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Old 06-28-2009, 01:54 PM   #1
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Antiques Roadshow Appraiser wants to use Windows data in Linux database-it is hard?

I am a former Antiques Roadshow Appraiser who has a lot of data that I have accumulated over the years in the Alchemy Gold version 6 format which is based on SQL and ODBC
I have been told that Linux maybe a far better OS in which to share data about Gems and Jewelry as well as Consumer protection data with interested parties.
I was a contributor to the 16 CFR 23 "Guidelines for the Jewelry Industry" as well as the United States Stamping Act. I am a consumer advocate, A Texas Paralegal, A Gemological Institute of America Graduate Gemologist, a CIA [certified Insurance Appraiser], member of the Appraisal foundation, and MJSA [manufactor Jewelers and Suppliers Assn]
and Federal Expert Witness for the North Texas Judicial Division of the Fifth Circuit.
My goal is to help set up a free database for consumers with questions about Appraisals, Gems, Jewelry, Spectra, Mineralogy, Gemology, and help locations on the web. Linux that can also use Windows data is important.
I have heard of Linux OS systems that will allow one to run Windows XP as a window in Linux. Sun has such a program. I am wary of free downloads due to the fear of destroying years of data. winstone
Old 06-28-2009, 03:03 PM   #2
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You may want to consider a LAMP (that's Linux-Apache-MySQL-PHP) server; that'll take some conversion effort (and a little web page design) but in the long term a far, far better "platform" for what you're talking about doing. If you can, try to dump your existing data to a flat ASCII file (say, a CSV file with tab separators and no quotes) and you'll able to load your file(s) into MySQL directly. If your software can provide a schema (data base table descriptions), that, too will go a long way toward easing a transition.

If you really want to continue using XP, Sun's VirtualBox ( software is a truly good way to go on a Linux platform -- it works, it works fine, and my experience with it has been painless. One advantage of virtual machines is a snapshot capability; you get Windows installed, configured, install all the constant barrage of patches, install your software and data base the take a snapshot of the virtual system; when Windows poops its pants, you can simply restore the snapshot and you're back in business in a few minutes instead of hours from a cold start.

All in all, you're better off biting the bullet and abandoning Windows completely but you can do that in steps if you first go to a Linux platform with virtual machine software installed then gradually migrate from your Windows application to a fully-LAMP platform -- you'll be happier, your clients will be happier and most (if not all) your computer problems will vanish into the mists of time (and you can let the patina accumulate on your Windows machine for a few years then dump it for, oh, maybe $5 to an antique collector...

Best of luck with it.
Old 06-28-2009, 03:05 PM   #3
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To be honest. I have not heard of the program you used for you database, and therefore cannot really comment on if it is possible or not. But I can tell you, it will be a very difficult task, and an experience Linux administrator would be needed to make this possible. I'm not saying you can't do it, but it would be a lot quicker if you had a friend who is very experienced.

If the database is in SQL format, exporting the data and importing it into linux and setting a website for go through the website should not be a problem.

Your last question is not very clear. Are you asking if you can run windows programs on linux? If that was your question then, the simple answer is no, not without installing Wine (A Windows emulator). But running Windows on top of linux is not recommended, becuase at the moment it doesn't run every Microsoft software, most of the time even if you do get the Microsoft software installed on linux it will have glitches and not run smoothly. An alternative will be to Dual boot, meaning having both Linux and Windows on the same computer but are seperate. But then from what you are telling me this is pretty pointless.

Remember Always make multiple backup of your data! Cannot blame some software you don't know how to use for destroying your data!
Old 06-28-2009, 06:36 PM   #4
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OK, so ODBC is essentially a standardized API for databases. Alchemy Gold appears to be a web based document management system that uses the ODBC interface to Microsoft SQL. So, basically, what you have are some data record formats that you have specified to go along with various document types that you stored. What's needed is a linux analog to that whole setup. Unfortunately, the folks who do Alchemy Gold appear to be totally stuck in Windows. So, ... there are probably as many ways to do this as there are linux consultants to tell you how to do it. You'll probably end up dumping your records from Microsoft SQL, and importing them into MySQL. You'll have to understand your record formats and set up corresponding record formats in MySQL. How you get at stuff and allow others to get at it from the web can start getting complicated. We are doing stuff a little like that using Drupal, but that has a learning curve, and requires some effort to set up.

With that much of a definition of the problem, maybe you can give us some more information, and maybe some others can jump in with their own ideas and suggestions.


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