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Ask Slashdot: Is Postgres On Par With Oracle? 372

grahamsaa writes "I work at medium sized company that offers a number of products that rely fairly heavily on backend databases, some of which are hundreds of gigabytes and deal with hundreds or thousands of queries per second. Currently, we're using a mix of Postgres, Oracle, and MySQL, though we're working hard to move everything to Postgres. The products that are still on MySQL and Oracle were acquisitions, so we didn't get to choose the RDBMS at the time these products were designed. So far, we've been very happy with Postgres, but I know next to nothing about Oracle. It's expensive and has a long history of use in large enterprises, but I'm curious about what it offers that Postgres might not — I'm not saying this because I think that sticking with Oracle would be a good idea (because in our case, it probably isn't), but I'm curious as to how some companies justify the cost — especially considering that EnterpriseDB makes transitioning from Oracle to Postgres feasible (though not painless) in most cases. For those that use Oracle — is it worth the money? What's keeping you from switching?"

Ask Slashdot: What Web Platform For a Small Municipality? 161

First time accepted submitter r3dR0v3r writes "I have the opportunity to help improve / replace the website of my small U.S. town (~6000 people). The town leaders are open to most any suggestions, and are open to the idea of having the website facilitate a more open government — by being a place at which town documents, meeting agendas, meeting minutes, legal forms, ordinances, etc. can be found in an organized way and downloaded. And of course the site should provide general info about the town, it's services, recreation opportunities, etc.. Now, we have no budget, so we'll be looking at free/open software. I've considered options such as Drupal, but I'm doing this as volunteer work so I don't want to start from scratch and spend overly much time. Thus, I'm looking for advice about any existing platforms made specifically for municipalities as a great way to get a jump start. I'm guessing there are other slashdotters that have helped their communities in this way. Your suggestions please?"
The Internet

Ask Slashdot: Management Software For Small Independent ISP? 141

First time accepted submitter Vorknkx writes "I work in a small ISP. Most of our customers have cable modems but some of them are using Canopy or Ubiquity products. To manage all that, we're using a number of programs and solutions not necessarily made for such a task that are kept up to date simply using copy and paste. We have an Access database for all our internet customers, an Excel document for our wireless users, The Dude to monitor every user and a custom-made web application to monitor traffic. Needless to say, we're starting to hit the limit and juggling between all these programs is a complete pain. Is there some kind of all-in-one solution that would allow us to eliminate all the copy and paste while keeping the same functionality?"
Data Storage

Ask Slashdot: Best *nix Distro For a Dynamic File Server? 234

An anonymous reader (citing "silly workplace security policies") writes "I'm in charge of developing for my workplace a particular sort of 'dynamic' file server for handling scientific data. We have all the hardware in place, but can't figure out what *nix distro would work best. Can the great minds at Slashdot pool their resources and divine an answer? Some background: We have sensor units scattered across a couple square miles of undeveloped land, which each collect ~500 gigs of data per 24h. When these drives come back from the field each day, they'll be plugged into a server featuring a dozen removable drive sleds. We need to present the contents of these drives as one unified tree (shared out via Samba), and the best way to go about that appears to be a unioning file system. There's also requirement that the server has to boot in 30 seconds or less off a mechanical hard drive. We've been looking around, but are having trouble finding info for this seemingly simple situation. Can we get FreeNAS to do this? Do we try Greyhole? Is there a distro that can run unionfs/aufs/mhddfs out-of-the-box without messing with manual recompiling? Why is documentation for *nix always so bad?""

Ask Slashdot: Documenting a Tangle of Network Devices? 165

LoudMusic writes "One of the many tasks of a network administrator is documenting the network so that other members of the administration and support teams can find devices on the network. Currently my organization uses Excel spreadsheets to handle this, and it's invariably error ridden. We also save a new file with the date in the name each time an update is made. I'd like to move this to a more intelligent database system, but the driving force for keeping it in spreadsheets is the ability to take the document offline, edit it, then upload this new revision to the file server when we have a connection again. Our clients often don't have reliable internet connections, especially when we're tearing their network apart and rebuilding it. The information we're currently documenting about an individual device are: device name, device model, description, IP address, MAC address, physical location, uplink switch & port, and VLAN. What tools exist that would allow us to have multiple users make updates both online and offline simultaneously, and synchronize changes into both the online and offline copies?"

Ask Slashdot: Experience Handling DDoS Attacks On a Mid-Tier Site? 197

New submitter caboosesw writes "A customer of mine recently was hit by a quick and massive DDoS attack. As we were in the middle of things, we learned that there are proxy services of varying maturity to deal with these kinds of outbreaks from the small and mysterious (DOSArrest, ServerOrigin, BlackLotus, DDOSProtection, CloudFlare, etc.) to the large and mature (Prolexic, Verisign, etc.) Have you guys used any of these services? Especially on the lower price point that a small e-commerce (not pr0n or gambling) company could afford? Is a DDoS service really mandatory as Gartner now puts this type of service in the same tier as SEIM, firewalls, IPS, etc?"

