Linux from Kindergarten to High School

Moving the school computer lab to Linux was not an easy decision to make—but it was a beneficial one.

As the bell rings to begin class at Greater Houlton Christian Academy, enthusiastic students sit down at their shiny, new computer workstations. In one corner, the red cabinet housing the server hums quietly as two stuffed penguins look on fondly from their perch. Other penguins keep watch from different locations as the students enter their user names and passwords to access their accounts. Ask a student who “Tux” is, and he or she will point to the large penguin painted on the front wall of the computer lab and say, “He's the Linux penguin!” About this time KDE has loaded, and young boys and girls are opening the application they need for class as easily as kicking a ball.

Figure 1. First graders learning some penguin art fundamentals.

Now for a little history. Greater Houlton Christian Academy (GHCA) is a private school and nonprofit organization in Maine. As such, it does not have the same access to funding as the public school system. As the computer science teacher and system administrator, this means I have to be creative about providing our students with computer technology while working with a tight budget. In the past I relied on area businesses and generous individuals to donate their used computers. While these donations were a great blessing to us, they were a temporary solution at best.

Last year it became quite evident that we would need to replace our old, secondhand computers running Windows 95. The decision to move from donated computers to new computers was based on many factors, though our primary goal was to make sure our students had the best technology available for the enhancement of their educational experience. Therefore, this would be a software upgrade as well as a hardware upgrade. In fact, choosing the software was by far the bigger challenge.

Interestingly enough, it was during this time that many schools in the western US were being audited by Microsoft concerning the school's use of Windows and Office software. I began to realize my ignorance concerning exactly how strict and inflexible the Microsoft EULA is. It was also during this time that Microsoft's new licensing initiative, called Software Assurance, was causing quite a stir in the tech headlines. As my research opened my eyes to the various limitations to proprietary software, I began to think that the answer for us might be found in open-source software.

The decision to switch to an open-source platform for our new computer lab was not an easy one. My experience was with DOS and various versions of Windows and not with UNIX-compatible operating systems. I had experimented with Linux a few years earlier but found it somewhat difficult and incomplete. Because some time had passed, I decided to give Linux another try. Going with Mandrake's 8.0 distribution, I installed Linux at home to see if it could replace Windows in a desktop environment. To my amazement, I found Linux to be much more capable this time around. I was one step closer to making my decision to switch our computer lab to the Linux OS.

Other factors went into the final decision to go with open-source software, not the least of which was cost. By purchasing bare-bones computer “kits”, we were able to save considerable money on the hardware. Part of the savings in purchasing a bare-bones system is that the computer does not come with an operating system. We knew by then we would have to spend more money on software than we did on hardware if we went with Microsoft. Not only would I need to consider the initial purchase of the operating system and application software, but I would also need to factor in the costs of upgrading our software every couple of years. Needless to say, going with an open-source platform would save us considerable money now and in the future.

Another key issue was flexibility. As many of you know, it takes time to install an operating system, customize it for the particular hardware it runs on and install the desired applications. Having purchased 20 new, identical computers, it made sense to completely configure one machine and then clone the hard drive to the other 19 computers. However, Microsoft's EULA prevents a user from doing this, even if they have 20 copies of Windows. Not only would Linux save me considerable time by allowing me to clone my configured PC, it also gave me great flexibility in the degree to which I could customize the OS for the hardware. By recompiling the kernel to take advantage of our specific hardware, I could fine-tune the OS to run at peak performance. Linux would even save us money in the cloning process, thanks to the dd command.

A few aspects, however, made the decision to switch to Linux a difficult one. The smaller software base to choose from and the lack of mature drivers for our hardware were among the lesser obstacles. The major obstacle was my own lack of experience with the Linux OS. In fact, most of the money and time spent in the software upgrade of our computer lab was for a shelf full of books I had to purchase and read to really feel confident using and teaching Linux. It isn't always easy to teach an old dog new tricks, but I found the experience one of the most challenging and rewarding experiences of my IT career.

