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How One Small Business Switched to Ubuntu

kdawson posted more than 7 years ago | from the losing-business-the-old-fashioned-way dept.

Businesses 467

firenurse writes to point out a story in The Inquirer about how one small business switched to Ubuntu. It describes a maddening comedy of errors, a series of circular screw-ups among Microsoft, HP, and a RAID vendor. From the article: "You never quite wrap your head around how anti-consumer Microsoft's policies are until they bite you in the bum. Add in the customer antagonistic policies of its patsies, HP in this case, and vendors like Promise, and you have quite a recipe for pain. Guess what I did today?"

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They ran out of money? (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17424182)

and went for broke?

Comedy of Ubuntu errors (0, Troll)

UbuntuDupe (970646) | more than 7 years ago | (#17424190)

Actually, that story sounds (ironically) like my attempt to switch to Ubuntu.

Download install CD. Burn it. Boot from it. Install. "Using GRUB as your bootloader is HIGHLY RECOMMENDED". Okay, use GRUB.

Boot up. Cannot load an OS. Grub error 1.5.

Okay, re-install.

Boot up. Cannot load an OS. Grub error 1.5.

Reinstall a few more times.

Boot up. Cannot load an OS. Grub error 1.5.

Okay, box is bricked. Luckily I have a computer from work and I go ask for help on forums.

"Re-install." Already tried that, kid. Several times.

"Your install CD wasn't downloaded properly." Except for the bit-by-bit comparison I ran before starting.

"Go into the Ubuntu OS and ..." What part of "cannot load an OS" did you not get?

"Use a Live CD." Don't have one. "You mean you didn't burn that along with the install CD?" Didn't say to. "You mean you didn't try the install on a spare box first?" You're fucking kidding me, right? (This was before they combined them, geniuses.)

"Burn a Live CD." Don't have a burner. "You burned the install CD, how can you not burn a Live?" 'Cause I'm posting from a different computer, moron. First one's bricked, remember?

"You need Knoppix. Burn ..." See previous.

"Okay, navigate the install CD from the installation interface, go to this location ..." Doesn't show up. "Okay, go to this other one and type this command." It takes a while to execute and than fails with this message: [message]. "..."

"What version of Windows do you have?" Does that really matter when I can't load any OS at all? "Well, if you're gonna be like that, we don't need you using Ubuntu."

"Okay, get your Windows CD." Computer's four years old and I've never had to use it. I really don't know where it is. "Oh, well, we don't help software pirates here. ~Sig~ Need to run DVD's on Linux? Go here. ~Sig~" Sigh...

"Well, obviously you have a hard drive problem. Not Ubuntu's fault, it just happens."

*Gets brother to fix entire mess.*

*Has been using "problematic hard drive" on Windows without any problem for a year.*

*bangs head into keyboard*

*understands why people don't switch to Linux*

*kisses karma goodbye*

*kisses karma goodbye* (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17424296)

Is that a secret code that gets you modded up on Slashdot?

Re:*kisses karma goodbye* (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17424442)

Of course, what kind of free thinking slashdot mod wants to appear predictable?

Re:*kisses karma goodbye* (1)

Crizp (216129) | more than 7 years ago | (#17424452)

I have unfortunately yet to see it fail.

Re:*kisses karma goodbye* (1)

_Sharp'r_ (649297) | more than 7 years ago | (#17424552)

If it did fail, the post wouldn't be moderated up (could be moderated down) and thus unless you habitually read at -1, you wouldn't see it fail.

So of course in this case, if it did in fact fail, you would expect most readers to "not see it fail." :)

Re:*kisses karma goodbye* (1)

HoldenCaulfield (25660) | more than 7 years ago | (#17424558)

Really? I read at a high threshold, so I see plenty of comments that have been modded up with "Kisses karma goodbye" or similar thoughts, but I doubt it's a sure fire way to get modded up . . .

I would hazard a guess that there are plenty of comments with low scores that have used the line, and have never really seen the light of day . . .

Re:*kisses karma goodbye* (1)

ScrewMaster (602015) | more than 7 years ago | (#17424852)

It's a presumption that dissing Linux on Slashdot will automatically invoke a Karma drain.

Not all that far from the truth, when you get right down to it.

Re:Comedy of Ubuntu errors (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17424310)

PEBKAC

Re:Comedy of Ubuntu errors (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17424330)

The username "UbuntuDupe" says it all.

Re:Comedy of Ubuntu errors (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17424804)

The username "UbuntuDupe" says it all.


Yes, it does [ubuntuforums.org] .

Re:Comedy of Ubuntu errors (5, Insightful)

dballanc (100332) | more than 7 years ago | (#17424386)

The difference here is that you were having LEGITIMATE TECHNICAL ISSUES, as opposed to issues created by pencil pushers. Every problem the guy ran into was caused by either a total lack of thought on the manufacturers end (exe and no drivers), or intentional/malicious limiation (F6 driver install disabled, Windows Key issues).

Re:Comedy of Ubuntu errors (-1, Troll)

UbuntuDupe (970646) | more than 7 years ago | (#17424434)

What about the GRUB issue, though? If GRUB fails, as happened, I'm locked out of all OS's. On the other hand, if I had set Ubuntu to load from a CD that I would instruct it to on startup (by hitting keys), then an Ubuntu software failure would not lock me out of Windows. It would have saved me LOTS of frustration if I had done that instead, so it's hard to see why GRUB is "highly recommended". That counts as lack of thought, right?

Re:Comedy of Ubuntu errors (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17424512)

What part of "technical issue" do you fail to understand?

Under normal conditions, GRUB is preferred.
Whatever reason caused it to fail for you was purely technical.
It certainly wasn't the result of an Ubuntu lawyer dictating the way GRUB should or should not work.

Re:Comedy of Ubuntu errors (3, Informative)

dballanc (100332) | more than 7 years ago | (#17424594)

Not really. You've got two basic problems. The first is that grub didn't work the way it's supposed to. That's a technical problem. The second is that you weren't prepared for the first problem. That's either a failing on your part for not reading carefully, or Ubuntu for not recommending some basic precautions when doing something critical like a bootloader. I haven't read the install docs, so I can't point any fingers. The solution is fixable, either using a LiveCD or a 2K/XP boot disk.

Now if Ubuntu had automatically identified a Windows install, and intentionally excluded it from the Grub boot menu then you'd have a problem more like the ones the author experienced.

Re:Comedy of Ubuntu errors (1)

UbuntuDupe (970646) | more than 7 years ago | (#17424696)

My claim is that there was a lack of thought. I was right. Ubuntu did not recommend precautions when using GRUB. The download site did not recommend downloading a Live CD as well. To "highly recommend" GRUB as the "safe" option constitutes a lack of though.

If I had been informed that GRUB's failure would brick my box, I would certainly have preferred booting the Linux partition by telling it to book from the Ubuntu CD at startup.

On the stuff I posted, I'm right. On the tangential issues you brought up, you have a point.

bad harddrive (3, Interesting)

Narcocide (102829) | more than 7 years ago | (#17424704)

Ok,

1) I see your point. Coming from your perspective you've been betrayed by GRUB and Ubuntu. I've had problems with GRUB in the past myself, and until recently have been a staunch supporter of LILO. Have you by chance tried picking that instead to see if it gives you better luck? Occasionally machines have firmware configurations or drive topology that GRUB still just doesn't seem to like. Its far more rare these days but still completely possible. Keep in mind you ARE using an operating system that was not pre-tested and pre-installed for the machine you're using. Unforseen complications can arise.

