Another work post

Corey writes:

My work here at SOVA has been picking up over the last couple weeks since we purchased a server computer (after 4 months of effort). This post is mostly going to be about computer nerdery, so if you aren't interested, turn away now.

Choosing the operating system was a little difficult. Here at SOVA we're a small organization with no money. So our choice was to either a) pay more than we did for the hardware to get a legit Windows Small Business Server license, b) try to steal the same software from the Internets (software/media piracy is widely, widely accepted here), or c) use a legitimately free OS. I think a lot of small organizations face this same choice.

After planning to install Ubuntu Server on this beast all along, I found eBox at the last minute and fell in love. If I had a million dollars, I would invest in these folks. They take an Ubuntu Server LTS base, and then strap on a really nice web GUI, lots of out-of-the-box default configuration files. You give up some fine-grained control of course, but in exchange you get a Linux server that doesn't require 5 years of experience to operate. This is very important, since Gina and I are doing our best to make sure SOVA can sustain any projects we start after we are gone. Even if something goes wrong after we're gone and no one here can figure it out, SOVA can get professional eBox support.

The first order of business with the server is establishing individual user names and passwords. Here at SOVA, everyone is using shared user accounts. This also means that people are accidentally deleting other people's files, and if you don't know the computer password, then you can't get on. Also, individual user accounts mean individual accountability. Our boss wants to start monitoring the Internet usage of people at the office. (He's the one paying the Internet bills every month). Individual accounts makes this possible. But the bonus is that commonly used websites like will load much quicker!

A lot of my boss' (and my) plans for the server were crystallized on Tuesday morning, when I spoke to all of the SOVA coordinators (about 30 mid-level staff) about the server. I think I succeeded in communicating the benefits of the server to them as individuals and to SOVA as an organization. Now I've got to make it happen.