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Re: [K12OSN] How to prepare for K12 project
- From: Kirk Rheinlander <kirk kpj2 com>
- To: k12osn redhat com
- Subject: Re: [K12OSN] How to prepare for K12 project
- Date: Mon May 6 12:06:03 2002
Royce - I think this is worth responding to the entire list, as it could
be helpful to all. IMHO, it is a no-brainer, but change is hard, and
convincing people to "leave the familiar" is tough stuff. I
have found the quickest way to changing that decision path, is through
1. How can we remotely manage these 5 labs using LTSP?
2. Are you using Win4Lin or any other Win emulation software?
- rlogin, ssh connection, etc. - things that allow the remote
administration of UNIX systems, even on a slow, dial-up connection.
Windows has no such facility.
- IF you WebMin the stuff, security is harder, just because
"webification" of anything increased the potential security
3. How do you handle technical support? Do you have a standard
- Yes, Win4Lin NSSE, 25 users - but ONLY for district mandated Windows
specific software. We have strived to find LINUX equivalent programs for
everything and avoid Windows software at all costs. It is taking a
transition period. There are some minor limitations, but the one thing
that really made the case for Win4Lin over, say, Win2k Terminal Server,
is the floating license issue.
- Win4Lin allows 25 concurrent users - period. You have 25 licensed
sets of software, and up to 25 users can get on at once and use
- Win T.S. requires a CALS for every user. If you read the specifics of
the EULA (and there are multiple versions, so read yours specifically -
the school licenses vary radically from the commercial versions, and your
may be different), you need one license for every user, at every location
that that user uses the software. SO, Johnny uses Windows and MS Office
in Lab, another in the library, and another at home over a remote
connection. He has 3 windows and 3 Office licenses tied up, and the
licenses do NOT expire for 60 days. Even at school rates, this amounts to
$180 or so for licenses for Johnny, times 735 students, or some $132,000.
- AND, with current MS audit practices (and I thought the police had to
have probable cause to do search and seizure? Whoops! Forgot, this is not
the law, this is GOD of software....) if you cannot prove you have valid
licenses for everything, then M$ will gladly sell you licenses for MS
products on every CPU that you own, whether it is capable of running MS
products or not.
- BTW: Has anyone tried the Codeweavers plug-ins on LTSP yet?? That is
as close to WINE as I would want to get at this point of its development.
procedure for handling higher priority lab situations?
4. Do you have technical support at the school or central office
- As of last I checked, the charter school system has no money
allocated (or even available) for I/T support. Parents do this on a
volunteer basis. Hence, my involvement, and lots of others. The local
Northern Colorado Users Group, HP (HP-Compaq?), and LSI Logic, among
other local firms, assist, and they have been AWESOME. Find a LUG in your
area - they would be thrilled to assist!
How is the communication handled if you have both?
5. How do you handle software requests from teachers, vocational,
- The school district is 100% Windows - we are a charter school, and
not constrained by their situation, nor supported by it. In many cases,
this is a Godsend. We still suffer software constraints based on
admins, etc.? For example, curriculum is often based on books with
software that is usually windows or Mac-based, how to get past
6. What database programs are you using with LTSP?
- Not familiar with this issue. Most everything we have found is
MSOffice compatible formats, therefore, OpenOffice/StarOffice compatible
- We also provided each teacher with a multimedia PC, to support things
like Reader Rabbit, DVD classroom training, etc. that were not, at the
time, well supported on K12LTSP/LINUX. The DVD + CD-ROM machines were
even able to playback VCD format CDs, so converting training video to
this format was planned.
- We still have not solved the Accelerated Reader issue - some teachers
think this is essential at all costs, so a way to run it, or an
alternative product is part of current investigations.
7. Do you have a cost list? Is there actual cost savings if I use a
- MySQL + PHP + Apache. MySQL is free, extremely fast, strong SQL
support, and a good set of tools. I use a Windows tool from Datanamic
called DEZIGN for ER diagrams, and it builds the data structure directly
from the ER diagram. It was a great investment ($135).
- PHP is easy to learn, quite powerful, and lets everything run on the
web. Because to runs as part of Apache, it makes it easy to deploy. AND,
it is really fast!
linux/wine/win4lin versus a windows/works/office solution?
Content Filtering - URL blocking
- I have a complete cost list I will forward you directly. It is a year
old now, but still close to real.
- (I'll save it as Excel so you can read it :-)
- If I had to lay out the presentation on a cost/benefit basis, it goes
- A) Very low acquisition and licensing costs on the software,
operating system, office suite, desktop (?) software, enterprise
management tools (backup, security, recovery, disk management, print
management, server management, etc.), communications (firewall, DHCP,
DNS, NAT, etc.) This is nearly all free.
- B) A terminal server model, regardless of the OS, is far easier
(read: less costly) to use than a "fat" desktop model.
Terminals can all be old line, first generation PCI based PCs, that are
readily available for free from companies, individuals, even the US
Government! All software is installed on the server (1 time), so the
configuration management, and software distribution issues are minimal.
- Horsepower can be scaled at the server farm side of the equation, and
desktops should have a useful life of around 10 years.
- C) The audit police will not have "probably cause" to tie
up your scarce resources, sue you for $10MM (the bankrupt Philadelphia
school system, for 6 illegal copies of Office), and force you to buy
software for platforms not designed to run MS stuff (I guess that is
incentive to use more Windows boxes).
- D) A far more stable environment - LINUX - that does not break, even
if applications crash - you just restart the application. Hence, greatly
reduced support costs.
- E) on the other side, you have a learning curve, particularly for the
systems administration (If the admin is a Win/Mac admin). Users have very
low transitional effort, as the interface is similar, and, at least
OpenOffice, has a very short transitional learning curve for an MS Office
- F) Remote support capability. You can even run a character terminal
session from a wireless Palm Pilot, logged in to your K12LTSP
environment, and manage from the taxi cab across the country. (OK, so a
keyboard helps, but it is doable!)
- H) Give OpenOffice (the Windows version, if they are Winusers) to all
your students! They get a free Office Suite from the school, and can do
their homework in the same software that they use at school.
- G) One of the biggest school software expenses is the school
management software. There are free to very low cost alternatives
- Here is some information that I pulled together for a second charter
school I am helping out.
VNC - Remote Control
For reviewing multiple desktops concurrently
School admin from the Shuttleworth foundation - open source....includes
attendance, personnel mgmt, curriculum, AP,AR,GL, etc.
The Shadow Network for Schools - Frequently Asked Questions
"SchoolMation is a free, simple to use, robust, Web-based education
management solution. Remotely accessed through a standard Web browser,
SchoolMation can run on a school's intranet or the Internet. With the
click of a mouse, authorized users have immediate access to informative
data including: student details, attendance, academic records, course
information, lesson content, homework assignments, and more. Users can
produce customized lists, helpful graphs and perform a variety of
valuable education related tasks that traditionally only happen
"off-line". Since it is 100% Web-based, SchoolMation works on
any computer (Windows, Macintosh, Unix) which supports a modern Web
browser." (License: GPL)
Article on L12LTSP including the rdesktop stuff that lets Windows T.S. run...
The Windows Remote Desktop Protocol
An article on the Linux Terminal Server Project for Schools
A group of articles and links on benefits of open software
And everything to do with the K12LTSP project....
www.k12LTSP.org, www.k12os.org, www.K12LINUX.org
...and for your Internet Gateway....
OpenCourseware - Delivering MIT education with open methods
And EVERYTHING about e-learning....
Chem Lab Chemical Tracking - High School Chem Lab State Requirement
Everything you ever wanted to know about thin clients
Hope this helps! Kirk
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