Today our private school of over 170 students has one of the finest computer labs in Maine. We have 20 computers with Athlon 1600+ XP processors, 128MB of RAM, 20GB hard drives and all the accessories—3-D graphics, sound, 17" monitors and 100Mbps Ethernet networking. Our computers run Mandrake Linux 8.2 with KDE 3.0.2. What is most amazing is we upgraded our computer lab for under half the cost of what many neighboring schools paid for inferior equipment. Most of this savings was the result of switching to Linux.

Our servers also run Linux. Using NFS, students can access their accounts from any computer in the lab. Student- and staff-owned files are backed up on a daily basis, so gone are the days of “the computer lost my homework.” Our proxy server runs Squid to help speed our wireless internet connection to 20 workstations, and we use proxy software along with iptables to provide firewall protection. A nice program called Dansguardian provides filtering to protect our children from pornography and other inappropriate content.

Many of you may be asking at this point, “How do you use Linux in teaching your students?” GHCA is a K-12 school, and so we strive to offer some level of computer training for each grade. Kindergarten students, for example, can use such programs as Potato Guy to practice hand-eye coordination and familiarize themselves with how to use a mouse to manipulate objects on the computer screen. Elementary and secondary teachers integrate the computer lab into their curriculum by using the computer for research, multimedia enhancements or even something simple as coloring digital pictures.

Figure 2. Potato Guy develops mouse skills.

Starting with grade seven, education in computer science takes a more formal approach. Seventh graders are taught keyboarding skills using programs such as KTouch and TuxTyping. Grade-eight students are taught the basics of programming with the kate editor and yabasic interpreter. It is during this class that students gain a better understanding of how computers process instructions.

Figure 3. Students learn touch typing with KTouch.

Computer Fundamentals is a one-credit course that introduces the ninth-grade student to “how a computer works” and “how to work a computer”. During the second semester, students learn about the purpose and use of the operating system and various applications, such as word processors, spreadsheets and web browsers. Because our computers run Linux, it is the Linux OS and open-source software that students learn in this class. Being sensitive to the fact that Microsoft currently dominates the PC market in corporate America, I do spend time discussing the similarities and differences between Linux and Windows.

Tenth- through twelfth-grade students can chose from a variety of computer electives, including how to upgrade and repair computers, web site design, advanced programming and even an upcoming course in robotics. In making the switch to Linux, I easily found all the tools needed to teach these courses using open-source software. In many cases, the open-source software we now use is superior to the proprietary software originally donated to us.

This is our first year with our new computer lab, and I am very pleased with how it is progressing. One of the most pleasing experiences I am having as a system administrator of a Linux-based lab is the actual ease of administration. Once I set something up in Linux, I rarely need to worry about it again. This was not the case with Windows. Last year we were constantly suffering from system crashes, frozen servers, strange bugs and the infamous “blue screen of death”. Needless to say, it was a frustrating situation for many students. While Linux is not bug-free, it has been a far more stable operating system for both our workstations and servers. Linux also has shown itself to be a much more versatile operating system to administer in a network environment. My job is more pleasurable thanks to our switch to Linux.

As a teacher of computer science, I am finding this year a fascinating test for Linux. Very few of our students, parents or teachers knew what Linux was before this year. I have actually found this to be a great advantage in teaching computers. In the past, I have found students to be disinterested in learning about the personal computer running Windows, because it is something most of them grew up with at home. This lack of interest made it more difficult to teach the more-advanced aspects of the operating system. However, Linux is something completely new, different and unexplored. Instead of being intimidated by the change, as many adults might be, young people are excited to explore the “uncharted territory”. This opens a door for me as a teacher, allowing me to educate eager minds in the more-advanced aspects of computer operating systems and software. In fact, it only took two weeks until students began to ask me, “Where can I get Linux?”

People sometimes ask me, “Is teaching our students Linux preparing them for the workplace?” This question is based on the fact that Microsoft is the current dominating presence in operating systems and office software. It is a question I have thought over a long time, and the answer I always come up with is, “Yes, most definitely.” The basic principles of any type of operating system, office application or other similarly grouped software are the same. A student who becomes proficient in Linux will not find themselves lost in a Windows environment. I have found Linux to be the more advanced of the two operating systems, yet our students are very quickly and easily learning it. The process of copying a file or formatting a paragraph is not so different between one operating system and the other. The important thing is we are able to offer the latest in hardware and software tools to train our students in these fundamental principles—something we could not do if we went with proprietary software.

