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The Almighty Buck

Home Depot tests Linux for remote mangament of PCs 60

A Slashdotter wrote to us with the story about Home Depot testing Linux for an all-store roll-out. Due to the chain's massive growth, they are desperately in need of top notch remote management for all of their machines. Pilot-testing with Linux boxes is being down this summer.
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Home Depot tests Linux for remote mangament of PCs

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  • by Anonymous Coward
    You think 15 minutes is bad? Well, just try Office Depot sometime. I go there occasionally (stupid I know but they happen to be on my customary route) and it never fails that they have a register lockup on one aisle or another. My God--something is very, very foobar with this business' point of sale! Maybe they will see something useful in the Burlington Coat Factory and Home Depot conversions.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    The United States Post Office uses Linux to run the Postnet Barcode sorters, delivering billions of mailpieces each week. They are just amazing. The next time your PHB yammers about Linux being a niche product, tell him the PO runs on Linux.

    This story was in one of their pubs 18 months ago, it may have been in _Memo to Mailers_, I fergit.

    Personally, I crank out much of that junk mail that causes entire forests to be felled. If it wasn't for the low-rent Linux print spoolers that keep my laser printers busy, I'd be out of a job.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday June 22, 1999 @08:52AM (#1838838)
    I don't understand why they have so many problems with remote administration of Windows machines. Didn't some guys called Cult of the Dead Cow develop a kickass Windows remote administration kit a while back?
  • No he's right actually, Linux is _not_ unix, it may be *nix and its definitely POSIX (although to what degree I do not know), and thats what really counts.. BSD on the other hand has a unix bloodline so even though its *nix, I'd say its unix but not Unix.
  • Linux's stability, affordability, and customizability are being recognised! This is a good thing.

    This should mean more jobs for competant technicians and support personnel too.

    Soon, all will know that they don't have to put up with expensive and defective Operating Systems.
  • Why route the blame that way?

    I have no problem with placing the blame squarely on the company doing the cutting. If you're going to put blame on the person buying the end product from Home Depot (two levels removed), why not place it also on Home Depot themselves (only one level away)?
  • This is very interesting, Home Depot sounds like it could be a pretty large reference account for IBM. I wonder if we have them to thank for the IBM Linux JDK that was released last week.
  • If they go with Linux, this would be the second or third major business deployment for Linux - first the coat mfgr (was it Burlington?) and then the hotel chain. Really good business exposure.
  • http://www.webmin.com Really cool. Runs under Linux, Solaris, HP-UX and IRIX.
  • You may not; I do. I know a few people who do. They aren't in mental institutions either. Since the 70s, the total rain forest area has reduced by a third. That's not going to change, regardless of talk about sustainable cutting, or livelihood, or other typical libertarian short-sighted arguments.

    I don't see why they can't issue a statement saying they care and sell wood from renewable or environmentally friendly sources. If they really do not, then I don't see why you have to dismiss people who blacklist them.
  • I don't usually mess with computers at work, but we use AT&T Unix to operate the phone system. Never had a problem with it in the three years since it was installed. If Windows NT or 95 was in that locked closet, I would need a key to keep rebooting our phone system. I do not like outages of any kind. You do not expect outages on your phone and you cannot have outages on point of sale machines! Linux Is Not UniX, but it can be made damn near bulletproof.
  • Trees. Sounds like politics to me. I live in Mississippi where many people own hudreds or thousands of acres of nothing but trees. Its good money to supply the paper mills out here. Cut all your trees and you just killed the value of your property. What people do is cut half in rows while the other half grows back. No one cuts all their trees! That person may be listening to political mudslinging. Damn the polititions that never have been raised on a farm.
  • Speaking of cutting down whole squares of trees in California. I used to live in Costa Mesa when there was nothing but beautiful orange groves and farms. The 70's changed all that. Its the slums with high density housing the last time I saw it. That was the reason why our family left California for Kansas City. I don't know how a person can grow up in CA anymore. $500,000 for a 4 bedroom house? And they cut all the trees? Its insane. Not only is there minimum wage jobs for the high schooler, you have legalized illegal labor in CA and TX. When you talk about cutting all the trees, don't assume everyone is like California!
  • You are right. Most people would not understand the cleverness behind technical details of naming, etc. I seem to forget slashdot is highly mixed company.

