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
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 beans).*
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
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!
Thanks for initiating this conversation
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