> of that sorry old computing tale - assuming that everyone else in the world
> knows as much as you, and despising them if they do not!
Hopefully this is not the case - as this list shows ... or do we assume
too much ? It is hard to help someone with a problem when they
just tell you 'it doesn't work' - but with a little detail from an initial
investigation on the users part, things can usually be resolved - but
it has to be a 2-way thing. We try to help (and volunteer our time to
help) - but the user has to try to help to help (if you see what I mean)
Those of you who have problems - have you tried contacting your
local user group ? With Linux you have (at least ?) 3 support options :
1. Do it yourself
2. Contact the community (local user group, mailing lists, etc)
3. Commercial support
Of course, 1 is hard (if you do not have the experience).
2 relies on you being able to do some work yourself. Mailing lists
are quite useful - but taking your box along to a user group
meeting can be so much more efficient. With this option
you must put in some effort yourself - even if it is just turning
up to a local meeting and talking to someone ... usually the
'community' is pretty helpful ...
If you need more direct support than volunteer help then the only
alternative is paying for technical support ...
The problem is that with Linux, at the moment, there are more
people that need *some* technical support to start with (well,
I would guess more than Windows) - but don't forget, it is
possible to buy a PC fully installed with Linux - as you would
do if you bought a PC from the high-street for home ...
Also, you have to remember that with Linux, you are trading time
for money and control. It is not (currently) possible to have
everything absolutely 'for free' right now - in a few years time ?
Who knows ... :-)
How many people follow the 'Linux is free' banner, buy a 2 quid
CD (or get one of a mag), try and fail to install it then throw it away ?
I don't know - but I do try to encourage new users to buy a box
set that comes with a manual and email/phone installation support.
Also, there seems to be a subset of people that assume that
the user group is there to get them running Linux at all costs
- when really, it is about sharing experiences ... The community
often helps if it can - but the key bit is the 'sharing'.
With regards to this 'free' thing - sometimes Linux advantages
can really work against it ... :-) This is probably the biggest
problem to solve in the whole Linux advocacy thing ... IMO
Adopting Linux is not trivial, not expensive (in money) but
does cost time, but the rewards can far outway the alternative
approaches if you make it ... hopefully more people are 'making
it' these days ...
Just my views ...
> Perhaps someone else on this list also read the
> same thing and may wish to comment ?
I didn't read it - but have read similar articles in the
past. I find that the best thing to do with such things
is bin them. I find it very frustrating, and want to
write back in to point out the errors - but if is not
often worth it ...
There are quite a lot of very good ariticles being written
too - so maybe it balances out ?
(actually, I seem to remember several small 'opinion'
type articles in Computer Weekly, that have been
very negative to Linux, and often in contradiction
of the facts, and seem to remember some of these
were written by someone associated with IT issues
in the Guardian - maybe the same person ? Anyway
CW is usually quite objective - so these are usually
easy to ignore ... When all said and done, they are
opinion articles - and he is entitled to his opinion).
Unfortunately, this sort of thing can often promote some
of the more 'vocal' members of the Linux community,
and sometimes results in loud 'mouthing off' to the
person to 'correct their ways' - this is actual quite a
serious problem for the rest of us - as it just gives
people an excluse to label us all as raving zealots
(well, maybe we are, perhaps, alternate Tuesdays ...
but it is not nice to say so in public :-)
There was a very positive description of Linux
in general, on Channel 4 a few weeks back. When
they were listing the 'most influential people on
Britain" for year 2000, Linus Torvalds was number 39 !
(Their list is at :
Whats more, they then went on to say *why* they considered
him number 39 in the list of people with the most influence
on Britain this year ... (most people had just got a small
mention - he got a 15 minute detailed explanation).
It was a very good account of Linux and its potential
affect on the 'everyday person'. They interviewed
people like the IBM UK head person about Linux,
and got a few opinions from several other people.
They considered its use in internet, embedded systems,
set-top boxes, PDAs as well as home and server use.
Shame they didn't get a statement from someone
like Alan Cox ... or a UK distributer (someone like
Roger), etc ...
Anyway, very interesting and very, very positive
publicity. In short I was very surprised and pleased
at the account.
Hello all - I thought I might share our recent configuration with you in
response to Huw Harpers earlier mailing.
Our department has recently implemented a SuSE 6.4 server, running 28 Win 98
(previously Win95) clients. Because of the 'inquisitive' nature of our
students, we wanted each workstation to rewrite its hard disk after every
boot, ensuring a clean environment for the next user, and preventing any
junk files from using up hard disk space, and also to prevent any hacking
software from being sneakily installed on the network. The whole thing works
The SuSE server is configured to run DHCP. Each workstation has a PXE
compliant NIC (we use 3COM 3C905C cards) that broadcast their MAC address at
boot. The Server has a list of reservations in its DHCP set-up that reserves
a single IP address for a specific MAC address (each workstation therefore
keeps its own IP address after multiple boots).
Once the server has assigned the correct IP addresses to the NICs (the
reserved list stops other client machines chatting to the DHCP server and
stealing the available IP addresses!), then the server initiates a TFTP
(Trivial File Transfer Protocol) session that downloads a small DOS-like
program called BpBatch to the workstation.
