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Education

Addison UK Server Roadshow for Schools 175

NeTraverse writes "Addison UK is doing a Linux server roadshow demonstrating Linux at schools throughout the UK. This is a easy way for schools to see how Linux could be implimented in their school. Nice resource for those schools thinking about becoming enlightened. They are demonstating thin client computing using Linux and Windows-to-Linux migration software WinLin Terminal Server from NeTraverse..."
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Addison UK Server Roadshow for Schools

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 18, 2003 @04:18AM (#6231089)
    This is a easy way for schools to see how Linux could be
    implimented in their school.
    Meybe, but I'd rather impliment good spelling corses first. :-)
  • by jkrise ( 535370 ) on Wednesday June 18, 2003 @04:20AM (#6231099) Journal
    With the Windows License (EULA) is there any cost benefit in using Linux as a thin client? We evaluated Citrix and discovered the opposite.
    • by sould ( 301844 ) on Wednesday June 18, 2003 @04:47AM (#6231190) Homepage
      With the Windows License (EULA) is there any cost benefit in using Linux as a thin client?


      The winlin link [netraverse.com] from the article mentions quite a few cost benefits:

      ...reducing costs and increasing productivity by migrating to a more reliable, cost-effective and high-performance computing platform...

      ...ensures the significant cost savings necessary to reduce the Total Cost of Ownership of desktop management...


      shrug. Adspeak.


      More importantly (and they also mention this) - you can use it to ease your users from (expensive) windows to (cheap) linux.


      We evaluated Citrix and discovered the opposite.


      Citrix doesn't give you the wealth of linux tools + an eventual end to windependence.

    • With the Windows License (EULA) is there any cost benefit in using Linux as a thin client?

      Huh? What do you mean by "With the Windows (EULA)"?. The way you phrased the question it sounds like you're implying that the Windows EULA is a good thing, or something. Also Citrix costs money, so I wouldn't think it would be a good comparison to the Linux vs. Windows debate. Except that it also a thin-client setup. As you probably know Linux is free and the GPL lets you pretty much do what you want with it. I'd th

    • by Anonymous Coward
      There are major cost benefits when using _only_ Linux in the terminal system. See LTSP Project [www.ltsp.org].

      We've done a small-scale road show to a few local communities here in Finland. We demonstrated the ltsp system with the organisations own old computers (often 5-15 terminals with a 1,2G/512MB server). This approach is harder and takes more preparation than using a prebuilt system (network-booting the nodes) - but it seems the only way to impress the potential customers that their junk computers can
  • Good (Score:5, Interesting)

    by kamukwam ( 652361 ) on Wednesday June 18, 2003 @04:20AM (#6231100) Journal
    I think this is a good idea. It never hurts to show pupils what possibilities there are in operating systems. Otherwise they will say: 'Linux, what's that?'
    • Re:Good? (Score:4, Interesting)

      by jkrise ( 535370 ) on Wednesday June 18, 2003 @04:29AM (#6231130) Journal
      OTOH, this approach is to bring the Windows environment to Linux using thin-client computing. How does it enlighten students about Linux? Maybe they'd get the impression Linux is always meant to ape Windows?

      .
    • Re:Good (Score:2, Interesting)

      I agree completely. My girlfriend told me the other day that she'd refered to Tux in a discussion with some fellow university students. When they didn't understand she said "You know, the Linux penguin". Apparently they had never even heard of Linux.
      • Re:Good (Score:3, Funny)

        by dash2 ( 155223 )
        I agree completely. My girlfriend told me the other day that she'd refered to Tux in a discussion with some fellow university students. When they didn't understand she said "You know, the Linux penguin". Apparently they had never even heard of Linux.

        Funny you should say that. I refered to a girfriend the other day on Slashdot, and when they didn't understand I said "you know, like a girl with whom you have sex". Apparently, they had never...

  • by ites ( 600337 ) on Wednesday June 18, 2003 @04:22AM (#6231110) Journal
    ... just make a BBC Linux.

    (Warning: context required)

    • If you mean compiling a version of Linux for the BBC micros still lurking in many UK schools, then yes that is a funny thought. If you mean the BBC reviving their computer education drive with their own distro, possibly sparking a new programming boom in the process, just like the old Beeb micros did, then bring it on!
      • NetBSD is alleged to run on certain Acorn-based machines which are found in UK schools. Not that I've tried it, mind you.

        And yes, I know it doesn't run on 6502 machines...

        • There's been ARM Linux running on Acorn's ARM machines for sometime now. I got it running on my RISC PC sometime in 97/8. Also in the late 80's you could get an Archimedes A540 running RiscIX which was based upon BSD.

