Sunday, October 11, 2009

Migrating Data From Other Operating Systems

Zoltanh721 posted on his blog today about migrating data from other operating systems when installing Fedora. See the post here.

While I agree that migrating data for users is something that would be of value, having anaconda do it is not really a great idea. I view migrating data as a different task than installation. Knowledge of where settings are stored and what data is actually important or what the user cares about is very application and OS dependent. It's not something we should do during installation, but rather offer it as something the user can do after installation. They may find that Fedora is not even something they want to continue using.

We already set up dual boot systems in Fedora just fine. Creating a new tool that can handle data migration would be helpful for users, but definitely out of scope of the installation process. When I start thinking about migrating data from another operating system, I think about these questions:
  • Should each application know how to import data from other, similar programs?
  • Should there be a central system that knows how to migrate data between operating systems or environments?
  • Really, aside from files such as documents and music (i.e., files that can be easily moved between platforms without much hassle), what things are we talking about migrating?
The Mozilla software on different platforms can import data from other similar programs, which is handy. Maybe a tool that exposes the data from the other platform and then launches the application on Linux to do the import would be useful. But again, this should happen once a system is already installed. You may use entirely different programs than I and want or need data imported differently.

Zoltanh721, good idea but I'd like to see implemented outside of anaconda. Oh, and if a project like this takes off, don't rely on partition IDs to determine what other operating systems are on the system. They mean nothing. libblkid will be more helpful.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Getting Autodialer Calls About Insurance, Mortgage, Your Wife?

Over the past couple of weeks, autodialer calls have started up on my cell phone...again. The numbers are all over the place as usual, but the caller ID is not blocked. The recording is roughly the same. It announces itself as Donna or Deborah and tells you to press 3 to have your number removed from the list. Then it tells you they have been trying to reach you about your wife for some time and if you have questions about insurance (???) to press 1 now. Press 1 now to speak to someone. Press 1. Press 1 for information about how you can save. Press 1. Press 1.

Choice seems fairly obvious. Pressing one routes you to the next available unlucky bastard who tries to sell you something related to your mortgage. It's email spam in phone form. I hate this stuff.

These calls are no different than the extended vehicle warranty calls from months ago, except this time I found the company behind it. And I called them. And they called me back and apologized and said that all of their clients would remove their number from their lists. Would you like to know more? Press 1. Wait, no.

Call 877-646-7319 and leave a message. I asked if this was the company behind the autodialer calls I just explained above. I asked for my number to be removed from ALL client lists and I want confirmation that my number was removed. I told them how to reach me and sure enough they called back and said my number would be removed and they even apologized for the calls.

I wanted to throw out some opinions about what a sleazy business model this is and it's really just a waste of time and money for everyone, but I decided not to. If the calls don't stop in 48 hours (the amount of time they asked me to wait in order for them to contact their clients), then they will get another call.

The company claims to operate in the central time zone, but I got a call back today at 3:00 PM Hawaiian time, so go figure.

Spread the word. This sort of behavior must not be tolerated on phones. They are getting you to pay for their advertising efforts.