2) I'm only making a guess but it really *does* sound like you might have a bad harddrive. If the boot sector failed it really could have been working fine with windows for years until you tried to write something new to it, exposing the hardware failure by corrupting otherwise accessible data in the master boot record with a failed write. One way to check this would be to try re-installing windows of course, or any other distro/operating system.

3) I don't like Ubuntu either because its failed me the only two times I've tried it as well. Perhaps your machine is a "fringe case" like mine was. Issues and workarounds (or at least confirmation of non-working status) based on your motherboard's IDE/SCSI/SATA harddrive controller could exist online.

Anyway... Thats all the advice I have for you. I wish you luck.

Re:Comedy of Ubuntu errors (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17424426)

I'm sorry your attempt with Ubuntu didn't work (I had a similar problem with old hardware and the fix was to use LILO instead of GRUB, btw).

However what's interesting is the *differences* between your problems with Ubuntu and what TFA describes as problems with proprietary vendors. With the proprietary vendors, they basically said 'either you use our configuration or screw off'... The hardware, software, and so forth were all designed to work one single way, and if you want to deviate from that, you're on your own.

Your experience with Ubuntu was just the opposite: dozens of people (apparently) gave you lots of different suggestions for what might be wrong and how to fix it. It looks like in your case it didn't work out in the end, but it is certainly interesting how much free support you received for a product you didn't pay for.

Re:Comedy of Ubuntu errors (1)

ch-chuck (9622) | more than 7 years ago | (#17424438)

We wouldn't have this problem if people could readily purchase machines with $LINUX_DISTRO preinstalled.
And the reason we don't see more of that is because of Microsoft's historic tendancy to punish (or at
least make life difficult for) vendors that try.

Re:Comedy of luser errors (1, Troll)

sowth (748135) | more than 7 years ago | (#17424472)

a) Rebooting and reinstalling will only fix it if you made a mistake or you are using a poorly designed flaky OS. If it doesn't work the first time, why would it work a second?

b) Last time I checked, Ubuntu doubled as a live CD. In fact, how are you installing Ubuntu if you can't boot the CD?

c) Official GNU projects have the same poor code quality as MS. Stallman's goal is to take over the world, not produce a workable system. Don't use GRUB if you can avoid it.

"Okay, get your Windows CD." Computer's four years old and I've never had to use it. I really don't know where it is. "Oh, well, we don't help software pirates here. ...

d) This is a MS / commercial vendor problem. If you don't like copy protection and people accusing you of being a "pirate" even when you perchased a legit version of their software, then don't use their products. Especially if you are always losing the origional CD.

*Gets brother to fix entire mess.*

e) This is what you should have done in the first place. Someone who doesn't understand how computers work should not try to install an OS.

Re:Comedy of luser errors (0, Troll)

UbuntuDupe (970646) | more than 7 years ago | (#17424644)

You now, this guy was modded troll, but his (obviously erroneous) comments are pretty much par for the course in terms of what posters say about my exerpeience. So, I'll respond anyway.

a) Rebooting and reinstalling will only fix it if you made a mistake or you are using a poorly designed flaky OS. If it doesn't work the first time, why would it work a second?

True; I just wanted to do my due diligence before asking for help. I mean, it didn't work. In my first post I was very clear about having re-installed multiple times; that didn't stop anyone from recommending it. Go fig.

b) Last time I checked, Ubuntu doubled as a live CD.

So, like every wise guy that offered help, you failed to read the part where I said I did this at a time before they combined them.

In fact, how are you installing Ubuntu if you can't boot the CD?

I can't boot the OS. I can of course tell it to boot from the CD, which gives me the installation screen.

Don't use GRUB if you can avoid it.

I agree with you here. I just wish the install instructions were as wise.

d) This is a MS / commercial vendor problem.

mmm, no, they were asking for that to have bootable media, not because of any problem related to Windows. Remember, nothing can get past GRUB. If it can't even get to Windows, how can Windows be the problem?

e) This is what you should have done in the first place. Someone who doesn't understand how computers work should not try to install an OS.

I can understand the install instructions. In fact, it was *because* I followed them that I had the problem. Ubuntu doesn't specify an expansive knowledge of OS's you need in order to install it. If you're right, the mystery of why more people don't use Linux is over. Think about it.

Re:Comedy of luser errors (1)

VultureMN (116540) | more than 7 years ago | (#17424890)

I'm sorry to hear about your problems; I hope you give it another shot.

However, to be fair, if everyone had to install Windows themselves, also, I think the majority of the population just would never use a computer AT ALL.

YMMV (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17424476)

Most of us have had problems installing systems on random hardware. The point was that the author didn't have the resources to solve his problems because the suppliers didn't provide them. In fact, they bent over backwards to make sure he couldn't even use another copy of XP. He points out that such policies are customer antagonistic. I agree. It makes it hard to implement anything other than a turnkey solution.

With Linux, you may have the opposite problem. If you are smart enough, you can use all the resources you find on the web to solve your problem. My problem is that I'm not smart enough. I just installed Linux on a random collection of 'attic ware'. No way could I get the video card to work properly with Suse 10.0. On the other hand, everything went smoothly with Ubuntu (sort of ... I gave up on the onboard raid controller).

Re:Comedy of Ubuntu errors (5, Informative)

dylan_- (1661) | more than 7 years ago | (#17424570)

Why didn't you post a link to the thread on the ubuntu forums where this whole discussion took place, as you did last time you ranted about this? Is it because you've finally realised that you acted like a complete wanker there? Here's a link [ubuntuforums.org] .

Re:Comedy of Ubuntu errors (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17424712)

The guy is pretty obviously a troll, look at the way he yanks those people around. I was 70% sure from the slashdot thread, the ubuntuforums thread pushed it to 99.999% The guy is either a troll or hasn't left his house in 3 or 4 years, because I guarantee that if that were his genuine personality he would have been beat senseless and perhaps killed upon opening his mouth in public.

Re:Comedy of Ubuntu errors (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17424906)

Mod parent down. Forum link just duplicates post, grandparent sounded not like "a complete wanker", rather like someone frustrated by computer problems. Whether grandparent is a troll or not, I don't know. But parent's response is inappropriate.

Re:Comedy of Ubuntu errors (2, Informative)

Stevecrox (962208) | more than 7 years ago | (#17424636)

I had a same error trying to get Ubunutu running, as far as I could figure when you run the installer the IDE drive your installing to has to be the primary master drive, try install onto a slave, GRUB error 15. Try install with a SATA drive still plugged in? GRUB error 15. Try to install onto a SATA with IDE drives plugged in? GRUB error 15. As soon as the installation is completed you can switch it back.
 
The again with a debian installation I saw GRUB Error 15 & 18, on some old tired out machines which really did have knackered hard drives.
 
