FW: What else do we need to fix to make K12Linux production ready

Paul Nelson PNelson at nwresd.k12.or.us
Fri Sep 5 15:14:35 UTC 2008

I sent this message last June and got no reply. I still think that many of these "little" issues/features are what made K12LTSP so school friendly. I understand that the devel-list is working on larger issues but I encourage you to consider the whole package in setting goals for your final product.

We're installing three K12Linux/FC9 labs this week and next. I'll try to document as much of this as I can in the walk-through at http://k12ltsp.org/mediawiki/index.php/FC9-LTSP5_walk-through. Reel free to contribute to the wiki with your own tips and answers.

;-) Paul
Paul Nelson - Instructional Technology Specialist NWRESD
Office (503)614-1478 - Cell (503)432-6238
pnelson at nwresd.k12.or.us -  http://www.nwresd.k12.or.us
Mission: Make things better. http://edtech.nwresd.org

-----Original Message-----
From: Paul Nelson
Sent: Thursday, June 12, 2008 6:41 PM
To: k12linux-devel-list at redhat.com
Subject: What else do we need to fix to make K12Linux production ready

Hello Folks,

I'm excited about how easy K12Linux was to setup in FC9. I've been thinking a lot about what it needs to be complete.

Network defaults ready for use in schools:
K12Linux is often installed by teachers experimenting with Linux and thin-clients in their classrooms. It's important to understand these folks as customers when making decisions about how to configure K12Linux. The two network card setup worked so well because these servers could be isolated from the network and could at the same time, create a network in a classroom or lab. Out of the box they had DNS, DHCPD and NAT working so the K12linux box would act as a gateway to the rest of the network and at the same time, create a rational, usable network inside the school or classroom (usable for other PCs too). I think it's important that the kind of scripting that Eric did in earlier releases finds its way into K12Linux for Fedora 9 as well.

We also need to be sure we have answers for questions like:
* Schools love to put their own graphics up on the welcome screens. We just need to make sure that the documentation is clear on stuff like that.
* I want to have two servers, how do I do that and only have one /home and one authentication server?
* I want to change the default settings for browsers to be sure they go through our Internet filter and I don't want the kids to change the settings
* I want an easy way to reset a single user's settings and another script to do all user settings.
* I want to have schooltool working so users can see my desktop and I can see theirs. Is there a way I can automatically put the link to something like that on every  user's desktop?
* I want to set defaults for things like Adobe PDF, Flash, OO default file saving format, and we want a common set of bookmarks
* Kids need a shared folder space where they can put files and collaborate
* We need an easy way to install the non-standard applications like Adobe Reader, Flash, java, etc..
* What about other cool education applications and stuff like Kedu?
* and the #1 question ( I kid you not...) What typing programs are there for Linux?

Harder issues:
* How do I add a video driver for my xyz card that is supported in Xorg but isn't included in the default K12Linux install?
* What are those scripts that you have to run to change the settings sometimes when installing K12Kinux or after making network changes?
* Since these servers are used in schools, do we also install Moodle?

I'm not trying to overwhelm you, it's just that these are the day-to-day issues that need to be addressed when using Linux in schools. Trust me, I know. There are other little things that will get you too, like xsane can go haywire and start filling a user's home folder with xsession errors, errors that include high-res image data. And then what happens when /home quietly fills up? That was a fun one. So you need apps like durep that will help admins quickly see who's using up disk space.

If you can address all of the above then five years after moving to Linux on the desktop, you'll ask your teachers if they want to change back to Windows and you'll get the same answer I got, a resounding, 100% NO! Stay with Linux! We like it.

;-) Paul

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