How Can I Justify Using Red Hat When CentOS Exists? 666

Bocaj writes "I recently spec'd out a large project for our company that included software from Red Hat. It came back from the CIO with everything approved except I have to use CentOS. Why? Because 'it's free Red Hat.' Personally I really like the CentOS project because it puts enterprise class software in the hands of people who might not otherwise afford it. We are not those people. We have money. In fact, I questioned the decision by asking why the CIO was willing to spend money on another very similar project and not this one. The answer was 'because there is no free alternative.' I know this has come up before and I don't want to beat a dead horse, but this is still a very persistent issue. Our CIO is convinced that technical support for any product is worthless. He's willing to spend money on 'one-time' software purchases, but nothing that is an annual subscription. There is data to support that the Red Hat subscription is cheaper that many other up-front paid software products but not CentOS. The only thing it lacks is support, which the CIO doesn't want. Help?"

Ask Slashdot: Chromeless Cross-Platform Browser? 145

blakieto writes "Mozilla has the Prism project, which turned into Chromeless, which seems to have died [Note: last update was May 31]. I'm seeking a no-interface-what-so-ever cross-platform browser for use as a 'user interface host' to a self-hosted web app. Slight background: I've a professional market web app, with a large portion of the customer base unable to access public Internet connections. So, I want to make a version of my product self-hosted, with the web server and web app and everything necessary to run the web app locally installed on a user's machine. I have everything except a chromeless browser. Oh, and my customers are local police & highway patrol type organizations, most likely running an aged Windows box (probably IE6, too)."

Ask Slashdot: Uses For a Small Office Server? 260

ragnvaldr writes "I'm the 'IT guy' for an office of about a dozen people. And when I say IT guy, I mean I'm the only one here who can use google well enough to figure out how to make things work. We have a 500GB Mac server with a Drobo with 6TB of storage attached. So far all this server does is back up data, and I want to make it a little more useful. We also have a Filemaker server on it, which I have yet to learn how to use at all, let alone efficiently. Any suggestions to make this machine a little more useful?"

Ask Slashdot: Online Science For 8th Grade Students? 225

Peterus7 writes "I'm a student teacher in an 8th grade science classroom, and have noticed that students are very motivated by anything online. After realizing that, I've been looking for ways to incorporate internet resources into my teaching, and trying to find cool citizen science projects, activities, and simulations that would be appropriate for a grade school science class, such as galaxyzoo and So, I'm asking slashdot for more resources that could help bring science to their lives. Thanks!"
Data Storage

How Do You Protect Servers From a Rogue Admin? 219

Treborto writes "I work with a non-profit that has an extensive collection of photos and videos. These are used in publications and on the web. We have several levels of privileges: read-only of small, watermarked images; read-only of large, clean images; edit of the site; and admins who can confer privileges. It has happened that people leave the organization in anger. So far, no Admin has done so. Is there a back-up, site mirroring, privilege, or other strategy you'd recommend so we have protection from an Admin gone bad?"

How To Help With a University ICT Strategy? 149

An anonymous reader writes "I have been asked to contribute to my university's revised ICT (Information and Communication Technology) strategy and I am curious what fellow Slashdot members consider to be the main advice in this context. What are the major mistakes that organizations like universities make? Given the complexity of the different participants in a university, how does one have a coherent strategy that fulfills the needs of such a wide audience? How does one promote open source in a managerial culture? How does one deal with the curse of the virtual learning environment?"
Operating Systems

What OS and Software For a Mobile Documentary Crew? 229

jag7720 writes "I am part of a new project that will be filming a documentary. The project HQ will be in the US but it will take us around the world and will last approx 18 months. I am the IT guy and will be responsible for most if not all aspects of hardware and software (not to include editing). We are probably going to use Google mail/calendar/docs and unlocked BlackBerrys for communications. Computers use will mainly be for communications and writing. I am a huge advocate of Linux and Open Source and I want to use it if possible. What would you recommend for an OS platform for a project like this and why? Linux? Mac? Win?"

Best FOSS Help Desk Software For Small Firms? 321

Nocts writes "I'm currently working for a moderately sized company that manages a large portion of its internal help desk questions through a Jabber-based chat room. What we're looking for instead is an open source, preferably Web-based solution that will give us the ability to have floor representatives queue questions and concerns in a similar fashion to BugTraq, directed at the help desk. Email capability would be preferred for elaboration of specific issues, but the more we can centralize everything into the queued system the better. Any recommendations and experiences? Just about any language is doable since I have the ability to configure and upgrade our servers and we're looking at about a user base of 100 people, with around 5-10 questions a minute."

How Do I Start a University Transition To Open Source? 497

exmoron writes "I work at a small university (5,500 students) and am in a position to potentially influence future software purchasing decisions. I use a number of FOSS solutions at home (, Zotero, GIMP, VirtualBox). My university, on the other hand, is a Microsoft and proprietary software groupie (Vista boxes running MS Office 2007, Exchange email server, Endnote, Photoshop, Blackboard, etc.). I'd like to make an argument that going open source would save the university money and think through a gradual transition process to open source software (starting small, with something like replacing Endnote with Zotero, then MS Office with, and so on). Unfortunately, I can't find very good information online on site licenses for proprietary software. How much does a site-license for Endnote cost? What about a site license for MS Office for 2,000 computers? In short, what's the skinny on moving to open source? How much money could a university like mine save? Additionally, what other benefits are there to moving to open source that I could try to sell the university on? And what are the drawbacks (other than people whining about change)?"

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