Microsoft may have an extremly awfull policy on windows disks but its the third party implementation which sucks not neccessarily Microsofts policy. Dell disks are like the HP ones described in the article, perhaps people should be demanding HP to make a better disk? My Medion MCE 2005 disk is a Windows MCE 2005 disk with Medion stamped on it instead of Microsoft (oh and they've modified it to load a Medion wall paper on completion) it installs the full range of XP vanilla drivers and I've seen Acer and Asus disks which act similary. Perhaps we should turn our attention to HP for creating for practical purposes a defunct windows disk rather than Microsoft for wanting the cheap copies of windows to be tied into the machine they were sold with. I don't necessarily agree with Microsofts policy but it seems that other companies don't decide to lock the disk in nearly as much and it was the lock in which made the disk useless.

Re:Comedy of Ubuntu errors (3, Informative)

Frogbert (589961) | more than 7 years ago | (#17424652)

God damn, stop trolling Ubuntu threads you tool!

Your claims are demonstratively false [ubuntuforums.org] .

You were rude to everyone in the thread, and most likely had a pirated version of windows to begin with (no install CDs)

In your above steps you say that you downloaded a CD image and burnt it then a few steps later it turns out you don't have a burner. How the hell did you burn it in the first place

Here's a tip, it is very useful to know what version of windows you were running. The steps to fix the install are different if you had Windows 98 or Windows XP.

I swear every time Slashdot posts anything about Ubuntu you rock up and tell the same story. I'm sorry but the reason you didn't get any help was because you are a dick and you didn't provide anyone with any helpful information.

Re:Comedy of Ubuntu errors (1)

UbuntuDupe (970646) | more than 7 years ago | (#17424794)

Your claims are demonstratively false.

You mean demonstrably false?

Btw, what in that thread contradicts me?

In your above steps you say that you downloaded a CD image and burnt it then a few steps later it turns out you don't have a burner. How the hell did you burn it in the first place

Why are people having such a hard time understanding this?

Computer #1 has CD burner. I burned the install CD with this. Computer #1 is my primary computer.

Computer #2 is from work. This is what I had to use to access the internet and get help. Computer #2 did not have a CD burner.

Having burned a CD from Computer #1 before it was bricked does not imply I can burn one from Computer #2 after Computer #1 was bricked.

Here's a tip, it is very useful to know what version of windows you were running. The steps to fix the install are different if you had Windows 98 or Windows XP.

Really? GRUB's errors depend on what Windows version you're using?

I swear every time Slashdot posts anything about Ubuntu you rock up and tell the same story. I'm sorry but the reason you didn't get any help was because you are a dick and you didn't provide anyone with any helpful information.

Good point, I didn't tell them if I had tried reinstall ... oh wait, I did that. I didn't tell them if I had verified the CD image ... oh, wait, I did that. I didn't tell them the results of trying their advice ... oh, wait, I did that. I didn't tell them the GRUB error message ... oh, wait, I did that.

Re:Comedy of Ubuntu errors (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17424666)

Hi,
I experienced a similar problem to yours when I tried installing debian on
an old computer as did a friend who had tried to install
Debian on an old computer as well. In our case, the problem was that
the bios was so old that It would not boot if the boot partition was not
strictly located withing the first 1 GB (4GB?) of the hard drive. I had to
do some googling to find out what the grub error was (I think it was error
code 18). Anyway, once I had discovered the problem was a bios problem (too
old!!) and not a Linux problem, the solution was to create (or make) a partition
within the first so many GBytes of the hard drive to contain the /boot directory.

Then my machine worked just fine. The moral of the story? Make sure you're hardware
is current or failing that make sure to do some research first (my personal favorite
is Knoppix (latest version is now 5.1)) to see what kind of hardware I'm working with
and whether or not it works with a current Linux kernel as is.

In the case of my wife's recently purchased IBM Thinkpad R52(?) I discovered the wireless
card is an Intel chipset 2915ABG that uses the ipw2200 driver + the firmware (which I had to download
separately because Intel's EULA is so restrictive, the firmware can not be made available
in Debian's nonfree repository.)). I'm taking notes as I go along so that I can tell my
friends how I got it to work. In this respect Debian has been an excellent distro
provider (Debian testing to be installed, knoppix for diagnosis, Funknix (I'm rolling my own
knoppix + intel firmware so I can get the wireless to work so that I can then rsync the "hidden partition"
to a backup system in case the "recovery partition" ever gets hosed I can truly recover.).

That way before I do the dual boot on my wife's laptop I can always recover from any mistakes I make.

Anyway, I guess the point is that like the author of the article, I find it so useful to use
Linux (Debian testing in particular) that I wouldn't want to use any other OS.

Re:Comedy of Ubuntu errors (1)

Stormx2 (1003260) | more than 7 years ago | (#17424684)

Wow. The boot sector of your disk was probably already borked, else you had a bad burn. Did you check the CD for defects (its in the menu on boot) before you installed? Did you run an integrity test on your disk before thinking about installing?

Re:Comedy of Ubuntu errors (1)

Ash-Fox (726320) | more than 7 years ago | (#17424790)

"Use a Live CD." Don't have one. "You mean you didn't burn that along with the install CD?" Didn't say to. "You mean you didn't try the install on a spare box first?" You're fucking kidding me, right? (This was before they combined them, geniuses.)
The Ubuntu install CD is also a live CD.

I sense you're trying to troll.

Re:Comedy of Ubuntu errors (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17424806)

Google is your friend, within two minutes I found this [bigpond.net.au] page which seems to be all you'd need (assuming the problem is, like you say, with GRUB).

Knowledge, and a little bit of patience is required if you are a power-user of any computer.

Re:Comedy of Ubuntu errors (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17424826)

My God! You're so obsessed with this that you created a handle based on the problem. Whatever the difficulty was, get over it and get a life!

Re:Comedy of Ubuntu errors (1)

tokul (682258) | more than 7 years ago | (#17424854)

Actually, that story sounds (ironically) like my attempt to switch to Ubuntu.

Download install CD. Burn it. Boot from it. Install. "Using GRUB as your bootloader is HIGHLY RECOMMENDED". Okay, use GRUB.

Boot up. Cannot load an OS. Grub error 1.5.

Okay, re-install.

Boot up. Cannot load an OS. Grub error 1.5.

Read your BIOS manual and find the way to make sure that CD is booted before HDD. You could boot from CDROM when you installed Ubuntu first time. CDROM is read only medium. Your installation should not break it. If you get grub errors, you are not booting from CDROM. CDROMs are booted with syslinux and not with grub.

Re:Comedy of Ubuntu errors (1)

UbuntuDupe (970646) | more than 7 years ago | (#17424892)

Booting from the CD would load the installation screen, not the OS.

I know because the first thing I did after getting the error was to try to boot from the CD.

Re:Comedy of Ubuntu errors (1)

tokul (682258) | more than 7 years ago | (#17424984)

"Use a Live CD." Don't have one.
You have Ubuntu install CD. It is also liveCD. You are trolling.

Re:Comedy of Ubuntu errors (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17424880)

In my case, I spent a good part of the night trying to figure out why it wouldn't boot after installation. The kernel just hung silently. Turns out Ubuntu yanked hyperthreading out of its kernels. So you have to turn off HT in the BIOS.

And why is this necessary? Because of a theoretical vulnerability that only affects servers. (Google "ubuntu hyperthreading" to see what I mean.)

I find it very curious that a supposedly desktop-focused, "it just works" distro would take such a heavy-handed approach to something that even stodgy, old-school Debian (tongue firmly in cheek) didn't see anything to get excited about.

