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2004 Apr 27 18:55

2004.04.27 Meeting Notes


We met with Bill Pride, executive director of DCM, Davis Community Meals, at their office at 1111 H Street, to discuss ways LUGOD can help them out.


  • What they have now:
    • Six PCs running Windows 98; four are at 1111 H St. office
    • 350MHz Pentium II systems with 128MB RAM (approx. configuration). They feel this is too old and slow, though a switch to Linux may help.
    • Two Pentium IIIs donations are planned soon; one is 800-1000MHz range.
    • An unused DSL connection (via Omsoft). Dial-up (which is used).
  • What they use it for:
    • Mostly for word processing (Microsoft Word).
    • Spreadsheets (Microsoft Excel); mostly used by Bill.
    • Filling out grant request forms (Adobe PDF with and without fill-ins; Microsoft Word documents with and without fill-ins).
  • What they've tried:
    • They have tried upgrading Win98 to Win2000 and WinXP, without luck.
    • A group (of Computer Science students?) at Sacramento State have been working to convert the MS Excel data into MS Access database. (Bill is concerned about possible complexity of the system, and possible lack of support after the conversion is complete.)
  • Potential solutions suggested:
    • It is highly likely that some LUGOD volunteers can help get the DSL network running. (Exact state of the wiring/LAN setup/etc. is unknown; we should look into it.)
    • Definitely consider upgrading RAM on the systems, especially if remaining with Windows, or switching to OpenOffice.org and/or Mozilla.
    • Consider OpenOffice.org Writer for most Word Processing needs. (Especially since it has PDF export capabilities.)
    • Consider testing OpenOffice.org Calc for Spreadsheet needs.
    • Consider switching to Linux to reduce licensing costs, maintenance issues (e.g., need for Norton software), and to lock down systems from inadvertant changes and games/MP3 installation by volunteers, and to avoid virus concerns.
    • Adobe Acrobat 5 is available for Linux. (Adobe is also considering moving further into the Linux arena soon...)
    • Consider WINE, Crossover Office, or keeping one Windows machine around for when Windows compatibility is necessary.
    • If remaining with Windows, consider switching to Mozilla (not discussed at length during the meeting) to avoid pop-up, spyware and virus issues common with Internet Explorer.
    • Consider switching the public access kiosk with a Linux system. (Configuration of current kiosk was not discussed; e.g., is it locked down? What software is on it? -- We do know that it's not currently connected to the Internet, and that would be beneficial for job searches, etc.)
  • Demonstration:
    • Bill Kendrick briefly showed Bill Pride OpenOffice.org running on a WindowsXP laptop.
    • We gave Bill a copy of a Knoppix bootable Linux demonstration CDROM to try out at home.
    • Bill Pride demonstrated a feature of Microsoft Excel that he was wondering whether OpenOffice.org Calc had: the ability to quickly insert rows of data using a small pop-up window which contained the labels of a set of selected columns.

      Bill Kendrick and Trevor were unable to find a similar feature quickly, and will consult LUGOD's vox-tech mailing list.


  • Bill Kendrick, LUGOD president
  • Trevor Lango, Coordinator of LUGOD's DCM project
  • Bill Pride, DCM Executive Director

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