Potential School Wide Linux Implementation

David Fox dfox94085 at gmail.com
Sun Apr 5 18:33:23 UTC 2009

On Sun, Apr 5, 2009 at 10:55 AM, Tim Holmes <tholmes at mcaschool.net> wrote:
> 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

I attended SCALE a few weeks ago, and there was a rather interesting
track on Linux/Open Source in Education. Now, I'm not an educator, nor
a system administrator (unless you count the machine in front of me)
:) so please take my comments with a grain of salt.

What grade level(s) are taught at your institution?

> 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

I don't think they'd support windows 7 either.

> - 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.

Not that big of an issue.

> - 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.

I haven't played with that device.

> -- 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

If the stations are all running linux, you shouldn't need samba at
all, just point cups to the IP address of the printer(s), using
localhost:631 to set it up. IPP is probably what you should look for.
I don't think you need samba except if you have any windows machines
left over, of course.

> -- 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.

I think this would be trivial if you set $HOME (students files) to a
specific system's HD and dedicate it to be used just for student's
files, and then export that filesystem NFS across all the machines.

> -- 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

You might want to take a look at Moodle. There was an interesting
presentation on it at this year's SCALE in Los Angeles.

It's an interactive learning environment, so you can develop
courseware on it, and use it as a gradebook. An interactive demo is
hosted at http://demo.moodle.org/, and the main site is

Thin client setup may also be an option, given the capabilities of
your hardware, that way most of the oomph is handled by a more capable
server, and the student's computers are less capable, so they just
connect to the server for most of the stuff. Christian Einfeldt is a
school administrator who uses Linux in a middle school in San
Francisco, you might want to get in contact with him.

> 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

You might be able to convert those access databases to Open Office ones.

> 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

VirtualBox also could be leveraged if you need to run Windows inside a
Linux machine.

> 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

Could be done also with edubuntu, or you could start with kubuntu and
then add the edubuntu desktop.

thanks for letting me change the magnetic patterns on your hard disk.

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