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How do I tell QST editors an article is really bad! Mar 17th 2014, 22:44 7 7,749 on 23/4/14
ARRL version of linux Dec 17th 2013, 17:11 24 20,819 on 12/1/17

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ARRL version of linux WA6SAZ on 12/1/17
Been busy for most of 2015/16 and starting to catch back up with things. Went to the blend site and they have a Debian 8.5 that seems
to have everything, Their project looks goods and should all be a part
of the next release stretch much later this year. I have some updates on my web site and will do more work on blend later. For now their live disk seems to be a good starting point.
How do I tell QST editors an article is really bad! WA6SAZ on 7/4/14
Previously, I posted this topic to discuss how bad the XP article was.
Later I realized how odd it was that you had in one issue a very
good linux article about using the RaspberryPI, only to follow it
with a very bad article saying how bad linux was. Needless to say,
it is rather confusing trying to understand how that can happen.

The upshot of all this has been lots of heavy discussion with club
members and roundtable users. The main idea to come of this is
asking clubs to provide "XP to Linux" nights. We think this is
the best way to show members that Linux can work for them and is
a good option for replace XP without replacing their old system.

To help this happen we think that QST should run an article that
suggest this concept and provides some help for those leading the
upgrade sessions. My outline of such an article starts here:

Windows XP to Linux - Group Upgrade How-To

The Start

With the end of support for Windows XP, lots of hams clubs will find themselves wanting to have "upgrade parties." Since the group has many common goals and uses for their computers, these group upgrades would be a great way to draw more members and come together on a common subject. Many large corporations and special groups have already moved to Linux for their specific work process. To get your ham group going, it only takes one or two linux users to help get all the others using the same Linux set of tools.

It is important that you understand what the challenges are before you agree to do a group upgrade. Consider that some users will have so little knowledge of how the computer works, that upgrading to an Android tablet might be a better idea. Remember too that many of these XP systems were upgraded from other versions of windows and might be 10 or more years old. However, Linux can support the older systems, it is knowing how to support them that is the problem.

What to bring

Since your going to be upgrading many different types of systems, your going to need a collection of CD/DVD disks and even some flashdrives loaded with linux installs, gparted hard disk utilities, and support packages. For the really old systems, you will want "puppy" linux and their 'retro" packages. For newer systems, any of the major distributions will work, although many no longer come on CDRoms, but only DVDs. If your location for doing the upgrades includes WiFi or internet, you will need cables, and switches to hook things up. Keep in mind that many of the WiFi adapters are not supported out of the box on linux and will require a separate download to support them.

Old XP Sytems

You may find that some of the systems are too old or buggy to boot with a regular install disk. As the leader you will need to know how to adjust the boot command line to turn off various features that might be causing the problems. The gparted disk, has a "fail-safe" startup option and if that works, just use the same command line as they show when using that option. You might find that some systems are so buggy, that upgrading is not possible, however there are special releases of kernels that can support almost anything and thus some internet searching might return the correct command line or distro to get things going.

Chicken/Egg problem

There are not many problems that come up when installing linux that can't be fixed by finding some package and installing it. However, the one that can come up is downloading drivers for the network connection when the network connection is not working. This Chicken/Egg, catch22, or "can't get there from here" problem is easy to fix when doing "dual boot" installs. Just boot back on the XP partition and save the package file. Then reboot to Linux and install the needed package. For non-dual boot, you will need to find another machine, copy or download the needed package on to a flashdrive or CDRom and install from that on the problem drive. Some old systems might see a similar problem with video cards, however you can generally load what is needed from the command line. As a leader of the upgrade session, you will need to be ready to step in and type some commands for those few cases that refuse to work any other way.

Live Disks

There will be some members who don't bring anything to upgrade, but are very interested in seeing linux in action. For those users, you need to have some live/install disks ready to give out. Since these will be used on older systems, try and have CDRom disks mostly with a few DVDs. It is possible to create 'demo" disks that are specific to your groups interests and can show how some of the programs work. Keep in mind that once you have users on Linux, you might need to have a "what to do next" session to make sure everyone comes up to full speed on using Linux.

---end of outline....

It is just a rushed outline and needs to be flushed out more.
Let me know if you want it or I need to do something specific.
How do I tell QST editors an article is really bad! WA6SAZ on 17/3/14
Where should I post this comment about the Windows XP article in April 2014 QST?


I have just read the Windows XP article in your April 2014 issue. It is nice that QST is working to help readers learn more about computers. However, it would help if the information given was both accurate and not a sales job as is the case with the Windows XP article. It is very clear that the author has a financial interest in people staying with Windows and not discovering that there are other options available.The article is clearly more Microsoft FUD[1].

His "Or Not" is completely in-accurate in every way. Linux will run very nicely on any machine that was running XP - in fact it will probably give the user a performance boost. It is not necessary to buy Linux, in fact there are plenty - over 300 currently supported versions of Linux, that are free and can be downloaded from the internet. Many of those versions of linux have Ham Radio oriented packages to do psk31 through Rig-control. I suggest you look at DistroWatch for a current list of linux distributions and their ranking[2].

It is possible with linux to continue to use your XP software even after the supporting hardware has died - virtual box and Qemu can keep running those apps long after the hardware has been re-cycled. As to running Windows only programs, "wine" - which stands for "wine is not an emulator" and you have previous mistakenly called an emulator in previous QST articles - can run windows programs under linux as well.

Clearly Linux is capable of being an excellent replacement for XP as evident by the French Police Force Replacing 37,000 XP systems with linux[3]. Apparently, your author doesn't follow the news, or simply wants to make sure his business interests keep growing at your readers expense.

Can you please find people who actually know about computers and especially linux instead of the current crop of writers who have no knowledge of what they are talking about.

Bill Kibler WA6SAZ

[1] -,_uncertainty_and_doubt
[2] -
[3] -
ARRL version of linux WA6SAZ on 30/1/14
Thanks Martin - good catch and good reply.

I caught the missing install stuff - seems default is no install - so have updated images - provide both with and without install now. I also aded the virtual box images for both xfce and lxde desktops. I added a commentary on ubuntu vs debian which points out that ubuntu and xubuntu are really different distro from different teams with different release cycles. I suggest too that it is not a good idea to be using something derivied from a testing branch.

I keep mentioning it - that my biggest problem is figuring out which packages the ARRL wants people to use for articles, but another problem is copyright of material that would be on any official ARRL disk - I can't do it - they have to do it as the owner of the material. Yes - I need to add - "a suggested ARRL demo disk."

So stop by the site again - it has some updates - and I expect to make more over the next few weeks as we find more missing items, and correct a few typos that I am sure are there.
ARRL version of linux WA6SAZ on 27/1/14
Thanks W0BTU for pointing out the AU site. I have been there many times before and was not impressed. I mean when was the last time you saw someone talking about the linux 2.0 kernel? Their latest linux ham distro is dated 2010 and I saw one program dated 1998. I remember downloading some of their programs and being unable to use them since they hadn't been updated. I mention this in my article, that selecting ham packages is a problem, since many are not maintained anymore and I only want current or active stuff. After all you want to be able to do an "apt update" and get security or program patches if needed....

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