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Update on roll out

Yesterday (Tuesday 19th Oct) Rich and Dick Turpin met some of the parents in the planned recipient households to give them a bit more information about what they may expect over the next few weeks. A leaflet was distributed entitled "Some information about the project …" and a questionnaire hurriedly put together by both of them to get information from people necessary for planning the roll out. I’ll post these when I receive digital copies from Dick.

Creative Expo 04

John Mayford has given us an invite to the Creative Expo 04 at the LShed on Bristol harbourside on 22/23rd October.

The event hasbeen orgnaised by Bristol East Side Traders –

and I’m sending off for an official pack now.

Are you an artist, designer, maker, photographer, performer, comedian, architect, street artist or poet or do you work in the performing arts, interactive media or the visual arts and live or work in Bristol’s inner city? Then Creative Expo 04 has been created with you in mind.

Creative Expo 04 is a two-day event hosted by BEST and will be showcasing some of Bristol’s most innovative creative practitioners. This spectacular event will be held at the L-Shed next to the Industrial Museum on Bristol’s Princes Wharf on Friday 22 & Saturday 23 October 2004.

Creative Expo 04 is your opportunity to:

* showcase your field of speciality
* market your product or idea to agencies, venues, galleries, corporate business and the public
* improve your promotional and selling skills & network with fellow artists

You will also be provided with an invaluable source of networking opportunities with trade, press and public audiences.

BEST will also provide marketing support to help you obtain maximum exposure from the event. Included will be a briefing and training day (covering all aspects of setting up an exhibition).

BEST invites applications from creative practitioners who work or live in the areas of St Paul’s, Stokes Croft, Montpelier, St Werburghs, Easton, Whitehall, Barton Hill, St Annes, Redfield or Lawrence Hill.

More details here –

and I’m sending off for an official pack now.

Migration Stories

Nailing another Microsoft TCO tall tale

At Rouse’s Supermarkets in Louisiana, it was just another July day in 2004. Customers placed their summer grocery selections on the conveyor belts; cashiers scanned them and collected the amount due using their touch-screen terminals, just like always. But underneath the hustle and bustle at the checkout lanes, a silent revolution had taken place. Even though their PC-based cash registers seemed the same, the operating system that all the technology rested on had changed from SCO Unixware to Linux.

even though it was business as usual for the frontline employees, vice president Tommy Rouse knew things were very different.

Rouse’s Supermarkets has been a family owned and operated grocery chain since 1959, when Tommy Rouse’s father started with one small store. The younger Rouse grew up living next door to the store, and so naturally he feels "deeply involved" in everything that happens with the business, which today has expanded to 15 stores.

Rouse’s has been utilizing ACR Retail point-of-sale (POS) systems since 1991. ACR, based in Jacksonville, Fla., has been providing software and systems integrations for grocery and drug stores since 1975.

ACR ported its ACR 5000 POS software to Linux about three years ago; before that, the company had worked with Linux for two years in a testing environment. When it came time for Rouse’s to upgrade its POS systems, ACR president and CEO John Huffman suggested thin clients and a server running ACR 5000 on Linux.

Tommy Rouse wasn’t a stranger to Linux. His IT staff had been using it for back office operations for several years, coding custom applications for data storage and retrieval. That experience, coupled with the desire to upgrade clunky Microsoft-powered boxes at each register to easily maintainable thin c
lients, made it easy for Rouse’s to say "yes" to Huffman’s suggestion.

In June 2003, Rouse and Huffman launched a single test store to "feel their way around it," according to Rouse. By May 2004, they were ready to start rolling out the new system to the rest of the stores, and the switch was complete by July.

For Rouse, the top benefit Linux brings to the company is lower initial cost and lower overhead. Huffman agreed, citing the flexibility his customers have when choosing Linux as the base OS.

"[With Linux] we can supply the functionality from the server and leave the client utterly dumb," Huffman said. The thin client "evolution" has resulted in drastically lower component costs, making the terminals so economical as to become almost "disposable." Not only that, but stores like Rouse’s no longer need to hire highly paid technical people, since no special training is required to replace a thin client if something goes wrong. "Rouse’s keeps a couple of spare terminals in the back. If one breaks, all you have to do is plug it in — no software installation or configuration," Huffman said.

Another benefit to using Linux is the flexibility it allows when selecting server iron. Rouse was pleased that he and his staff were able to build their own servers for less than $500 each. Because of the low cost, Rouse was able to install a separate cold backup server in most of the stores. "If we lose a server we can back that one in remotely just by making a couple of quick software changes," he said.

