At a staff meeting today, a staff member who was new but on the job two months and a bit suddenly demanded that her teacher’s PC be put back to that other OS. The fact that this matter was of no concern to the entire staff was a bit annoying but I outlined why we had gone to GNU/Linux and how I had made many offers to help anyone with difficulty. She insisted. I asked whether she had any files to back up. She said none.

Here’s the log of restoring “7” which had never been on the PC.

  • 3:47 boot from restoration CD
  • 4:00 changed to second CD
  • 4:07 it asks for CD1 again but does not accept it. The names of the CD are what I need to pay attention to so finally I click “no” and it reboots
  • 4:10 another reboot
  • 4:12 rebooted again “setup preparing for first use…”
  • 4:15 another reboot
  • 4:21 another reboot
  • 4:21 another reboot – makes a backup image
  • 4:35 another reboot – checking video
  • making passwords (requires a hint…) spongey scrolling to read EULAs, M$+Lenovo
  • 4:40 another reboot – skip registration
  • 4:46 first sign of a desktop
  • After all that, no word-processor, HP1020 talks to it but does not get treated as printer, cannot find driver, driver for photocopier could not be found but manual download works.
  • 5:15 another reboot 45s to login screen and 10s to get a desktop, almost half the speed of our 8 year old PCs.
  • Create accounts
  • Install and Chrome Browser
  • Start to install anti-virus
  • Cannot mount file share
  • 6:54 and counting
  • 8:00 and the firewall/virus-scanner works

So there we go. After 4 hours of work she has that other OS and less capability with lower speed than before.

About Robert Pogson

I am a retired teacher in Canada. I taught in the subject areas where I have worked for almost forty years: maths, physics, chemistry and computers. I love hunting, fishing, picking berries and mushrooms, too.
This entry was posted in Linux in Education, technology. Bookmark the permalink.

22 Responses to ARGH!!!

  1. Dr Loser says:

    Here’s the log of restoring “7” which had never been on the PC.

    Fascinating, Robert. An endless ream of total failure.

    And, you know what? There are roughly 500,000,000 ordinary people out there who have Windows 7 installed on their desktop. They have problems, sure. But not the catastrophic problems that you see to encounter every single time you try to work with a M$ OS.

    Could it just be that you are monumentally stupid and incompetent? I mean, you’re looking at numbers that basically state 1 (Pog) to 500,000,000. To be fair, you’re ahead of the rest of the slaves when it comes to defective Chinese Tractors.

    Give it up, old man. You are devastatingly clueless.

  2. Ray says:


    Just wondering, which institution is it?

  3. oldman says:

    “The bureaucrats are still causing trouble. …”


    I wish I could tell you that the grass is greener on my side – it isnt. We have our own bureaucrats or do similar stupid things. The only difference is that I have sufficient stature that I can actually go in and have occasional success correcting their stupidities.

    Then again, the kinds of projects that I work on have real budgets behind them being provided by users will real requirements and clout. It’s hard for the bureaucrats to get in the way too obviously without opening themselves up potentially a large amount of heat.

    Hope that you hardware arrives soon.

  4. oe says:

    Funding is definitely NOT a problem at our institution, all the Windows VLAN stuff is top rate hardware and staffing levels, the Linux VLAN, staff and hardware other the other gets the throwaway crumbs left…..

  5. No offence taken. If we had a decent budget we could support that other OS with more formality but now it is all pain. For what we do it is unnecessary which annoys me greatly. Folks who use their PCs a lot here have no trouble with GNU/Linux. Folks who do little find fault.

    The bureaucrats are still causing trouble. Our shipment of 20 additional PCs is still sitting at the airport waiting for paperwork. It seems no one does their job to earn their pay these days. Four levels of management have to shuffle papers to handle $1500 freight bill. Takes a month. Turns out were waiting on each other to do something… It’s like the army without the joy of being able to blow anything up.

