Best Linux distribution for a Mini-ITX server? - Embedded

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  1. Best Linux distribution for a Mini-ITX server?

    Hello All,

    I am about to buy a Mini-ITX fanless PC in order to use it as my
    personal host machine. Apart from the mainboard and some RAM, I will
    add a 40GB HD and a DVD/CDRW combo.

    My intention is to keep it working 24x7 at some corner of my living
    room, and use it as a web server with Apache + Tomcat (or even probably
    Tomcat only, at least in the beginning). I may also use it to download
    some things with Emule. I will not attach any screen or keyboard to it
    (except for the initial setup process, of course) and would always
    access it remotely via RealVNC or some other remote console.

    My main question is:

    - Which is the best Linux distribution for this? I am an advanced
    Windows XP user but I have very basic skills on Linux, so I would need
    some simple distribution that does not need the kernel to be recompiled
    or some other manual installation steps. I would also need some
    XWindows interface unless I can run that from my remote client.

    - My ADSL router works also as a firewall. Are there any security risks
    if I only open the required ports?

    - Is there some freeware XWindows client that I can run from Windows
    XP, instead of RealVNC, in order to improve the screen refresh speed
    when I access it remotely?

    Thank you very much. I am new to any Linux newsgroups so I don't know
    if crossposting is not nice... if so, I am sorry, but I really don't
    know which is the best group to ask this question.

    Regards,

    Luis.


  2. Re: Best Linux distribution for a Mini-ITX server?

    On Tue, 21 Mar 2006 04:17:11 -0800, Luis wrote:

    > Hello All,
    >
    > I am about to buy a Mini-ITX fanless PC in order to use it as my
    > personal host machine. Apart from the mainboard and some RAM, I will
    > add a 40GB HD and a DVD/CDRW combo.

    Fanless is at best the 800Mhz board ! Is this wise ? The 1200Mhz board is
    much faster....

    >
    > My intention is to keep it working 24x7 at some corner of my living
    > room, and use it as a web server with Apache + Tomcat (or even probably
    > Tomcat only, at least in the beginning). I may also use it to download
    > some things with Emule. I will not attach any screen or keyboard to it
    > (except for the initial setup process, of course) and would always
    > access it remotely via RealVNC or some other remote console.


    Emule works (amule works better I find) - remember it hashes the files,
    this is both an I/O and CPU intensive operation - this sucks on the 800Mhz
    via boards, Im using one for this at the moment so I know how much it
    sucks !


    > My main question is:
    >
    > - Which is the best Linux distribution for this?

    No "best"... Im using fedora core 3 on my via machine, Debian would be the
    "best" choice for performance as its simpler to cut down to the core - but
    personally I would save some time and go a simpler route.


    I am an advanced
    > Windows XP user but I have very basic skills on Linux, so I would need
    > some simple distribution that does not need the kernel to be recompiled
    > or some other manual installation steps.

    All Linux would need some manual steps. If you want a GUI driven solution
    to do everything you want then best come back in ten years...... Its very
    unlikely you would need to build a kernel though !

    You will need to edit some files for the XVNC server, for amule you
    would need to build and install wx libs and amule from source.

    http://www.wxwidgets.org/dl_gtk.htm
    http://www.amule.org/


    I would also need some XWindows
    > interface unless I can run that from my remote client.

    With Xvnc server you can use the windows VNC client to connect.


    > - My ADSL router works also as a firewall. Are there any security risks
    > if I only open the required ports?

    Always a risk, just not a large one.

    Forward ports 4660 to 4680 and 36406 in tcp and udp - some of the docs
    i've read are not complete, it will work with less ports - just much more
    slowly !


    > - Is there some freeware XWindows client that I can run from Windows XP,
    > instead of RealVNC, in order to improve the screen refresh speed when I
    > access it remotely?

    You can run X - but it wont be much faster, the 800Mhz via board its a
    bit slow for this setup

    From windows this works well as an X server.
    http://x.cygwin.com/


    If you have the time then go for, but only if you want to spend the
    time.......