Went back to Etch and Fvwm. Windows and Ubuntu are proof (okay,evidence) that "ease of use" ends up being more hassle than it's worth. (I thought I learned that a long time ago, when I upgrade KDE and --more than once-- had to spend like two hours trying to figure out why it wouldn't start.)

Re:Comedy of Ubuntu errors (1)

jlarocco (851450) | more than 7 years ago | (#17424898)

Actually, that story sounds (ironically) like my attempt to switch to Ubuntu.
Download install CD. Burn it. Boot from it. Install. "Using GRUB as your bootloader is HIGHLY RECOMMENDED". Okay, use GRUB.

No offense, but you either skipped, or left out, the most important step of the entire procedure, which would be "Read the installation instructions.", and should go right before "Download install CD".

It's hardly fair to blame the software when you didn't read the directions.

Re:Comedy of Ubuntu errors (1)

UbuntuDupe (970646) | more than 7 years ago | (#17424932)

Er, yes, yes I did. The install instructions:

1) did not recommend downloading a LiveCD.
2) STRONGLY RECOMMENDED using GRUB as the "safe" option.

In retrospect, I probably shouldn't have read them.

Re:Comedy of Ubuntu errors (4, Informative)

killjoe (766577) | more than 7 years ago | (#17424928)

This sounds familiar. I remember a post like this before and I checked the actual mailing lists and I remember you being a complete asshole as people tried to help you. You kept hurtling insults at people who were trying their best to help you and eventually they gave up figuring that you were merely trolling them and didn't really have a problem.

MOD parent down. (5, Informative)

killjoe (766577) | more than 7 years ago | (#17424992)

This guy is a well known troll. Look at the ubuntu forums (other people have provided links) and see what an asshole this guy was to the people trying to help him.

Chances are the guy didn't really have a problem and he is just trolling either for fun or profit.

Self-serve versus pay-to-play (2, Insightful)

PurifyYourMind (776223) | more than 7 years ago | (#17424204)

I imagine going the Linux route as a smaller business or individual is going to help a lot -- you have tons of free forums and enthusiasts to help you. In working at companies that used MS heavily, I can see a pattern--the bigger you are, the better service you get. For example, a huge computer chips manufacturer I worked at had several of their employees *on site* at Microsoft. A university I worked at - paying about $250,000/year for a site-wide software license - got less help, but still had inside contacts at Microsoft. And then you've got small/new businesses who may get an email a couple weeks later, if they're lucky.

Re:Self-serve versus pay-to-play (1)

westlake (615356) | more than 7 years ago | (#17425000)

I imagine going the Linux route as a smaller business or individual is going to help a lot -- you have tons of free forums and enthusiasts to help you.

what you do not have in small business is time. time to spend on the forums. time to trust in the enthusiast's solution which may or may not work.

Wheee! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17424220)

"Guess what I did today?"

Jumped off a cliff?

Re:Wheee! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17424530)

That sounds like fun

Re:Wheee! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17424706)

Theres a cliff?

Want to do business with Microsoft? (0, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17424240)

Then drop your pants and grab your ankles.

How One Small Business Switched to Zune (0)

WrongSizeGlass (838941) | more than 7 years ago | (#17424314)

Guess what I did today?
I didn't read the article, but based on the difficulties described in the paragraph, I'd say you bought and installed a zune?

Re:How One Small Business Switched to Zune (1)

arivanov (12034) | more than 7 years ago | (#17424700)

No. How a business tried to run Linux on a Promise controller. The moment I see Promise and Linux in one sentence it is bad news. I have at least 3 servers with onboard Promises which cannot be used because they fail in a variety of wonderfull ways. 2 high end tyan boards and one Intel OEM board. For two of them I cannot use the binary shite Promise ships as I run Debian with custom kernels and Linux driver does not recognise the contoller at all or does not handle errors correctly. For the Intel board I cannot use any of the following - Promise binary drivers (tried under redhat), Linux built in drivers or the I2O mode and Intel in their infinite wisdom have made RAID mandatory (no way to switch the POS down to a "normal ide").

If I see Promise in the spec (and many small HP servers ship with it) my first reaction is to buy a 3ware or a HPT and chuck the POS out. I have had trouble with either of these, but much less compared to Promise.

Ubuntu is pretty good stuff. (3, Interesting)

tetrahedrassface (675645) | more than 7 years ago | (#17424336)

Let me preface this by saying I ran almost every testing final release of Fedora. A couple of days ago I was trying to get Slash running on Core 6. A friend of mine said I should really try Ubuntu. We were on IRC, so i couldn't actually hear the tone of his voice, but it seemed to me be a pretty strong emphasis. Like "Try Ubuntu you idiot." :).. Well I did. I went and grabbed the 6.0.6 Dapper Server release. The install was painless. Once I was running there were several things I needed in order build stuff. Namely, build-essential, and things like that. Also Cpan was lets just say, interesting to get right, but it always is. So anyway. It took 3 minutes to get an apache 3.x series server with mod_perl up. Mysql was a breeze. Once the server was up, I decided to build scoop, just to get better. This is the first thing I had ever tried to build as far as a fairly powerful weblog product. The result? It works! If you doubt me, just click on my url. Now, i was just building scoop to learn. Not really gonna use it I don't think. The point is, Ubuntu rocks, and the longer term support from 6.0.6 is what I need if im gonna be doing some development. And the kernel aint half bad either. :P

Windows XP as a server? (4, Insightful)

dtfinch (661405) | more than 7 years ago | (#17424360)

That would have been disappointing even if you got it working.

Re:Windows XP as a server? (1)

nurb432 (527695) | more than 7 years ago | (#17424772)

That was sort of my thought too. " why is he instaling XP on a server ? "

There's a way to make it all work (2, Insightful)

Bob Cat - NYMPHS (313647) | more than 7 years ago | (#17424364)

I get paid by the hour, if you need me.

He was asking for it (3, Insightful)

kerubi (144146) | more than 7 years ago | (#17424376)

Big name vendor + non-supported hardware. Any system consultant with a few years of experience should be able to tell you "don't do that".

Actually the guy in the article didn't know what he was doing and tries to blame Microsoft and HP for the mess that his lack of knowledge created.

If he had done this for even once in the past, he would have known what would happen. Very nice of him to practice with his clients' systems.

He was asking for it-Acronis (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17424468)

I would have recommended this. [acronis.com] I used the free version to go from a PATA to a SATA.

Re:He was asking for it (3, Informative)

dballanc (100332) | more than 7 years ago | (#17424502)

Whether he has run into these problems once, or a thousand times doesn't make the nature of the problems any less asinine. As for 'don't do that', I've been doing it for over a decade with great results. I explain the pro/con points with my client and implement. And it works. Any consultant who has to trust vendor support FOR anything is just asking for trouble, because they WILL get screwed eventually.

Re:He was asking for it (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17424546)

ummmmm..... ok so maybe this was his "one time in the past" moment and now he knows?

so you're saying if he did this 5 years ago you wouldnt have posted the same thing? how does one earn that knowledge without doing it once, this was his once.. troll

Re:He was asking for it (5, Interesting)

kebes (861706) | more than 7 years ago | (#17424574)

You're quite right: the solution he chose was non-optimal from the start. Why is he using desktop hardware to build a server? What has he used in the past? Why didn't he do more research? Clearly a 'professional' would not have made these mistakes. Obviously it is possible to deploy a properly functioning Windows server to do what the guy wanted to do.

