[Author Prev][Author Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next][Author Index][Thread Index]

[school-discuss] Installation experience

Good news, I successfully installed freeduc 1.3 on all the computers of
the schools Jean Moulin in blagnac (it's my kid's school) This school if
a primary school for 6-10 years old.

Before going on the technical side, first, let me describe the
organisation. I have convinced the head of the school using gcompris as
an introduction. They wanted to go further and provide more educational
content for the kids.
I did demo freeduc CD and they were very impressed, it's much more
software than they have and no more CDROMs to manage.

Last, I offered to demo the new Software environment to the 'end of
year' show where all the parents are invited to the scool and the kids
make a show. They agreed and I even make a public announcement for that.

I had burned 10 freeduc CD and offered to sell them on behalf of the
school. I fixed the price to 6 Euros and kept 1 Euros for the CD. They
were all sold and I give back 50 Euros to the school.
The money will be used to buy memory for some PCs.
I had more request for them and one teacher proposed to give parent the
opportunity to buy CD on request in september.

The parents realy appreciate that they can have the same software that
the one used at school. They were impressed by the demo and were always
asking me 'but I also have this software, it's on the CD, excellent, and
this one also...'
It also pushes the computer admin to go further and study very well what
freeduc provides. He is afraid that the kids may know more than he
does;). More seriously, it gives a good oportunity to show to the
parents that their kids are in good hands and they are 'using' the

Now on the technical side, they have 7 PC with the minimum configuration
being PII233 with 3GB hard drive.
My first plan was to install abuledu but I have been unable to raise the
fund to pay a descent server. This option out, I tried to install a
Mandrake Linux and keep windows in place so keeping 1.5 GB for Windows.
It works but I had no more space left to install anything usefull for
the kids. I decided to go further and convinced them to install freeduc
and swap out Windows. They agreed !

First, I installed freeduc 1.3 on one PC using knoppix hard disk install
script (knx-hd-install as root in ctrl-alt-f1 console). Then configured
it well for my purpose.

The main issues once installed is the default language that I wanted to
be french and xfce/freeduc menu as default.
I was lucky to have a LAN with an autonomous ISDN router so that I had
intrnet acces easily.

I did some customisation by :
apt-get-install gdm
edited /etc/gdm/gdm.conf : 
  added autologin=true / knoppix user
  added system menu = true (in order to have a way to shutdown !!!)

Did a chmod +x to /etc/X11/gdm/Sessions/Xfce
(It is a debian bug I assume since without this xfce won't appear in

Once ready, this first PC becomes my Master Hard Disk. I remove it and
go to PC 2, plug its harddrive in place of the CDROM (master on 2nd IDE
bus), plug the Master HD in place of the master ide disk on 1st IDE bus.
I boot the PC on the Master disk, log in freeduc go root and run
dd if=/dev/hda of=/dev/hdc bs=512k
(bs is blocksize and is important to speed the copy.)
It takes about 15 minutes to copy the Disk. I copies all the partitions
and its really a disk clone. In my case all HD have the same capacity,
this is important.

I reboot on the new PC, I log in and configure the network using the
knoppix netcardconfig utility (netcardconfig as root)
I specify a hostname with 'hostname pc3' as root.

And I can use my master HD to duplicate this on all the PC.

Now they have freeduc with about 40 well organised application. They
will use abiword for the word processing since openoffice.org do not
start on freeduc and anyway, abiword is more than they need and much

Still missing, I have not been abble to setup the printer. I try the
knoppix menu for that but cups was not installed. trying apt-get install
cups brings me to a 'no way' from debian who says is no more there ??
Help needed there.

They also have a scanner on parallel port (it seems supported on Linux),
but starting xsane, it detected nothing. Help again.

The great news is that schools are waiting for us to help them make a
better usage of their PCs. I found out freeduc to be excellent for this.
The duality school and home usage goes beyond all my expectations. It's
like if parents, teachers, sysadmin were all waiting of this. 
Now we are ready, let's put back the freedom in our schools.

Hope this experience will help you do the same to the classroom near