    Jon





  3. Re: Best Linux distribution for a Mini-ITX server?

    Luis wrote:


    > I am about to buy a Mini-ITX fanless PC in order to use it as my
    > personal host machine.


    > ..


    > - Which is the best Linux distribution for this? I am an advanced
    > Windows XP user but I have very basic skills on Linux, so I would need
    > some simple distribution that does not need the kernel to be recompiled
    > or some other manual installation steps.


    Speaking from my experience with trying various linux distros on epia
    mini-itx boards I can recommend ubuntu / kubuntu as the easiest to install
    and everything working out of the box.

    http://www.ubuntu.com/
    http://www.kubuntu.org/

    For a server with remote administration this is perfect.

    To get the most horsepower out of an anemic cpu you can install gentoo,

    http://www.gentoo.org/

    where everything is compiled during the installation and therefore optimized
    for your hardware.

    However the Gentoo installation is not for the novice.
    Be prepared for many nights of painful frustration.
    I only got my Gentoo going with the help of a friend who has a PhD in
    Gentooology :-)
    Once it is running, administration is a breeze.

    For security Debian is a good choice because it can automatilally download
    and install all security updates every day.
    That's what we're using for the web server where I work and we're happy with
    it.

    http://www.us.debian.org/

    George



  4. Re: Best Linux distribution for a Mini-ITX server?

    On Tue, 21 Mar 2006 04:17:11 -0800, Luis wrote:

    > Hello All,
    >
    > I am about to buy a Mini-ITX fanless PC in order to use it as my personal
    > host machine. Apart from the mainboard and some RAM, I will add a 40GB HD
    > and a DVD/CDRW combo.
    >
    > My intention is to keep it working 24x7 at some corner of my living room,
    > and use it as a web server with Apache + Tomcat (or even probably Tomcat
    > only, at least in the beginning). I may also use it to download some
    > things with Emule. I will not attach any screen or keyboard to it (except
    > for the initial setup process, of course) and would always access it
    > remotely via RealVNC or some other remote console.
    >
    > My main question is:
    >
    > - Which is the best Linux distribution for this? I am an advanced Windows
    > XP user but I have very basic skills on Linux, so I would need some simple
    > distribution that does not need the kernel to be recompiled or some other
    > manual installation steps. I would also need some XWindows interface
    > unless I can run that from my remote client.
    >
    > - My ADSL router works also as a firewall. Are there any security risks if
    > I only open the required ports?
    >
    > - Is there some freeware XWindows client that I can run from Windows XP,
    > instead of RealVNC, in order to improve the screen refresh speed when I
    > access it remotely?
    >
    > Thank you very much. I am new to any Linux newsgroups so I don't know if
    > crossposting is not nice... if so, I am sorry, but I really don't know
    > which is the best group to ask this question.
    >
    > Regards,
    >
    > Luis.


    Any Linux distribution is fine for what you want to do. If you have any
    friends who are Linux users the use what they are using. I use Fedora Core
    4, it has everything in it, but so do SUSE, Mandriva, Ubuntu. Which ever
    distribution you choose I recommend that you put Webmin,
    http://www.webmin.com, on your system. Webmin gives you the ability to
    administer your system from a browser which is perfect for you because you
    aren't going to have a local keyboard or display. Also the Webmin admin
    tools for servers are very easy to use.

    On you Windows box install Cygwin, http://www.cygwin.com. Cygwin will give
    you an X server, ssh, tcsh, bash, basically a full *nix environment on
    your Windows system. When you do the install make sure that you select
    everything instead of doing the default install. I find there default
    choices to be inadequate and it's easier to just install the whole thing
    then to pick and choose.