          Don't forget ARM originally stood for Acorn Risc Machines. They invented the things. I'm surrounded by them. They are in my phone, set top box, one of my desktop machines and my PDA. People always think of BBC Micros when Acorn is mentioned forgetting that they made the worlds first desk
    • by hughk ( 248126 ) on Wednesday June 18, 2003 @07:10AM (#6231599) Journal
      Funny no, actually kind of a +5 Insightful if you think of a distro backed by an educational program which runs on a relatively standard PC.

      The BBC never produced a single computer, they just held a competition which was won by something that was extremely powerful at the time. However, once they had selected their system from the competing designs, they produced a series of programs which were linked to a UK govt initiative to get computers into schools.

      It was far from perfect, but it worked and it was quite successful. Now they don't need to worry about a platform. They don't have to worry about the software (or even the packaging - think of Knoppix [knopper.net] or the more configurable Morphix [sourceforge.net]). All they need to do is to select a basic minimum system to present and to help out with broadcast material.

      • Thank you for understanding my post. The BBC has enormous influence in the UK and generally uses it carefully, and a Beeb Linux would be immediately accepted by thousands of schools without question.
        • I know that some BBC hacks seem to read /. (they don't mention it but there are too many story coincidences), maybe something will get passed back. Whether the current BBC could undertake such a major project now is debatable (also whether Microsoft would let them - they have far to much influence with the current government, and such a project needs govt support as well).
  • by buro9 ( 633210 ) <{moc.9orub} {ta} {divad}> on Wednesday June 18, 2003 @04:25AM (#6231122) Homepage
    initially linux is daunting if you're used to windows. buttons are in the wrong place, and my mother complains that the windows don't quite 'feel' the same and that she can't find all the same games!

    but... beyond the fear of something new linux has a lot of very real applications within schools. not only does it give us the ability to teach all of the basic concepts, but it pushes beyond applications and should allow schools to focus on the core understanding of a concept (e.g. spreadsheet knowledge rather than excel know how).

    i hope that the schools who have this opportunity to take a closer look will do so with an open enough mind to realise this though... but from my experience with my mother, i suspect it will take time before they do really 'get it'.
    • Start Early... (Score:2, Interesting)

      Learning a new environment is easier when someone is younger. If students are introduced to different languages early in life, they are easier to learn. I reckon OSes are quite the same. As far as mom's are concerned, I forced mine to start using Mac OS X after getting her used to Windows. She made the transition nicely (probably because she wasn't very experienced with Windows in the first place) ;)
      • Well, there might no point in "enforcing" several operating systems early in life.
        Every people will have to deal with different languages in his life, but how many people on the whole will have to use linux ? Unless (and sometimes even if...) you're working in the IT or do scientific research, chances are that you'll never have to deal with linux.
        So I believe that learning unix-like OSes should be a personal choice. Most people are happy using MS Word, and thus I don't see myself anytime soon praising th
        • I don't see it as enforcing kids to learn Linux (remember the teachers won't know it either), but allowing schools to do more with the available money.

          Having the whole class huddling around one PC while the teacher demonstrates something is no way to learn. Each student requires individual access to a PC and applications and that costs money.

          Open Office is entirely adequate for the topics my kids are covering

        • I never said FORCE. No one is forcing anything. Simply giving an option by letting people know it exists. There are people that don't know Linux (or any other given OS except maybe Windows or Mac OS) exists. But I'm all about choices. Stick vs Manual tranny, HTML vs WYSIWYG, Linux vs Windows, etc. I like more control. Not everyone has to (like I said, I put my mom on Mac+Apple 'cause it's easy and generally less buggy than Windows+PC).

          But I agree. I'd rather have bi-lingual kids, though bi-OS would
        • Well, there might no point in "enforcing" several operating systems early in life. ..... Unless (and sometimes even if...) you're working in the IT or do scientific research, chances are that you'll never have to deal with linux. ..... I don't see myself anytime soon praising the benefits of early "latex editing in emacs" learning.

          Similarly, there's even less point in 'enforcing' a Windows-only universe on people. Most people will have Windows at home. Letting them see another OS in school allows them

    • It is a total myth that Linux desktops are difficult to use. KDE and GNOME are just as easy to use as Windows, and offer a lot more flexibility too. Kids learn things quickly, they are group that would be least challenged by a switch from Windows to Linux.

      Now, where Linux gets tough, is when you have to install it, configure it, get everything set up and running "just so". Then it's a pain and way beyond the scope of your average end user. (Yes, there are plenty of attempts at easy configuration utilities,
      • It is a total myth that Linux desktops are difficult to use. KDE and GNOME are just as easy to use as Windows,

        Probably more accurate to describe as "no harder". Since the "ease of use" of Windows is often overstated.

        Now, where Linux gets tough, is when you have to install it, configure it, get everything set up and running "just so".

        You need to do this for any operating system.

        Then it's a pain and way beyond the scope of your average end user.

