[Linux-aus] Linux Grant Scheme proposal - Darwin Linux Users Group - Follow-up

anthony hornby anthony.hornby at cdu.edu.au
Tue Apr 26 16:13:02 UTC 2005

Hi Linux-Aus,
pity I missed catching up with the Linux Australia organisers at
LCA2005, I think we were all having to much of a good time :-)

This is just a follow-up email to find out where the process might be.
Have you made a decision about our grant proposal ?

We're pretty keen to get started up here (all fired up after seeing and
hearing all the great things people are doing with FOSS). Particularly
liked Eben Moglen's Keynote (or footnote as he described it). Inspiring

I'm definitely going to NZ next year !!

If you sent me emails in the last few days and I've lost them - my
apologies - the DarLUG server RAID died completely while I was at LCA.
Both myself and the other DarLUG admin were both at LCA so it took
several days to fix as we had to do everything remotely and wait on some
busy people to do some favours for us - its now running temporarily as a
virtual machine on my pre-production VMWare ESX server. Can't stay there
forever unfortunately.

Pretty sure the DarLUG server failure isn't terminal from the
description I've been given  - though I haven't had a chance to look at
it in detail yet. 

I expect the grant proposal should still be OK as is.

Look forward to hearing from you.

Regards Anthony
ahornby at darlug.org

-------- Forwarded Message --------
From: anthony hornby <anthony.hornby at cdu.edu.au>
Reply-To: anthony.hornby at cdu.edu.au
To: Jonathan Oxer <jon at ivt.com.au>
Cc: linux-aus at lists.linux.org.au
Subject: Re: [Linux-aus] [LACTTE] Linux Grant Scheme proposal - Darwin
Linux Users Group
Date: Tue, 05 Apr 2005 12:18:24 +0930
Hi Johnathon,
I mentioned we are diverting some DarLUG funds for furniture.
This will secure the machines within reasonable limits.

The kiosks idea was really to let people regulate access to the software
they want and have access to it in a way that is not dependent on us
doing a CD/DVD burning run.

It also means that we are not trying to guess what the required volumes
of different types of FOSS are for CD/DVD burning.

We can are planning on doing some sort of simple tally of the number of
items burnt at the kiosks to keep tabs on what is popular / not popular
as well as looking at the downloads from the server. We also thought
about setting up a wishlist on our homepage so people could request
distros etc be added.

The other thing is updates. We could burn a monthly Fedora / Ubuntu /
Whatever-else-we-mirror updates iso for people, but its the same issue -
how many do we burn? With the  kiosks and the server arrangement we can
roll some scripts together that make a weekly or even daily updates iso
image available to people that is synced over to the kiosks at night and
available on the server each day as well - people like "up to date"
updates :-)

People with DVD drives will prefer a single DVD for installs etc - DVD
media is more expensive - how many CDs versus DVDs for any distro or its
updates do you burn?

We also have a membership that is mainly made up of busy professional
people, so the idea of a system that we could set up with little ongoing
maintenance also appealed to us. Regular CD/DVD burning of distros and
updates is something we would have trouble getting people to do reliably
at the moment when they are juggling busy work lives, family and in some
cases study as well.

We have very limited cashflow. A grant to set up the kiosks means we
have an initial upfront cost with low ongoing costs. This suits us
better as burning CD/DVD's regularly means costs of media & commercial
copying on a monthly basis - and we don't have a monthly income. We get
some very small amount from membership fees which currently goes to the
occasional social event, installfests, DNS registrations, server upkeep

We are trying to get more sponsorship from the university - they already
provide free network access and back up our server to tape for us. We
can probably keep the donations of old PCs coming from areas like the
school of IT to keep the kiosks alive and the extra capacity in the
server should last us for a while. In the meantime we'll start lobbying
areas around campus for another "cast-off" server for the future.

We did consider the regular burning of CDs and DVDs but decided against
it for the reasons above. We have also tried it in the past and what
tends to happen up here is someone will be motivated for a few months
and then the motivation dries up and the service becomes less reliable.
As soon as it is not reliable you are sending the wrong message to your
clients and providing a poor service. 

The kiosks project just seemed like something that could work for us and
it has two benefits. 

1. The expanded server storage will let us mirror the main FOSS in one
place and make it available by a range of means for download. This lets
clients leverage the many CD and DVD burners available to staff and
students across the university to get a copy of their favorite software
and provide a one-stop-shop to get it from. Currently the access to this
software is limited as it tends to be mirrored by IT areas for their own
use (closed access) and the little that is publicly available is
fragmented across many servers. We have high speed links out to some of
our remote campuses ( at Alice Springs for example ) so people at those
locations will also be able to get copies at reasonable LAN speeds.

2. The kiosks let the general public have access to the software for
just the costs of the media whenever they want it. At CDU only staff and
students can use CDU computers so there is nowhere they can have access
to download and burn the FOSS that is on the network currently.
If we set them up in bright colors and "cool looking" enclosures they
might provide a good talking point / advertisement for FOSS in its own
right as well as providing a useful service.

I am interested in comments on all the above, and thanks for the
input :-)

Regards Anthony

On Tue, 2005-04-05 at 11:51 흍㐦觚똖ꜻឫ wrote:
> Hi Anthony,
> Thanks for your Grant Scheme proposal.
> One initial question is regarding security of the kiosks. You mention
> placing them in areas covered by security cameras, but it seems to me
> the biggest risk is someone just picking them up as they way past. Do
> you have plans in place for physical security of the kiosks? Ideally
> they should probably be built into some kind of actual 'kiosk-like'
> cabinet that's physically secure, possibly using a repurposed cabinet
> from some other purpose.
> Also, what benefit does this approach have over, say, spending money on
> having a bunch of CDs pressed commercially and just putting them out for
> people to take? I'd be interested to hear how you came up with the idea
> of setting up "DIY FOSS kiosks" and what other approaches, if any, you
> considered.
> Cheers  :-)
> Jonathan Oxer

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