BENECO uses Ubuntu

The Benguet Electric Cooperative, Inc. (BENECO) is now using Ubuntu full-time under the Operations and Maintenance Department (OMD). Granted we only have 3 confirmed installs, we determined it’s the best and most effective course of action for its users. There are 2 more file (Samba) servers purportedly running on Red Hat, but I still haven’t seen it so the report remains unconfirmed.



All three are running on Jaunty Jackalope – due to headaches associated with Karmic Koala. The first one I installed Gutsy Gibbon back in December 2007, and has been subsequently upgraded, for the Blockmetering Project. It’s currently used by the Engineering Department with my sadly outdated web application.

The second and third installs are used by the OMD linemen and radio operators. Those are hand-me-down workstations which are initially unusably slow due to viruses and tons of startup applications. Both of which are utilized as clients to our Outage Management System and various tools developed by the MIS, our IT personnel.

The workstation above is a 256MB/1GHz/128MB vidcard combo and used by the linemen to access the Gas Monitoring, OMD System (a Kilowatt-Hour Meter Installation logger), and the Complaints and Request (CNR) tools developed under Visual Foxpro. Thanks to Wine, we’ve been running the said software without any problems.

The workstation below is a 512MB/2GHz combo (with only 16MB allowable memory for the onboard VGA). Although wee upgraded than the one used by the linemen, the lack of video card makes it a bit of a pain to manage. We can’t run videos/movies and the xserver-xorg package remains in the stock version. Upgrading the package would result in xserver crashes.

This workstation is also one of the most critical machine in the OMD. It backs up files and MySQL dumps automatically via cron from our main Windows-based workstation/server hosting our Outage Management System web-app.

I’m still awaiting one more hand-me-down workstation currently undergoing repairs (and hopefully an upgrade). It was our original workstation and composed of 512MB RAM, 3GHz processor and 256MB video card. Once MIS releases it, I plan on using it as our primary developer workstation.

MIS Foxpro-based tools

Benefits

Every System Administrator knows that the bane of computing rests with Windows. As long as there is Windows, viruses and malware thrives. Every week (two weeks at most), I’ve been asked by my supervisors and colleagues to help them with their malware issues.

If I receive a penny every time I’ve been called to “fix” their computers…

The design of our tools relies heavily on shared drives, a single executable file on one drive and their DBFs located on another. At any one time, a single BENECO workstation has 3 or more mounted shared drives. You don’t even have to imagine how a single virus could easily infect the other workstations. Even with a good anti-virus software, the malware always comes back. My private jokes always concerns the “virus of the week”, it’s like a friggin’ fad or a fashion statement. sigh!

By using Ubuntu, I’ve guaranteed my supportive supervisor that those computers will never infect other networked workstations and will remain virus-free from web site malware and virus-ridden usb drive-toting linemen. I’ve also assured him that 10 years from now, those workstations will be in the same pristine state as the day I first installed Ubuntu.

Configuration

As I’ve said earlier, those Foxpro-based tools are network drive dependent. I’ve created an init script that will mount the drives via smbfs upon bootup and configured the drive locations using winecfg. Then I’ve created a .desktop file on the Desktop for easy access.

2 Responses to “ BENECO uses Ubuntu ”

  1. kudos! for using LXDE! :)

  2. cool sir, nice setup.

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