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Assynt Digital Archive – Workstation updates

The four main workstations that are part of the Assynt Community Digital Archive have done their job since 2011, and remain adequate for what is needed in this role.  As with the main archive, part of the reason for this longevity is the use of Free and Open Source software, which is both kind to older hardware and allows us to stay up to date without software costs.

Until recently we have run the long term supported versions of the Ubuntu Linux operating system using the XFCE4 desktop.  This has been updated every three years, but eventually, such updates become lengthy exercises, and little configuration irritations creep in.

Now one of the joys of Free and Open Source software is how modular it all is. I have found through experience that the OpenSUSE Linux system upgrades really well and quickly, and while it does not have long term supported version like Ubuntu, nothing would be lost by trying OpenSUSE as an alternative.  As before, the XFCE4 desktop would be used, so that, to users, everything would appear to be the same.  The exercise in installing OpenSUSE has also allowed us to refresh and check our procedures and security setups.  The standard operating procedure for setting up the workstations is less than page long.

We now have bang up-to-date workstations again, and although this runs on ageing hardware, it remains fit for purpose.