  5. Re: Best Linux distribution for a Mini-ITX server?

    On Tue, 21 Mar 2006 12:53:24 +0000, nope wrote:

    > On Tue, 21 Mar 2006 04:17:11 -0800, Luis wrote:
    >
    >> Hello All,
    >>
    >> I am about to buy a Mini-ITX fanless PC in order to use it as my
    >> personal host machine. Apart from the mainboard and some RAM, I will
    >> add a 40GB HD and a DVD/CDRW combo.

    > Fanless is at best the 800Mhz board ! Is this wise ? The 1200Mhz board is
    > much faster....


    Should be fine for a web server. I've been running an 800MHz box with 2-3
    users with KDE :-(. The processor speed should only be an issue for
    stuff like audio & video processing.

  6. Re: Best Linux distribution for a Mini-ITX server?

    On Tue, 21 Mar 2006 14:21:48 +0000, John Stumbles wrote:

    > On Tue, 21 Mar 2006 12:53:24 +0000, nope wrote:
    >
    >> On Tue, 21 Mar 2006 04:17:11 -0800, Luis wrote:
    >>
    >>> Hello All,
    >>>
    >>> I am about to buy a Mini-ITX fanless PC in order to use it as my
    >>> personal host machine. Apart from the mainboard and some RAM, I will
    >>> add a 40GB HD and a DVD/CDRW combo.

    >> Fanless is at best the 800Mhz board ! Is this wise ? The 1200Mhz board is
    >> much faster....

    >
    > Should be fine for a web server. I've been running an 800MHz box with 2-3
    > users with KDE :-(. The processor speed should only be an issue for
    > stuff like audio & video processing.


    He also wants to run a donkey client. As I stated the 800Mhz board is
    painfully slow calculating the file hashes. For example downloading 20GB
    of data with 600MB per file average - startup time with complete file
    hashes 1.4Hrs on 800Mhz via, 12mins of 1Ghz athlon T/Bird, its not I/O
    speed thats the bottleneck its CPU.

    Jon






  7. Re: Best Linux distribution for a Mini-ITX server?

    On Tue, 21 Mar 2006 04:17:11 -0800, Luis wrote:

    > Hello All,
    >
    > I am about to buy a Mini-ITX fanless PC in order to use it as my
    > personal host machine. Apart from the mainboard and some RAM, I will
    > add a 40GB HD and a DVD/CDRW combo.
    >
    > My intention is to keep it working 24x7 at some corner of my living
    > room, and use it as a web server with Apache + Tomcat (or even probably
    > Tomcat only, at least in the beginning). I may also use it to download
    > some things with Emule. I will not attach any screen or keyboard to it
    > (except for the initial setup process, of course) and would always
    > access it remotely via RealVNC or some other remote console.
    >
    > My main question is:
    >
    > - Which is the best Linux distribution for this? I am an advanced
    > Windows XP user but I have very basic skills on Linux, so I would need
    > some simple distribution that does not need the kernel to be recompiled
    > or some other manual installation steps. I would also need some
    > XWindows interface unless I can run that from my remote client.


    Your requirements are at odds. Assuming this is a VIA mini-itx with
    integrated C3 processor - the absolute best distro is Gentoo from a stage
    one install. There is a wiki which details the steps, but it is time
    consuming and demands attention to detail. Mine took about a week to
    install. Gentoo will dowload every piece of software as source code and
    compile it, specifically optimized for your hardware. It is significantly
    faster than any 'out of the box' distro. It sounds like you're probably
    not up to that yet, so go to www.distrowatch.com and do your homework.
    Also pay attention to the via arena forums. BTW - note that technically,
    Gentoo meets your requirements, since it would be a kernel (and everything
    else) compile rather than a recompile.

    >
    > - My ADSL router works also as a firewall. Are there any security risks
    > if I only open the required ports?


    Security risks are pretty much nil with Linux. I'm running four computers
    on a DSL connection - up 24/7/365 with no particular precautions. Been
    doing this for three years with zero malware infectins.

    >
    > - Is there some freeware XWindows client that I can run from Windows
    > XP, instead of RealVNC, in order to improve the screen refresh speed
    > when I access it remotely?