    From what I hear from the old Unix die hards, when it comes to comparing Unixen, Linux has the best feel. [lwn.net]
  • Hah. You should go to California or the Pacific NW. Wanna log? Then you get to log a whole square. Clearcut logging is a winner.

    At least as far as rain forest stuff goes, this is imho more futile worrying about this than worrying about animal (by)products if you're a strict vegan.

    Do you check the boxes of new things you buy, to see if they were made in the US (in which case it's not likely that tropical wood was used to make the kraft, but clearcut wood from PNW, the South, etc.). But more often than not, what we buy wasn't packaged in the US, with US packaging. It was packaged with kraft made from other sources.

    do you filter the chinese/asian restaurants you go to whether they use bamboo or wood chopsticks, because if they use wood ones it could be that they were made from wood in the Tsongas National Forest (big old growth temperate rainforest in Alaska), if not, then probably tropical woods? Etc...

    So I bought a new wood front door there a couple of months ago. Yeah, it was made in Malaysia, with dougfir panels veneer on top of some sort of damn hard (and heavy) wood, probably tropical, but was it clearcut jungle wood? Was it plantation wood? I don't know.

    Sure, I could have gotten a steel door, but the old door is only 77" tall. Steel doors only come 80" tall. Reframing the door was not an option, nor is really cutting a steel door. Nor was buying a good ol' American Oak Door for $1000.

  • GP makes a special line of lumber for home depot. (Well not exactly, they dont limit selling it to home depot, but no one else really wants it.) It IS for the most part old-growth and very much lower grade...That is why it is not rated. GP calles it "Q" grade lumber. And it is about $0.015 cheaper per board/ft than lets say "b" grade. ($0.015 is a lot when you buy like them.)
    In short it is cheaper, and crappier. I wouldnt built a house with it.

    Matthew Hoskins
    Hoskins Do-it Best Hardware and Supply
    (we run Linux)
    ------------------------------------------ ----
    bash# lynx http://www.slashdot.org >>/dev/geek
    Matt on IRC, Nick: Tuttle
  • I hope they use Win95... I'm biased :)
    I own a Home center/Hardware Store in NJ. We have 4 (!) Home Depot's in our immediate area. And actually we're doing quite well.

    We help and support all our customers.
    We dont make you wait on line for 10 minutes.
    We have almost everything you need, and can order the rest.
    And... We run on Linux! :-)

    bash# lynx http://www.slashdot.org >>/dev/geek
    Matt on IRC, Nick: Tuttle
  • I'm glad to see this happening. Hopefully this turns out well and is managed properly (I mean, even a Linux project can go screwey without the proper implementation).

    It looks like they're making a good choice. Best of luck!


    Pilot-testing with Linux boxes is being down this summer
    .....hmm..you might want to edit that part, Hemos! ;-)
  • You have a choice and by exercising that choice you can change their actions. If you don't buy the wood and, others do the same, they will not sell the wood and won't be buying more from the sawmills.
    Try that at your local computer store....
  • They mentioned why, it is because when they have a corrupted OS (Windows never gets that way.;) they have to send a hard disk, with a working OS image, to the site. They don't want IT people at every HomeDepot and I don't blame them. What they plan to do with Linux is boot the OS image from a server and remote control is very easy on Linux.
    They could be using WorkSpaceOnDemand from IBM but nobody like OS/2. Even if it has the fastest Java on Intel. Then again, they would have to maintain it at the server which is at each location. Linux makes sense and in this case cents. I only wish Linux has a marketing/PR department....
  • by Dast ( 10275 )
    I really hope it works out for them. Much better than WinCE anyday.
  • Nice story link you put there...
  • Is it just me, or is the fact that a do-it-yourself chain finally came around to the fact that they needed a (formerly) do-it-yourself OS kinda funny?
  • Maybe they should hire some more employees first. Even at the slowest hour of the day you have to wait at least 15 minutes at the checkout. I hate Home Depot. Unfortunately they have a near-monopoly here.
  • Oh plese, I sincerely doubt (but don't know for a fact) that Home Depot actually goes into those old-growth forests and cuts the trees down. They most likely buy the cut wood from a company that actually does the cutting. Place blame where blame resides, in the lumber company that cuts the trees and the people who buy the end products.
  • It's not so much that they "have to" ship in a new hard drive; it's that with Windoze, it's just a lot easier to set up a "bulletproof" configuration in the home office, and ship it out. It's a huge hassle in certain ways -- like making sure that ALL the network settings are correct BEFORE it leaves, especially when you can't test it that way -- but the tools are there to let you manage it, and FedEx is cheaper than sending a person there for one day.