BpBatch does a quick check to see if the image file on the workstation
differs from the master copy held on the server. If the server copy is
newer, BpBatch initiates a download of the new image to the workstation,
then the client machine will boot off this nice fresh copy of Windows. If
the two image files match, then the really clever bit kicks in! - In the
event of matching image files, the workstation restores the C:\ partition of
its hard disk from a hidden partition on its own drive (this hidden
partition contains a copy of the current server-based image file). BpBatch
sets up this hidden partition the first time it loads (based on a text file
you can edit), and once it is all set up and running, this makes booting the
machine much faster, as each machine does not always have to download a copy
of the master image file from the server at every boot. It is worth noting
though that when this does need to happen (after you update the Windows
images file from a workstation), booting time is very slow, and can only be
done 5 workstations at a time, during a 'quiet' time of the day. But, the
image file only needs updating if you must install new software to all
machines in one go, which if you plan as far ahead as possible, is not very
As a rough guide, when we used a Win95 set-up with Office 2000 and a few
other small-ish programs installed, each machine took around 3 minutes to
completely re-write its own hard disk, and boot the clean copy of Windows.
Now we have 'upgraded' to Win98, it is around 4 minutes. I did try WinME a
few weeks ago, but judging by the huge increase in the size of the C:\
drive, I didn't even bother to try re-imaging it - I think it would have
taken it well past the 5/6 minute stage (too long to expect users to put up
with I think!).
The reaction from our students and staff has been very good - they like the
reliability and robustness of the system. A student could literally fdisk
the C:\ drive, and a simple off/on of the power has the whole system back up
in 4 minutes - much quicker than a re-install would take!
Oh - when the time comes to update the Windows set-up, just configure a
workstation the way you want, then run a supplementary little program called
MrZip (which uses a small text file called ZipWin to tell it what to save
and to where). The image is then saved back to your directory on the server
in about 15/20 minutes. A nice touch is that you can create a history of
image files on your server, so you can restore the whole network to a
previous state at any time you want.
We also map 2 permanent network drives from the workstation onto the server,
and into these drives we install any software (Office/Delphi/Encarta 2000
etc.) This saves disk space on the workstation (making the images faster to
load/boot), and means we can back up to tape the entire installed software
paths (nice in case of disaster of hacking). We have not noticed any
horrible slow down of the software running it remotely this way.
Sorry this is getting a bit long. The process of this set-up took me some
time to get to grips with, and that was only then because I had the help of
a Linux expert here at work! But the set-up works so well I can heartily
recommend anyone trying it. A good starting place for further info is this
web page: http://www.bpbatch.org/ . Any number of Linux books or web pages
will help you with the set-up of DHCP or TFTP (a good explanation and sample
set-up files are here: http://www.bpbatch.org/docs/linux.html ). The guide
to BpBatch is here: http://cui.unige.ch/info/pc/remote-boot/howto.html , and
the program can be downloaded from:
http://cui.unige.ch/info/pc/remote-boot/soft/ . A really useful support
forum exists at: http://www.bpbatch.org/forum/.
Good luck to all!
Senior Computing Officer
School of Computing & Mathematical Sciences
Oxford Brookes University
Tel (01865) 483667
Mobile 0797 927 1628
> Basically what s/w do I use to administer the server?
Some questions :
1. What distribution did you install (do I assume SuSE :-) ?
2. How would you like to administer the system : local/remote, command
Things to look out for, to do general machine admin :
- YaST (command line) - SuSE
- linuxconf (command line, graphical and web) - typically
found on distributions based on redhat (redhat, mandrake, etc)
- drax (I think) - (graphical - mandrake)
Specific tools have their own configuration tools too
- eg SWAT for web admin of Samba, etc (there are
apache and bind tools I think, too).
There is also Webmin (http://www.webmin.com/webmin/)
but I have not used it ...
I would like to set up a Linux server for Win95 PC's and iMacs.
I have never used Linux before, but have managed to install Linux 6.4 on a
PC with 64Mb RAM and a NIC.
Basically what s/w do I use to administer the server?
Alun School, Mold
Roger, firstly thank you for the presentation at Lonix recently....
I have now purchased Suse 7.0 and will be testing it on pupils in a local
school very soon...
Can anyone near Earlsfield or SW london who is using Linux in Primary
schools give me an email at
I would love to know what others are doing etc.
I am really interested in using Linux on some low end machines at a school
my wife works in, as at the monment they are sitting gathering dust...
From: Roger Whittaker [SMTP:firstname.lastname@example.org]
Sent: Thursday, October 26, 2000 9:49 AM
To: Schools List
Subject: [suse-linux-uk-schools] Welcome message
Hello all those people who recieved SuSE 7.0 in the last few days and
joined the list ...
Tell us who you are and what you hope to do :)
Lurkers: there are lots of people who lurk and don't post much. That's
absolutely fine, but I hope no one feels intimidated by some of the high
level discussion that goes on. Any question, however basic is welcome.
And you will *never* just be told on this list to go and RTFM.
All the best
SuSE Linux Ltd
The Kinetic Centre
020 8387 1482