Linux Business Solutions Project


This project has not been active since 1998. As a collaborative project, it is dormant. However, there are a boundless number of web sites covering Linux topics and one of them must surely describe what you are looking for. Google is your friend.


This is a new project whose goal is to provide more coherent, comprehensive documentation on how Linux can be used to solve common business problems. Most existing Linux web pages fail to do this, by failing to provide a context, by being technology-driven rather than solution-driven, by failing to introduce the topic, failing to provide an overview or intro, or by being incomplete. The goal of this project is to address these problems with a coordinated set of solution tutorials coupled with technology/product/application reviews and deployment hints.

Project Motivation

New Linux users who wish to use Linux in a business environment, as well as seasoned Linux users, all face a common problem: locating appropriate software. Although there exists a search-able LSM (Linux Software Map) index, and many web sites that have pointers to software, almost all suffer from a common problem: they fail to provide a context.

When searching for business software, the hardest problem is often not locating the software application alternatives, but understanding the nature of the problem that needs to be solved, and determining what *type* of software could solve that problem. When one is searching for software without having a clear idea of what that software needs to do, ordinary indexes and lists become useless.

The goal of the Linux Business Solution Project is to provide a context, a setting, a tutorial on business problems that can be solved with Linux software, coupled with feature reviews and comparisons that will help users determine the appropriate packages for their needs.

As embryonic examples of how this might be done, we offer the following pages:

The bright user will already spot a fundamental flaw in some of these examples: they are organized in a technology-specific fashion, rather than in a solution-specific fashion. That is, options are presented in terms of "Network Address Translation" or "Word Processors" rather than as "Security", "Compute Load Balancing", "Document Management", or "Document Creation". A user looking for network security options may not be aware that they should look at Masquerading (network address translation) as an option. A user looking for a workflow management solution may not consider some of the word processors that support multi-user capabilities.

Thus, a project goal is to describe the common business problems, and to then describe possible solution alternatives, finally completed with references and application reviews for the actual software that will be used.

Robustness, High Availability

Although the kernel for some of these ideas can be found on Linas Vepstas Linux web site, Linas has discovered that he does not have the time, energy and expertise to keep the site accurate and up-to-date as an individual. Linas is also working at cross-purposes from many other Linux web site maintainers; many of whom duplicate each-others work. Linas is also concerned about the more mundane web-site issues: regular backups, high-availability, loss of data due to loss of computer, etc. If this computer was stolen, the web site would be gone! Many other Linux web sites, including some of the major ones, face the same problems: those in the know will recall the recent history of problems with

Thus, the call for a project: put together a more comprehensive network of sites, in a more structured and coherent fashion, with a more unified look and feel. As a possible sub-goal: if the project comes to life, please consider that a print-version of the information would be the right thing to do.

Linas also is very busy, and thus is looking for project coordinators as well as contributors. He will simply find it impossible to give this project the time it deserves. Coordinators, please write!

Mailing List

The mailing list has been created. To subscribe, send mail to and put subscribe your@email.addr on the subject line.

Mailing list archives can be viewed at

Immediate Goals

Publicity Coordinator Duties

Format & Style Guide

The format & style is yet to be determined. A coordinator to define & maintain the style guide is needed.

Style Guide Goals:

Customizable Style Tools

In the end, the information content should be cleanly separated from the color/logo/banner/side-bar/menu system. This would allow the actual style to be quickly modified & updated without having to hand-edit hundreds or thousands of web pages. It would also allow mirror sites to control their own look and feel. For example, the folks at like their color scheme, and the folks at X:End of Story like tiers, and those at like theirs. If they were to mirror pages from this project, they should be able to quickly, easily and transparently put them into a format that they prefer. If we were to mirror their web pages, then we should be able to modify the style, rather than be forced to adopt it.

This can theoretically be done with SGML markup; however, the current SGML tools do not provide the flexibility needed to automatically generate flashy, showy web pages. Other folks have mentioned CSS (cascading style sheets), and XML. A drawback of these is that they have even fewer tools, and currently do not support printed (postscript) output.

Thus, we have a tools goals:

It has been strongly recommended that the current Linux-Doc DTD's be used (those used to write LDP HOWTO's), and hope that these are someday strengthened to provide more beautiful layout. However, a pro-active effort would be nicer than hoping ...


Create a license for published pages making it clear who the copyright holders are, and what permissions the authors grant. The license should be similar in motivation to the "Artistic License", or the GPL, but specifically suited to published textual materials. The goal is to maintain ownership and control, without un-neccesarily hindering rights of reproduction and mirroring. De facto, Linux web page authors implicitly grant such rights today; however, as Linux matures, it would be nice to avoid possible future pitfalls about the ownership of large and extensive Linux web sites.

Target Audiences

managers looking for technology to solve business solutions
This is a target audience covered by this project

engineers looking for specific technology to solve problems defined by management
This is also a target audience.

engineers looking for design and installation information for implementing solutions
This is already solved to a large degree by the LDP HOWTO's, the man pages, and the variety of Linux books.

developer looking for development tools and applications
Handled reasonably well by ~blatura/linapps, SAL (Scientific Applications on Linux), LSD (Linux Software Database), X: End of Story, and other similar sites.

developers interested in furthering free software development
Handled by LDP Projects list, also by by FSF, and IACT (International Alliance for Compatible Technology).


Linas Vepstas
Christopher Browne
Joe Royall
Paul Anderson

Related Interest

Copyright (c) 1997, 1998 Linas Vepstas
All trademarks are property of their respective owners.
Last updated February 1998 by Linas Vepstas (

Permission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify this document under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License, Version 1.1; with no Invariant Sections, with no Front-Cover Texts, and with no Back-Cover Texts. A copy of the license is included at the URL, the web page titled "GNU Free Documentation License".

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