15 Questions to ask your software vendor

Written by Jay McCormack

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Importantly there is no right or wrong answer to these questions, andrepparttar answers may vary greatly from one vendor to another. There are however some answers that should throw up a red flag:

Question 6 - This is generally a good guage of customer satisfaction. Ifrepparttar 143339 vendor can not provide this information, or is not willing to do so then you can anticipate a support issue or poor customer satisfaction withrepparttar 143340 product.

Question 10 - You should always haverepparttar 143341 ability to get to your own data. If you require a programmer to build new reports then you will consistently be biting into your ROI.

Question 14 - Ifrepparttar 143342 vendor skirts around this issue then they are uncomfortable letting you talk to a recent customer and therefore maybe hiding something from you, perhaps a difficiency in their product or in their implementation process.

Question 15 - The answer to this question identifies how 'productised'repparttar 143343 software is. A vendor who regularly evaluates their customer's future requirements and spends money on building these into their product is committed to it's current customers. A vendor who spends money only 'as required' is probably not so committed to building a great product as they are to getting sales.

When getting answers to these questions please also consider that their may be legitmate commercial reasons as to why a question can not be answered, however at a bear minimum your vendor should be able to provide some background into their reasons for not answering.

There are another four important criteria upon which any experienced buyer will evaluate a software purchase which will be covered in future articles.

Jay McCormack has had years of experience in the web and software industry. Most recently he launched http://www.cheaperit.com where he reviews and recommends the best software found on the web.

Welcome to the world of Knoppix

Written by Mike Ber

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Knoppix also boasts a comprehensive suite of programs that has almost everything that home/office desktop could be used for. The package list is tremendous, withrepparttar compression system allowing for over 2GB of stuff to be stored. This is amazing and is certainly more than any other single live CD can hold. For a basic idea as to how you should be fine, Knoppix contains 2 office suites (Koffice and OpenOffice), has KDE, Mozilla (web+mail+IRC), PHP, MySql, samba, xmms and tons more. This is no gaming platform, but more than enough is packed in there to let you do accomplish most of your usual tasks onrepparttar 143263 PC (see http://www.distrowatch.com/table.php?distribution=knoppix for a complete list). And if you want more, do an installation and now that you can write onrepparttar 143264 hard-disk, use apt-get upgrade, apt-get dist-upgrade (after making sure your sources.list is correct) to get more.

Knoppix does have a few minor problems. These are limited to a few quirks withinrepparttar 143265 KDE, some problems with hardware detection and complaints that 5 minutes to boot a PC is too long (which, byrepparttar 143266 way, is quite quick for a live-CD OS). The reality is that such problems are expected from an Open Source operating system. Linux platforms are not judged byrepparttar 143267 same criteria that Windows, or any other ‘paid-for’ OS is (this is perhaps a major reason behindrepparttar 143268 Linux-bashing that goes on in Microsoft-related circles). No one expects Knoppix to work perfectly when detecting hardware, andrepparttar 143269 fact that it more often than not works extremely well formsrepparttar 143270 basis of our judgment, whereas if Windows XP Professional refused to detect my LAN card I would not stop cursing their ineptitude (no matter that it detected everything else, or everyone else’s card). The standards applied here are totally different, and thus Knoppix survives all such criticism and continues to bathe inrepparttar 143271 afterglow of a job well done.

A few thoughts on customization. One gets a feeling thatrepparttar 143272 package is perhaps too comprehensive (how many text editors do you really need?). My view is that at least forrepparttar 143273 downloadable version, there should be a way forrepparttar 143274 user to select or unselectrepparttar 143275 programs that are required. As such, one could select their favorite browser, text editor, office suite, etc. and produce a more compact installation package. Theoretically, you could also build a custom Knoppix installation that would even run your office applications (as mentioned earlier). The possibilities are great, and hopefullyrepparttar 143276 Knoppix development team will take into considerationrepparttar 143277 idea of streamlining / customization, if only forrepparttar 143278 downloadable version.

So there you have it. A special flavor of Linux that offers, apart from a live-CD OS, a quite stable operating environment as well (and comes bundled with lots of goodies) that is unprecedented in terms of hardware detection. And more importantly, this could be a precursor of things to come with respect to OS development and howrepparttar 143279 industry perceivesrepparttar 143280 role of an operating system, be it Linux or Windows. Maybe it’s time for diversification and specialization inrepparttar 143281 OS market, and maybe, just maybe, Microsoft is set to lose more ground asrepparttar 143282 ‘free’ operating systems get better and better.

Mike Ber is the owner of the Canadian Domain Name Portal called www.Every.ca He is also a contributing author to www.ComputerMagazine.ca, www.Developer.ca, and www.XP.ca

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