    Yes. See Kenton Lee's X/Motif page for a list of X servers for MS. The
    standard is pretty much Hummingbird's Exceed - but it is quite expensive.
    There are various products from free to insanely expensive. I favor X
    manager since it supports multiple X sessions. They have a very good demo
    version - highly recommended.

    >
    > Thank you very much. I am new to any Linux newsgroups so I don't know
    > if crossposting is not nice... if so, I am sorry, but I really don't
    > know which is the best group to ask this question.
    >
    > Regards,
    >
    > Luis.



  8. Re: Best Linux distribution for a Mini-ITX server?

    On Tue, 21 Mar 2006 12:53:24 +0000, nope wrote:

    > On Tue, 21 Mar 2006 04:17:11 -0800, Luis wrote:
    >
    >> Hello All,
    >>
    >> I am about to buy a Mini-ITX fanless PC in order to use it as my
    >> personal host machine. Apart from the mainboard and some RAM, I will
    >> add a 40GB HD and a DVD/CDRW combo.

    > Fanless is at best the 800Mhz board ! Is this wise ? The 1200Mhz board is
    > much faster....


    I believe there are a couple of companies selling 1ghz fanless systems.

    >
    >>
    >> My intention is to keep it working 24x7 at some corner of my living
    >> room, and use it as a web server with Apache + Tomcat (or even probably
    >> Tomcat only, at least in the beginning). I may also use it to download
    >> some things with Emule. I will not attach any screen or keyboard to it
    >> (except for the initial setup process, of course) and would always
    >> access it remotely via RealVNC or some other remote console.

    >
    > Emule works (amule works better I find) - remember it hashes the files,
    > this is both an I/O and CPU intensive operation - this sucks on the 800Mhz
    > via boards, Im using one for this at the moment so I know how much it
    > sucks !
    >
    >
    >> My main question is:
    >>
    >> - Which is the best Linux distribution for this?

    > No "best"... Im using fedora core 3 on my via machine, Debian would be the
    > "best" choice for performance as its simpler to cut down to the core - but
    > personally I would save some time and go a simpler route.


    IMHO - for a VIA mini-itx there is a 'best' - Gentoo from stage one. It is
    significantly faster (being totally optimized for the hardware) than every
    other distro I have tried - and I've tried a LOT.

    >
    >
    > I am an advanced
    >> Windows XP user but I have very basic skills on Linux, so I would need
    >> some simple distribution that does not need the kernel to be recompiled
    >> or some other manual installation steps.

    > All Linux would need some manual steps. If you want a GUI driven solution
    > to do everything you want then best come back in ten years...... Its very
    > unlikely you would need to build a kernel though !
    >
    > You will need to edit some files for the XVNC server, for amule you
    > would need to build and install wx libs and amule from source.
    >
    > http://www.wxwidgets.org/dl_gtk.htm
    > http://www.amule.org/
    >
    >
    > I would also need some XWindows
    >> interface unless I can run that from my remote client.

    > With Xvnc server you can use the windows VNC client to connect.
    >
    >
    >> - My ADSL router works also as a firewall. Are there any security risks
    >> if I only open the required ports?

    > Always a risk, just not a large one.
    >
    > Forward ports 4660 to 4680 and 36406 in tcp and udp - some of the docs
    > i've read are not complete, it will work with less ports - just much more
    > slowly !
    >
    >
    >> - Is there some freeware XWindows client that I can run from Windows XP,
    >> instead of RealVNC, in order to improve the screen refresh speed when I
    >> access it remotely?

    > You can run X - but it wont be much faster, the 800Mhz via board its a
    > bit slow for this setup
    >
    > From windows this works well as an X server.
    > http://x.cygwin.com/
    >
    >
    > If you have the time then go for, but only if you want to spend the
    > time.......
    >
    > Jon



  9. Re: Best Linux distribution for a Mini-ITX server?

    -----BEGIN PGP SIGNED MESSAGE-----
    Hash: SHA1

    ray wrote:
    > On Tue, 21 Mar 2006 04:17:11 -0800, Luis wrote:
    >> - Is there some freeware XWindows client that I can run from Windows
    >> XP, instead of RealVNC, in order to improve the screen refresh speed
    >> when I access it remotely?

