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Old 05-11-2010, 11:47 PM
Ryan Oram
Default Fwd: The Excalibur System

I'm going to be looking at forming a team in the next few weeks to
address the compatibility issues. I will also be looking at getting
investor funding to sponsor this. Linux needs to become accessible to
succeed in academics.

Note: I will be sticking with NX instead of LTSP as NX seems much
simpler to set up and use. NX will also allow for students and faculty
to remote desktop in from any computer to access their data and apps.
The response times are near-native as well, even on remote

Ryan Oram

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Ryan Oram <ryanoram@trentu.ca>
Date: Mon, May 10, 2010 at 2:20 PM
Subject: The Excalibur System
To: ubuntu-devel-discuss@lists.ubuntu.com

I've caught a big fish for you guys. My university (Trent University)
has agreed to sponsor me to develop a Ubuntu-based system to replace
the current Windows/Netware system currently employed at Trent.

This system will be centered around thin clients, running NX Client,
remote desktoping into a Lucid-based server with NX Server installed.
It will be called the Excalibur System. Trent IT has also agreed to
put NX Client on the Windows Image at Trent, so every computer will be
able to access the Excalibur System.

A copy of my proposal is availible here:

I have also posted screenshots of my prototype here:

There is a caveat. The accessibility frameworks on Linux are frankly
crap. Because of this, the Excalibur thin client OS will always be
dual-booted with Windows on any computers it is installed on.
Additionally, it will not be made default on any public labs at Trent.
These stipulations will stay in place until the accessibility
frameworks meet the requirements of the Disability Services Office.

The requirements of the Disability Services Office are as follows:

1. A comprehensive reading and writing support framework (such as Read
& Write or Kurzweil).

Ocra and aspell could likely be used for this, but grammar support
would be needed as well.

2. Mindmapping software (such as Inspiration)

The DSO has told me that the current open source solutions are
insufficient but could be extended to fit their needs.

3. A speech recognition application (like Dragon Naturally Speaking)

This can come later.

You may ask why Canonical would even develop this software. There is a
simple reason: It would make Edubuntu feasible. If Canonical writes
the software that the Disability Services Office wants (which were a
voice recongition system, a replacement for Kurzweil, and extending
the open source mind-mapping software), Edubuntu would instantly
become the preferred platform for every school on the planet. Why
spend money on Windows and Mac OS X when you can get the software you
license for thousands upon thousands of dollars for free, with the
exception of tech support costs? Canonical would be able to make a
killing on supporting schools using this software, easily getting back
their investment.

Keep in mind too, this is a university. I'm sure there would be a big
list of alumni willing to fund such a project, if external funding is
needed. I'm already working on getting the current head of the
Concurrent Education program at Trent to support the proposal and get
the teacher's union in Ontario aboard. The possibility of having a
Kurzweil equivalent available to every student regardless of wealth or
background is frankly the dream of every teacher.

Please let me know what you guys think of all of this.

Ryan Oram

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