Everything easy is hard

Kevin Cole kjcole at gri.gallaudet.edu
Sun Nov 27 22:16:21 UTC 2005

nigel.kennington at btinternet.com wrote:
> Evening All,


> I love the idea behind Edubuntu. I desperately want it
> to succeed, to contribute in whatever small way I can
> even, yet I am paralysed by the non-existent
> documentation, the opaque language and the baffling
> glimpses of invitation that, when investigated, thwart
> you at every turn.

So, it is in part a documentation issue.  I've cc'ed
the ubuntu-doc list...

> Let me explain, I am a computing teacher in Scotland.
> By the standards of teachers (at least here) I have
> godlike understanding of the technology, and yet by
> the standard of geekdom, my knowledge is limited,
> almost superficial. I mention this to give you some
> idea of the level “educators with limited technical
> knowledge” actually work at. Literally last week I was
> explaining to a fully qualified (and senior to me)
> computing teacher how to shut down a windows PC
> without a mouse because she didn’t know.

I just got out of a meeting where we're editing an
Edubuntu HOWTO for folks at your level... I hope.
I've also forwarded your comments on to my co-editor.
In the meantime, check out the tuxLab Cookbook PDF
and other docs at:


We're basing the HOWTO on the tuxLab Cookbook. It's
an EXCELLENT piece of work with regards to at least
some of your questions.

> Edubuntu is way out of my depth and will be to any
> normal teacher in Scottish education. Let me highlight
> some of the issues:

> ** Feedback **
> You welcome feedback: “Please remember to give us
> feedback of what you think of Edubuntu (good and bad)
> to help us to improve it for you...” Yet the link
> takes you to a “Locked Page” with a frankly painfully
> complex login procedure. I still haven’t managed it
> successfully. Why does it need to be so complex? Why
> not just put up an email address that comments could
> be sent to?

Hmmm... I'm not sure which page you refer to, but if it
was a wiki page, then it was "locked" because someone else
was editing it.  As for the login process, if it sent you
to Launchpad, then yeah, I can see your point about it being
a bit tedious.  On the other hand, e-mail isn't always ideal
for feedback either.

> ** Welcoming the new folk **
> At no point (that I can find) do you explain what LTSP
> actually is, not even in the faq. Do you really
> believe most teachers know what that means? Speaking
> of the faq, see the questions below in the Installing
> It section...

(See the tuxLab Cookbook mentioned above, as well as
http://www.ltsp.org/longstory.php and maybe
http://k12ltsp.org/contents.html for more info.)

> ** What it’s got **
> Basic requirements are more important here. “On the
> Desktop” and “On the Server” are dandy if you know
> what those are, but most “educators with limited
> technical knowledge” don’t. Plus you’re telling them
> that the default installation is a server, do you mean
> every machine then, or the server-server?
> Further, the first thing listed “On the desktop” is a
> bunch of applications I had to google them to find out
> what they were. What most educators need (in rough
> order of importance) are:
> * A Word Processor
> * A Presentation package
> * A web-browser
> * A video/DVD/audio player
> * An email tool
> * An image manipulation program (vector and bitmap)
> * A spreadsheet package
> * A database package
> * Acrobat reader
> Then they’d be thinking about all the stuff you’ve
> listed. Yes it’s all there from Ubuntu, but nowhere do
> you explain how the two are related and summarise the
> changes.

How do educators needs differ from anyone else's?  Most
of what you mention applies to just about anyone using
computers.  The LTSP stuff (better explained in the
tuxLab Cookbook) is part of the added value of Edubuntu,
in addition to packages aimed at teaching children at
the primary and secondary school level.  (Not enough
of those programs yet, but more coming all the time.)

> ** Installing it **
> “By default Edubuntu installs a one classroom LTSP
> Thin Client server”
> Does it? Lovely. What does that actually mean? What
> system requirements does that have? If it’s thin
> client, do I need a server too? How do I do that? Are
> the server requirements different from the thin client
> ones?

> There's more I could say, but frankly thats enough
> negativity for one day.
> Again, I love what you're trying to do here (I've been
> watching this project for several months now). but
> it's just not something I can even mention to my SMT
> at the moment.
> Yours,
> Nigel Kennington.

Thanks for the feedback.  I hope the above links
provide you with at least a few answers.

 Kevin Cole                    |  Key ID: 0xE6F332C7
 Gallaudet University          |     WWW: http://gri.gallaudet.edu/~kjcole/
 Hall Memorial Bldg  S-419     |   V/TTY: (202) 651-5135
 Washington, D.C.  20002-3695  |     FAX: (202) 651-5746

 "Using vi is not a sin. It's a penance." -- St. IGNUcious, Church of Emacs

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