Another question that may be even more important to ask is, “What is the future of Linux?” When our students graduate a few years from now, will they enter a Microsoft-dominated workplace or will the tide have changed? Even in our small New England town of Houlton, Maine, businesses are beginning to look to Linux as an alternative to proprietary operating systems. These businesses will need qualified personnel familiar with the Linux operating system and open-source applications. Greater Houlton Christian Academy will be graduating young men and women who will be able to meet that need, a claim not many schools in our nation can currently make. In fact, some of our students may go on to write the future applications for Linux, giving back to the community that helped them during their school years.

For us, switching to open-source software running on the Linux operating system has been the right choice, allowing us to provide our students with modern equipment and software for a fraction of the cost of a computer lab running proprietary software. If Linux continues to grow in popularity and gain a foothold in the workplace, we will look back at our choice as one of the most important decisions we've ever made.

email: computerlab@ghca.com

Michael Surran is the system administrator and computer science teacher at Greater Houlton Christian Academy (www.ghca.com) in Northern Maine. Michael enjoys church, outdoor adventures, target shooting, sci-fi, collecting penguins and his wife, Lisa, who also teaches at GHCA.

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Re: Linux from Kindergarten to High School

Anonymous's picture

This is the best story I have seen. While looking around some picture in this school, everything is in Linux. BUT THE META NAME OF THEIR WEB PAGE IS IN MICROSOFT FRONTPAGE. WHY???

Re: Linux from Kindergarten to High School

Anonymous's picture

Howdy from the webmaster of the site in question!

The site was created back in 1999 on my own personal computer using Frontpage. In fact, I continue to use FP2002 on Windows XP to work on the site (one of the few reasons I reboot my home PC out of Linux). Why? Well, I am very much used to using Frontpage. Also, I paid good money for it, so why throw it out now? Also, there are things on our website tied into frontpage extensions that I don't have time to replace with non-frontpage alternatives at this time.

I know this is taboo for those in the Stallman free-software camp, but I, like Torvalds, do use proprietary software when I need to. I received an email from someone demanding that I switch our website ASAP to a free editor and remove all references to FP. Someday I can see myself switching to a Linux website editor, especially since I really dislike the bugs in FP2002 and MS products in general, but for now, FP does the job I need it to do.

Mike

Re: Linux from Kindergarten to High School

Anonymous's picture

For the future. Check out Quanta or Bluefish. They are both excellent HTML editors for Linux.

Re: Linux from Kindergarten to High School

Anonymous's picture

Quanta and bluefish are not wysiwyg editors. Frontpage and Dreamweaver are. The Quanta developers have discussed adding wysiwyg, but it is not a priority for them.

This single issue is what is killing my otherwise enjoyment of gnu/linux. I've been able to migrate everything else, but this issue is forcing me to keep a w98/linux dual boot working, with a backup on another box.

The wysiwyg on Dreamweaver cannot be matched in anything on gnu/linux. The wysiwyg on frontpage is good, but what is great with frontpage is the quick "theme" setup, where you can have an excellent looking and functioning site with many pages in under an hour, and the incredible management of a web site with many (dozens to hundreds) of web pages.

Yes, dreamweaver and frontpage break html. dreamweaver is better, but there are problems there also. Yes, using vim/handcoding is the "proper" way to write w3c compliant code. But this is not an either/or situation. It is two different styles of authoring/administering web pages.

I wouldn't choose frontpage for writing a php/perl/mysql/apache based web site, but the drag and drop functionality of frontpage's web map view, automatic hyperlink updating, quick additional web page creation, and everything else that comes with it is sorely lacking in the gnu/linux realm.

Personally, I've stopped using frontpage because I've given up on using the frontpage extensions on my apache server due to the daily security problems. And I'm tired of the hand editing required to take out the extra bullsh*t code put in by frontpage. But I still bleed for it. Especially the "theme" setup, where I can walk into a store, sit down with an owner, and produce a web site in under an hour, put it on my apache server over the internet, and get paid for it before leaving. This is not possible for ecommerce sites, but for presence sites for service businesses, this is simple. dns comes later, made possible when you have spare ip addresses.