But that's not exactly the point of the article, I think. This was a rather small-scale installation, and he (with whatever knowledge, skills and money he had available) found it *impossibly frustrating* to get a Windows server running, while it was quite straight-forward to get a Linux server running.

This 'small-time market' is huge in aggregate. There are thousands of small businesses, home businesses, stores, etc. that have need of some kind of server. They don't have the money/time/expertise to set up a professional Windows server... but amazingly they do have the ability to set up a Linux server! Why? Because FLOSS empowers the user, is community-based, and doesn't impose artificial restrictions.

I've had similar experiences. Some years ago I was setting up a small server for a lab (file sharing, web-hosting, etc.). We had no need of a 'professional' system so I just set it up myself. First with Windows (didn't work out very well) and then I scrapped the system and used Linux instead. Even with my limited (at the time) knowledge of Linux, I was able to get a powerful, functional, and stable server system (still running, has never crashed). It was certainly as professional as it needed to be for our purposes.

The point is that FLOSS empowers the 'little guy' to get something working without hassles, whereas proprietary solutions are usually focused on the 'big guys' and create artificial barriers to actually doing what you want to do!

Re:He was asking for it (1)

jimicus (737525) | more than 7 years ago | (#17424608)

It's better than that.

The box he was shipping to his client originally had a 40GB hard drive in it, which immediately makes it a couple of years old. He's probably recycling an old box he had lying around.

Nothing intrinsically wrong with that, but if it's going out to the clients site to host important stuff, you probably want nice shiny new hardware rather than some 3 year old PC with an almost burnt-out PSU and zero warranty support (which means that you won't be able to get the parts to turn a dead box back into a live one - in the event of hardware failure, you'll have to restore from backup).

Re:He was asking for it (1)

rakslice (90330) | more than 7 years ago | (#17424656)

What, the "system consultant" didn't bend over and take it up the ass from the vendor? He must be ignorant or inexperienced. =)

Actually I bet he has many years of experience (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17424734)

Actually I bet he has many years of experience, but just hasn't done this recently. A few years ago, when you bought a new computer, you would get a real full version windows disk. If this were still true, he would have easily been able to do his job.

However, now because of the way that Microsoft makes its products, it is harder to do what he needs it to do. But this is what Microsoft does. Makes it easier for the masses that don't know anything, harder for the few that do. Windows restore disk, VB, Word, Managed C++. This is what Microsoft does.

If your users want to use Windows, then spend the extra money and do it right. Linux can be made to be easy for users, but Windows will always be a program that Microsoft will try to make money with. Therefore its use will always be geared for that.

Re:He was asking for it (1)

jellomizer (103300) | more than 7 years ago | (#17424936)

With the money you save by not going on the big name vendor service agreements you can put toward a system consultant who will make the work for you. Because that is their job.

Happy New Year, Microsoft. (-1, Flamebait)

twitter (104583) | more than 7 years ago | (#17424398)

You will be seeing more of the same as people learn just how bad Vista is.

Re:Happy New Year, Microsoft. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17424948)

twitter [slashdot.org] , please read this carefully. Following this advice will make Slashdot a better place for everyone, including yourself.

  • As a representative of the Linux community, participate in mailing list and newsgroup discussions in a professional manner. Refrain from name-calling and use of vulgar language. Consider yourself a member of a virtual corporation with Mr. Torvalds as your Chief Executive Officer. Your words will either enhance or degrade the image the reader has of the Linux community.
  • Avoid hyperbole and unsubstantiated claims at all costs. It's unprofessional and will result in unproductive discussions.
  • A thoughtful, well-reasoned response to a posting will not only provide insight for your readers, but will also increase their respect for your knowledge and abilities.
  • Always remember that if you insult or are disrespectful to someone, their negative experience may be shared with many others. If you do offend someone, please try to make amends.
  • Focus on what Linux has to offer. There is no need to bash the competition. Linux is a good, solid product that stands on its own.
  • Respect the use of other operating systems. While Linux is a wonderful platform, it does not meet everyone's needs.
  • Refer to another product by its proper name. There's nothing to be gained by attempting to ridicule a company or its products by using "creative spelling". If we expect respect for Linux, we must respect other products.
  • Give credit where credit is due. Linux is just the kernel. Without the efforts of people involved with the GNU project , MIT, Berkeley and others too numerous to mention, the Linux kernel would not be very useful to most people.
  • Don't insist that Linux is the only answer for a particular application. Just as the Linux community cherishes the freedom that Linux provides them, Linux only solutions would deprive others of their freedom.
  • There will be cases where Linux is not the answer. Be the first to recognize this and offer another solution.

From http://www.ibiblio.org/pub/linux/docs/HOWTO/Advoca cy [ibiblio.org]

I smell several errors. (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17424412)

Seeing several errors, I wonder about this article on top of the unprofessional attitude.

*Microsoft has a policy where the vendors can't ship you a Windows CD so instead they have to send you a series of restore CDs.
      -Never heard of this happening. I think he means HP restore CDs

*The #*(&$ers at HP made it so the brain dead restore scripts would not see any hardware other than the parts they shipped, and it would not recognise the Promise controller.
      -That's a driver issue. No drivers, no access to weird/different hardware.

*If you have a copy of XP to use, guess what? The key that comes with the HP box is restricted to the version of Windows on the restore CD.
      - Yes, that's called a OEM key. They also have VLKs and Retail keys. Don't pirate.

*That is when I learned half of the problems with Promise, the CD it provides is not bootable and contains nothing resembling a tool.
      -Nothing to do with FOSS/MS. I don't think he does this once a week. If so, this is new hardware and it's new to him. Not MS's problem.

So this tech can't get Windows to work, installs Ubuntu, and tells the customer "Tada".

Excuse me!!! We have unneeded licenses, an incompetent tech and hours of wasted install time due to the previous mentioned items.

Fire this guy. Decide if Ubuntu works, if so, great, get your money back from the licenses, and if not then get a competent tech in there.

Re:I smell several errors. (2, Insightful)

Grant_Watson (312705) | more than 7 years ago | (#17424648)

*If you have a copy of XP to use, guess what? The key that comes with the HP box is restricted to the version of Windows on the restore CD.

Yes, that's called a OEM key. They also have VLKs and Retail keys. Don't pirate.

How is it piracy to use a copy of the same version of the same OS on the same machine from a different CD? I understand that this is an antipiracy measure on Microsoft's part, but it got in the way of legitimate use here, as it not infrequently does.

Re:I smell several errors. (2)

dballanc (100332) | more than 7 years ago | (#17424724)

* -Never heard of this happening. I think he means HP restore CDs
I guess you've never been a reseller as I have. You get discounts, in exchange for following certain guidelines. One of the programs I participated in required the use of a restore CD in place of actual OEM disks. That was back in the 98/Me days though, I have no idea what the requirements are now for the volume resellers.

* -That's a driver issue. No drivers, no access to weird/different hardware.
True, but not making allowances for servicing the machine is a POOR design decision that directly affects the consumer. It's not like they failed to do something here, they intentionally disabled the ability to F6 and install additional support drivers. It's been going on for YEARS, and is a decision by the manufacturers to encourage replacement rather than repair.