    >
    > Yes. See Kenton Lee's X/Motif page for a list of X servers for MS. The
    > standard is pretty much Hummingbird's Exceed - but it is quite expensive.
    > There are various products from free to insanely expensive. I favor X
    > manager since it supports multiple X sessions. They have a very good demo
    > version - highly recommended.


    For what it's worth, Red Hat supports the CygWin port of Unix tools,
    including the CygWin X server port for MSWindows. Since this is a port
    of the Xorg (or Xfree86, I've forgotten which) X server, it is FOSS, and
    freely downloadable and usable without restriction. See
    http://x.cygwin.com/

    I use the Xming windows port of the x.org x server. It is lighter than
    the CygWin port as it leaves out all of the Unix support tools, and just
    gives you an X server. Along with PuTTY (an FOSS ssh client for
    Windows), it makes an ideal X environment for remote access.
    http://www.straightrunning.com/XmingNotes/

    http://www.chiark.greenend.org.uk/~sgtatham/putty/



    - --

    Lew Pitcher, IT Specialist, Corporate Technology Solutions,
    Enterprise Technology Solutions, TD Bank Financial Group

    (Opinions expressed here are my own, not my employer's)
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  10. Re: Best Linux distribution for a Mini-ITX server?

    I prefer X manager - it works pretty well, allows multiple X sessions, and
    the eval copy handles my needs.


  11. Re: Best Linux distribution for a Mini-ITX server?

    -----BEGIN PGP SIGNED MESSAGE-----
    Hash: SHA1

    ray wrote:
    > I prefer X manager - it works pretty well, allows multiple X sessions, and
    > the eval copy handles my needs.


    To each his own, I guess

    I prefer Xming. It too allows multiple X sessions (rootless, if I want),
    and it is FOSS, licenced under the GPL.





    - --

    Lew Pitcher, IT Specialist, Corporate Technology Solutions,
    Enterprise Technology Solutions, TD Bank Financial Group

    (Opinions expressed here are my own, not my employer's)
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  12. Re: Best Linux distribution for a Mini-ITX server?

    On Tue, 21 Mar 2006 15:57:53 -0500, Lew Pitcher wrote:

    > -----BEGIN PGP SIGNED MESSAGE-----
    > Hash: SHA1
    >
    > ray wrote:
    >> I prefer X manager - it works pretty well, allows multiple X sessions, and
    >> the eval copy handles my needs.

    >
    > To each his own, I guess
    >
    > I prefer Xming. It too allows multiple X sessions (rootless, if I want),
    > and it is FOSS, licenced under the GPL.
    >
    >
    >
    >
    >
    > - --
    >
    > Lew Pitcher, IT Specialist, Corporate Technology Solutions,
    > Enterprise Technology Solutions, TD Bank Financial Group
    >
    > (Opinions expressed here are my own, not my employer's)
    > -----BEGIN PGP SIGNATURE-----
    > Version: GnuPG v1.4.2.2 (MingW32)
    > Comment: Using GnuPG with Mozilla - http://enigmail.mozdev.org
    >
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    > x8OemtZGqQ7OeR72eS9UH/I=
    > =4BxK
    > -----END PGP SIGNATURE-----


    Thanks for the reference - I'll see if I can find time to try it out in
    the near future. It has been several years since I did an exhaustive
    comparison; at that time, I tried basically everything I could find -
    mostly those referred from Kenton Lee's X/Motif page. I found that most of
    the 'free' packages were quite slow - several were Java based.


  13. Re: Best Linux distribution for a Mini-ITX server?

    Luis wrote:
    >

    .... snip ...
    >
    > Thank you very much. I am new to any Linux newsgroups so I don't
    > know if crossposting is not nice... if so, I am sorry, but I
    > really don't know which is the best group to ask this question.


