The road to 12.10 and beyond
Jonathan Carter (highvoltage)
jonathan at ubuntu.com
Thu Apr 26 18:44:31 UTC 2012
Hi Edubuntu Developers
Disclaimer: This is a braindump of my vision for 12.10, it's not
official and anything is subject to change
== In preparation for UDS Q ==
With 12.04 LTS freshly out of the door and with UDS just a bit more than
a week away, I thought I'd bring up some ideas that I've been thinking
about the last few weeks so that it could be discussed publicly.
Edubuntu 12.04 is a fine release and our release process was smooth and
fine-tuned. We have the process down like a smooth running engine. It's
something that we can be proud of and it's great that we've got this far.
A few releases back I had a conversation with Jordan Mantha where he
basically said that if we don't do big and exciting things, we won't
ever attract new developers and community members. I think he has a good
point. Since then we've continued to do small, incremental feature
changes and in terms of making Edubuntu stable and more reliable, it
worked. However, I think it's time that we grow the Edubuntu community
more aggressively and take on some interesting, higher risk tasks.
I believe it's possible to do that without compromising stability or
affecting Edubuntu adversely. I have two ideas that I think we could
pursue for 12.10 as concepts that won't be part of the main Edubuntu
== Edubuntu Server ==
Around 2005/2006, in the stone age of Edubuntu, we used to have an
Edubuntu Server product. It shipped with tools such as Schooltool and
Moodle pre-installed. The idea was that an Edubuntu server could be a
useful single-server solution in some educational environments.
Unfortunately, due to a combination of web apps being a lot of work to
maintain and very few people being able to work on it, we decided to
drop the Edubuntu Server product to focus on the Desktop. Looking back
it seems like this was a good choice, it allowed the project to focus on
the Desktop aspect first.
However, we get many requests for functionality that doesn't belong in
the desktop. We've also received some enthusiastic feedback from people
willing to work on an Edubuntu Server product.
Common requests that could be useful for a server product include:
* A disk cloning/storage utility (ala Clonezilla, Fog, Ghost, etc)
* Wordpress multisite (or anything that works well for classroom blogs)
* A Backup server (BackupPC)
* Authentication server (basically, something that provides LDAP/AD
There are probably 100s of things that could be useful for an Edubuntu
server. For 12.10 I believe that we should round up as many good ideas
that we can get, vet them, find as many people as we can who's willing
to work on them and integrate it for 12.10 as a technology preview.
I'd suggest doing it under a banner like "Edubuntu Labs" (almost like
Google Labs used to do with prototype products it wanted wider testing
for) and having a section on the website dedicated to these experimental
== Edubuntu Tablet ==
It's undeniable how big an impact tablets have in educational
environments. Many schools are investing in buying iPads. While I admit
that the iPad is a great device with many available applications, I do
think that in time, we can do better. When we work in the 6 month cycle,
there's no way we could ever release anything that can compete with the
iPad, however, if we break it down to smaller, 6 month milestones, then
it becomes more plausible.
I would propose that for 12.10, we choose a device (like the ASUS Eee
pad Transformer Prime) and make Edubuntu easily installable on it and
find a suitable UI for it (like Unity touch or KDE Plasma Active). Both
the iPad and Android have a huge base of developers that create
touch-based applications should be relatively easy to port over to
Ubuntu and could be promoted using the Ubuntu App Developer
For 12.10 some integration with the existing Edubuntu features could
also be done, which includes integration with Epoptes
(http://epoptes.org) which itself could be extended with more tablet
features, a remote desktop client to connect to LTSP servers (possibly
something like x2go) and so forth.
For 13.04 (after 12.10) we should have enough information of what's
missing to make it a very reasonable tablet platform and take it from
there, possibly making a finished release. By the next LTS (14.04) it
could potentially be a great tablet platform.
== Edubuntu Desktop ==
Last but not least is our current, Edubuntu Desktop product. This is
what's going to take priority and continue to exist for now as our
For UDS here's a few desktop topics we could discuss:
* Application selection
* Tomboy or Gnote
(we don't inherit either from Ubuntu anymore and didn't ship with
one of those in 12.04)
* Review KDE-Edu apps and check that we all have them
(I believe we're missing at least 2)
* The inclusion of electronics tools (most notably, fritzing)
* Vym or promoting Freemind in Edubuntu via software center
(software center isn't currently flavour aware but it's something
we could bring up)
* Recipy managers: krecipies, gnutrition, etc
* Dynamic Ubiquity Slideshow
* Show tips and tricks in slides for /only/ components that are
chosen in the installer. For example, if LTSP or Gnome Fallback
is chosen, display tips and tricks for those. Perhaps alternate
slides promoting features that weren't chosen, if appropriate.
* Educational Unity lenses
* We should do a call for ideas for Unity lenses that may be useful
in education, and encourage developers to develop them.
* Authentication client
* An installer step that allows authentication against, Samba4/AD
== Edubuntu Community ==
* Grow contributors and membership base.
* Improve Edubuntu meetings (make them weekly again)
* Get people to make more Edubuntu videos (there are already some great
edubuntu videos on YouTube) (perhaps do a competition?)
* Map on website with list of where schools are with some more
* Migrate Edubuntu website to Drupal 7
* Put together a long-term Edubuntu strategy document (like Xubuntu
did a while back)
== Proposed Blueprints ==
Many of the ideas above are old ideas, but I think the time is right to
pursue some of them again. Please don't hesitate in joining in the
discussion and adding your own.
For UDS Q, I propose that we create the following blueprints:
* Edubuntu Desktop
* Edubuntu Community
* Edubuntu Server
* Edubuntu Tablet
... and schedule the following 2 sessions for it:
* Edubuntu Desktop/Community
* Edubuntu Server/Tablet
So basically one session for the typical Edubuntu work and one for the
higher risk prototype ideas. If there's lots of interest we could split
it up a bit.
I'm going to end off here since I've already passed the TL;DR barrier.
I'd really appreciate if everyone could share their thoughts and ideas.
Edubuntu 12.10 should be fresh and exciting and I think if we bring
enough people together, we can make it happen.
Have a good day!
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