        The idea of end user administration is something of a "
      • Again, IMO, focusing on the OS is the wrong thing. Do you spend more time worrying/fiddling with the OS that is inside your car or simply using your car? Do you have to dork with the OS that is in your cell phone or do you just use the cell phone?

        IMO, if you are spending time worried about your OS, you are wasting time. The applications are what matter. Most folks don't care what OS they are running but are more concerned with it being familiar and not getting in the way of doing their work (at this ti
  • It's About Time (Score:5, Insightful)

    by tomakaan ( 673394 ) on Wednesday June 18, 2003 @04:26AM (#6231124)
    I'm suprised there hasn't been this sort of "push" before. Why should money be wasted on Microsoft licenses when it could be spend on something more useful? Maybe even education.

    I think using *nix is something that needs to be more forcefully sugested to schools, especially with the current financial situation most schools are being placed in (at least in Michigan). You drop Windows, Novell, and expensive website solutions, and convert to open source ones and you're gonna save a heck of a lot of money.
    • Maybe long term, but today? Not really.

      You have to retrain/fire-and-hire the IT staff.
      You have to get new text books.

      And let's not even talk about finding teachers for this.

      I'm am about as dead-set on Free as in Speech software as anyone CAN be, but the last thing schools facing LARGE budget deficits need to hear is "you need to retool your IT staff and use new software. Now."

      Maybe if we got the casinos to subsidise it..... */pipedream*
      • Maybe long term, but today? Not really.
        You have to retrain/fire-and-hire the IT staff. You have to get new text books.

        No big deal there. Consider a classroom with 30 computers. At a conservative $500/box for software and licenses, that's $15K to pay for retraining the network person and new schoolbooks.

        If $5000 in courses isn't enough to train someone how to install and support Linux, then they probably should replaced. That leaves $10K for textbooks and other training materials. Even at $100/book (a

    • I'm suprised there hasn't been this sort of "push" before. Why should money be wasted on Microsoft licenses when it could be spend on something more useful? Maybe even education.

      Because the people making the decisions are not asking the question. They just don't appear to think that way.
    • Why should money be wasted on Microsoft licenses when it could be spend on something more useful? Maybe even education.

      Usually, the IT budget is seperate from the (non-IT) educational budget. Instead of funneling the money out of IT, most smart schools will use it in a more productive way.

      Usually, this means that you end of having more up-to-date machines, perhaps some better peripherals, and (here's the one that surprises many) better support.

      Think about this: If the hardware is more up-to-date, yo
  • Want to see the Addison server in action? Want to try Linux? Will it benefit your school? Get the full facts!

    LINUX SERVER ROADSHOW

    Our roadshow van houses a fully functional "mini" IT suite of 5 workstations, a server, printers and more, with information and literature on our servers, Linux in general, 2simple software, Netraverse and much more.

    Ideal opportunity for teachers and pupils to evaluate Linux and the server system. Remember this isn't just a Linux operating system, this server can provide

  • by jabbadabbadoo ( 599681 ) on Wednesday June 18, 2003 @04:29AM (#6231134)
    Microsoft has grown large because kids started on Microsoft OS's, playing games, doing fun stuff.

    So when they grew up, they knew the ins and outs of their favorite Windows OS.

    The point? If Linux is to grow big, focus on making it a great gaming platform. Todays gamers are tomorrows professional users.

    • I can't wait until my boss trades in my desktop and gives me a PS2 instead.
    • by Realistic_Dragon ( 655151 ) on Wednesday June 18, 2003 @05:28AM (#6231307) Homepage
      No, it's because of the teachers - generally their skills were seriously eroded when Windows came along and it was standardised for staff rooms.

      My mother used to be able to write BBC Basic (no major feat, i'll grant) with no real problems, and the BBC masters in her classroom were well used by the kids. All of them were perfectly happy with the command line and loved messing around with the things.

      Now she is a WinXP user (after several versions) and has panick attacks over having to install stuff - years of experience have taught her that it can easly make stuff break. She thinks the Linux command line is scary and unusable. The kids in the class write the odd dcument in word and play a few shitty little games. No chance of them writing their own.

      Windows degrades computing skill like nothing else - new users and kids should be made to use a fun, tweakable, stable platform which requires you to pick up a few things about programming (that are easy to learn for large returns, like BBC Basic) to get the most out of it.

      I got my early education, like programmers most I suspect, hacking around with simple computers that could do little unless you wrote it yourself. How are this generation going to lean those skills with Microsoft dumbing down the computing experience at every opportunity?
      • Have to agree, I remember when I was a nipper and had my speccy. Your Sinclair (and every other mainstream spectrum magazine) had a regular programming column that contains fun (and often useless) bits of code, the point? so you did something with your machine other than stick in a tape and hit play. You got a sense of achievement and seeing how easy it was gave you knew possibilities.

