In preparation for our "The New Faces of Linux" article, we thought it would be good to prime the pump with a story submitted by Stu Wieneke of Phoenix.
You know...the place that mothered the phrase "but it's a dry heat."
Right, people are bursting into flame on the street.
At least it's a dry flame.
Knowing Phoenix well, I was more than happy to hear about this incident and thought I'd share it with you. Also, we encourage you to submit stories like this so we can put them forth here. Eventually, phrases like "but it's a dry heat" and "GNU/Linux isn't ready for the Enterprise" will go the way of, well...
"but it's all command line, I need clicky things..."
"My apps won't run on Linux...."
"It's only secure because no one uses it..."
"It's so hard to learn..."
Thanks Stu for this report.
I work in the Facilities Maintenance Dept. of a trade school here in Phoenix, AZ. Whenever the water leaks, a breaker trips, or someone hurls in the bathroom sink, I'm the guy
In short, I am not a computer professional at all beyond my
interest in it as a hobby, which makes me the department "Tech" guy. I
started playing with Linux late in 2001, and by early 2003 I was running
nothing else on any of my home computers.
About 6 months ago, my boss decided he wanted a map. A big one that
showed the entire campus with all 7 buildings, detailing the locations
of all the fire exits, water mains, breaker boxes, utility cutoffs,
along with any other information the emergency services in the area
might be interested in finding out real quick. He asked me if I could
make such a map, and I said "Sure!". Not only did I tell him I could
make such a map, but I could make it in such a way that different layers
could contain just about any information we wanted, and within a few
minutes we would be able to use it to create a "custom" map for just
about any purpose we desired!
I went to the IT department, and told them I needed a decent SVG
graphics application, like Adobe or (ugh!) Visio. The last time I heard
them laugh that hard was when I asked them for a Dvorak keymap on my
work computer, but I digress. They told me to use "MS Paint". Yes, the
same version of Paint that came bundled with Windows 3.1, and allows you
to rotate a circle or a square in 90 Degree increments only.
I knew I was going to need a lot more than that, but loading even FOSS software
on the company computers is strictly forbidden! I took one of my old
laptops (a Micron Trek2, PII 300 with 192Mb ram, 20G hard drive), loaded
with Debian Etch, and kept it in my desk drawer for whenever I had some
time to work on the map. I used Inkscape, because It's easy to use, yet
powerful enough to do everything I needed it to do.
As my work on the map progressed, I converted the .svg drawings to .png, (Windows doesn't
natively support .svg, not on our network, anyway) and printed them out
for everyone else to edit and add information to, which I then used in
the next version. It took about 6 months, but I finally finished it,
then converted the final version to a .pdf which I took to Kinko's for
I just picked it up last Monday, and I told the girl at Kinko's that my
boss was going to be tickled pink when he saw it. She said she thought
it looked really good for something produced "in house", and seemed
quite surprised when I told her I made it on a Linux computer running
nothing but Open Source software.
"Just imagine,", I asked her, "How much would Kinko's be worth today if
they didn't have to pay Microsoft for Windows software?"
"A LOT!", she admitted, but then said, "Unfortunately, Linux isn't
compatible with anything we use here..."
Her voice trailed off as I simply smiled and pointed at the map she was
boxing up for me.
"Well, I guess it *is* getting better...", she admitted.
"...And tomorrow it will be even better than it is today!", I replied.
In the meantime, my boss was so pleased with the results that he sent
pictures of the map to all the other campus directors, and I expect that
I will soon be explaining to all of them how I made it. I will start by
telling them I used something called "Linux"...
Saturday, April 04, 2009
blather and mumbling provided by Ken Starks at 6:38 AM