Linux Business Solutions Project
This project has not been active since 1998. As a collaborative project,
it is dormant. However, there are a boundless number of web sites
covering Linux topics and one of them must surely describe what you are
looking for. Google
is your friend.
This is a new project whose goal is to provide
more coherent, comprehensive documentation
on how Linux can be used to solve common business
problems. Most existing Linux web pages fail to do this,
by failing to provide a context, by being technology-driven
rather than solution-driven, by failing to introduce the topic,
failing to provide an overview or intro, or by being incomplete.
The goal of this project is to address these problems with
a coordinated set of solution tutorials coupled with
technology/product/application reviews and deployment hints.
New Linux users who wish to use Linux in a business environment, as
well as seasoned Linux users, all face a common problem: locating
appropriate software. Although there exists a search-able LSM (Linux
Software Map) index, and many web sites that have pointers to software,
almost all suffer from a common problem: they fail to provide a context.
When searching for business software, the hardest problem is often
not locating the software application alternatives, but understanding
the nature of the problem that needs to be solved, and determining what
*type* of software could solve that problem. When one is searching for
software without having a clear idea of what that software needs to do,
ordinary indexes and lists become useless.
The goal of the Linux Business Solution Project is to provide a context,
a setting, a tutorial on business problems that can be solved with Linux
software, coupled with feature reviews and comparisons that will help
users determine the appropriate packages for their needs.
As embryonic examples of how this might be done, we offer the following
The bright user will already spot a fundamental flaw in some of these
examples: they are organized in a technology-specific fashion, rather
than in a solution-specific fashion. That is, options are presented
in terms of "Network Address Translation" or "Word Processors" rather
than as "Security", "Compute Load Balancing", "Document Management", or
"Document Creation". A user looking for network security options may
not be aware that they should look at Masquerading (network address
translation) as an option. A user looking for a workflow management
solution may not consider some of the word processors that support
Thus, a project goal is to describe the common business problems, and
to then describe possible solution alternatives, finally completed with
references and application reviews for the actual software that will be
Robustness, High Availability
Although the kernel for some of these ideas can be found on Linas
Vepstas Linux web site,
Linas has discovered that he does not have the time, energy and
expertise to keep the site accurate and up-to-date as an individual.
Linas is also working at cross-purposes from many other Linux web site
maintainers; many of whom duplicate each-others work.
Linas is also concerned about the more mundane web-site issues:
regular backups, high-availability, loss of data due to loss of
computer, etc. If this computer was stolen, the web site would
be gone! Many other Linux web sites, including some of the major
ones, face the same problems: those in the know will recall the
recent history of problems with www.linuxhq.com
Thus, the call for a project: put together a more comprehensive
network of sites, in a more structured and coherent fashion, with
a more unified look and feel. As a possible sub-goal: if the project
comes to life, please consider that a print-version of the information
would be the right thing to do.
Linas also is very busy, and thus is looking for project
coordinators as well as contributors. He will simply find it
impossible to give this project the time it deserves. Coordinators,
The mailing list
has been created. To subscribe, send mail to
and put subscribe email@example.com on the subject line.
Mailing list archives can be viewed at
- Announce on comp.os.linux.announce (Done 15 Dec 1997-- Linas Vepstas )
- Set up mailing list (Done 17 Dec 1997-- Paul Anderson)
- Appoint Publicity Coordinator; define Publicity Coordinator duties
- Appoint Style Guide Coordinator; define Style Guide Coordinator
- Agree to format & uniform style guide
- Create common repository (CVS?)
- Start conversion of docs to uniform style
- Get mirror sites to mirror the resulting docs
Publicity Coordinator Duties
- Spread the news about this project. For example,
get listed on the Linux Project page.
- Promote resulting web sites and materials through
regular postings to c.o.l.a, assorted mailing lists,
and finally, press-releases when appropriate.
- Create a publicity strategy & plan.
- Help keep web pages up-to-date.
Format & Style Guide
The format & style is yet to be determined.
A coordinator to define & maintain the style guide is needed.
Style Guide Goals:
- Every page should have banner at top, labelling the topic.
- Every page should have a table of contents in a sidebar on left.
(See above example).
- Every topic should have an overview page.
- Banners should be uniform in style. Colorful, graphical,
but lightweight & fast-loading. Tasteful.
- Use SGML for plaintext, html, and postscript versions.
- Optional: overview/intro to sub-topics.
- Optional: white-paper technical discussion.
- Mandatory: Download sites.
- Optional: Further reading.
Customizable Style Tools
In the end, the information content should be cleanly separated
from the color/logo/banner/side-bar/menu system. This would
allow the actual style to be quickly modified & updated without
having to hand-edit hundreds or thousands of web pages. It would
also allow mirror sites to control their own look and feel.
For example, the folks at linux.org like their color scheme, and
the folks at X:End of Story like tiers, and those at slashdot.org
like theirs. If they were to mirror pages from this project,
they should be able to quickly, easily and transparently
put them into a format that they prefer. If we were to mirror
their web pages, then we should be able to modify the style,
rather than be forced to adopt it.
This can theoretically be done with SGML markup; however, the
current SGML tools do not provide the flexibility needed to
automatically generate flashy, showy web pages. Other folks
have mentioned CSS (cascading style sheets), and XML. A drawback
of these is that they have even fewer tools, and currently do
not support printed (postscript) output.
Thus, we have a tools goals:
It has been strongly recommended that the current Linux-Doc DTD's
be used (those used to write LDP HOWTO's), and hope that these
are someday strengthened to provide more beautiful layout. However,
a pro-active effort would be nicer than hoping ...
- Determine the correct layout technology (SGML, CSS, XML, other)
- Obtain or develop tools to auto-create beautiful web pages
given a style sheet and properly formatted text.
- Provide example style sheets and text.
Create a license for published pages making it clear who the
copyright holders are, and what permissions the authors grant.
The license should be similar in motivation to the "Artistic
License", or the GPL, but specifically suited to published textual
materials. The goal is to maintain ownership and control, without
un-neccesarily hindering rights of reproduction and mirroring.
De facto, Linux web page authors implicitly grant such rights today;
however, as Linux matures, it would be nice to avoid possible
future pitfalls about the ownership of large and extensive Linux
- managers looking for technology to solve business solutions
- This is a target audience covered by this project
- engineers looking for specific technology to solve problems
defined by management
- This is also a target audience.
- engineers looking for design and installation information for
- This is already solved to a large degree by the LDP HOWTO's, the man
pages, and the variety of Linux books.
- developer looking for development tools and applications
- Handled reasonably well by ~blatura/linapps, SAL (Scientific
Applications on Linux), LSD (Linux Software Database), X: End of
Story, and other similar sites.
- developers interested in furthering free software development
- Handled by LDP Projects list, also by by FSF, and
IACT (International Alliance for Compatible Technology).
Copyright (c) 1997, 1998 Linas Vepstas
All trademarks are property of their respective owners.
Last updated February 1998 by Linas Vepstas
Permission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify this document
under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License, Version 1.1;
with no Invariant Sections, with no Front-Cover Texts, and with no
Back-Cover Texts. A copy of the license is included at the URL
the web page titled
"GNU Free Documentation License".
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