        The only PC mags that have programming sections are the weightier, more serious tomes and the programs while sometimes coo
      • BBC Basic was in ROM on the machine. Everyone had it, so most got familiar with at least some simple programming.

        MS don't give you a language other than Windows Scripting sHell anymore. However, a Perl/Tk or Python/Tk installation is easy to make on Win or Linux.

    • You're probably right. My 3 1/2 year old son likes playing Tux Paint on his Linux machine. He also likes Tux Racer and Tux Typing. He also likes the barcode and sproingies screen savers, so there's a link to those in his gnome-panel.

      I think he will probably use Linux well when he's big.

  • has MS already done a similar roadshow, if not i'm sure it'll be keen to send some cheerleader squads giving out products which actually cost money to buy.
    • If this thing takes off, MS will most likely fall all over itself to provide "deep discount" liscensing schemes for education. They're not stupid: this is basic strategy 101 for them - catch 'em when they're YOUNG. A mind is never too young for assimilation. When i went to college there were Macs everywhere... /t
  • SCO (Score:1, Funny)

    by kamukwam ( 652361 )
    Damn, couldn't find a way to make a funny SCO joke on this subject ...
    • Claiming that the Addison roadshow is a "derivative work" of the BBC's Open University, which has at its core a SysV Unix server, and is thus licensed from SCO or/and its antecedents. SCO has asked Addison for $3bn in damages, citing "irrefutable damage to its market credibility", and "millions, or at least dozens of lines of stolen coke uh code".

      Just string random stupid words together, add several volumes of pomposity, and you get a SCO joke.

      Let me try again to demostrate the ease of my method (which

    • (quoted from NeTraverse Win4Lin Terminal Server S2.0 web page): [netraverse.com]

      Win4Lin Terminal Server 2.0 is derived from proven technologies developed for Unix® based operating systems over the last 15 years, most notably those of SCO® (Caldera®), under the product name of Merge(tm).

      So their technology is actually derivated from SCO's... prepare to get sued.
  • by ites ( 600337 ) on Wednesday June 18, 2003 @04:42AM (#6231176) Journal
    There is only one sure way. Outlaw it. Ban it. "Linux is bad for you and you can't get it!"

    Soon there will be Linux CD sharks hanging around the school gates, pirate copies of the latest SuSE, rumours that Linux can actually run on "normal" PCs, and so on. I'm half serious, actually: anything kids are forced to pay attention to, they learn to hate.

    • "Outlaw it. Ban it. "Linux is bad for you and you can't get it!""

      I think SCO's doing a good job here.. they even compare Linux to illegal music! What are the students waiting for?
    • pirate copies of the latest SuSE

      Actually, SuSE doesn't ship ISO's for free, so kids can't get legal SuSE even now (as CD images, that is). This is also the reason so many have been unable to try out SuSE (including your truly - had I been able to try it for free, I might have recommended it for my company over Red Hat. It's easier to spend company money than your own).

      I think this arrangement is pretty lame. People should be able to get SuSE ISO's for home use for free, while charging for corporate desk
      • Suse does however provide Bootable CD demo's, called liveeval, which basically gives you everything but doesnt install it, similar to the knoppix CD's but slower to boot. Get it here [www.suse.de].

        They also provide an ftp installer CD that you can use to build a complete Suse system that seems to be identical to the purchased desktop version.

        To find these involved going to www.suse.com, clicking on "downloads". I'm sure the kids can handle this fine.
        • To find these involved going to www.suse.com, clicking on "downloads". I'm sure the kids can handle this fine.

          Not w/o fixed-price network connection. And I doubt they are willing to "evaluate" anything, as long as they can get the "real thing" from other distributors.
  • From the NeTraverse technology section:

    "Win4Lin Terminal Server 2.0 is derived from proven technologies developed for Unix® based operating systems over the last 15 years, most notably those of SCO® (Caldera®), under the product name of Merge(tm)"

    I remember a SCO product named Tarentella which did something like thin clients, but wasn't good enuff in our setup. Must we promote SCOde and SCO technology in schools ?
  • by madmarcel ( 610409 ) on Wednesday June 18, 2003 @04:49AM (#6231196)
    (Without reading the article - as usual ;)

    I'll assume they're going to visit high schools and primary schools...

    This is a good idea...but:

    I see (at least) three problems:

    (I'm going to get flamed to a crisp for this :^o

    1) From (my own humble) experience...the teacher who takes the 'computer class' at high school is not necessarily a very experienced computer-user. He is usually a random teacher who was sent to a course to learn about computers, someone else set up the network for him, that is all he knows.
    More often than not his students know more about the computers they are using than the teacher.
    (Ah, sweet memories...Anyone here who did NOT hack the high-school computer network? ;)

    Now it's stupid of me to generalize like this, but I don't see the average teacher installing linux just like that without help. I'm not saying that teachers are stupid - just lacking experience perhaps - and no, not all schools have an IT department. (OTOH Usually there's a 'whiz'kid around, who's more than glad to help...)