* - Yes, that's called a OEM key. They also have VLKs and Retail keys. Don't pirate.
Brilliant, so as a tech I should have to purchase every one of the 7+ version of XP even though I don't even need the licenses? This ENCOURAGES piracy.

* -Nothing to do with FOSS/MS. I don't think he does this once a week. If so, this is new hardware and it's new to him. Not MS's problem.
It's promises problem, and a minor one. I run into it constantly. It's an easy fix, but WHY should a few KB worth of drivers be bundled in an EXE in the first place?

Re:I smell several errors. (2, Interesting)

Helix150 (177049) | more than 7 years ago | (#17424740)

1. Microsoft has had this policy in the past, at least for consumer systems. I think they might have dropped it but I know it existed. Even if they didn't- many manufacturers (by their own choice) provide a quick restore CD with few options. He has a valid point that the CD was possibly poorly built, however if it was this way that suggests he was trying to install a server on a desktop/workstation box rather on a box designed as a server. HP makes the (often correct but quite inflexible) assumption that people who buy a desktop won't use it as a server, and plan accordingly.

As for Promise, i dunno, i generally use 3ware/AMCC stuff myself. It's a bit pricier but all the controllers I've gotten from them have at least some dead-tree documentation, a CD (which DOES have a driver) and the windows install floppy.

I keep a USB floppy drive around for this purpose- when installing Windoze on odd hardware, often you NEED a floppy to give it the driver. And most BIOSes or win setup will figure out that a usb floppy drive is drive A: when there is no other floppy.

You're right about the OEM key but that doesn't stop it from being a royal PITA. I carry a windows OEM install cd around with me for exactly this purpose. Remember, piracy is when you steal something that isn't yours. One shouldn't have to do pirate-like cracking to get ones own software to work the way one wants it to.

So to sum it up, yes there are solutions to all this guy's problems and maybe if he was more experienced he coulda found them all. I could probably have made it work given a few hours.
**BUT**
the fact remains that many of these problems (crappy restore CDs, driver disks without drivers, OEM keys) exist because of poor choices by HP, MS and Promise. They all made the (incorrect) assumption that the system would be used only as shipped, in only that configuration, nothing more; and because of that assumption made it difficult or impossible for the user/customer to do so without extra expense.

(the important bit)
AS A RESULT, the customer decided that his life was being made unnecessarily difficult and went with a competing product (Ubuntu Linux) that solved his problems more easily.

To say that again- the customer decided that his problems, however fixable, were a waste of his time and he decided to use a competing product that had fewer problems. That is the essence of a free market, you know the whole build a better mouse trap bit?

If I had hired this guy I would pat him on the back and pay him- he decided that banging his head on the problem was counter-productive and he installed something else that he knew would work and I save money and time, because my solution is deployed faster and I don't have to pay for his time trying to make something work. As long as it doesn't miss some capability I will need later, I would be thrilled.

Joke's on him (1, Flamebait)

xrayspx (13127) | more than 7 years ago | (#17424458)

Microsoft lost this chain for sure on the server side. If it doesn't think their brain dead policies are costing them money, I am proof positive that they are

Unless he somehow wrangled a refund out of HP for the copy of XP he didn't use, then Microsoft still got paid, thus their "braindead policy" isn't costing them a nickel. They're just making money on a copy of Windows they don't need to support.

On the one hand this guy describes the branch office as "no big deal, done it a thousand times before", then proceeds to use a desktop machine with a 3rd party RAID as a server running XP and is surprised when it didn't work? That's what I don't really get about this article.

Wow! (0, Troll)

wynler (678277) | more than 7 years ago | (#17424482)

That's it, blame HP and Microsoft for your own incompetance.

World Turned Upside Down (0)

RAMMS+EIN (578166) | more than 7 years ago | (#17424500)

``You never quite wrap your head around how anti-consumer Microsoft's policies...''

Wait, now it's _Microsoft_ who has anti-consumer policies, not Linux? Did the world turn upside down while I was partying may ass off? Could this be the year of Linux on the desktop? ;-)

Linux on the Desktop? (1)

drewzhrodague (606182) | more than 7 years ago | (#17424672)

Could this be the year of Linux on the desktop?

It certainly was for me. Again.

So close... (2, Informative)

(H)elix1 (231155) | more than 7 years ago | (#17424542)

Looks like the poster had a 'real' Windows CD, but the license key he was trying to use was for the brain dead OEM version. Been there, done that. The trick is to transform a real CD into what HP (and all the other hardware vendors) should be including - a Windows install CD that works with the key on the sticker.

So look at the 'pre-installed' media, find the c:\i386\setupp.ini file that should be on the HDD. Build yourself a Windows install CD using NLite (because you should also trim th fat as long as you are going to be in there, along with adding drivers, security patches, etc) from some other source. Replace the setupp.ini file and it will use the OEM key. This won't turn an OEM version into an activation free volume version, but you can go the other way.

Did I mention nlite lets you add drivers to the install media? (grin) A must for those who have SATA drives.

Phew! (1)

ctid (449118) | more than 7 years ago | (#17424584)

Thank goodness it's all so easy with Windows! Seriously, WTF? Is this sort of crap standard with Windows?

Re:Phew! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17424962)

Apparently so. When I installed DOS98 (er, Win98) back in the day, I had to shoehorn in the Advansys (RIP) SCSI driver just to be able to install from CD. (But DOS98 wouldn't boot from the CD, even though it should have).

Nice Work (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17424544)

Ok. The guy bought a bunch of desktops. He then changed out some key hardware, and then expected the vendors to support this configuration seamlessly. His solution was to just move to something he felt was easier for him than actually looking into the right way to do things for his customer. Some other configurations which would have worked come to mind. Mirrored external Firewire/USB RAID. An inexpensive NAS device w/ built in file/print sharing (which unlike XP is licensed for being used as a server). Or God Forbid, a low end server with Microsoft Small Business server. It sounds like from his standpoint, which is that of a Linux admin/hack that this is a great solution. Hopefully the owner and end users at the branch office are comfortable with this and never need to run any Windows applications to do things like run their business.

Re:Nice Work (1)

Jason Earl (1894) | more than 7 years ago | (#17424782)

I totally agree with you that there are other ways to skin this particular cat. However, the ability to use Microsoft's software to set up "impromptu" servers is part of the reason that Windows is so ubiquitous. A huge part of the Microsoft draw was that it took very little training or knowledge to set up simple file and print solutions for small businesses.

Ubuntu isn't such a bad solution either. It's probably less expensive (and more flexible) than a dedicated NAS. More reliable than trusting the bundled 40G hard drive and an external drive, and way less expensive than SBS.

You have to be kidding.. (3, Insightful)

cybrthng (22291) | more than 7 years ago | (#17424560)

First of all, its called using the right tool for the right job. When you buy an OEM desktop you get OEM windows, you *CAN* buy the CD for an extra 10-20 bucks with most places and if you register as a reseller you can get much more. (If you're a microsoft partner you can just sell another license through your partner advantage program and use your own cd's/media for install) (free to join program). Finding Media is probably the easiest job of any techie.

