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

Peter Scheie petre at maltzen.net
Mon Jun 19 02:24:22 UTC 2006

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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