    2) Don't Micro$oft and Apple sponsor schools and
    give them free computers? Do they still do that?
    (The obvious idea is: Get the kids to use your
    software and computers in school --> they'll want to use them at home and later at work as well --> more customers)
    How do you convince the schools to switch to linux (and potentially miss out on future freebies?)

    3) See 2, the kids (and parents - the ones who pay the bills) will want what 'everybody else' uses. Experience with $%#% Word etc is perceived as being essential for getting a job. OpenOffice? Hmmm...don't think so.

    Of course it's not all bad....
    Obvious advantages (for a school)

    - Linux is cheap.
    - Linux is secure.
    (And it will be placed in an environment where
    its security-model will get thoroughly tested ;)
    - By 'exposing' kids to linux earlier we can increase it's acceptance. (see 2)
    - Will run on older hardware (schools have limited budgets)

    </rant>
    • I don't see the average teacher installing linux just like that without help

      That's exactly the service Addison is selling.

    • (Ah, sweet memories...Anyone here who did NOT hack the high-school computer network? ;)


      I graduated in 1975. IBM came out the the PC in 1981.

      There was no network to hack you insensitive clod. ;-)
      • >> (Ah, sweet memories...Anyone here who did NOT hack the high-school computer network? ;)

        > I graduated in 1975. IBM came out the the PC in 1981.
        > There was no network to hack you insensitive clod. ;-)

        heh heh heh

        Geeeeeez you must be old! <<grins, ducks and runs for cover>>

        but eh....

        <nostalgia - eyes glaze over - voice starts to wheeze>
        the first computers I got to use in high-school had tape-drives (yay, mini-cassettes :)
        and monochrome screens. No hdd's.
        Half or more an hour
      • I'm not that old, but when I went to High School there was no network also. PCs were still kinda new, now granted, I built my first Sinclair when I was 9, but when I was in High School the whole thing still hadn't really taken off. I'm sure there must have been one or two in the school somewhere, but I can't remember where. We had no computer courses... actually I did have one now that I think about it, but it was a 'gifted' summer school class, not a regular course.

        Typing class (on actual typewriters, no

    • Good rant, but I have to put in my $.02

      After working as an IT guy at a high school and middle school, I think linux would be great, but only for the student computers. The teachers, and even moreso the administrators who have to maintain the student database, have trouble just using ms-Word. You know the kind. "Go to www.blahblah.com". "ummm... how do I go there?"

      Furthermore, the student database (for the school I worked in, not all schools) is a DOS program with a GUI strapped on, and is only o
  • by pubjames ( 468013 ) on Wednesday June 18, 2003 @04:54AM (#6231208)

    I used to work for a large educational organisation in the UK. Microsoft wanted to work with us on their stand at BETT, which is a big education fair in the UK. I met with the Microsoft people and they explained what they wanted - basically educationalists from the organisation I worked for to do various demonstrations using MS software showing how it could be used in schools. We would get a load of free software in return.

    I raised the point that I thought that the demonstrations they were suggesting were not very educational and poorly designed. I was amazed at the response I got from them. They basically said they didn't care if they weren't educational. They were just there to get schools to buy MS software and to try to get the maximum profit from schools. They actually said that, bare faced. I couldn't believe it - at least they could have pretended to be a bit interested in the educational aspect.

    And before some of you respond "they're a business, what do you expect, it's only about profit" etc... I have worked with various companies before on joint projects between industry and education and most of them have been great - really helpful, genuinely interested, really wanting to do something to help educational organisations. IBM were great on one project for instance, and they didn't try to milk it for publicity either. That day with Microsoft I felt I'd really seen into the heart of the beast, and it's not pleasant.
  • Contact ... uh, how? (Score:3, Informative)

    by AltismoMaster ( 569463 ) <slashdot@@@voleno...com> on Wednesday June 18, 2003 @04:54AM (#6231209)
    This is a good idea - and reading it over it seems to be aimed at the non-savvy user. That being said, do you think they will get confused when they click on contact us [addison4schools.net] and there is no actual contact information?

    none, zip, nada. Not even an email address or a mailto: link...

    Anyway - good idea, just don't be surprised when the requests *don't* flow in...
    • by 1u3hr ( 530656 )
      Not even an email address or a mailto: link..

      If you back up to the home page [addison4schools.net], you find the address info@addison4schools.net [mailto].

      • Yea, fair enough. But two things:

        1. there is no click path from the site to the home, thus you would have to click the back button X times (and that is if you remembered seeing the link there in the first place...)