    Then cross-post the original query, but set follow-ups to a single
    group, where you will monitor the responses. That avoids the
    interminable threads from hell, gets you the exposure, and is
    generally manageable and efficient.

    --
    "If you want to post a followup via groups.google.com, don't use
    the broken "Reply" link at the bottom of the article. Click on
    "show options" at the top of the article, then click on the
    "Reply" at the bottom of the article headers." - Keith Thompson
    More details at:
    Also see



  14. Re: Best Linux distribution for a Mini-ITX server?

    In article news:<44207E06.577BCF84@yahoo.com>, CBFalconer wrote:
    > Then cross-post the original query, but set follow-ups to a single
    > group, where you will monitor the responses.




    That doesn't work. One still has to guess which group is most appropriate
    for the follow-up.

    Modern newsreaders handle crossposting fairly elegantly and nobody using
    one should be troubled by seeing any of the messages more than once,
    crossposting with a follow-up is comparatively messy as any the answers are
    liable to end up in a different group from that in which the poster saw the
    question.

    Furthermore, if I see a question that has a follow-up to a group that I
    don't follow I don't know whether it has already been answered or not; so I
    run the risk, if I relpy, that I will cause unnecessary duplication (as
    well as further thread fragmentation).

    Crossposting is best avoided, but followups (used this way) are evil.

    Cheers,
    Daniel.



  15. Re: Best Linux distribution for a Mini-ITX server?

    Lew Pitcher wrote:
    > -----BEGIN PGP SIGNED MESSAGE-----
    > Hash: SHA1
    >
    > ray wrote:
    >> On Tue, 21 Mar 2006 04:17:11 -0800, Luis wrote:
    >>> - Is there some freeware XWindows client that I can run from Windows
    >>> XP, instead of RealVNC, in order to improve the screen refresh speed
    >>> when I access it remotely?

    >>
    >> Yes. See Kenton Lee's X/Motif page for a list of X servers for MS.
    >> The standard is pretty much Hummingbird's Exceed - but it is quite
    >> expensive. There are various products from free to insanely
    >> expensive. I favor X manager since it supports multiple X sessions.
    >> They have a very good demo version - highly recommended.

    >
    > For what it's worth, Red Hat supports the CygWin port of Unix tools,
    > including the CygWin X server port for MSWindows. Since this is a port
    > of the Xorg (or Xfree86, I've forgotten which) X server, it is FOSS,
    > and freely downloadable and usable without restriction. See
    > http://x.cygwin.com/


    It's Xorg: RedHat and other vendors dumped XFree86 when they got strange
    with their licensing, and when it became clear that the Xorg developers were
    actually paying attention to the needs of the users (such as properly
    supporting the large group of CygWin users by actually accepting patches to
    make it work there.)

    I've had very good success with it: it's fundamentally smaller and
    friendlier than the commercial X products, and I find that it;s less likely
    to fail with poorly written X apps. But X was simply not *designed* for fast
    remote access speeds: stapling the X display system on top of Windows fairly
    strange system to get a working display is.a hard problem.

    > I use the Xming windows port of the x.org x server. It is lighter than
    > the CygWin port as it leaves out all of the Unix support tools, and
    > just gives you an X server. Along with PuTTY (an FOSS ssh client for
    > Windows), it makes an ideal X environment for remote access.
    > http://www.straightrunning.com/XmingNotes/
    >
    > http://www.chiark.greenend.org.uk/~sgtatham/putty/


    Cool. How well does it do weird fonts and displays? The RedHat
    "systm-config" tools have turned out to be particularly painful.



  16. Re: Best Linux distribution for a Mini-ITX server?

    Daniel James wrote:
    > In article news:<44207E06.577BCF84@yahoo.com>, CBFalconer wrote:
    >> Then cross-post the original query, but set follow-ups to a single
    >> group, where you will monitor the responses.

