[K12OSN] Scalability (long email)
spowers at inlandlakes.org
Wed Apr 7 01:26:08 UTC 2004
My fellow geeks,
I need some help. Possibly some of this can go offlist, as we've grown in
size significantly recently -- but this is really the only place I know to
get the answers I need. WARNING: This email will probably be long.
I just left a meeting with the other school supervisors in our district, and
after the monetary projections -- our district is more interested in my
fanatical ravings about OpenSource than ever before. I never thought I'd get
to say, "I'll have to hear a darn good reason that we need to purchase
licenses from Microsoft rather than keeping Suzy Mathteacher on staff..."
anyway, on to my questions:
I have 3 schools, all connected via fiber. There are approx 30 classrooms per
building, with a variation of 10 & 100mbit connections internally. The 2 big
directions I'm looking at would be to have 90 "mini-labs", where a teacher
gets a new white-box Pentium 4 computer, and have it serve as a classroom
LTSP server to 5 or 6 "junker" thin clients for the students (much like the
original case study Paul Nelson put up several years back). If the student
management system won't work under Wine -- that teacher computer would have
to run win4lin or some such solution.
The other option, is to go completely with thin clients in the classrooms --
but then I worry a GREAT deal about scalability and network bandwidth.
Management-wise, the thin client solution makes a lot of sense (of course) --
especially since I doubt I'll be having any help from outside hires or
teachers with release time. I really worry about the scalability of the
servers and network though... any real world examples I could pull from?
I considered that if we go with the Pentium 4 computers on a teacher's desk as
a mini-LTSP server, that they could all be kept "pure" by a nightly rsync. I
realize there would be a few individual settings that would need to be there,
but many of the config files could be similar. Sadly, I'm concerned about
the life of the Pentium 4's though, as technology is so quickly outdated.
What might be a server today could be worth little more than a thin client in
5 years, while if I go with thin clients everywhere, they will theoretically
be good for much longer.
Some final actual questions:
Does anyone rsync servers in the fashion I suggested?
Does anyone have any good "devil's advocate" type anti-linux slams they've
gotten, so I can prepare to defend myself? I am confident, but like to be
Is there a listserv dedicated to open-source curriculum (by that I mean using
open-source software as a part of daily curriculum)? If not, why don't we
start one? Sharing lesson plans, hand-outs, daily integration issues, etc --
many of my teachers would join, where as they WOULD NOT join this list. (and
I wouldn't want them to...)
Are there any cases of "great press" that you folks have gotten because of the
savings OSS has provided? I pictures us being a shining example of using tax
dollars wisely in tough times, and I plan to market the snot out of that.
You Oregon folks that have been doing this for a while -- have you gotten a
lot of "atta-boys" from the communities? How has the adoption of OSS as an
alternative been taken as a whole? Have you had any organized opposition?
Sorry to take so many bytes in your mailbox -- but this is a crucial time for
us, and I need some advice/guidance/brainstorming from, well, from you. :)
Thank you much,
Inland Lakes Schools
PHN: 231-238-6868 x9174
spowers at inlandlakes.org
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