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A long time ago ...

I now use linux more than I use windows. My initial reason for becoming interested was because I'd heard about samba (open source fileserver) , and I wanted to see if I could replicate the functionality of a Novell or NT server using linux. Most people (in say, office situations) pay lots of money in licence fees and then don't really use the full functionality of what they have paid for. I wanted to see how well linux based solution could work instead.

Another inspiration was that at Durham our windows NT home directories are actually our unix home directories served up through samba. I found that I was working most of the time with a telnet session open to a unix server when I was logged onto an NT computer. The java compiler on unix was a lot faster than the NT version. So I was editing programs using emacs running on NT, compiling them on unix, and then running them on NT so that the windows would display. I was also making increased use of things like perl, which are standard on unix system but rare on windows systems. I wanted my own unix server to use at home.

At first the learning curve was quite steep. Getting things like a network card working took hours. Then you have to modify the firewall rules so that you can get access. Once you have done things once though, then it is a lot easier the second time around. I suppose that you have to accept that when you have been using dos/windows for 8 years, then you really do start back at stage one for setting up Debian. Using it is fine, just setting up can be tricky.

Having got Samba fileserver running, I then moved onto things like getting ISDN working. At present, I have a Debian box running a Squid proxy server and IP masquerading for our household's internet access. You really can just leave it to look after itself for months. It saved arguments about who can use the ISDN line. We have broadband now, which saves the arguments about who is hogging the bandwidth.

I am now at the stage where people ask me to help them solve their linux problems. I'm glad I put in the effort to get to know how it all works.

I believe that many companies could do well out of saving money on license fees and then employing a skilled person to maintain free software based systems. If a system is setup well, then it requires very little maintenance. The person can help the company to lever everything they can from their computers.

Unofficial Debian Package

This is historical now

Problem - You have a nicely working potato (stable) debian system, but there is some package from woody (testing) or Sid (unstable) that you just must have. The problem is that all these packages are built depending on the libraries/other packages in the unstable system.

Not quite as useful anymore, because the debian woody distribution is now stable.

The solution is the download the debian source package and compile it. Of course, this may not work all the time because of dependency problems.

I did have unofficial debian packages here for mozilla running under potato. I've removed them because they were rather old.

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page content last modified: 2013 May 04 22:21:52 BST
overall page last modified: 2013 May 04 22:21:52 BST Why are there 2 dates on each page ?