So now, I use dreamweaver for layout and wysiwyg, then validate through w3c, then fix through gvim. But it shouldn't be this hard.

Yes, when I get to the stage of using mod-Perl and MySQL, I'm sure I'll be handcoding more and more. But recently, I was running circles around someone who swears by vi, and was trying to keep a near-mirror of my site up and running. Vi was so much better he said. Yet it took me seconds to update my page with rapidly changing information, and took him so much longer. And my layout looked great, while his layout looked like one big blob of text.

I'm sure there will be people objecting to the previous paragraph. But if you are realistic, if you use tools that do the best job, if you are honest, and you have (production) experience using frontpage, dreamweaver, vi, vim, and similar tools, you'll admit that dreamweaver can be far more productive than hand coding, especially for static html web pages.

As for dreamweaver, I used to wish they ported to gnu/linux. I no longer do. Companies that haven't made the commitment to develop for gnu/linux will be the big losers of the future. I'm now glad their attitude on gnu/linux will bloody their corporate noses. They deserve it. And don't bother mentioning Wine.

Quanta and Bluefish are great for php/perl/other web page development for expert hand coders. But they are eons away from wysiwyg. And Quanta's "maybe in a year or two" attitude to wysiwyg is better than Bluefish, but in a year or two we may have quantum computing, we may be fighting AI computers, we may be visiting alien planets (see slashdot), etc. At that point, who cares if Quanta gets wysiwyg?

Re: Linux from Kindergarten to High School

Anonymous's picture

ignore the zealots.

you guys are doing sooooo much....for someone to ***** about that is not seeing the forest for the trees.

a step at a time.

Re: Linux from Kindergarten to High School

Anonymous's picture

Your page isn't very accessable, I'm unable to submit anything to your guestboot from Lynx.

The javascript "sanitizer" that you use on that page is very easy to defeat, and may cause poor javascript implimentations to crash. There is no reason why that app can't be moved server-side and a simple HTML submit button (no JS required) be put on the page.

Re: Linux from Kindergarten to High School

Anonymous's picture

Sure there's a reason- time and effort. Aggressive whining turns people off. If you have suggestions, offer pointers to more information.

Re: Linux from Kindergarten to High School

Anonymous's picture

When you teach web page design to your students what do you use?

Web design education needs to begin with raw html (xhtml...), so the students can learn what efficent code should look like. That can easily be done in vi, emacs, jstar, or pico. After that, higher level tools like Amaya, (Mozilla or NS) composer, or the HTML editor of your favorite office package (OOo, KOffice, GnomeOffice, ...).

Open tools like the Gimp, can be used for image editing.

PHP and/or Perl should be taught first for dynamic content, then javascript (again teach raw coding before higher level tools)

MS Frontpage produces horrible HTML (Frontpage before MS stole it was OK), and should be phased out immediately

Re: Linux from Kindergarten to High School

Anonymous's picture

The complete server string is:

Server: Apache/1.3.27 (Unix) FrontPage/5.0.2.2510

They may be faking something, but I doubt it...

Re: Linux from Kindergarten to High School

Anonymous's picture

For some very strange and unfathomable reason, a lot of people like to create web pages using FrontPage. For even more bizarre reasons best left unknown, they also seem to like to use the FrontPage Server Extensions for updating their websites. But, they seem to dislike using IIS for their web server, preferring, as the majority of webmasters do, to use the wonderful Apache server running on some form or another of Unix or Linux (no, they aren't the same thing). To that end, Microsoft ported their FrontPage Server Extensions over to run on Apache.

For these strange souls, they can design, develop, deploy, and update their websites all from within the FrontPage editor, never ever realising that they aren't using Microsoft server products to do so.

:) [Some people's kids, eh?]

Re: Linux from Kindergarten to High School

Anonymous's picture

I would guess that they made the web page before they converted to Linux.

