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[K12OSN] Re: K12LTSP

Hi Chad -- I'm not sure how much help I would be, since I'm not integrated
into a larger school district and have a pretty supportive admin &
teaching staff that don't have high expectations :)

Grades using the labs: K-12! It's "K12"LTSP after all!

THe advantages of K12LTSP are many -- it's cheap, great for recycling old
equipment for workstations (don't use less than a good Pentium 3 that is
easy to configure with PXE though -- since you can get these for free
easily enough why waste your time with anything older...), VERY easy to
add new clients once you have it all working, it's easy to manage, and
it's pretty much turn-key in terms of providing loads of software that
teachers can use. Tons of great software is available.

The disadvantages are also many -- you'll have lots of teachers assuming
that they can run their expensive, specialty educational software on the
system--I'm talking that glitzy stuff that folks like Scholastic put out
for megabucks that always seems to require student plugging CDs into
drives, specialised client software that only runs on Windows (instead of
web based). That said, with major tweaking you can always get this crap to
work if your teachers are desperate and insistent enough (e.g.  using
remote desktop, but this requires a windows server running remote desktop
service plus licenses, and often virtual CD emulation, blah blah blah ...
tech nightmares that could so easily be solved by good cross platform,
network-based software; it all drives me nuts that they can't do it

Other disadvantages include having to learn a whole new operating system
and way of doing things ... I have the advantage of already knowing a fair
bit about Unix-style OS's and I still had (and have) a learning curve.
And, finally, the biggest issue I've struggled with is that basic 21st
century internet things like SOUND and MULTIMEDIA are not easy to do with
K12LTSP. Not easy at all. But it's all DOABLE, and good fun if you're up
for a challenge.

If I could recommend anything it would be to get a good book on linux,
take your time, get a small lab (one server + 2 clients) running, and
experiment. Use the K12LTSP wiki and list -- folks here are very helpful.
Also, use Google to search the list before you make posts, because 99% of
your issues will likely already be discussed. That said, lots of people
ask "dumb" questions, and nobody ever complains, and 99% of the time the
answer simply gets cheerfully repeated.

When you're ready to roll in a serious way I would advise considering
getting a powerful and reliable server with RAID-1, fast hard drives, dual
64-bit processors, etc. just so that the experience starts off well and
runs reliably. I'm sure lots of folks use old equipment for servers, but
since it's the backbone of your network, splurge a little. That said,
64-bit is not as well supported as 32-bit and will cause you a few
headaches with software compatibility (Flash being the most notorious).

Finally, I would recommend that you don't just post to one person with
questions, as you did with me, but post to the entire list, as you will
likely get more and better information and it will be kept on public

Tom Wolfe

On Wed, 2 May 2007, Chad Binz wrote:

> Hello Tom,
>   This is Chad Binz from the Ozark Public School's, in Ozark - Arkansas - U
> S.  I have been playing with the idea of putting in a K12LTSP lab in the
> district for about 3 weeks now.  I am new to the whole idea actually.  We
> have a Novell network currently, and are in the process of developing  a new
> technology plan for the entire district, including adding ways it is taught
> here.  I am very excited about it, because it is something that is not
> taught currently as a separate subject (to this extent anyway's).  If you
> don't mind me asking what grades your labs are for?  Also, is there anything
> I need to prepare for as far as major headaches?  I do have some thin
> clients that are Windows based (WYSE Model# WT3125SE).  I am trying to look
> into, I think it's xrdp,  to enable them to connect to the K12LTSP server I
> have setup.  ,
> But anyway's any information you might be able to share would be wonderful,
> Thanks,
> Chad Binz
> 479.209.2812 (C)
> 479.667.4092 (F)

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