Re: GNOME Success Story

CCing marketing-list about this immigrant/refugee-support center in

Thanks Ralph, that's the kind of thing I'll be looking for: advantages
and experience for the admins and the users, and details about that.
You've already given me lots, and I'll try to fill it out when I visit
you. How about Wednesday 6th July, approx 14:00?

I'll also try to talk to the users so I can describe some of the things
they do. In this case, communication and presentation will obviously be
important themes. And I wonder if you offer the UI in various languages,
or encourage only the use of German?

If you still have slides/notes for your LinuxTage Linz presentation,
that might be useful, but I'm more interested in the big picture than in
the technical details. However, I'd be happy to help you provide
feedback about technical stuff.

Many thanks.

On Wed, 2005-06-29 at 17:38 +0200, Ralph Aichinger wrote:
> Am Mittwoch, den 29.06.2005, 16:46 +0200 schrieb Murray Cumming:
> > I must visit Linz again soon. I wondered if I could visit Pangea and get
> > some information, so I can write up a GNOME success story, with some
> > human details. We are trying to get smaller interesting stories instead
> > of big vague deployment stories.
> Hello Murray, thanks for your interest!
> I would love to show this place to you (having a bit of a bad cosncience
> because I did not mail back to you, when we first had contact).
> Not that our place is *that* great, but if you think it gives an 
> interesting case study, I am of course willing to compile some
> information for you and/or show you around.
> I've done a small presentation at the Linuxtage Linz 2004, that focused
> on my practical experiences with our thin client setup, otherwise
> I will have to compile/collect materials. Please tell me what aspects
> interest you most, and what materials would be helpful to you.
> Some aspects of our project:
> Like almost any NPO we are always short on funding. Therefore we 
> use old computers given to us from government institutions (our first
> setup came from the Land Ober�rreich, our current clients are from
> the Magistrat Linz). These act as thin clients on a terminal server
> (simple Athlon box with Debian, currently running Gnome 2.8).
> Main uses are the usual "Internet Cafe" stuff (eMail, surfing, chat),
> with a strong focus on teaching people to use these types of
> applications (Some of our users have been to Europe only for a few
> days when they come to us. Most likely Gnome is the first contact
> with computing for many of our users.). To many of our users 
> we provide a valuable lifeline to contact their friends and
> family "back home" in Afghanistan, Africa or whereever (we have
> had users from 30+ countries). 
> Other uses are writing letters and other office-type stuff (job
> applications mainly).
> For our own office stuff we are also using 3 Gnome clients,
> but also -- it cannot be avoided completely -- one Windows
> PC. Interacting with government and EU institutions with
> their various MS Office forms basically cannot be done 
> without at least one Windows computer, unless you've got
> *very* knowledgable and/or slightly masochistic people ; )
> I am very happy with "my" Gnome setup right now, because of
> following factors:
> * very easy administration (our current hardware has seen 
>   not a single reinstall since we've got it). Try that
>   with Windows
> * runs acceptably fast on our very old hardware  (PII, 64MB RAM
>   for clients, Athlon 1700 MHz with 1 GB RAM for "server").
> * Very little to mess up for users (and then it mostly is
>   contained to their own accounts).
> * Usability of Gnome could of course always be better, but
>   it is good enough to let people use our computers who
>   have had very little exposure to computers before 
>   (see above) with very little help by us.
> A previous technical implementation of this project (then
> at the Hauptplatz in Linz) had Windows 98 on the clients
> and stuff was a lot more troublesome then (virus problems,
> hijacked homepages, people installing porn as background
> images, driver problems, etc.) basically then always
> approx 30% to 50% of computers were out of order,
> as far as I can remember. Now it is never more than
> 1 or 2 at once, mostly hardware problems (10 year
> old CRT monitors "burning out" during hot summer
> days, dead mice etc.).
> Current shortcomings: Sound could be better (currently we 
> use esd).Local media (floppies) are not that important, but a 
> *good* solution for that is missing too. These are
> of course problems of the terminal server setup,
> not of Gnome itself.
> Currently we have 9 seats for our users, 3 in our 
> office, and the one Windows PC (we "split up" our
> organisation, and created a "Verein" for this
> project, I think we had more stuff back when I
> wrote you first). I don't know if that is large
> enough as to be interesting. Currently there 
> are some 300+ active accounts (different users).
> We are hoping to expand and add some more computers
> in another room, but we will have to ensure funding
> first (it is a permanent "fight" to get the money
> we need to cover our operating costs), but above 
> numbers are our current status quo.
> I think I could also give you some DVDs on 
> Medea (we were originally a "sub project" of
> the Verein Medea), but I think that there
> is very little relevant to gnome on these
> discs, but maybe they can give some background.
> Otherwise we have very little promotional
> materials.
> Just to make sure that people are here
> when you come, our office phone is
> +43 732 91 85 00, my mobile is +43 650 7257443,
> and our internal mailing list is pangea-intern lists servus at
> (a mail there might help if I do not respond ; ).
> Also please tell me if there are certain aspects
> that interest you, so I can prepare something.
> Looking forward to your visit, and thanks for your
> great work for Gnome! We (and our users) benefit
> from it every day.
> /ralph
Murray Cumming
murrayc murrayc com

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