Huffman is enthusiastic about the future of Linux in the POS space. The key, he said, is the ability to completely remove the operating system from the thin clients, something proprietary operating system providers do not allow, since that would cut deeply into their revenue. "Microsoft is trying to do thin clients, but they’ve got to keep their software in there," Huffman said. "They don’t want to give it up. They live on the desktop and if that’s eliminated, they l
ose their market. They’re very desperate to keep some intelligence in their terminals. With Linux, we can do thin clients for effectively no cost, and Microsoft can’t. I love it."

Music on the network?

I’ve recently moved back to Easton and I’m planning on getting myself a wireless card and joining the fun soon. But – to be cynical – all I see on the website, forum and mailing list is technical geek-speak. Surely there’s more to it than this? (Apologies, no offence to geeks intended.)

I’m a musician. Is anyone using the network for musical collaborations, broadcasts, or similar? I currently organise a monthly night (Sausage Time – see of live performance and other occasional gigs. If I were to do a similar kind of thing at the Chelsea Inn, making the sets available as MP3s over the network, possibly streaming them live if someone’s got the know-how, would that be a good idea? I know the area’s crawling with musicians. Could be a fundraiser in it.

Software for Community Organisations

I was having a look around – the new, beta, community Mozilla promotion site when I came across this

It is described as " a grassroots organizing platform that empowers collective action inside communities and cohesively connects remote groups of supporters" and from the looks of things is basically a bunch of organising tools built on top of a CMS. It is aimed at community and campaigning groups, and its intended use is distributed organising, and looks like it might be useful for some projects we (might) work with; I was thinking specifically of the ERN.

Paul M

Knowle West Park Project

Well done Matt, Rich and Jim for doing this!

What’s the latest news, when are we going back up to see how they’re getting on and address any issues they might raise? I’ll be available next Tuesday morning if anyone wants to come with me (21st). We need at a minimum to look at teaching them about network configuration; did we bring a hub and cable up on that last visit. Also is anyone working on the child-centred software we wanted to add to the base distro?

Digital divide leaves a quarter of Brits stranded

BCS survey finds ‘significant proportion’ of adults with no access to a PC
Robert Jaques, 07 Sep 2004

One in four Britons are in danger of being marginalised because they have no access to PCs at home or at work, the British Computer Society (BCS) has warned.

According to its latest survey investigating the nation’s computing habits, there are a "significant proportion of adults who are in danger of being marginalised as the government gears society up for the information age".

Although 59 per cent of poll respondents said they have a home PC, 26 per cent have no access to a PC whatsoever, whether at home, work, college or a public library, suggesting that the IT revolution is in danger of leaving behind a quarter of the population.

BCS chief executive David Clarke said in a statement: "It is clear that not everyone is experiencing the benefits of computing, despite the government’s aim to ensure that every home has access to a PC.

"This is an area which must be addressed. We see it as essential that all of society is able to use a computer with the same confidence as the telephone."

The survey also found that 54 per cent of respondents were frustrated with the complexity of IT, and 72 per cent were concerned over ‘immoral’ internet content.

But the poll reported that 80 per cent of the UK’s population now believe that computers have made a positive contribution to our lives.

Almost three-quarters of respondents used a computer to surf the internet, dismissing concerns that junk email, computer viruses and online fraud have irreparably tarnished the computer’s image as a force for good.

And 57 per cent of those using the internet do so to purchase goods and services, demonstrating a growing confidence in e-shopping
, according to the BCS.

Concerns that computer users spend hours glued to their PC screens have also been dispelled. Only 34 per cent of those questioned use their PC for more than five hours a week.

7th September 2004 Monthly Meeting

Matt W
Matt L


Missing cheque found. Jason has audited account. We have around £200 in the pot. Still owed T-Shirt payments. Once nodes are rolled out and training completed, we will get £3000 for upkeep of the network. Owed money from ECC to pay tutors for courses we ran.
All PCs rolled out, 4 connected to network. Paul to arrange training of users. Rich & Jim to arrange install of the last 6 nodes.
Machines all have RedHat 9 installed, not Fedora as requested. Suggest reinstall done, and invoice sent to LinuxIT.

New site looking great. Old wiki to be moved to one of our servers with password protection. New site to go live next week with the new wiki.
Bannerman Road Distro:
School are happy with the progress. Possibly changing the school IT suite to dual boot Linux (paid project). We have 20 machines waiting to be built before distribution to parents. Should be done by end of next week.
Creative Commons:
Hamish suggests that we have a message on the website informing users of liability and copyright issue. We are going to use GPL for the website/wiki, and media will be licensed by the original author.
Linux Day:
Cancelled due to lack of interest. Possibly redo for April.


We should install a tracker on the server to distribute our media.

