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[K12OSN] choosing a distribution



Hi all

have been following the list for quite a while, and thought I would offer my 2 bobs worth on the issue of choosing a linux distro to use for ltsp.  Have seen many comments encouraging [or otherwise] the use of centos, fedora suse etc. Just wished to share my/our experience with ltsp , th distro we use, and the reasons why. We are an average size secondary school in Darwin, I am the senior in charge of the schools itc infrastructure, and some decisions had to made for economic reasons as to how to keep access available to as many students as possible to computers.
We decided to employ ltsp [on fedora 6] and were able to show the ability to utilise all the old computers [up to 12 years old], including the i-macs, g3's and 486's to again have complete sets of computers working for classes. As a result instead of only 50 machines in 2 rooms, we now have over 300 machines spread around the school. And yes, we have a mixed infrastructure..windows..aplple osX...and now linux. So we teach the students skills not product, and some of their first classes are spent solely on network navigation and access to server directories. It is satisfying to see students able to work on the same task regardless of the platform and operating system.  Where possible we provide the same software on all platforms, but don't force the use..students learn to make cjhoices.

As for using fedora,  we decided to use three year cycles on each server..install a distro, do the configs, keep the updates going till they stop. In the interim we investigate the state of the old boxes used for thin clients, and have developed a plan to keep up with the advancing hardware in discarded computers, and advances in industry standard software.[msoft] utilised in our school environment. For the advances in ltsp on fedora I would really like to extend a great deal of thanks to Warren and the team for making our plan workable.  To date we have just retired our last fc6 server, and now running 2 fc8 servers ltsp4.2 (2 yrs old), and implemented one fc9 server ltsp5 for investigation. We are not going to utilise fc9 for long due to department implementing office 2007 so are building a trial server, as I write, utising fc10. This is mainly to obtain openoffice 3.x whicjh can handle .docx extensions. Once the trial build is configured, we will do away with the fc9, and put in fc10 ltsp5. The choice is arbitary, however we have had to give consideration to internal hardware of the the thin clients. Some are too old to run from ltsp5, so 4.2 on fc8 will do untile we retire the old clients [another year or 2], and we'll stay with fc10 until it has itas three year span.  I don't have a crystal ball, so in three years we'll see where we are.

We have been doing this in a fairly hostile computing environment, however students appreciate being able to log in anywhere on anything, and keep working on their tasks, staff are slowly coming to accept what we have, the difficulty is the department of ed. 

just my 2 bobs worth

Steve 


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