    When I worked for Zenith Data Systems, if customers' laptops got a screwed up Windows config, we just sent them a new hard drive. It was cheaper and easier than spending hours on the phone troubleshooting driver configuration. In the same way, vendors like Compaq just have you re-image their system from CD-ROM, rather than reinstall individual components.

    (By the way, the old hard drives most likely go back to HQ and get re-imaged ...)
  • they're a big LDAP shop, thanks to Netscape. We got them doing distribution of their info and software via LDAP over a year ago. Linux is a dream match with LDAP. As server too. We've released a whole bunch of tools on Linux for LDAP. See www.mozilla.org
  • The problem with cutting old growth redwood rain forests is that they are near impossible to reforest properly. There are many responsible logging companies who can maintain their properties. But it is extremely difficult to regrow parts of a clearcut rain forest, when the trees there were hundreds of years old and the company is extremely impatient to make short term profits.

  • In mind of the Tivoli discussion from a couple of days back, where one observer confirmed the existence of the Tivoli distributed management Framework for Linux, but suggested Tivoli won't release it until they have a customer to showcase it with, maybe this is a good opportunity for Tivoli to try things out.

    I for one wish they would hurry up with it - I'm a Tivoli hacker at IBM and *I* haven't seen it yet.

  • The article referred to hiring Linux techies as an expense. As if the company doesn't already have to spend money on Microsoft techies. With fewer MS machines it will be able to cut back on MS expenses. And I'm sure the store employees will be happy with the cut back in crashes.
  • Good, so they don't have to waste money reviewing the components of every pencil and ceiling tile they sell. I can review them myself. And maybe I need rainforest hardwoods for my Weeping Wrested Warbler zoological garden...
  • Place blame where blame resides, in the lumber company that cuts the trees and the people who buy the end products.

    I agree with you... it's like I'm always saying, why do people always blame the poor, innocent cocaine dealers? Place blame where blame resides, in the Coca farmers that grow the plants, and the druggies who buy the end product.

    Maybe blaming the stores that sell it IS putting blame where blame resides.

    "Sometimes you have to take an opposing point of view to make people understand you." - Moe Berg (paraphrased)

  • hmmm... haven't done much in the real business world, eh? word of mouth doesn't get squat with big corporations
  • Personally, I am not to happy with this. Why? It means Home Depot will be doing better buissness. Why should I care? B/c, HD is one of the largest distributers of rare and theatened woods in the world. They are responsible for the destruction of more redwoods than any other single company in the entire world. I for one, want them to stop this madness. While this has nothing to do with linux, it has everything to do with the spirit behind linux, part of which is to work with everything, and not harm anything. Please boycott Home Depot, and, if you do help them with linux configuration, because it is important that we do spread the use of this wonderful operating system, include a statement of protest of there ruthless slauter of trees. Thank you, and now back to the normal nerd talk.
  • by _Quinn ( 44979 ) on Tuesday June 22, 1999 @08:15AM (#1838871)
    Because it's cheaper and it works better, apparently. As fast as it seems IT is dumping the idea of 'thin' clients, it's picking up on the realization that a Real OS (TM) is much better suited to reducing TCO than any amount of hacking at Windows. Especially where your computers are Java-based ERP apps, there's no reason to run Windows. The under-$1000 PC coupled with linux has all the advantages of a dedicated 'information appliance,' without any of the disadvantages -- and you don't need as heavy a network infastructure to handle them.