Bristol Sound and Vision @ Cube Cinema

Bristol Sound and Vision04 Update

ATV has booked the Cube Cinema on 27th October to showcase the films produced by the "Alliance For Innovation" team of Action Time Vision, Exploding Pictures and Firstborn Creatives as part of the Bristol Sound and Vision04 programme

Bristol Sound and Vision04 formed part of the St Pauls based 4 day youth festival organised by Imalya "Big Time 7" in St Agnes park July 27 -30th. The second section ATV ran workshops and screened the work of local filmakers alongside the BS5 Youth project ad to co-incide to the BEST organised street party.

The sound and vision format on both occassions took the form of workshops aimed at encouraging awareness and participation in new and innovative media and specific filmwork produced by Exploding Pictures and Firstborn Creatives respectively. Workshops were provided by , Bristol Broadband Co-operative aka Dialect, Bristol Wireless, Liousa Jones aka Diss Miss of Dutty Girl, and Funk It Up.

The event will take place between 6.00 and 7.30 and is intended to celebrate the participation of those involved in the project and the work produced

dynamic content on the new wiki

Is there anyway of adapting this for embbing an RSS feed into a wiki page do you think?

BTW I used tinyurl cos the long url really mucked up the formatting on the new site, try it in the sandbox, I thought it would wrap, they did in the old forums.

International Cisco Product Donation Pilot

This might be a useful way to get free Cisco Wireess routers for VolOrgs in Bristol to connect to our network.

We are looking for NGOs and charities to participate in a pilot product donation program with Cisco Systems and TechSoup Stock. We piloted a similar Cisco product donation program in September of 2002 in the U.S. that later launched into a broader program that has enabled us to process Cisco product donations for over 1,000 organizations in the U.S. to date. If you have a contact at an NGO or charity based in one of these countries that might be interested in participating in this pilot or if you know an NGO that might be able to help identify appropriate organizational donation recipients in these countries, please contact us by email at Please provide a contact name and title, organization name, organization address, organization email, organization telephone number and any other details that you believe will be useful. Also let us know if we can use your name as a referral.

We have been expanding beyond the U.S. borders and many of our partners would like us to do more of that! Last month, we were happy to announce that our Canadian offerings now include the Microsoft Software Donation Program. In total, we have 15 product donation programs in which eligible Canadian Charities and Nonprofits can participate. We operate the Canadian program in English, but recognize the importance of adding local content. We plan to begin adding French content to our Microsoft Canadian program (ICAN) by August. Over the next 12 months, we will be making major investments in partnerships and infrastructure that will enable us to offer product donation programs in multiple languages and currencies.

There are so many NGOs and charitable organizations doing important work in countries outside the U.S., and we’d love to be
able to serve them through our programs. At the same time, many leading technology providers that we hope to partner with at TechSoup Stock have employees and operations in other countries and, therefore, have the need to expand their donation program to where they operate. We hope that TechSoup Stock can help bring these parties together, much like we’ve started to do in the U.S.

So, send some referrals our way to let us begin with a successful Cisco pilot – and help out an NGO who can benefit from networking technology. Thanks for your support!

Rebecca Masisak

Setup of residents’ machines

On Tuesday 24 August 2004 Rich and I went to Rose Brown’s in order to set up her access point, printer & scanner; as her house is obscured from Twinell House we only suceeded in setting up her printer but we also set up her modem and a dial up account (intended to be temporary), which has yet to have KPPP set up.
On Thurs 26 Aug we attempted the same with Yasmin Rafique. In her case we set up her access point albeit with a week signal but not her printer or scanner. Rich also gave her a rudimentary introduction to the Linux & desktop.
Problems encountered were that there were five sockets were required (which were not readily available), unsuitable furniture for the machines (Health & Safety suggest a desk height and proper seating) and insufficient knowledge to configure the scanners (once done, this will be solved). Because inevitably the children are more computer literate than the adults, some nannying needs to be addressed.



Welcome to the first update relating to the forthcoming Voluntary and Community Sector (VCS)/NGO Open Source Event taking place in London on 15 September.

This update sets out some more detail relating to the proposed programme and arrangements for the day, and gives further background about those putting the event together:


This event represents one of the first efforts to both publicise some of the exciting projects taking place in the Voluntary and Community Sector involving Open Source, and to bring together organisations from the wider VCS who may have heard of Open Source, but have no direct experience of it,and those keen to support its implementation in the sector.As such we hope that the event will provide useful and interesting discussion, and be a learning experience for all those who attend.