Re: Linux from Kindergarten to High School

Anonymous's picture

Great Article...

may I suggest a game called gcompris. it's a collection of several educational games (time telling, writing, reading, coloring and others). I put that on my daughter's computer (she is 6) and she learned a lot from it..

you can find it Here

good luck

Ayman

Descent 3 Ownz!!! - Slim

Anonymous's picture

Ok kiddies, take the box off the wall and insert the cd into the drive, then click install =)

Re: Descent 3 Ownz!!! - Slim

Anonymous's picture

www.planetdescent.com

www.descentbb.net

www.interplaystor.com - look for descent 3 for 10 bux and BUY IT

Re: Linux from Kindergarten to High School

Anonymous's picture

I'd like to add my congratulations to the others for what Michael is doing and invite him and any others interested in furthering the use of such tools to join the discussion on Schoolforge.net, the international coalition of organizations and schools fostering free and open software and learning materials for education. You can find our mission statement, membership list, software and non-software resources, case-studies ....

I hope Greater Houlton and Gould will seriously consider joining the coalition.

You can join the discussion at schoolforge.net/sfdiscuss.php. You might like to check out and post on the news.schoolforge.net, our news-journal site
With best wishes,
David BucknellOn behalf of Schoolforge.

Re: Linux from Kindergarten to High School

Anonymous's picture

Did anyone notice the Descent 3 Box on the wall, long live Descent.

http://www.descent3.com

Linux from Kindergarten to High School

Anonymous's picture

Where can I download Linux for free?

Re: Linux from Kindergarten to High School

Anonymous's picture

www.linuxiso.org would be a good place to start. And don't believe the "this distribution is the most popular" posts. It is all very subjective to what you are doing with linux. ;)

Re: Linux from Kindergarten to High School

Anonymous's picture

Linux is about freedom. Freedom of choice. Download

Red Hat,

Mandrake,

Suse

try them out then pick what you like best.

Re: Linux from Kindergarten to High School

Anonymous's picture

Re: Linux from Kindergarten to High School

Anonymous's picture

Better yet, visit Linux Weekly News and click on the Distributions link at the top of the page and you can choose from the many distrubitons out there. As part of the value of using Linux is learning about the operating system and computers, this is a great place to start.

Personally, I use, and administer in a charter school, the Debian distribution of Linux.

Debian and Charter school

Anonymous's picture

How did you get the charter school to adopt debian( Any presentations or proposals). Im working on the same module here in the texas region.....send me an email response pls at mitengrstud@yahoo.com.

Re: Linux from Kindergarten to High School

Anonymous's picture

Good Golly, Linux has always been available for free.

http://www.redhat.com/apps/download/

This is the most popular version, do a search on Google.com

Re: Linux from Kindergarten to High School

Anonymous's picture

In case some of you are wondering where the Descent and D3 references are coming from...

http://www.descentbb.net/ubb/Forum20/HTML/003128.html

We are a small but tight-knit group of gamers that primarily play a game called Descent3. Some *do* use Linux for playing and serving D3.

Nice article BTW, it shows that following the leader is not the only way.

Re: Linux from Kindergarten to High School

Anonymous's picture

Yes Long live descent 3!!!!!!!

Re: Linux from Kindergarten to High School

Anonymous's picture

My wife is a first grade teacher. I printed this article and let her read it. We both loved it.

She has two computers in her classroom (Win2K and 98). I'm thinking about trying to customize Knoppix with the applications that you mentioned for her to take to class. They can't install anything without putting in paperwork and getting clearance. Knoppix would be the perfect fit.

Michael, great article!

Re: Linux from Kindergarten to High School

Anonymous's picture

That has already done, check :

freduc from ofset

Re: Linux from Kindergarten to High School

Anonymous's picture

Just a quick further to the above... FreeDuc uses the xFce window manager and is thus even more suitable for use on older hardware. So there would be less pressure to have to go out and purchase faster kit just to run the KDE 3 desktop.

Knoppix can also be set to use lighter desktop managers as well, and the real advantage is that the menus have been properly set up already in thoise clients as well.

Re: Linux from Kindergarten to High School

Anonymous's picture

When I first read the article in my copy of LJ I was most heartened by its implied meaning that the GUI was ready for the masses.

