[ok-mail] [K12OSN] Scalability (long email)

Terrell Prude', Jr. microman at cmosnetworks.com
Sun Apr 11 18:21:02 UTC 2004

Sounds to me like your school board is like my school board--they just 
don't seem to care about actual, positive change with regard to IT and 
saving money.  Thus, depending on your local laws, the only real 
effector of change may be legal, and one guy going up against the entire 
legal team of the school district, while certainly possible, is a tough 
thing to do.  Matter of fact, the state of Virginia seems to directly 
back this Microsoft preference; I'm told that the state's SOL (Standards 
of Learning) exams require MS Internet Explorer 5.5 or later and will 
not work w/ Netscape or any other browser.

That said, there may be an applicable statute that says no vendor 
preferences.  Unfortunately there isn't one where I am, but there may be 
where you are.  Also, there may be statutes that say all economic 
backgrounds must be included in all facets of school instruction, be it 
in the classroom, homework, or otherwise.  Windows and MS Office, as we 
know, cost a bundle.  "Poor" kids aren't going to be able to get 
those--legally--w/o major sacrifices.  By contrast, you can get a 
decently equipped LindowsOS PC for $299 (the 128MB DRAM, 20GB HD 
versions are $199), and that, of course, includes OO.o and everything else.

Both approaches, unfortunately, involve taking on the school board in a 
legal sense.  For most people, I wouldn't recommend doing that without 
backing from the likes of, say, the ACLU.  I myself am in fact stubborn 
enough to do such a thing, except that I have a very good friend whose 
position I need to protect, and that's the only thing stopping me at 
this point--personal loyalty to my friend.  I think that the solution is 
that we, as citizens, need to push for Free and Open Source Software, 
especially during election years, with hard numbers to back up our 
claims.  That means writing your Congressmen, attending Town Hall 
meetings, and generally doing that stuff that grassroots lobbyists do to 
get their laws pushed through.  There is no easy answer to this one; 
it'll take work.


norbert wrote:

> Hi Terrell,
> Thanks for the response. To answer why the twenty + client on terminal 
> server, well it isn't by choice ! The school board has some 
> applications that are a must and these *only work with IE*. I've tried;
> Crossoveroffice  - it doesn't cut it for the applications they need !
> Win4lin - is limited to Win 9x & is too expensive
> VMware - I have not been able to get more than a couple of thin 
> clients running with it & costs !!!
> The applications are Edusystems, Kidpix (no Tuxpaint is not 
> acceptable) & FirstClass (the linux local client works well but there 
> is no server version yet.
> Now the final "kink" in this problem is that there are non-profit 
> organisations that give Win2K server & CAL licenses for *free* to 
> educational institutions, so this is giving preference to a M$ 
> solution as long as these apps cannot run with browsers on linux.
> If you have *any* suggestions to avoid using M$ please let me know !
> thanks
> norbert
> microman at cmosnetworks.com wrote:
>> It wasn't my choice, unfortunately.  Back then I worked for not just 
>> a Microsoft shop, but a totally rabid Microsoft shop.  The very 
>> notion of running anything that was Free Software was total anathema 
>> to this company.  They basically subscribed to the notion that, "if 
>> it *can* run on NT/2000, it *will* run on NT/2000."  Actually putting 
>> OpenOffice.org on anybody's computer might well have gotten me fired, 
>> even if the user had specifically asked for it, unless it had been a 
>> major partner (wasn't gonna happen).
>> So, to answer your question, we never took them off of Microsoft in 
>> the first place.  We simply made them run their apps locally again.
>> That does bring to mind a question, though:  Norbert, can you tell us 
>> why you need to run twenty client sessions on a Windows Terminal 
>> Server?  Would folks not be better suited by a K12LTSP server?
>> --TP
>> Brian Chase wrote:
>>> This must be why Citrix is so successful, because the native WTS 
>>> does such a poor job of it.  What I can't figure out is why you took 
>>> your whole office staff back to Microsoft when OpenOffice has been 
>>> out for several years now.
>>> Terrell Prude', Jr. wrote:
>>>> That's one of the major problems with Windows Terminal Server; the 
>>>> underlying platform's just not efficient.  The RDP protocol used 
>>>> with it is reasonably efficient, but the server itself gets S-L-O-W 
>>>> very quickly.  I never did more than five on a dual-PIII, 900MHz, 
>>>> 1GB DRAM box w/ Ultra3-SCSI RAID, back when I was running Windows 
>>>> networks, for performance reasons; with any more, the CPUs kept 
>>>> pegging, and the memory subsystem kept almost continuously swapping 
>>>> to disk.  As it was, there was plenty of swapping, and the CPUs 
>>>> were heavily used.  We also had stability issues with user 
>>>> applications (e. g. Microsoft Office).  We ended up using Terminal 
>>>> Services only for us sysadmins and making everyone run MS Office on 
>>>> their desktops again.  Boy, did we learn!
>>>> If for some reason you have to do this for twenty clients on one 
>>>> server, then I'd recommend going for, at a minimum, a four 
>>>> processor box, with max GHz (currently we're talking either Xeon 
>>>> 3.2GHz's or Opteron 2.2GHz's (that's the 848 model, BTW).  Also, 
>>>> better have no less than 4GB DRAM, and more is definitely not 
>>>> overkill.
>>>> --TP
>>>> norbert wrote:
>>>>> Ooops that's a P-III & just for clarification we're using K12LTSP 
>>>>> with diskless client, from each client we launch a rdesktop session.
>>>>> thks again
>>>>> norbert
>>>>> bear2bar at netscape.net wrote:
>>>>>> Hi,
>>>>>> Has anyone setup rdesktop with linux on 20 + workstations ? (With 
>>>>>> Win2K) and what specs are needed for the Win2K server to handle 
>>>>>> the load.
>>>>>> We've setup a P-II 500 Mhz with 512mb ram and can barely launch 3 
>>>>>> connections. The response is incrediblly SLOW....
>>>>>> thanks for the input
>>>>>> norbert
>>>>>> jhansknecht at hanstech.com wrote:
>>>>>>> On Tue, 2004-04-06 at 21:26, Shawn Powers wrote:
>>>>>>>> snip
>>>>>>>> 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.
>>>>>>> Instead of win4lin think about using a Windows terminal server with
>>>>>>> rdesktop. ....you will need to spend a little but I suspect you 
>>>>>>> will be
>>>>>>> able to conqueror this application requirement.

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