Started New Year with Ubuntu (what is that?)

In past, I tried to switch over my desktop to Linux number of times. I tried SLED 10 (Suse Linux Desktop 10), Fedora 8, PCQuest Linux 2005 and finally Ubuntu 9.10.

But, before gathering courage to try out Ubuntu, it was my tryst with Nitix 5.0, which gave me courage and confidence. About 1 year back; I was seriously looking for replacement for Novell NetWare 4.2; which has been going on non-stop for last 10 years; and earlier versions of NetWare (2.2 and 3.2) for previous 8 year or so. Actually, it will go on for another 25 years, if the server on which it is running won't fail. Even, the server (HP E-45, PII 300 Mhz, 64 MB RAM, 4 GB SCSI hard disk) is running for last 11 years with only component failed being 4 GB Tape Drive. I suppose it would run for another 5 years or so. But our accounting software (Work Horse) has outlived it's useful life. So, last year we switched over to Tally ERP 9.2 (finally).

At that time, we signed up with Nitix as their reseller by purchasing Not For Resale copy of Nitix Blue (Nitix - proprietary Linux with Lotus Domino 7) 5 user. We bought a brand new HP ML-110 (Xeon 1065 Server with 1 GB RAM and 2 x 160 GB hard disks, 1 DVD ROM) for the same; at an unbelievably low price. It got installed in 30 min but learning this new animal (Server OS) took us about 1 year. Was it worth? Yes, it was worth it at the end.

In this one year, we migrated e-mails in cc:Mail r8 stored on NetWare 4.2 to NitixBlue (Domino 7) via Notes 5.0. It was daunting work but it worked with few problems. Then we shifted data from NetWare to Nitix's Samba server. Configured MTNL's Triband connection with Nitix Server. Got Firewall and VPN working. So, I could access my office emails even from Home and anywhere from the world through Internet. Backup became automatic because Nitix's backup automatically backs up all files on the first hard-disk to the 2nd hard-disk automatically. It take full backup once a week at 11 O clock on Sunday night. And incremental backup every 1 hour (default settings - which can be changed).

In this one year, Nitix got bought over by IBM. IBM calls it Lotus Foundations Start. So, we upgraded NitixBlue 1.1 (Nitix 5.3) to Lotus Foundations Start 1.0 (Domino 8.0) and 1.1 (Domino 8.5). Transition was smooth technically. But, lot of things changed when IBM took over. First, IBM would not recognize our NFR (Not For Resale) copy. At the time of renewal, they asked us to purchase renewal subscription at regular price (like a normal customer). But partner web site said we could get free subscription renewal and we should get in touch with IBM Manager. IBM Manager said free renewal was only for US and CANADA resellers!!! Why? May be color of their blood is 'blue'!

What's good part? Product is working well, without the usual dose of updates (available only for valid subscriptions). It's like NetWare 4.12. Rock Solid. It would work even when main hard-disk would fail; because backup drive would automatically switch over and start working as first hard disk.

OK. That's long and short of our experience with proprietary Linux on the Server. Having got confidence of mastering a linux animal; I ventured to try Ubuntu 9.10. It came with the Digit CD (Dec 2009). Made Ubuntu 9.10 Desktop boot disk and installed on a brand new HP ML-115 Server (AMD Quad-Core with 1GB RAM and 160 GB hard disk). Installed in 15 minutes. It recognized everything correctly. Worked like a charm. Then installed Win 7 RC on another partition. It also installed and worked flaw-lessly. I gave that PC to my son for his use at the engineering college. When he learnt that I had installed Ubuntu he grumbled. I booted the PC in Ubuntu and he could not find out that it was not Windows 7. He keep saying it does not support 'EXE' files. But when he saw number of programs meant for engineering students, he was shocked. He took the PC to his hostel with both OS on it.

So, I ventured to install Ubuntu 9.10 on another PC (P-IV 2.4 GHz, 768 MB RAM, 80 GB hard-disk with DVD Writer). It installed in 20 min. Recognized even 20" LCD Wide Monitor (AOC) and automatically sensed 1600x900 resolution and started working. Have you seen this happening on a Windows PC? I doubt. I bet.

I decided to dump good old friend in favour of new found friend Ubuntu. In African language Ubuntu means 'Humanity to others'. So, with Ubuntu we don't win but we live in peace with others. Isn't it great?

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