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Re: [school-discuss] Educational Killer App for OpenSource

I've tinkered a bit with a stripped Linux OS and a NX client. It's an OK
workaround for the problem of wireless bandwidth. But it is not a
viable, long term solution.

The NC client is not free software. It may cost $0 to download and use
but it can't be redistributed and the source code is not available. 

You still have a cord somewhere in the process to charge the battery and
the battery lifetime is not a full school day of use. 

Even with 802.11n you _STILL_ can't beat the bandwidth of a cat6 line! A
school will need many, many WAP's to support a 3:1 student:computer
ratio in each classroom and wireless is more work to support than wired.
That translates to more cost which results in fewer student workstations
to meet budgets.

This is not to dismiss entirely the benefits of a few mobile units in a
school. But mobile units cost the most per unit of horsepower of ANY
platform (outside of the Air Force fighter jet flight computers) and
they are the most fragile. That hinge holding up the LCD is not designed
for children to open and slam 10-20 times per day. But 1 mobile per 30
kids per school would provide some planned flexibility. And then a
skinny Linux with NX is a pretty OK choice. 

Maybe a wired netboot setup that re-installs the OS and NX stuff when
plugged in would be a good solution to the broken setup issue. Also
setting the hard drive partition to "Read Only" except for swap space
would also help.

On Tue, 2008-12-23 at 13:07 -0600, Peter Scheie wrote:
> Sorry, miscommunication on my part.  By 'OS-NX' I just meant a stripped down OS 
> with NX running on top, not a specific project.  There is no project for this as 
> far as I know.  (Hmm, perhaps I should start one.)
> And no, I don't believe machines can PXE-boot over wireless.  That's one of the 
> problems I was trying to point out.  The Coreboot project (formerly LinuxBIOS) 
> may get to a point where wireless parameters could be set in the BIOS and used 
> with the wireless chip to PXE boot, but I've not heard anything about them doing 
> so.  And even if that does become possible, you still have the bandwidth issues 
> caused by wireless being a shared medium.
> Still, these are all just engineering problems...;-)
> Peter
> lee rodgers wrote:
> > ------------------------------------------------------------------------
> > *From:* Peter Scheie <peter@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
> > *
> > *> However, I plan to explore putting the OS-NX onto a pico USB stick, 
> > and booting from that.  They're
> >  > cheap, about  about $6 a piece right now.  That way, the techs can 
> > just crank out a whole bunch of the
> >  > sticks, put them into the netbooks, and give some extras to the 
> > teachers.  When a student gets one
> >  > that doesn't boot because the previous user managed to trash it 
> > (intentionally or otherwise), the teacher
> >  > can just replace it with one of the extras.  Using USB sticks means 
> > the techs can prepare them without
> >  > having to gather up all the netbooks, reducing their load.
> > 
> > I googled for OS-NX, can't seem to find this project. I googled for 
> > OS-NX, can't seem to find this project. I assume it can boot anywhere in 
> > any hosted environment via any delivery/media infrastructure.
> > 
> > So machines can PXE-boot over Wifi? Interesting!
> > 
> > /leebert
> > 
> > 
> > 
James P. Kinney III          
CEO & Director of Engineering 
Local Net Solutions,LLC                           

GPG ID: 829C6CA7 James P. Kinney III (M.S. Physics)
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