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John R. McPherson jrm21@c...
Mon Sep 8 20:40:01 NZST 2003

On Mon, Sep 08, 2003 at 08:31:01PM +1200, Edward Murrell wrote:
> I was discussing the use of Linux at uni today. One of the main points I
> was asked to defend was essentially; "Why does Linux sucks so much?"

> This persons experience with Linux had pretty much centred round the
> R block, and G basement computers at uni - and I can't say I disagree
> with her. As far as I can make out, those computers are running some
> ancient version of Slackware (I think?) with GNOME 1.4, and KDE2. Most
> of the other WMs seem to be broken.
> Fonts are abysmal, and the default browser is Netscape 4. The
> CDRom/fstab is only correctly setup on some of the machines.


> >From a brief poke around the /proc/ fs, it's clear the machines are
> easily capable of running something far more up to date. I would really
> like to see something along the lines of GNOME 2.X, KDE3, a fairly
> recent version of say Mozilla, Galeon, or Konqueror, and for the love of
> god, decent fonts.
> Given the varsity centric nature of the WLUG, I'm hoping someone can
> tell me why the Linux machines are in such as sad state. Do the admins
> not care? Or have they simply forgotten what's running there.

I'm a grad student, so what I know about the undergrad machines may
be wrong. But here goes.

The comp-sci tech support run most of the computers in the department (and
in the school). The linux machines run slackware 8. slackware 8 includes
gnome 1.4 and kde2, like most distributions that are over a year old.

The linux machines in my research lab are also run by tech support, although
I guess most of us are smart enough to customise and install our own stuff
if we want. The wand group admin their own machines, which is where most
of "the uni wlug people" are, I guess.

I don't really know how reasonable it is to expect the machines to all be
upgraded every time a new distribution release comes out - we still have
windows machines that run win2000 and maybe even a few nt 4 boxes around.
Having said that, the machines (well, at least the ones in my lab run by
tech support) have mozilla 1.4 installed in /opt.

Having said that, it would be nice to have gnome2 at uni like I use at
home, but it's not really a big deal I guess. As long as I can get my
"work" done, it shouldn't really matter. I guess part of it is that
the software in linux distributions is updated at a much faster pace than
releases of windows.

John McPherson
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