        2. The contact page really should have some type of contact information - yes? Would most folks go searching through the site more than 3 seconds (or 2 clicks) looking for a way to contact them? probally not.

        Design 101
  • by Ebony Run ( 682288 ) <rich@tallman.org> on Wednesday June 18, 2003 @04:57AM (#6231219) Homepage
    Kids can learn important computer skills on ANY operating system. Schools should be using Linux cause it allows them to put money back into other educational programs, like arts -- not because of some fancy road show, and certainly not because it can run Windows apps.
  • 'I believe that children are the future' or some such sap. Schools have boards of governors who are parents, that have influence over what the school does. Schools' IT budgets come from our taxes. So, isn't there some scope for an advocacy groups of IT-savvy parents to push Linux in schools through becoming governors or lobbying them, providing voluntary assistance, and identifying preferred suppliers?
  • Linux and learning (Score:5, Insightful)

    by pen ( 7191 ) on Wednesday June 18, 2003 @05:30AM (#6231315)
    Linux is a really good operating system to run in a learning environment, since a lot of tasks require the user to learn something about the software and hardware*. I think a nice after-school program (or even a week or two of a computer class in high school) would be just putting together and configuring a Linux box.

    That being said, I think that "word processing" computers should remain Mac OS or Windows.

    *Today, this is only true of some distributions.

    • "That being said, I think that "word processing" computers should remain Mac OS or Windows."

      Why? Other than both platforms supporting word what do they offer over Linux for something as simple as word processing?

      To be perfectly honest GUI based word processing is the worst thing to start learning word processing. Why, because the moment people are introduced to say Word they forget about conentent and spend most of their time messing around with fonts and formating.

      My CS teachers at school (who were gre
      • My CS teachers at school (who were great) taught us not to mess with formatting and concentrate on the content above all else - formating came last. A lesson very well learnt that has stayed with me.


        That's the basic principle behind TeX/LaTeX. In fact, it's also the principle behind HTML -- separating content from fancy layout.
  • by heytal ( 173090 ) <hetal@rach.gmail@com> on Wednesday June 18, 2003 @05:38AM (#6231344) Homepage
    I know of a distro at ofset.org [ofset.org] that is available. It is being used at quite a few places in india to demonstrate linux and its capabilities for school children.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    At my college (that's a high school to you Americans) here in Winchester we had that guy from Smoothwall come to talk to us about Linux. He did a great talk and really got some people interested. Of course, I was already running Linux, and didn't like it being made popular ;)
  • by ledow ( 319597 ) * on Wednesday June 18, 2003 @05:58AM (#6231411) Homepage
    I work in several Primary schools in the UK and, although this is a step in the right direction, it doesn't stand a chance.

    Most schools have already got full networks with windows. They won't be interested in replacing them.

    Even one of the local "showcase" schools which doesn't use the Research Machine software which is all-but monopolistic in British schools (thanks to government approval), has a massive RM network with Windows. The windows licenses are already paid, the hardware is already there, the thing is configured and working and cost a lot of money to put there.

    Schools are kept in a constant upgrade cycle to meet new pupil/computer ratios all the time (yes, even Infant / Junior schools). That means they are spending £10,000 a year or so by just keeping their networks up-to-date enough to run the latest kids software, putting enough machines it. There is certainly a need for a thin-client structure here, especially with all the old donated machines etc.

    But, they won't be interested in re-training / hiring staff that can work the server or in "yet another" network upgrade. They won't be interested in replacing their systems with an "unknown".

    Most schools are currently being offered and considering, as well as actually buying, XP upgrades for their RM networks (we're talking in the region of £40-50,000 for a small, suburban infant school, here). Thin-clients alone would save costs, certainly. Thin-clients on a Linux-based server is even better.

    Even if you could convince the board of governors and the school itself to make such a quantum leap into the unknown, they won't know what it is, they can't/won't see the benefits and they can't afford the downtime.

    I am hired purely because the networks they have are in and working. Most of the problems I run across are basically things which teachers can do but just don't have time. Most secondary schools have IT-specific staff and I'm proof that the Infant/Junior schools are heading that way.

    Once they have trained, knowledgeable IT staff with ***purchasing power***, we can start.

    They also should have started publicising earlier... it's coming up to end-of-term and most schools already have their full upgrade for next year planned out and paid for. One school I work in has their entire IT budget for the next three years planned out on 100BaseT CABLING.

    This project could also be helped along by things like Tesco's Computers For Schools voucher schemes etc. Free computers if the kids parents spend enough in a supermarket.

    Basically, I'd love to see this. My day is filled with silly nightmarish systems that make simple changes virtually impossible (e.g. taking 8 hours to set up a wireless network between an outdoor classroom and the internal network... gave up in the end due to software problems, old hardware, poor network configuration and the red-tape associated with getting new IP addresses).