  6. oldman says:


    For someone who is quick to comment on the arrogance that he/she sees, you seem to be pretty good at dishing out arrogance yourself.

    If you have something constructive to being to this conversation other than bashing me personally, please feel free to do so.

  7. oldman says:


    “Funny at our institution where finals are coming up, about 2/3rd of the common lab machine’s running XP are down, whole labs locked, and others where whole blocks are machined are taped of.”

    Unfortunately, I’ve seen this kind of situation all too often at other institutions, especially in institutions who aren’t properly funded and/or staffed to maintain their systems. I’ve also noted with some irony exactly the situation that you have noted – the Linux based labs were “better maintained” – often because the Linux system administrators were more used to fending for themselves just like pog.

    But in institutions like mine we do not have this kind of problem – all of our labs are both properly funded and maintained, and the last time I checked, in use by thousands of students.

  8. oldman says:

    `”oldman comes from a place with an actual budget and support for multiple OS. ”

    Thank you Pog for your comment. My comment was not meant to be taunting in any way – it was an ill expressed bit of sympathy for the situation that you were in.

    I have been there myself more than once over the years in different contexts where I have been asked to implement something that made my support job harder, but which was had to be done because as far as management is concerned, the user requesting it was in the right to do so.

    Many was the time when I wished I could retire, and that was the context in which I made my comment.

    In short, If I gave offense, I apologize.

  9. oe says:

    Funny at our institution where finals are coming up, about 2/3rd of the common lab machine’s running XP are down, whole labs locked, and others where whole blocks are machined are taped of. Many of the PC’s are torn open due to a Windows software issue. Meanwhile the three common labs running CentOS, on the old yesterday’s generation hardware, nary a glitch, ticking along as always. The Linux support Desk guys (they’re shoved in a server room closet practically as opposed to a nice cube farm for the main Help Desk so you get a sense of priority given them), have reported a definite uptick in UNIX/Linux account requests over the last 2 weeks….

  10. I had a better day yesterday. A teacher at the far end of the school asked me to install games “just like the ones on this PC” on an old machine at the back of the room. It turned out to be an XP machine. So I ended the day paving another oldie. It was not on the LAN so I carried a cable to make the connection temporarily, booted our PXE installer and had it running Free Software in half an hour or so. I installed kdm, kdegames, kdeedu and gnome-games. That brought in KDE as the default window manager. I have not seen it in ten years. Boy, is it bloated and slow. I installed XFCE4 and the thing became snappy. The old machine only has 256 MB RAM. I hope the kids will enjoy.

    This teacher is the only one in the building who does not have a new PC. Somehow he got passed over even though two new teachers came on staff. I will make amends by making his old PC a thin client of my machine which has more RAM and RAID so it can give him first-rate performance. My machine is always on, so that works. My machine runs the kid filter.

    Adherents of the Beast do have tunnel vision it seems. They call on M$ first because it is their default answer to all problems. They do not see the sunshine and flowers elsewhere. Same goes for city folk. Because they can get police on the doorstep in 3 minutes, they think rural folk should not need firearms for protection. Same goes for bureaucrats. Because it only takes them 5 minutes to write a memo, they do not see the time and resources wasted that those who are compelled to read the memo see.

  11. twitter says:

    There’s a lot wrong with what oldman said. He’s demanded unreasonable effort on your part and accused you of being some kind of tyrant for refusing second rate, expensive software. He also taunted over retirement, had the nerve to speak for your management and glibly hoped for a tide of Windows trouble makers. What a typical Microsoft jerk.

    I doubt there’s really a lot of user choice or freedom where he works. Windows discriminates against free software by design, so anywhere it is deployed as an “equal” is actually a difficult place to be. What’s worse is how rude and taunting oldman was to a peer. Imagine how rude he is to those he has actual power over. That’s not a good place to work.