We’re currently finalising the programme, but are proposing to structure the day under four main themes:

1. Open Source in the Organisation

* Open Source in the office environment
* Terminal services/thin clients

2. Open Source Toolsets

* Content Management, web applications
* Open Source in a Windows environment

3. Support

* What is the support model, who is providing support…

4. Open Source methodologies & attitudes

* How & why could Open Source help you to achieve your organisation’s aims more effectively
* Understanding the philosophy and debunking the myths

There will also be a number of speakers in attendance with significant experience in the following areas:

* Wireless networking
* Use of Open Source in an international context – we are particularly pleased to be able to welcome Michelle Murrain of the Non-Profit Open Source Initiative (NOSI) who will be speaking at the event
* Disabilities and Accessibility issues

All of the themes will be supported by talks from participants with experience implementing Open Source solutions, and through demonstrations.There will also be the chance for discussion and to feed back your experiences and opinions of the day, and requests for what you’d like to see happen next.

We would very much welcome further feedback and input regarding content for the day in the run up to the event:

* Is there something you’d like to hear that we’ve missed?
* Can you contribute extra content?Please get in touch via


We’re currently aiming to make the event as low-cost as possible for attendees: The entrance fee will be £5 for individuals, and £25 for those attending on behalf or organisations.

Registration will take place on the day, with fees receipted on the spot. If you feel this level of fee will be a problem for your organisation, please get in touch before the event!


Here’s some more detail regarding the event’s organisers, and why we’ve chosen to put the event together at this point:The event is being put together by a group of six core volunteers all working in the Voluntary and Community Sector in London, who have had experience of Open Source solutions and methodologies.

There is currently significant work and debate taking place regarding ICT with the sector generally, and so we’ve felt it important to include Open Source within these activities. Coupled with Open Source’s growing mainstream acceptance, as well as its potentially strong ethical match with the sector’s aims and methods, it seemed a favourable time to put the topic on the map.Through organising this event, we’re hoping to bring together existing projects and those who have Open Source experience with attendees willing to find out more and "dip their toes in", all taking place in a friendly,practical environment in which will facilitate the exchange of views and experience and channel the debate further. The organisers are:

* Dr Dan McQuillan, Senior Consultant, London Advice Services Alliance (
* Ryan Cartwright, IT Manager, Contact a Family (
* Paula Graham, VCS ICT Consultant, Alt-Synergy (
* Peter Chauncy (
* Hugh Barnard, VCS ICT Consultant (
* Adrian De Luca, VCS Research Consultant

Thank you for expressing an interest in the event, and we look forward to hearing from you and hopefully seeing you on the day!Need further information?

Check the wiki at:, with the text of these updates at:,or contact us via feel free to forward this mail – colleagues can also receive updates by subscribing to the announcements-only list at: to LASA for hosting the wiki – this event is taking place in complement with the LASA N-TEN UK Circuit Riders Conference – details at On behalf of the organisers, Adrian De Luca–Adrian De

Temporary start page for the ERN project

Welcome to the ERN computer project!

You can find out more about how to use your computer by clicking your mouse over the blue text below:

The ERN has a e-mail group that you are encouraged to join. you can get to the page by clicking your mouse over this text:

There is a online Easton group here (click over the blue text):

If you would like to ask Bristol Wireless, a question go to this page
and type your name into the nickname box and press ‘enter’ you can then ask questions by typing your question at the bottom of the page and pressing ‘enter’.

If you already have a e-mail account you can email Dave Johnson at this e-mail:

Or Bristol Wireless email:

Happy surfing, and above all don’t be afraid to try things out, the computer won’t break!

You can add any useful links or ideas as a comment to this page by clicking your mouse twice over the ‘post reply’ button which is just below and to the left of this box.

Course materials from IOSN

This looks like a really useful resource. It’s being slashdotted at the moment so its difficult to access the server but it might form a good basis for a longer introductory course. Will have a look and evaluate once I get get on the site. the original SlashDot posting can be found here –

Don’t worry about the fedora bias once you get on the site it says –

" Linux has many distributions and sometimes the programs or tools used to perform a certain function can vary from distribution to distribution. This guide tries to be as generic as possible in the description of the features and functionalities. However, in some cases, especially some of the GUI desktop configuration tools, there is no really independent generic tool that can be used and each distribution has its own tool. In such cases, we have tried to illustrate their usage using Fedora Linux

This guide was written on a Fedora Linux system and as such many of the screen shots reflect this. However, this should not be construed as an endorsement of this distribution of Linux over the others on the part of the authors."

Training Day Giveaway

Another successful training course completed at Easton Community Centre ICT Suite. Ten novice students took away refurbished machines running Mepis Linux, once again kindly donated by those excellent people at the Institute of Physics Publishing.

The concurrent running course will be completed next Thursday (4th march) which will bring the grand total of redistributed Linux PCs to over a 100 since we started the scheme last Summer. Congratualtions and thanks to all those involved, particularly the volunteer co-ordinators, the trainers, Nigel at the ECC and Rupert from IoPP