    >
    >
    >
    > That doesn't work. One still has to guess which group is most
    > appropriate for the follow-up.
    >
    > Modern newsreaders handle crossposting fairly elegantly and nobody
    > using one should be troubled by seeing any of the messages more than
    > once, crossposting with a follow-up is comparatively messy as any the
    > answers are liable to end up in a different group from that in which
    > the poster saw the question.
    >
    > Furthermore, if I see a question that has a follow-up to a group that
    > I don't follow I don't know whether it has already been answered or
    > not; so I run the risk, if I relpy, that I will cause unnecessary
    > duplication (as well as further thread fragmentation).
    >
    > Crossposting is best avoided, but followups (used this way) are evil.


    Crossposting is vastly, vastly preferable to multi-posting. The burden on
    the clients and on the servers to handle 5 or 15 copies of the same thing,
    and the followups, is vastly lighter than doing so with multi-posts,
    especially because a good early answer from one of the more technically
    savvy groups can eliminate a lot of unnecessary traffic in other newsgroups,
    and wherever the question was asked can see that it was answered or followed
    up to the other groups.




  17. Re: Best Linux distribution for a Mini-ITX server?

    In article news:, Nico Kadel-Garcia
    wrote:
    > > Crossposting is best avoided, but followups (used this way) are evil.

    >
    > Crossposting is vastly, vastly preferable to multi-posting.


    Agreed. I don't advocate multi-posting at all.

    My point was that a followup is set on a crossposted message that
    immediately breaks the threading. People will see the original message in
    several groups but (unless they follow the followup group) they won't see
    the replies, so they there may be lots of duplicated replies from people
    who all assume that theirs is the first answer.

    Other people who notice that followups have been set and who don't follow
    the followup group will decide that checking to see whether there has been
    a reply is too much trouble, and will refrain from making replying at all,
    which means, possibly, that the OP will never get a reply from the one
    person who knew the answer.

    People who *do* follow the followup group, and who use a newsreader smart
    enough not to download multiple copies of crossposted messages, may find
    that they see the start of the thread in one group and the rest of it in
    the followup group. This breaks up the discussion unnecessarily and
    inconveniences the very people who least deserve to be inconvenienced:
    those who are using decent software!

    [Note: the only case in which this does not happen is that in which the
    followup group is the the first in which the newsreader encounters the
    message -- newsreaders usually progress through groups in alphabetic order
    (should we therefore set followops on the basis of alphabetic precedence
    rather that appropriateness of topic?)]

    ... and, of course, some people will inevitably ignore the followup and
    continue to cross-post ...

    If a posting is truly relevant in several groups it is proper that it
    should be crossposted to all of those groups AND that the ensuing
    discussion should be accessible though all of those groups. Setting a
    followup to just one of the groups effectively denies participation to
    those who who not regularly read the followup group. At one time usenet was
    small enough that people might have been able to follow every group, but
    those days are long gone.

    I would use a followup to move a discussion from one group in which it has
    drifted off-topic to a more appropriate group, but not for any other reason
    (unless I had good reason to believe that everyone reding either group
    actually read both ... but that cannot be assumed in general).

    [Sorry, this sounds like a rant -- I meant to be brief.]

    Cheers,
    Daniel.




  18. Re: Best Linux distribution for a Mini-ITX server?

    Daniel James wrote:
    >

    .... snip ...
    >
    > If a posting is truly relevant in several groups it is proper that
    > it should be crossposted to all of those groups AND that the
    > ensuing discussion should be accessible though all of those groups.
    > Setting a followup to just one of the groups effectively denies
    > participation to those who who not regularly read the followup
    > group. At one time usenet was small enough that people might have
    > been able to follow every group, but those days are long gone.
    >
    > I would use a followup to move a discussion from one group in
    > which drifted off-topic to a more appropriate group, but not for
    > any other reason (unless I had good reason to believe that
    > everyone reding either group actually read both ... but that
    > cannot be assumed in general).
    >
    > [Sorry, this sounds like a rant -- I meant to be brief.]


