SOStoolbox

Welcome to the SOStoolbox

I provide help and assistance to the individual and small business user.

Introductions

mouse and notebook

Me
I am based in central Brittany, France. With 35 years experience in providing IT, Hardware, Telephony, and PC support. The last twenty were spent in providing product support in a mission critical environment. Whist I spent a couple of years in Desktop support the bulk was in the Unix/Linux server environment. I was fortunate enough to be part of, and manage a small team providing product support, for whom getting results for the customer was the first objective. Security and business continuity were always at the top of the requirement heap.

Whilst it is my aim is to provide help and support across the entire range of SOHO and home IT, Linux and Free Open Source Software is my core offering. If you are not familiar with the idea of FOSS then below is my brief and personal introduction.

My objective with SOStoolbox is to provide a paid personal Help-desk and support community. Support will be provided via the Help-desk, in person, by phone, or by remote support. Direct remote assistance can be established by the use of a downloaded native client or any Browser with Java enabled.

The service and site are aimed at the beginner either in terms of Linux or in terms of an aspect of using Linux at home or in the office. There are any number of such like fora on the internet, this one aims to be focused to your needs, hence the embedded help-desk and a greater degree of selectivity and strong moderation of the forum. You may not have made the leap away from proprietary Operating Systems and Software. I will try and convince you why you should. A toolbox of typical applications is presented here , these I use and have found reliable, effective, and where possible not too steep a learning curve.

Repair costs are typically 40-70 Euro for simple corrections, including travel where applicable. 

FOSS

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FOSS is in essence free, however developers do require food and a roof over their heads so you may be asked politely to put your hand in your pocket, donate, or you may choose to buy a licence for some specialist software or service.

It's secure. Here we have a topic all on it's own, suffice it to say that Linux is secure by design and can easily be made more so. The Linux virus does exist but is exceptionally rare in the wild. Other operating systems may well have had their roots in game playing, bringing with it baggage and of course the speed that the gamers were looking for. The roots of Linux are in the Unix business, scientific or engineering environment.

It's extensible, whatever you want to do there are paths open to you. Writing a letter, there are a plethora of word-smithing applications available,  controlling a solar furnace, there may not be a ready made package but there is almost certainly a community developing something close to what you require. There are many more reasons to choose Open-Source software over commercial, but outstanding amongst them is that you are part of a community inviting you to participate in whatever way you can. A fellowship providing support, encouragement and even code or documentation written. It's about empowerment and community, not being owned via the software you use.

Hardware

mouse and notebook

The topic of hardware is a specialism all on it's own. There is such a huge range of it that nobody can be an 'expert' on more than a fraction.

Manufactures take a varied approach to how much information they release and if, or at all they support open source drivers. The driver is that portion of the software between the chosen application such as a word processor and say a scanner. Open source drivers do not always utilise the hardware to it's full potential.

If you have a piece of hardware that is central to your business or the way in which you use IT, then it is best to explore the open source/Linux support of that device first.

Laptops, Net-books etc.

These tend to have more than their fair share of unique hardware inside. Hardware that can not be swapped out as in a desk PC. It is thus wise to check carefully, not burn any bridges before converting a laptop to Linux, however increasing rare problems are. There are however many benefits of changing, Security and resurrecting otherwise dated hardware are just two. Live CDs are a good way to try before you buy. If you discuss your requirements with me I can send you a CD for a nominal fee.


mouse and notebook

Martin