    Thin-clients, on a stable Linux base is a dream for me. Unfortunately, I have to deal with "manager-style" staff in schools who ask "can I get onto the internet if I log in to the hard drive?" and "I've always wondered what the little wheel in the mouse did" (TRULY). These are the people with buying-power.

    These people aren't gonna have a clue what we're on about and certainly won't part with the time or the money required to have someone come in, format ~100 computers back to basics, install a network server and have someone on hand to maintain it all.

    It's a nice idea. I want them to try to convince people. Unfortunately, it's gonna be a very rough ride for them while RM still has a monopoly and while the government and local education authorities does little to try to educate them.

    • What RM monopoly? I never heard of them having much success after the old Nimbus sorta-PCs.
      • Sitting in a school in Greater London, like several other schools I work for... nothing but RM PC's, RM Network, RM Software (even rebranded Microsoft Word 97 under license with a few macros and it's called RM Talking First Word). RM provide all the support, RM provide the software, RM provide the training... in fact the local borough sells nothing but RM. In fact, I'm the only non-RM person to do with IT that I've seen in the local borough. And that's because I can work all of their software without the
      • What RM monopoly? I never heard of them having much success after the old Nimbus sorta-PCs.

        Because if they get themselves approved by the LEA as a supplier it's not necessary for schools to go through the usual procedure for spending large amounts of money.
    • Most schools have already got full networks with windows. They won't be interested in replacing them.
      .....
      Schools are kept in a constant upgrade cycle to meet new pupil/computer ratios all the time (yes, even Infant / Junior schools). That means they are spending £10,000 a year or so by just keeping their networks up-to-date enough to run the latest kids software, putting enough machines it. There is certainly a need for a thin-client structure here, especially with all the old donated mach
    • But, they won't be interested in re-training / hiring staff that can work the server or in "yet another" network upgrade. They won't be interested in replacing their systems with an "unknown".
      Most schools are currently being offered and considering, as well as actually buying, XP upgrades for their RM networks (we're talking in the region of £40-50,000 for a small, suburban infant school, here) Thin-clients alone would save costs, certainly. Thin-clients on a Linux-based server is even better.
  • by danielrendall ( 521737 ) on Wednesday June 18, 2003 @05:58AM (#6231418) Homepage Journal
    Speaking as someone who's about to abandon the IT industry in favour of a job teaching physics in UK schools, I'm entirely in favour of this.

    I don't know how the funding of computers in schools works, but I assume MS must get their cut somewhere, and as a taxpayer, I don't think that would represent a good use of my money.

    As regards the 'well, the real world uses MS stuff', firstly I didn't realise that the purpose of schools was to churn out a bunch of MS-using automata and secondly, if the children are taught the principles of the various packages (i.e. what a word processor is for, the things that it ought to be able to do, how to look for help) they ought to be able to adapt their skills to proprietory alternatives over the course of a wet Wednesday afternoon.

    If the UK government wants a competitive and innovative IT industry, it ought to recognise that getting kids into computers via stuff you can actually tinker with would probably be a good start :-)

  • by aking137 ( 266199 ) on Wednesday June 18, 2003 @06:21AM (#6231473)
    I've just spent the last 21 months as network person at Moor Park High School [lancsngfl.ac.uk] in Preston, Lancs. I implemented two Linux servers which did internal www which staff could access parts of via their W:\ drive, mail, proxy (with authentication and ability to block kids by a gui), ability to reclone damaged NT/2000 workstations, quota limits for kids, staff and pupil shared areas (accessible via S:\ and T:\ drives), shell access for kids, remote KDE/GNOME desktops in a window for staff (not that they used them!)...

    The whole thing cost them £400 in software. Unfortunately two weeks ago they still insisted on me spending 7 hours a week standing in a library doing duties telling kids to take their coats off... and all for less than six pounds fifty an hour (probably 9-10 USD per hour). They're now looking for three people to replace me. I've now gone self employed and am the cheapest IT person I know even at more than twice the rate they paid me.

    The biggest difficulty I found with implementing Linux was getting it to understand our existing username/password database. You have several options, some of them being:

    - Make everyone set a new password (bad idea - they'll want to know why)
    - Use pwdump.c (available from Samba mirrors) to create an smbpasswd file from your existing NT or 2000 server.
    - Use John the Ripper [openwall.com] or L0phtcrack [atstake.com] to crack your existing account database. This isn't such a great solution, as some passwords could take weeks to crack, and some passwords will get changed after you cracked them.
    - Use Winbind, which is part of the Samba suite which will talk to your existing NT/2000 setup and make those user accounts appear as ordinary users. This is an absolutely great solution once it works; you can give them access to any service you want (it works through PAM, so it's as good as having them all in /etc/passwd in many ways) - such as ftp, ssh, local or XDMCP access, you can chown and chmod files and directories to them, and it just works. It can be, however, an absolute nightmare to set up, and so I've written a document on the subject and how to get past a number of random error messages here [demon.co.uk].
    - Read the comments in smb.conf

    Management are always a problem, and it's the usual scenario: if it's Free, it has to be crap. If this is a problem, then instead of telling them how good it is, just show them. It's not difficult to find a spare unused machine in a school, or to boot Knoppix [knoppix.net] onto something, and you only need something with 16 or 32MB to install Debian or an old version of RH onto it and make it a useful server - machines of that calibre of write offs in UK schools right now with all the money the UK government are pumping into them. (This quarter alone, we had £27,000 to spend on IT - something like $40,000.)

