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[school-discuss] Project developing free school server solution
we are a group in the state of Baden-Wuerttemberg in south-western Germany
developing an OSS, "out-of-the-box", Linux based server solution for schools.
Our project was initiated and is supported by the administration of
What we *have* is a distribution which provides a simple installation without
lots of options and with some ready-to-run features specifically designed to
meet the typical school requirements. What we also have is an increasing
number of problems with this solution, specifically concerning security
updates and usage of somewhat outdated technology - nevertheless is is
successfully used in several hundret schools for quite some time now.
What we *want* is a complete redesign. The first steps of this task are done,
but we are still working on the basics und theoretical foundations of the
project. In this process we are now considering whether we should open up
internationally. Previous versions of the server were for example only
available in German, and nobody thought about internationalization.
Features we are planning to realize in a time horizon of about 10-12 months
are for example:
o support of single- and multi-server installations
o completely manageable via web interface, you should not need to know that
it's Linux doing the work in the background
o support of MS Windows (98, 2K, XP) and Linux clients
o LDAP-based user management
o extended privilege system, which especially supports the typical school
requirements: easy auto-creation/maintenance of lots of student accounts,
special privileges for teachers (without making them admins),...
o integration of disk imaging solution to quickly restore clients via network
o flexible internet access control (teachers can allow/deny access for
students, integrated web filter,...)
o complete mail solution with out-of-the-box webmail, IMAP access,...
o robust and secure design
o much, much, much more
We want to go further than most (all?) other, similar projects we've found. We
want to provide more than just some help or "example configurations" for
local admins who want to build their own solution. We want to provide
everything needed in a school to anyone, including anyone without any deeper
knowledge of Linux.
Because most of us are paid for developing a German-language solution for
German-speaking people in Baden-Wuerttemberg and addressing the specific
needs of German schools, -- and because we already have a good deal of work
with that -- we have very limited resources to look beyond the German
borders. But it's our personal intention to not put any avoidable limitations
to a possible international use of our work.
So what we'd really like to know is the following:
Is there any interest in a solution like this outside Germany?
Is it worth the additional effort to make this "international"?
And -- maybe the most important question -- are there people outta there (in
Germany or anywhere else) willing to put a little work into this? For example
helping us to stay "compatible" to other countries' school systems and
specific requirements during the planning phase, to translate documentation
and user interfaces, and maybe even to really participate and do some