Secondly, don't use Windows XP to be a server. It really isn't much more and sometimes cheaper to get a system pre-installed with SBS 2003 R2 and you get Exchange and other features built in not to mention a true comparison against Linux resource/functionality wise.

Terribly inaccurate and to say the least a very inept technician and company at work here.

My biggest selling "managed service" for small/medium sized businesses isn't my linux solution but my sbs 2003 r2 solution because for most people it not only saves money but provides tons of features from easy to configure remote access to sharing in sharepoint to cenralized ad administration/logins/access restrictions to built in exchange and with the advanced version sql server access.

I would never sell someone a desktop as a server solution simply because your selling yourself short. If cost savings was an issue buy a refurb server system and put whatever linux you want on it.

Re:You have to be kidding.. (3, Insightful)

Scutter (18425) | more than 7 years ago | (#17424850)

Ah yes. SBS. The lovely "server" from Microsoft that has all "services" rolled together. As in "you can't uninstall and reinstall a broken service without reloading the entire OS". The one where a slight problem with one service affects everything on the box. No thanks. I'll stick with W2K3 STD.

Re:You have to be kidding.. (5, Insightful)

segedunum (883035) | more than 7 years ago | (#17424866)

I would never sell someone a desktop as a server solution simply because your selling yourself short.

Typical lame duck Microsoft 'Gold Partner' response I've heard a thousand times over. I really don't know how the fuck them guys stay in business.

It really depends on what he's using it for, doesn't it? If it's just to use as a simple file and print server, or as a machine on the network to host a third party application that many small businesses tend to use, then why in hell's name is he going to fork out more money for SBS with a ton of things he'll never use and some things he'll never be able to use properly (Terminal Services springs to mind) and where he can't get more than one on the same network? Yes, you guessed it, that's an artificial Microsoft restriction in SBS *slaps forhead*.

The situation sucks, but is Linux the answer? (4, Insightful)

RebornData (25811) | more than 7 years ago | (#17424562)

I have been bitten by every single problem mentioned in that article. Bad OEM "revogery disks" and MS licensing restrictions that prevent one from using an alternative install disks are one of the biggest single problems facing those of us that support very small businesses professionally. Say what you want about Dell... at least they include real windows install disks.

However, I have to question the judgement of the author. First of all, what kind of consultant deploys branch offices "weekly" and didn't know about these problems in advance? Anyone with much experience would know about (a) how difficult it is to move windows from one storage subsystem to another, (b) that HP uses bad recovery disks, and (c) that RAID installs require a floppy.

In addition, I question the use of Linux in this situation... perhaps it was his only way out of a bad recommendation to a client, but the problem is that there are *very* few Linux-savv consultants servicing businesses this size. For this reason alone I don't deploy Linux solutions... I can't find subcontractors who can back me up when I'm on vacation or sick, and should I stop working with a client, I don't want to leave them high and dry. Most consultants I know replace Linux servers with windows because they simply can't support it.

Finally, there's a much better way to do what he's trying to do: a NAS appliance. If all you need is some shared storage, printer sharing and the occasional backup, one of the many small business NAS devices out there (Infrant [infrant.com] , Snap / Adaptec [snapappliance.com] , Buffalo [buffalotech.com] , etc...) will do so with greater reliability and less complexity than a PC-based server.

-R

Re:The situation sucks, but is Linux the answer? (1)

Doppler00 (534739) | more than 7 years ago | (#17424622)

RAID installs should never require a floppy drive. Most computers don't include them anymore. I believe most new versions of Linux and Vista solves this problem.

Does Microsoft really think the recovery CDs help? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17424638)

I've had soooo many problems with systems that only came with the 2000/XP "recovery" CDs
Did Microsoft really think that by not shipping the full version of the system that they were going to cut down on piracy?

One thing bothers me... (2, Informative)

Masa (74401) | more than 7 years ago | (#17424646)

The article says that you will not receive neither XP installation disk nor a valid XP Product Key. All HP hardware that I have been using have had a rescue CD set, vanilla XP installation CD (although, the CD has HP label) and a Product Key sticker glued to the machine. The Key works with the installation CD, but the activation process has to be done over the phone.

This is the situation in Finland. Does HP have different policies in other countries? I'm just curious to know if there just are different policies in different countries or is this some completely new policy that HP started using just recently?

Re:One thing bothers me... (1)

KillerBob (217953) | more than 7 years ago | (#17424752)

My Compaq laptop is similar to yours... the old one (pre-merger) had restore CDs that reinstalled everything, complete with the crap that I never wanted like AOL. The new(er) one came with a vanilla XP CD that installed the OEM version of XP Home. No activation required, doesn't even ask for the CD key, though there is a sticker on the bottom of the lappy.

All the drivers are included on a 2nd CD, and there's a 3rd CD with the crap I don't want, like AOL, MSN, MS Works, etc. etc. etc.

I'm in Canada. The previous laptop was an EVO N115, and the current one is an R4035CA.

Not that revolutionary (1)

RazorX90 (700941) | more than 7 years ago | (#17424662)

The title of this article suggests he switched all the computers over to Ubuntu when really he just installed it on the RAID server. This seems like it would be very common for small networks.

Personally, I have a UNIX box running file and printer sharing for a few windows computers. No one would ever know I didn't run windows on the server unless I told them. No one who works in the office is going to know he is using Linux or care, they will see XP on their desktops and life goes on. IMO the only way this "story" would come close to qualifying as a story is if his workstations all ran Ubuntu.

Well Duh! (2, Insightful)

Shadow99_1 (86250) | more than 7 years ago | (#17424688)

Ok who else doesn't believe the line: "It started out quite simply, a client needed to set up a small branch office, something I do almost every week.", from the article?

I have been a consultant (my own business) working exclsuively with small bussiness for quite some time & before I ever started doign that I'd have told him he was a frickin' moron. HP doesn't support other hardware on their _restore_ CD's, well friggin' DUH! Hey moron how can you not know this if you 'a client needed to set up a small branch office, something I do almost every week'. If you had you'd know this already and wouldn't have screwed with the HP disks at all & would know you need a real OS disk.

After that you blame Promise's CD... Yet lots of vendors do that... Hell lots of motherboard vendors do that! It's why I have a LS120 drive I use that is never installed in systems, but lets me get stuff loaded at that fun part of the install where I have to have a 'floppy type device' to load anything...

Really two things come to mind that sum up the solution to his whole problem: Either convince HP to customize a machine to your needs (and keep their support which you btw killed when modifying their box anyways and is the only real reason to buy from a OEM vendor anyways) or Build the darn box yourself so you can customize it as you want with a real OS CD! Problem solved.

It may be nice Linux 'solved' your problem, but your problem was caused by you for not already knowing what you were walking into.

Headline sloppiness (again) (1)

fm6 (162816) | more than 7 years ago | (#17424718)

The business didn't "switch to Ubuntu". That phrase implies that they suddenly stopped using any Windows systems. In fact, they made the much smaller step of converting their servers to Ubuntu. Linux has always been a much easier sell in serverland, because on servers you don't have all the application lock-in that makes it hard to get end users to give up Windows.

Similar Thing Happened to Me (5, Interesting)

segedunum (883035) | more than 7 years ago | (#17424726)

At one time, my boss was as wedded to Microsoft as they come, mainly because that was all he knew. Over time, that view changed mainly because of the hoops we had to jump through as a small IT business doing things for SMBs, and the unbelievable expense for pointless things with an all Microsoft approach.

