Potential School Wide Linux Implementation

Tim Holmes tholmes at mcaschool.net
Sun Apr 5 17:55:11 UTC 2009

Hello Folks:

I am the One Man IT shop for Medina Christian Academy, and am facing a
potential situation that i am trying to avert in the future. I am currently
a largely Windows XP (fully patched and updated) network built on a Windows
Server 2003 Active Directory domain. I have some samba servers for file
servers and an APACHE web development server. We have ~150 desktops spread
between the classrooms, offices and computer lab. The computers are mostly
roughly 5 year old Pentium 4 gateways mostly have 40 gb hdd, onboard sound
and video cards and between 512 and 1024 mb memory

I am seeing a problem in that XP support ends here in the next few days /
weeks. Our hardware will NOT support Windows Vista , and some of the reviews
that I am reading are beginning to indicate that we will not be able to
support Windows 7 (even if we can afford the licenses).

I spoke with our Executive Director today and he indicated a willingness to
at least consider moving the entire school to linux as a potential solution.

We need to be able to do the following things...

- most of our computer classes use Microsoft Office -- thats covered with
Open Office, so no problem there, the same for our teachers using office and
the folks in the front office.

- each classroom is equipped with a SmartBoard interactive white board, --
SmartTech has linux software and drivers for them, so it may be a little bit
of work but should be workable.

-- Printing -- we have a number of printers across the network -- couple of
which are all in one type units by keyocera - and all stations/users need to
be able to print -- so that means samba print server -- again -- probably
take some development work but i am pretty sure it can be done.

-- domain (or whatever its called in linux) -- users need to be able to sign
in on any computer, and have their files accessable similar to what happens
when a user logs into a windows domain.

-- Our School management software / gradebook -- not available in linux, but
im wondering about using crossover office / wine or possibly VMWARE -- i'll
need input on that -- its a client server app sort of the gradebook writes
out text files that are imported into the main application which is based on
microsoft access databases with a custom written interface -- might have to
run a Virtual windows 2003 server to run the server portion of it -- and
like wine or something for the users to access it -- i dont know

-- backup -- we have a quantum loader, so one way or another we'll need to
be able to back stuff up

-- file servers -- ive got a couple linux file servers now -- but they are
running samba i dont know how to share stuff via linux

im sure there are things that i have forgotten so if anyone has ideas /
suggestions please chime in.

I am tentatively planning to use kubuntu, for the desktop environmen, and
this project (if it goes) at least for now would be deployed summer of 2010
for use beginning in the fall of 2010

ANY and all input is welcome


Tim Holmes
IT Director
Medina Christian Academy
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