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Re: suggestions for library pc environment

On Thu, 2009-07-16 at 18:07 +0200, Gianluca Cecchi wrote:
> I wouldn't like to keep it more complicated than needed, also because
> then I will not have so much time to follow and support (I hope some
> student in my town could learn and keep on eventually, though...;-)
> AFAIK, the PCs at the moment are used mainly to go through the
> internet, do instant messaging, create and print documents through a
> printer connected to one PC used by the librarian), and are used by
> Italian and foreign persons.

If you (or other staff) can handle the personal support needed to
configure and use applications, then it's do-able.

e.g. OpenOffice.org for documents.  Moderately easy to use just by
treating it like any other word processor, considering that most people
don't use the fancy features offered on any word processor.

And something like Gaim for instant messaging, though configuration
would be daunting for many people.  Alternatively, many IM systems offer
a temporary client that works through the web browser, where all they
have to type in is their login name and password.

> I think at the moment the records about books lent to the users are
> only on paper... so it would be an added value to integrate with some
> kind of sw able to manage the flow of the book of the books ..;-)

I've seen mention of some library management systems, before, but I
don't recall the names.  Years ago, back in the Windows 3 days, my
school's computer department wrote their own from scratch, because the
commercial offerings sucked / costed too much.  ;-)

> Some considerations below, I would like to receive back suggestions
> and/or comments or other points I missed.
> - predefined user for every pc (eventually different between different
> PCs) or any user his/her login?
> Second one would be far better because one could choose the preferred
> language and also desktop customization
> Also, the first time a user asks to use a PC, he/she has to register
> and the library can keep track of this...
> But I should setup a sw to let a guy easily make first registration
> and let him/her use on any PC that is present....

Look into "internet cafe" set ups for Linux.  Those sorts of problem
have already been solved (guest logons, managing multiple users, etc).

> - LTSP? Could it be an option?
> I used version 4.2 for a test case some years and it was well
> documented and suitable... not tried version 5 that is provided in
> F11.
> Any comments on this? A weakness I see is that if LTSP server is down
> or has a problem with the network, all the PC stations are impacted.
> And I have to count one more PC to use as a server....

I imagine that you do want one server, especially if you're going to
have a library management system.  So I don't see having to *rely* on at
least one PC being unreasonable.

You're probably going to have to implement some sort of censorship or
content filtering, it's usually expected by some patrons, and might even
be legally required of you.  That'll be a second thing that would
require you to have at least one machine as a dedicated server, and
you've already mentioned you're using a machine as a print server.  So
that's three things that would use a server, which could all be handled
by the one computer.

[tim localhost ~]$ uname -r

Don't send private replies to my address, the mailbox is ignored.  I
read messages from the public lists.

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