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[K12OSN] NCLS-TuXlabs for Schools: A smashing success!

We just finished our 2-day TuXlabs for Schools conference in Minneapolis, and I must say I think it was a terrific success. On Day 1, we gave a series of presentations and demos on K12LTSP. We had about 25 newcomers from around the state of Minnesota attend, representing public and private schools and colleges. Most (all?) newcomers seemed quite interested in what K12LTSP can do for them. Some even offered to help host future events. Hopefully, we will see at least some of them on this list.

Day 2 was a seriously geeky series of presentations and discussions about storage methods, the new LDA & the nifty things one can do with FUSE, and the future of LTSP. We got to hear from Chris Hertel from the Samba team, and Scott Balneaves and Jim McQuillan. There were even a few newcomers from the first day present, although I think they all had previous Linux experience. I was delighted at the diversity of technical backgrounds represented, which really made for a fruitful and wide-ranging discussion.

So, we all got to evangelize to a captive audience on one of our favorite subjects, and we all got to learn some things (I learned some neat things, anyway). We had several servers and lots of different clients, showing both version 4.4.1 and the 5.0 beta. One clever, serendipitous thing we did was use a thin client at the podium for the OOo Impress presentations. Rather than have each person plug his laptop into the projector, as is usually done, each person just put his presentation onto a USB stick, plugged it into the client, and via the magic of the new LDA in version 5, was able to do the presentation right from the stick. This also makes it much easier to get a copy of each presentation for posting to the website (just drag it onto the desktop, and they all end up on one server).

It would have been nice on Day 1 if we could have had a break or two lasting 30-45 minutes in which we would encourage the newcomers to play around with the clients. We did have breaks, and people did play with the clients, but more time for specifically doing so would have been better. The problem is where to find the time for this. As it was, Day 1 ran from 9am to 3:30pm, with an hour or so for lunch. By 3pm people were reaching their saturation point, so we really could not make the day run any longer--although even then people hung around to play with the clients! But we'll have to think about this for future conferences.

We'll do it again. Minnesota has a two-day teacher in-service in October every year, so we may move to those days to avoid conflicting with NELS.

I want to thank Eric Brown, Jim Kronebusch, Burke Almquist, Joe Wiedenmeier, Jeremy White, Chris Bacigalupo, Bill Schwalbe, and David Markovich for their help in presenting LTSP to the schools. And a thank you to Jim, Scott, and Chris for presenting to us. This truly is a great community, and this was a terrific group effort with wonderful results. I'll get some pictures posted somewhere in a few days.


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