The licensing bollocks in the article of being squeezed into buying a full copy of XP, or Windows Server, not to mention the excruciating amount of time you spend wading through the treacle, is just the tip of the iceberg, and is not something I see in very many TCO studies ;-).

The final straw was Terminal Services, which to this day, is the one thing that pisses me off just about the most with Windows and Windows Servers. You actually need to run a separate service, or even a separate Windows Server, just to track Client Access Licenses (which you pay for) so that users can get access to all their applications. Anything that goes wrong with TS is nearly always licensing related, and has nothing to do whatever with the software itself. The sole reason why this is as difficult as it is is because remote applications like this seriously threatens Microsoft's reliance and monopoly over fat clients, so they got in quick and closed what they saw as a loophole. Their approach is to then make the thin client approach just as expensive and more difficult. Well, f*** off. We wanted to spend our money on things that were going to make things better and actually get us ahead of the loser competition.

I know SBS is held up as this great white hope for IT in small businesses, but I find the whole thing so limiting that we can very rarely give a 'Yes' answer to a client without asking for several thousands of whatever currency you wish before we even start and disappearing for several weeks. I mention these problems we have had calmly to many Microsoft resellers and 'Gold Partner' IT companies and they get very visibly upset, because they just don't know what to say.

As a business, we then went off into a fantastic world of an Ubuntu server running separate VMware or Xen Virtual Machines, remote desktop applications using Nomachine's fantastic NX Server, and with no ridiculous CAL overhead where we could ditch Windows applications, SQL Ledger, Zimbra, Fedora Directory Server and many others. The whole set up we have internally does so much more than a Windows and Microsoft set up does, it just isn't believable.

No doubt I'll get some extremely witty and informative reply to this comment about how someone managed to bork their Grub and Ubuntu installation into not booting. Oh, I see we've already had one ;-).

What do you expect? (0, Troll)

Skylinux (942824) | more than 7 years ago | (#17424742)

The problem with a lot people is that they want EVERYTHING for $0.01 What do you expect when you buy a computer with a 40GB drive as a server? It's not even a low end workstation!!!!!!!!! Let me guess the guy paid $199 for the "server" and expects HP to give him world-class tech support, 10 year warranty, restore software written by the brightest guys in the world with more options then a Linux kernel compile. Come on, you get what you pay for. And the guy is setting up one office a week, scary.

Charlie, Get Your Money Back (1)

Nom du Keyboard (633989) | more than 7 years ago | (#17424754)

I hope Charlie will now demand that HP refund him the pittance they actually give you back when you demand your "I'm not using Windows on this machine" refund, as permitted for in the Windows ToS.

Nothing like... (1)

coastin (780654) | more than 7 years ago | (#17424760)

There's nothing like frustration to help one get over the fear of jumping out of the M$ boat and swimming with penguins.

"Desktops are under evaluation, but Microsoft lost this chain for sure on the server side."

Linux desktop migration seems to be a more considered option these days. Vista problems and restrictions are likely to drive more small businesses as well as enterprise customers toward Linux desktop adoption.

One thing he did miss (1)

scdeimos (632778) | more than 7 years ago | (#17424766)

Even if he did manage to get the HP XP installed with the Promise RAID drivers, he probably wasn't ready to enable 48-bit LBA to handle ATAPI drives larger than 137GB under XP [microsoft.com] .

Another example of excellent reporting... (2, Insightful)

PPGMD (679725) | more than 7 years ago | (#17424792)

Another example of excellent reporting, that is if you like blaming Microsoft for every problem. As far as I am aware there is no Microsoft policy that prohibits the shipping of Windows CDs with the computers. It's just that the companies don't like them because they are a pain to support compared to restore discs.

All the blame here lies on one company, HP. They didn't ship them a Windows CD which would have fixed it right up. But any good computer tech would have had a Windows XP Pro OEM CD that they could have used to install the OS (Microsoft sends an entire album of current OEM CDs to partners). Sure you would have to call up to activate the OS, but it would have gotten him up and running.

Just run your own support (1)

bluefoxlucid (723572) | more than 7 years ago | (#17424798)

The best strategy for a business is to start your small business with an IT department that can handle your IT infrastructure, and then expand it to what you need. Consultants have to hill-climb; they have to say, "There's a problem here, we'll fix it. If you find another problem (possibly exposed by this fix), call us again." Your own IT department should have documentation and experience with your network, so they know if they do X it will break Y but they can do Z to get Y working properly and move ahead safely.

When you do open source, you have a more interesting plan of motion. It's still a matter of keeping your own IT department trim yet functional to avoid the nightmare of consultant attempts to address narrow problems from a narrow viewpoint; but you can do something interesting with that IT department. Set aside a budget to keep a small number of programmer-software-engineers on hand, and have them focus on "Market Softening in the Business Interests." Simply put, have them work with your upstream maintainer, write code, devise plans, and create applications and features in applications that are good for your business.

Anything such a team would produce has to be public by nature of their work, so they should never be handed any kind of business-critical confidential information; they could safely work with not only the community, but with other such groups in other businesses in some form of "alliance" like everyone likes to form these days. This means that you've not only got a good hand in controlling the market to favor your business; but you've also got both good PR and good business relations with other potential business partners and even with your rivals (rivals can become partners). It creates a less hostile atmosphere for businesses; it's still competitive, but you've only got your competition against you instead of the whole software market.

so much for my Karma (0, Troll)

briancnorton (586947) | more than 7 years ago | (#17424802)

I hate to say it but this really sounds like incompetence on the part of the installer in a few ways. An OEM version of XP is licensed for the hardware it is sold with, anybody that does this "almost every week" should know that and not have encountered this problem. Disagree with the policy, fine, but he still should have known it. Also, SURPRISE, your OEM key won't work on a retail version! DUH!

O, that aside e could have slipstreamed the drivers into the install as knowledgeable admins often do. (sounds simple, I haven't done it myself though) or perhaps purchased the operating system that was appropriate for the implementation, namely win 2003 standard.

I got no beef with using Linux, it sounds like it could work in this case, but the incompetence sounds like the author's not the manufacturers.

Misleading Summary - Business Switched Server Only (1)

vitality-jtw (1045542) | more than 7 years ago | (#17424842)

According to TFA - the business only installed Ubuntu on the server box. It looks like the rest of the machines are still on XP. Yeah, they are employing a linux distro where vendor/MS licensing failed them, but it's not like they completely went FOSS in the whole organization or anything. This summary is overblowing Linux usage for this particular organization.

Re:Misleading Summary - Business Switched Server O (1)

MLease (652529) | more than 7 years ago | (#17424982)

Also according to TFA, this happened at a small branch office, the parent company is putting Linux on all of its servers, and "desktops are under evaluation" -- IOW, every single computer in the whole company, not just the one server in the branch office, may be switched over to Linux. It didn't mention what company this is or how big it is, but the extent of this may be more than you're thinking.

-Mike

Ubuntu Fan (1)

coldtone (98189) | more than 7 years ago | (#17424924)

I just gave it a shot a few days ago. All I can say is WOW [blogspot.com] .

If you have not tried Ubuntu, please do. I can't say enough good things about it.
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