    In this best of all possible worlds, Cunegonda, that would all
    work. But in practice threads drift without subjects being revised
    and marked "was..", trolls attack from multiple groups instead of
    just one, and the whole thread becomes an impossible nuisance.

    I recently (March 6th) failed to set follow-ups on a thread I
    created in c.a.e, c.l.c, and c.p. It has drifted widely, yet the
    subject line is still there. Luckily, it has not filled with
    trolls, but the time will surely come. I should have followed my
    own advice, but I felt that the subject was of continuing interest
    in all three groups. In that I was correct, but in failing to set
    follow-ups immediately I was wrong.

    --
    Read about the Sony stealthware that is a security leak, phones
    home, and is generally illegal in most parts of the world. Also
    the apparent connivance of the various security software firms.
    http://www.schneier.com/blog/archive...drm_rootk.html



  19. Crossposting and followups (Was: Best Linux distribution for a Mini-ITX server?)

    In article news:<44245131.ACFD4C07@yahoo.com>, CBFalconer wrote:
    > In this best of all possible worlds, Cunegonda, that would all
    > work.


    My contention is that even in the flawed world in which we live it is
    better than the alternatives.

    > But in practice threads drift without subjects being revised
    > and marked "was.."


    True, and unfortunate -- and point taken! Note, though, that most decent
    newsreaders will (or at least can) follow threads by message ID rather than
    subject so while a change of subject is helpful it won't prevent automatic
    collection of drifted messages.

    Besides, some of the most useful and interesting things I've learned on
    usenet have been from postings that had *nothing* to do with the original
    thread subject. Drift isn't necessarily bad.

    > ... trolls attack from multiple groups instead of just one ...


    Troll will do as trolls will do -- and that includes ignoring a followup
    that someone else has set. I don't thing that should be allowed to affect
    the behaviour of the rest of us.

    > I recently (March 6th) failed to set follow-ups on a thread I created
    > in c.a.e, c.l.c, and c.p ... I should have followed my own advice,
    > but I felt that the subject was of continuing interest in all three
    > groups. In that I was correct, but in failing to set follow-ups
    > immediately I was wrong.


    If the subject really was of sufficient interest to warrant crossposting it
    in the first place than I would say that it deserved to continue to live in
    all three so that all who saw the original posting could continue to
    benefit from the discussion -- remember that some of them may not subscribe
    to the followup group you might have set and would probably not bother to
    go there just to follow one interesting thread.

    ... but here I am rabbitting on again. Apologies.

    Cheers,
    Daniel.



  20. Re: Crossposting and followups (Was: Best Linux distribution for aMini-ITX server?)

    Daniel James wrote:
    > CBFalconer wrote:
    >

    .... snip ...
    >
    >> I recently (March 6th) failed to set follow-ups on a thread I
    >> created in c.a.e, c.l.c, and c.p ... I should have followed my
    >> own advice, but I felt that the subject was of continuing
    >> interest in all three groups. In that I was correct, but in
    >> failing to set follow-ups immediately I was wrong.

    >
    > If the subject really was of sufficient interest to warrant
    > crossposting it in the first place than I would say that it
    > deserved to continue to live in all three so that all who saw
    > the original posting could continue to benefit from the
    > discussion -- remember that some of them may not subscribe to
    > the followup group you might have set and would probably not
    > bother to go there just to follow one interesting thread.


    If they choose not to go to the follow-up group, that is their
    choice. However if their group is inundated with off-topic
    postings originating in the other groups, that is not their fault,
    and they should not be burdened with it.

    --
    Some informative links:
    news:news.announce.newusers
    http://www.geocities.com/nnqweb/
    http://www.catb.org/~esr/faqs/smart-questions.html
    http://www.caliburn.nl/topposting.html
    http://www.netmeister.org/news/learn2quote.html



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