  • Yep, they sure did. Back Orifice is the *ultimate* windows remote admin tool.

    Of course, we have to hand it to MicroSquish for developing the enabling technology that makes apps like BackOrifice possible. While the rest of the industry keeps bulding systems with inconveniences like "user accounts" and "passwords", and even "Multi-user computing", MicroSquish alone has the courage to stick with the tried-and-true methods that they first shipped in MS-DOS 1.0.

    MicroSquish: What heroes!

  • Linux Is Not UniX, but it can be made damn near bulletproof.
    Oh please, not this again. The only people who believe that nonsense are lawyers, marketeers, and other scoundrels with neither sense nor conscience. Everyone else it merely confuses. Please stop trying to confuse people!

    You might as well say that Australians don't speak English, or that Mexicans don't speak Spanish. That argument evaporates when you confront the Aussie with Spanish or the Mexican with English. Spanish is non-English, and vice versa.

    Likewise, if you try to tell joe-random hapless W2K victim that Linux isn't Unix, he'll either just laugh at you, or else get highly confused. To these Prisoners of Bill, Linux certainly is Unix in every meaningful sense. Linux and BSD are not non-Unix. CP/M, W2K, MacOS, and all the other abominations foisted off on consumers are non-Unix.

    Why must we continue to be Pharisaic about all this? Call a spade a spade.

  • Linux's stability, affordability, and customizability are being recognised! This is a good thing.

    Yes! We see a lot of articles out there that have the usual crap about how "More and more businesses are switching to Linux. Why? Um, cuz they think it's, like, better?" I prefer to read stories that talk about 1) a well-known company, 2) exactly what they intend to use Linux for, and 3) exactly what was lacking from Windows that made them switch. On the other hand, Home Depot hasn't switched to Linux, they're just considering it. But I'll be watching.

  • Likewise, if you try to tell joe-random hapless W2K victim that Linux isn't Unix, he'll either just laugh at you, or else get highly confused. To these Prisoners of Bill, Linux certainly is Unix in every meaningful sense. Linux and BSD are not non-Unix. CP/M, W2K, MacOS, and all the other abominations foisted off on consumers are non-Unix. Why must we continue to be Pharisaic about all this? Call a spade a spade.

    I'd agree with you, except... Linux has Linuxconf. Unixes, like Solaris (The one I am most familiar with) don't have a tool like Linuxconf (Or, at least I haven't found it yet). I have spend many a night wishing for Solarisconf. :) Linux is Unix, but with a major advantage where ease of configuration is concerned.
  • I really hope Home Depot makes the switch. Running Linux would be so much better than Win95.

    Its funny that under their current Win32 model, they have to ship in a new hard drive for repairs. Wow. That seems like a huge waste to me. Hmm... maybe I should go to Home Depot and ask for some hard drives...
  • [deploying Linux] means they will be HIRING Linux gurus. This is
    good news for the Linux job market

    Exactly. I'm glad to see an increase in the deployment
    of Linux. It means that in 5 or 6 years time, when
    I'll be looking to start my career as a guru, there
    should be plenty of opportunities to choose from :)
  • I think it's great that a company the size of Home Depot is considering a move to Linux. We have to remember that even though Windows doesn't cost that much copy, it can add up to BIG BUCKS for a company of Home Depot's size.

    We also have to consider the secondary effects of this move by Home Depot. Just think, that means they will be HIRING Linux gurus. This is good news for the Linux job market, and it's also great for people deciding whether or not to learn Linux. If a robust job market for Linux people is created, it can spell nothing but good news for the Linux community.

"Paul Lynde to block..." -- a contestant on "Hollywood Squares"