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At the beginning of your project, or before you start considering computing systems, make sure you have the information you need to make your project successfull.

Below are more examples of computing problems that are common problems for projects. Skim through them and see if you don't find something similar to your problem. All of these issues are similar to ones I have personally dealt with, and I can help you avoid them.

Software configuration problems

A company I worked for created a software product from scratch. The product read data from a dedicated phone line and computed statistics on the data. When I started working on the project there was already one other person working full time. In order to keep track of changes to the source code files the one person was using RCS, a common version tracking system. The problem with RCS is that it doesn't support having more than one person working simultaneously. May programmers already know about CVS, a sort of higher level version of RCS, and I suggested it as a solution.

However, there are even better solutions to this problem. Aegis is one solution that I have used and truly recommend as the industrial strength high quality project change tracking system. I believe based on experiences I have had, or colleagues have had, that Aegis is better than Clearcase, and I know it is better than Microsoft SourceSafe.

Server reliability

A local company I consulted with a few years ago had a problem with a Windows NT based file server. They had a hardware failure and needed to make their server work again. Their server needed to provide files to 20 or so employees and they needed to access it via the windows sharing system. Did they need to purchase a new expensive server system? Or could they get more reliability from their left over junk?

A couple of Pentium 120 desktop machines were lying in their scrap heap. They worked perfectly well, they were simply too slow to run the latest Microsoft Office programs. Using GNU/Linux, SAMBA, and rsync together with a simple high availability package would allow them to take two old systems, perhaps replace the hard drives, and have a highly reliable server platform for Windows machines. Did they decide to do this? No. They decided to spend 4 or 5 thousand dollars on a server that was less reliable because they believed it was more important to have Microsoft products, since they didn't have anyone to support linux. Was it really true that finding linux support was harder? Not really, anyone who is a decent UNIX administrator will be running Linux at home. Want to try it yourself? You can contact me for more information.