The road to 12.10 and beyond

David Groos djgroos at
Fri Apr 27 15:46:20 UTC 2012

> 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.
Congratulations and THANKS!!!

> 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.
> == Edubuntu Server ==
> 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
>   functionality)

Yes.  Doing a "thought experiment"...

Here I am, presenting Edubuntu to the District IT people (where Mac and
Windows are the standard solution from classroom and administrative clients
to LAN servers to LDAP/AD authentication to Web servers).  I've just shown
a bunch of recycled desktops rapidly booting as FatClients and people are
wowed.  I demo a couple of K-12 apps and I hear a "Nice!".

A computer lab teacher asks, "how can I see what students are doing at
their computers and manage that from my computer?"  I say, "Check out
Epoptes--the Overseer!"  Another, "Nice!" from the crowd.  Then, "How can
we limit student choices of what they can access so that, if they have
proven themselves unwilling to make pro-academic choices on how they use
the computer, I can make it so they don't play this game here or go to that
game on the internet there?"  "Yes, well, I know that you can edit the
menus, pretty much, and use a proxy server plus edit the Firefox
prefs...though it isn't totally implemented... (the computer-lab teachers
glance at each other with concerned looks...)

Then someone asks, "OK, so how do we make it so that students sitting at a
FatClient can access their Home Directories running on the Building Windows
file server?"  Being prepared, I click on the link to the wiki page that
explains how to do this and say here's how! (then I notice that the
directions are partly for Hardy and partly for Lucid and quickly click off
the page...).

And someone else asks, "So how does the Users and Groups management
interface look?"  I grimace and say, "Um, yeah, darn, I'm not sitting at
the server at the moment so can't show it to you, yeah, it's a little
rough, but it works! (and hope that that one guy in the audience who knows
that I have NX access to the server at this very moment doesn't spill the

Leaving my imagination...

OK, anyway, I agree, the server issue is a huge and essential opportunity.
There is much great work that has been done!  We need to continue to build
on that and think systemically.  There are few people who are experienced
classroom teachers and experienced system administrators and experience
edubuntu developers (ok stop waving your hand Alkis ;) ) but people from
these diverse perspectives need to get together to identify what these
essential components of the educational technology system are-- that meet
the basic needs of all levels of the system--so we can create the most
powerful solution--remember the story of, "For want of a nail the kingdom
was lost <>".
We need to think of all parts of the system and different permutations in
different parts of the world. Or another metaphor where some essential part
of a complex system brings the whole thing to halt--for example a frozen
brake shoe on a car (yes this happened to me...).

== Edubuntu Community ==
>  * Map on website with list of where schools are with some more
>   information
That would be awesome.  And wouldn't it be cool if people could annotate
the map a bit with links and a bit of text?

> Have a good day!
> -Jonathan
Thanks for initiating this conversation

David G
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