    Set something up, and implement a feature that your network lacks - quotas, web, email, cloning (use Partition Image [partimage.org] - a much nicer replacement to Norton Ghost), proxy server (use Squid and Webmin so that your boss can easily add users to a list of banned people). Consider writing a cronjob to automatically copy everyone's home directory once a day, and then suddenly you'll be able to restore someones work from backup from any particular day or week (depending on how much hard disk space you have - a couple of cheap maxtor 80GB disks or something similar will do the job) in the space of ninety seconds *every time*. No more messing with backup tapes. (But still do tape backups, because you don't know when a lightning strike/minor earth tremor is going to destroy every hard disk...)

    Write a manual. "This is how our Linux boxes were set up. The IP is this, here are the open ports, these packages were compiled from sourc
    • Correction (Score:2, Informative)

      by aking137 ( 266199 )

      This line:

      The whole thing cost them £400 in software.

      should have read:

      The whole thing cost them £400 in

      hardware.

      Obviuosly. Just to clarify, that got us a cheap box with an AMB Duron 800, 512MB ram, 2x80GB hard disk, 3xRTL-8139 network cards, PCI 128 sound card (sound cards are useful in servers, particularly when you don't normally have a monitor attached - for £15 for the card and some speakers you can program the thing to literally speak to you whenever th

    • Management are always a problem, and it's the usual scenario: if it's Free, it has to be crap.

      It isn't that simple, otherwise no-one would touch ProDesktop (which is an awful piece of software) with a bargepole.
  • most public schools are living on fundings from government or other sponsors. so if they're switching over to free products, is it possible that they'll get a cut in funding?

    eg instead of giving this school $20 million on IT, the government can now assign the money to, say, public transport.

    and what would spring to mind when you tell the school board that the software costs nothing but you need extra staff and training etc to set everything up?

    sometimes a better product doesn't equal to a better solution
  • It is a shame this is not further reaching, something that has always amused me about Windows, and this is all versions including XP is that it is not properly localised.

    I have XP, on my work machine, set up to have my locale set to English [United Kingdom] and yet it still manages to put "Color" into dialogs. It must be rather fustrating to try and teach kids to spell colour in the English way and yet have to use a computer that does not spell it correctly from the UK point of view. If my Gnome2 desktop k
  • From their page: NeTraverse technology supports a single user desktop environment, a multi-user server-computing environment, and a remote virtual network-computing environment. Win4Lin Terminal Server 2.0 is derived from proven technologies developed for Unix® based operating systems over the last 15 years, most notably those of SCO® (Caldera®), under the product name of Merge(tm). This is nothing but an invitation to SCO to sue them, looking the current trend of SCO lawsuits.
  • Is to build, configure, test, and give them 1-2 machines running linux and offer to support it (the 1 machine) for them, as well as providing texts for their IT department.

    Most schools need computers bad, and if you donate an internet computer or 2 to them on the basis they keep linux on it to setup on their network, they'll most likely be happy as hamsters to accept. Just make sure to give them boxes and lisencing, they like boxes and lisencing as most schools are paranoid about these things.
  • I work for local government school IT support in the UK and I know just how this will be viewed by the rest of the department when I show it to them tomorrow morning - "not a chance of us supporting this" will be the mantra. I probably have the most Linux experience of anyone in the department and that is just because I've played around with the Knoppix bootable cd.

    I can only speak for my county (in the top three for IT support in the country according to government figures released recently - we all have


  • This is an interesting idea. I have a few contacts in the local school system and I just don't have the time to demo some of the things that I suggest they look into... a roadshow seems like a great way to put this out there !

    anyone know of anything like this in the USA (East Coast, Mid-Atlantic )? - TIA
  • I really don't get this product. It lets you run Windows 95, 98 or ME, none of which are great for a networking envirinment, over a network, and this is progress? The end result can't be any more stable than Windows 98, at least on a terminal to terminal basis.

    Alternatively, they could run LTSP and rdesktop on one server, buy licences for W2K or 2003 server at a 90% educational discount to run on another server, and pay for the licences by selling their hard discs from the terminals to the school kids...

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