I later mentioned this to an historian/phd candidate, former university TA, non-geek, aquaintence who replied that "Linux will never be ready until it is much simpler, like Windows with no signon screens and simpler software installation".

[Yes, there is a bit missing from the whole story; like "what's a virus/worm?" a while back.]

For the life of me I don't know if this is an outgrowth of the dumb-down in education in the present crop or the hearld of a bright new beginning with the promise demonstrated by those gradeschool kids in Maine.

BTW - There isn't already a 'Linux in Education" project???

Re: Linux from Kindergarten to High School

Anonymous's picture

" I later mentioned this to an historian/phd candidate, former university TA, non-geek, aquaintence who replied that "Linux will never be ready until it is much simpler, like Windows with no signon screens and simpler software installation". "

What exactly makes this guy the Desktop expert? Because his PhD work is in something other than CS/EE like mine, so therefore I am skewed?

The software installation issue really isn't an issue. Sure, there is a lot of source out there that you can compile to install on Linux, but if that isn't your thing, stick to the prepacked, installation ready, distribution focused rpm/deb/whatever files. If you download something from Redhat, for Redhat, it will install as advertised. At least if you are so inclined, you have the ability to grab some source and install it. If not, no big deal. grab the rpm/deb from a reputable source and install it. Even Gentoo's portage system is great. Anytime someone mentions Linux and masses, there will always be someone else to mention the whole ./configure, make, make install issue. Which really isn't an issue at all.

Does your Historian/Linux Desktop Expert actually use Linux, or is he just spouting off some hearsay? No signon screen? Most of the Windows versions I see now have signon screens. They even stuck that funky Family Logon onto Win98, an OS that was never designed to be multiuser.

I say the arguments are weak, uninformed, and blindly taken as fact because someone is a PhD candidate.

Re: Linux from Kindergarten to High School

Anonymous's picture

Obviously the PhD candidate choose history (instead of math, physics, etc) for a good reason, which is why he thinks that Linux is not simple enough and requires a login (which can easily be turned off). But if elementary school kids can use it (and use the login procedure).... how hard could it be? Maybe too hard for the PhD candidate.... history was probably a good choice for him/her.....

DDK, Oklahoma City

Re: Linux from Kindergarten to High School

Anonymous's picture

When I read comments like this, which generally seem to defend Microsoft, it raises the question; how many Microsoft users can install, configure, upgrade, download, and install software and/or devices. In the real world, the exception being the few that can complete the above task, someone (Tech Specialist) are called upon to do the above mentioned tasks for most computer users. It makes no difference which OS my eleven year old is using, none of them intimidates him, however, he still can't configure a modem. When comparing Operating Systems, Mac included, we need to keep it fair and honest. Given the right circumstance, MS, Linux, and Mac can do the job. The deciding factor is cost and stability.

One last thing, the things I learned ten years ago in Unix still apply today!

Re: Linux from Kindergarten to High School

Anonymous's picture

Several projects all over the world are concentrating on offering schools easy-to-setup Linux terminal networks, which will also obviate the need for purchasing expensive new hardware. One of the more ambitious ones is the Skolelinux project in Norway which aims to provide a host of network services out of the box.

Several schools from primary to secondary are already up and running this value-added Debian system.

Re: Linux from Kindergarten to High School

Anonymous's picture

My 4 year old daughter signs in on our home computer every time she uses it. She remembers her password even though she cannot read. And I think it is good for the children to learn this procedure from the start.

// Peter in Sweden

Re: Linux from Kindergarten to High School

Anonymous's picture

"Linux will never be ready until it is much simpler, like Windows with no signon screens and simpler software installation"
I'm not sure exactly what he means by "no signon screens"--if you're talking about not having to log in, you can set most modern distros up to autologin a user, and most Windows systems have you log in now anyway. And software installation doesn't get much simpler than a system like Portage (everything *else* about Gentoo is still hard, though) or apt or even urpmi (take a look at the latest Mandrake software system--two clicks to download and install).

Re: Linux from Kindergarten to High School

Anonymous's picture

How do yo auto-login a user? I've never heard of this and I've been using Linux for 10 years. I am going to have to set up a kiosk to run a web browser soon and I don't want people to have to log in.

treed@ultraviolet.org

Re: Linux from Kindergarten to High School

Anonymous's picture

Mandrake lets You choose to boot without login somewhere in the configuration menu.