    Perhaps you can do one better than old man and virtualize your XP machines with OpenBox, ssh and windows terminal services. This will save you a lot of effort. Better yet, you can support take care of his angry Vista/Windows 7 users. He’s going to need the help when his budget gets cut like everone else’s and suddenly he has to take care of Apple and Windows without support staff.

  12. oldman comes from a place with an actual budget and support for multiple OS. Here, I did not have enough hours in the day to support XP but I have free time with GNU/Linux. We now have 3 out of 70 PCs running that other OS in classrooms but they demand more of my time than all the rest. It might be different if I had WSUS and 2003 running, but I don’t.

    The lady has probably used XP for a decade. I hope she enjoys “7” 😉

  13. oe says:

    Wish I had her “problem”, where I am you have to go through the whisper net and get a Linux-PC on the back-channel after months of begging and justifying it a research exception….

  14. twitter says:

    “oldman” above is a mean spirited Microsoft advocate and typical hypocrite. I know of no Microsoft Administrator who has either the inclination or competence to set up gnu/linux in an all Windows shop. None would “pave over” a work station with software freedom. I’ve even had cretins tell me that gnu/linux was a network/security risk, so I could not plug my own computer into their network. Microsoft people flat out refuse to listen to gnu/linux talk and I’m surprised that Pogson did not have the power to refuse the request.

    There are licensing and privacy problems here. Was there a way to avoid the Windows tax in the first place, or did Lenovo not have a gnu/linux choice at purchase? Wouldn’t it be in the schools best interest to get refunds on unused and unwanted copies of Windows? Vista and Windows 7 both establish encrypted communication back to Microsoft which can not be blocked and this is something that no organization should tolerate.

    The plug should be pulled at the first sign of trouble. If the teacher is not using their computer at all, the OS should not matter to them. If Windows matters to them that much, perhaps they should find a job at a school that has it and is run by idiots like “oldman”.

    I’m afraid Pogson has some kind of Microsoft mole on his hands. No one can claim to have years of experience using Windows 7, so the refusal to learn a gnu/linux desktop is pure obstruction. What kind of a teacher is it that can’t figure out a WIMP interface? If they are too stupid to use a mouse, they have no place teaching. If they are there to serve Microsoft, they are in the wrong profession. Watch out for that one.

  15. Ray says:

    Oh well, if she’s happy with Windows, let her be. There’s more people who’s fustrated with Windows, and Linux could be a huge benefit to them 🙂

  16. This particular teacher said she had never used the PC in two months. She may never use it in the next two months, I expect.

  17. Hardware is snappy. The installation was a restoration from OEM CDs. Lenovo made the script complete with gazillions of reboots.

    The anti-virus folks insist on a download per installation and it takes forever. I think their server is the bottleneck for that.

    I could install GNU/Linux from a backup in less than 10 minutes.

  18. I can do a full install of Windows 7, MS Office 2010, all drivers, etc. in under an hour. Sounds like something wasn’t quite right with the hardware or operator.

    Don’t get me wrong, Linux is a great alternative, but people bash Windows and exaggerate a bit too much, and it doesn’t really sound believeable unless you have the penguin underroos to match your tie.

  19. oldman says:

    “Some people are never happy unless they can make others miserable.”

    I’m sure that you could and would have been more than willing and capable of assisting this teacher in working on a debian based workstation. Unfortunately Pog, this teacher was not interested. the fact that the teacher chose to express this two months into the school year leads me to believe that this teacher was fed up with the differences between windows and debian and simply wanted to get back an environment that he/she could work in.

    Since you went ahead and paved over debian with windows 7 I can only assume that your “misery” and desire for uniformity on your terms was not a concern to either the teacher or your management.
    Hopefully there won’t be any others insisting on this course, but I suspect that it might be just as well that you will be retiring this year.

  20. Richard Chapman says:

    As long as other people are caring for their computer, some people demand Microsoft.

  21. Some people are never happy unless they can make others miserable.

  22. Matias says:

    You have to ask her every day like Clint Eastwood in “Magnum Force” – “Are you happy now?”.

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