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Submission + - Subscription billing for a small business

cptdondo writes: I'm working on a small startup that will need to bill for a subscription service. I've spent a lot of time trying to figure out what is needed to get a small subscription service going. The startup has simple needs — people sign up, commit to pay a monthly fee, and they get a service. If they quit paying, their account is suspended. And if they try to use the service, they're told why.

Seems that most services out there are designed for large, complex businesses and few have a simple interface for connecting the billing system to service. I have not found any that will put account status into an ldap database, which could be used for user authentication. Where is the equivalent of the Amazon or E-Bay storefront for a small subscription service?

Submission + - How to track a complex project?

cptdondo writes: I'm working on a complex project that has many different facets. I've flowcharted the process but my management is asking for a Gantt chart to show the time element. Traditional Gantt charts lose the if-then-else constructs that are essential for tracking this project. I have multiple ways of achieving a specific milestone, depending on availability of external resources, grant funding, bond issues subject to political votes, and so on. I can't represent this complexity in a Gantt chart; at the same time a flow chart loses the time elemnt that's so central to Gantt charts (and to my management).

So, fellow slashdotters, how do you manage a complex project with many mutually exlusive paths? How do you present this structure to non-techinical management? And how do you track it when it changes almost daily and certainly weekly?

Submission + - Installing linux on old hardware 6

cptdondo writes: I've got an old laptop that I've been trying to resurrect. It has a 486 CPU, 28 MB RAM, 720 MB HD, a 1.44MB floppy drive, and 640x480 VESA video. It does not have a CD, USB, or a network port. It has PCMCIA and i have a network card for that.

My goal is to get a minimal GUI that lets me run a basic browser like Dillo and open a couple of xterms.

I've spent the last few days trying to find a linux distro that will work on that machine. I've done a lot of work on OpenWRT, so naturally I though that would work, but X appears to be broken in the recent builds — I can't get the keyboard to work. (OK, not surprising; OpenWRT is made to run on wifi Access Point hardware which doesn't have a keyboard...)

All of the "mini" distros come as a live CD; useless on a machine without a CD-ROM. Ditto for the USB images.

I'm also finding that the definition of a "mini" distro has gotten to the point of "It fits on a 3GB partition and needs 128 MB RAM to run."

Has linux really become that bloated? Do we really need 2.2 GB of cruft to bring up a simple X session? Is there a distro that provides direct ext2 images instead of live CDs?

Computers can figure out all kinds of problems, except the things in the world that just don't add up.