Re: Linux from Kindergarten to High School

Anonymous's picture

Auto-login has been a feature offered by the non-xdm display managers for years now. In KDM (the only one I'm familiar with) you edit /etc/kde3/kdm/kdmrc and set AutoLoginEnable to TRUE and AutoLoginUser to whomever.

Linux in Education project

Anonymous's picture

Re: Linux from Kindergarten to High School

Anonymous's picture

An exciting and informative article, well written by a teacher obviously on the cutting edge, creating a sense of excitement in his students as well as cost savings for an excellent program. Mr. Surran is to be congratulated for his work, his dedication to his students, and his writing skills

Re: Linux from Kindergarten to High School

Anonymous's picture

It's funny, we are also a school in Maine and we have migrated all of our systems to Linux. This is the first I have heard about his project. Guess it's time to start a consortium or something. There are probably others out there.

In addition to our full linux workstations, we use diskless workstations and have over 50 accross the campus all running off one server with NO performance problems. That is a great option and I can't say enough about reliability and performance. The diskless terminals are actually faster than the full linux workstations because of the advantages of shared libraries. I wouldn't have believed it either. :-)

-Derek

http://network.gouldacademy.org/

Re: Linux from Kindergarten to High School

Anonymous's picture

Do the diskless terminals allow the same roaming profile that the full workstations do?

Just curious, if the ltsp server allows for authentication and /home mapping against the same authentication server that the other machines are using. If so COOL! and how did you do that?

I would like to try that on a school with a lab of 30 machines(possibly the terminals) and 2 workstations in each of 10 classrooms.

-Luis

Re: Linux from Kindergarten to High School

Anonymous's picture

Welcome to the wonderful worls of NIS (Network Information Service) or OpenLDAP (Lightweight Directory Access Protocol). NIS lets you use distributed / de-centralised password/group files, while OpenLDAP lets you use a single directory for all authentication information (a la Novell's NDS or Microsoft's ActiveDirectory). Using either of these (or a hacked up system of PAM and SQL) you can centralise or distributed your authentication and account info. Works great, although it does take a little while to wrap one's head around a few of the concepts.

Re: Linux from Kindergarten to High School

Anonymous's picture

ooooooooooo, simply fantastic, i hope Portuguese schools do the same using our version of GNU/Linux, Caixa M

Re: Linux from Kindergarten to High School

Anonymous's picture

Please send us the Time-machine schematics, we'd like to live in the future too. The article is dated "Saturday, February 01, 2003". :)

www.linuxlookup.com

Re: Linux from Kindergarten to High School

Anonymous's picture

picky picky... if that's all you can find wrong with the article... :)

Re: Linux from Kindergarten to High School

Anonymous's picture

Probably the same time machine that allow me to buy my 2001 Durango in October 2000, or the same one that allows me to purchase the February 2003 issue of PC Mag at Safeway today.

Re: Linux from Kindergarten to High School

Anonymous's picture

exactly

Re: Linux from Kindergarten to High School

Anonymous's picture

That's exactly what I was thinking. I understand that this may be a good article but how does a guy write an article on a date that hasn't happened yet?

Re: Linux from Kindergarten to High School

Anonymous's picture

It's called "lead time". How would you feel, buying a magazine where all the articles were dated 2-3 months ago? They date them in the "future", which by the time the magazine is published, is now the present. Tada! The February issue now has an article dated in....February.

-g.

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Linux Backup and Recovery Webinar

Most companies incorporate backup procedures for critical data, which can be restored quickly if a loss occurs. However, fewer companies are prepared for catastrophic system failures, in which they lose all data, the entire operating system, applications, settings, patches and more, reducing their system(s) to “bare metal.” After all, before data can be restored to a system, there must be a system to restore it to.

In this one hour webinar, learn how to enhance your existing backup strategies for better disaster recovery preparedness using Storix System Backup Administrator (SBAdmin), a highly flexible bare-metal recovery solution for UNIX and Linux systems.

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Sponsored by Storix