Informationa about Sonoma County

E Frank Ball III frankb at
Thu Jun 1 13:03:50 PDT 2000

} I was recently offered a position working at Agilent Technologies in
} Sonoma County. I wanted to get the opinions of Linux enthusiasts in the
} area of what it's like there? What are the pros and cons of living there?
} Who are the best ISPs? Is DSL available? How expensive is it, etc. 

I have DSL with  $39/month to the phone company, $19.50/month
to  Not the cheapest solution, but the best one.  Shell
account, good newserver, 50MB space, ftp, web with cgi-bin, etc, and
most importantly a static IP address.

} Are there any Agilent employees on this list? If so, what has your
} experience been in the area? With Agilent?

I've been with HP/Agilent for 19 years in July.  I moved to Sonoma
County to work there.  At that time things were a litte more rural, it's
getting crowded now.  Traffic flat out sucks, there is no nice way to
describe it.  Hwy 101 is one of the most congested highways in the Bay
Area.  Housing prices (and rents) rise very quickly as you go South.
Lots of people commute from Windsor to Petaluma because houses are
$30,000 cheaper up there.  Housing and rents are going up fast.

Agilent's business is growing very fast, and Sonoma County is the
biggest single chunk of Agilent by a good margin.  They are building a
new site with several buildings at the airport, they are building a new
building at the Rohnert Park sight, and will probably expand at the
Santa Rosa sight in a year or so.  They have two major problems right
now, not being able to buy all the electronic parts they need, and not
being able to hire enough people.  Sonoma county has suddendly gotten
very competitive in the job market.  Cisco, AFC, Alcatel and a slew of
startup companies are all hiring people away from Agilent faster than
they can get replacements.  Managment doesn't want to pay competetive
salaries/benifits.  It is a nice place to work for the most part, which
is why many of the people have stayed.

Agilent's EESof division is doing some Linux work, but otherwise they
will do whatever they can to kiss Microsoft's butt.  HP and Agilent have
both switched to Microsoft Exchange mail servers, even when HP's
openmail is superior in many ways.  Microsoft Outlook is the primary
mail reader, viruses and all.  (But the main mail gateway into Agilent
is Linux).

Many of the engineers (like me) still have HP-UX computers, but pretty
much everybody has to have an NT machine.  I also have my Linux box here
so I have 3 computers at my desk.

   E Frank Ball                frankb at
   work: (707) 794-4168        home: (707) 538-3693 

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