[svlug] Demonstrations of Linux flexibility?

Karsten M. Self kmself at ix.netcom.com
Fri Mar 4 15:52:20 PST 2005

I'm looking for examples illustrating the flexibility possible with

I'm *not* talking about:

  - Portability (unless the portability allows you to do something
    utterly cool).

  - Stability.  Unless you can reliably exploit the stability to make
    something hard easy.

  - Scalability (e.g.:  GNU/Linux Runs On the Zygernack MulitVAX
    65,536-way TessarProc Zambleflox System with 8 Petabytes AbucRAM).
    Though if you've done something wicked bad with a Gumstix, I'd like
    to hear about it.

Preferably, I'd like to see something prosaic.  More prosaic than I've
got here, even.  Stuff that a home or small office business user/admin
would appreciate.  Making easy tasks easy and hard tasks possible.

The examples I've got now:

  - Google found it could harness thousands (10,000 at this
    writing) of common, desktop PCs running GNU/Linux
    to power its search engine


  - A home health care provider looking for a way to effectively
    use old computers.  The result: the Linux Terminal Server Project,
    motto:  "It works, it's free.  Duh!".  The project is now highly
    popular with schools stretching thin (or nonexistant) IT


  - A need for a readily-resettable demo system for tradeshows led to
    some magic with CDROMs, an existing GNU/Linux distro, compressed
    filesystems, and hardware detection, resulting in Knoppix, a desktop
    GNU/Linux system running entirely from CDROM.  It's since spawned
    many similar projects.


  - Wanting to install a new distro without suffering downtime of my
    existing system, I expanded some ideas which now allow you to
    install a new GNU/Linux install under an existing, running system.
    Such "chroot" installs allow a live conversion of one GNU/Linux
    distro to another.  My own notes are now part of Debian's
    installation manual, and have been extended to allow _remote_
    conversions between GNU/Linux distros.


Karsten M. Self <kmself at ix.netcom.com>        http://kmself.home.netcom.com/
 What Part of "Gestalt" don't you understand?
    Music makes one feel so romantic - at least it always gets on one's
    nerves - which is the same thing nowadays.
    - Oscar Wilde
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