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Stability… and How You Can Help

Posted in Site News at 10:48 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Novell blimp

WE experienced some downtime earlier today because distributed cache was apparently not enough to free up server resources. Our traffic meters are no longer comparable because we make extensive use of off-site Coral clusters that are spread around the globe.

One way readers can help is by informing us about technical issues that are experienced, preferably by IRC if the site is not accessible. This how we routinely come up with solutions to such problems.

As a side note, we have just made this first attempt at a simplified GNU/Linux primer to be used as quick reference and encourage errand visitors to embrace change. Speaking of which, we have other new changes coming and the Wiki is maturing close to the point where it can be made public. That’s where we manage a lot of Comes vs Microsoft exhibits.

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  1. Diamond Wakizashi said,

    February 10, 2009 at 12:47 pm


    The link in that “simplified GNU/Linux primer” tells people to download Freespire, Linspire and SUSE. It should be replaced with another link.

  2. Roy Schestowitz said,

    February 10, 2009 at 1:06 pm


    Which page do you suggest?

    I tried searching for some… without much satisfaction with the results.

  3. Roy Schestowitz said,

    February 10, 2009 at 1:08 pm


    I’ve replaced http://www.linux.com/download_linux/ with http://www.getgnulinux.org/ for the time being.

  4. Diamond Wakizashi said,

    February 10, 2009 at 1:47 pm


    The new link is good. Maybe you should include links to a few excellent Linux distros and include some links to screenshots and reviews.

  5. Roy Schestowitz said,

    February 10, 2009 at 1:57 pm


    OK, thanks.

    The reason we need this, based on what people told me, is that many posts criticise Microsoft/Novell without diverting readers toward solutions. So I’ll try to accompany such posts with advocacy like a good video and “try it ourself” links.

    I don’t want to endorse particular distributions. If it’s Free software (with no patent caveats like Novell’s), that ought to suffice.

    Let’s remember to precede critique with recommendations.

  6. Roy Schestowitz said,

    February 10, 2009 at 2:01 pm


    Maybe I’ll add some JavaScript to detect Windows/IE users and then redirect/toggle upgrade advice.

  7. amd-linux said,

    February 10, 2009 at 2:31 pm



    for this purpose (detecting and banning/redirecting) you may try WP-Ban.

    Add i.e. *MSIE 6* to the User Agent field and a nice text / URL as ban message with a link to the Mozilla site and your done.

  8. Roy Schestowitz said,

    February 10, 2009 at 4:23 pm


    No, not a ban. I thought about doing what WordPress does in the admin panel, namely displaying a Browse Happy image at the bottom, but only for MSIE users. Only about 10% of this site’s readers use MSIE.

    Novell is very much the opposite.

  9. SR said,

    February 10, 2009 at 7:36 pm


    “Patent Caveats” and “Is it Free Software” is going to be a slippery slope ;-)

    Are you going to exclude distros that ship with any form of Mono? Count out Ubuntu, then.

    Are you going to exclude distros that provide easy access to Mono-based apps? Count out Ubuntu, Fedora, Mint, Mepis, Debian, GnuSense, Sabayon, Mandriva, etc…

    Are you going to exclude distros that don’t provide easy access to patent-laden, proprietary software like video drivers, flash, java, mp3 codecs, etc? Then you’re down to GnuSense, and to a lesser extent Fedora.

    Ubuntu, Mandriva, Mint, and Mepis all ship with non-free software on the LiveCD itself.

    This is going to be a right bugger if you are seriously wanting to do this. Just trying to point some issues out in advance ;-)

  10. Roy Schestowitz said,

    February 10, 2009 at 7:44 pm


    That’s a separate issue. What I had in mind was SLED or Xandros, which come with ‘Microsoft tax’.

  11. Dan O'Brian said,

    February 10, 2009 at 8:16 pm


    SR: More than just Ubuntu ship Mono by default. GnuSense ships it by default as well. As does Fedora (Roy likes to claim that it doesn’t because Mono in’t on the LiveCD, but there’s a difference between a default install and what’s on the LiveCD). I’d bet that Mandriva also does, but I’m not sure. The rest I have never used.

  12. Dan O'Brian said,

    February 10, 2009 at 8:18 pm


    Roy: Seeing as how Novell doesn’t change more for SLES/SLED than they did before the Microsoft deal, what “tax” would this be?

    Novell may have to pay Microsoft, but Microsoft is also paying Novell for every Windows seat.

    Novell’s customers pay no tax.

  13. Dan O'Brian said,

    February 10, 2009 at 8:18 pm



  14. Roy Schestowitz said,

    February 10, 2009 at 8:25 pm


    I’ll reraise the issue to clarify. Novell uses a lot of misinformation to create a screen of smoke and mirrors.

  15. Dan O'Brian said,

    February 10, 2009 at 8:51 pm


    So do you.

  16. Robert said,

    February 10, 2009 at 9:42 pm


    Roy, it would not bother me at all if you added the scripting to deny access to this website with internet explorer, in fact, it might help remove some of these wintrolls like dan o’brian & the other trolls.

    while your at it, you should do with dan like you did with the other trolls & add to the trolls post in red lettering naming dan a troll.

  17. Roy Schestowitz said,

    February 10, 2009 at 10:00 pm


    He’s not a troll though. The only think that leaves me suspicious is that he’s posting near Novell’s headquarters.

  18. Jose_X said,

    February 10, 2009 at 10:03 pm


    It would bother me if people were kept off the site. Reduced functionality (not crippled but perhaps fewer perks or more hassles) is normal and expected.

    I vote to give preferences to LiveCDs, etc, the further they are from mono (we may want to rank). That would not be the only consideration. I’d also consider creating mono-free remixes and putting those up on torrents or seeing if the main distributors would want to add these as options.

    Hopefully, the patent-api trap ( http://boycottnovell.com/2009/02/04/the-api-trap-part-1/ ) scenarios and other issues will become clearer to people over time and mono uptake will be reduced to close to nil.

  19. Roy Schestowitz said,

    February 10, 2009 at 10:05 pm


    How about launching mono.info?

  20. Roy Schestowitz said,

    February 10, 2009 at 11:07 pm


    Okay, this is now done.

    Pages will come up with banners advocating GNU/Linux and standards-compliant Web browsers if the surfer uses MSIE.

  21. Friend said,

    February 11, 2009 at 1:52 am


    lets have a thread on site improvements. i notices a few things that can be changed.

    - lot of space is just blank. need to make use of the space available on screen.
    - the layout is totally unusable.

    maybe you should read a website usability book like

    http://www.webstyleguide.com/ (free)

  22. Friend said,

    February 11, 2009 at 1:58 am


    advertise on twitter/digg/facebook/orkut/etc…

  23. mike said,

    February 11, 2009 at 5:05 pm


    I use a bigger default font with no override, so the site styling is all fucked up as is some of the layout.

    If the archives are the main bandwidth issue, you probably need some more direct way to serve them as static pages, from the filesystem, not a database through reams of php.

  24. Tai WAN said,

    February 12, 2009 at 1:54 am


    You could solve your own traffic problems if you let readers use RSS to see full posts rather than dragging us all pointlessly to your site.

  25. Roy Schestowitz said,

    February 12, 2009 at 5:41 am


    I’ve just tried doing that, but the CMS does not obey.

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