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Re: [school-discuss] Project developing free school server solution

Am Samstag, 18. Oktober 2003 09:13 schrieb Hilaire Fernandes:
> Bjoern Scheuermann <bjoern@solution.de> wrote:
> > What we're especially missing are the really "school-specific"
> > features in skolelinux, like an advanced user management which is aware of
> > "students" and "teachers", of teachers being allowed to permit and deny
> > things, of students being in "classes" and "workgroups", of classes
> > changing every year (without having a local administrator to spend a whole
> > day for this procedure), tools to support writing tests at the computer,
> > etc. This is what we want to do.
> Admin and tool to writting tests are two differents things.

Of course, yes. And they are just two thing amongst many others.

> For the
> first one, within skolelinux, there is an admin tool to manage user and
> group, maybe you want to look at this one, if you want more you will
> find more easy to add and contributing stuff to skolelinux than starting
> from the ground.

Do you mean the webmin user management interface? Otherwise, could you send me 
a link?

> Personnaly I would also like to see more school oriented stuff within
> SL, especialy a tool to construct and manage user profiles.
> >       And, additionally, we want to avoid to force the user to use a Linux
> > shell or to edit config files, even to know how a Linux box works or which
> > software is used and what it does. Unfortunately, skolelinux requires
> > exactly this nearly everywhere.
> Can you be more explicit and give us a few examples of such situations?

I'll try to: Let's presume a teacher wants to start some kind of project with 
a couple of his students. We're working on a model where he can easily do the 

He logs in into a web-based management interfaces. He uses some criteria (i.e. 
the names of the students) to find the right people in the user database. He 
creates a new "workgroup" and provides it with a name. (He doesn't need admin 
privileges for that!)
When he does this, all these students will - at a special place, and as well 
on Linux as on Windows clients - see a new folder which is named like the 
workgroup and provides some kind of common workspace for the group. 
Additionally, a mailing list for the workgroup will automatically be 
Now he grants all students in his new workgroup the right, to use the internet 
for the next three days without further explicit permission. Also he grants 
this group the right to use the new, expensive color laser printer, but only 
up to a limit of 50 pages.

To make this even more flexible, we probably will in fact _not_ distinguish 
between students and teachers generally, but only provide the corresponding 
users with different privileges - a teacher will in most cases be allowed to 
create workgroup, a student won't. But maybe in some cases it's a good thing 
to be able to allow a particular student to be able to allow others to - for 
example - access the internet.

We're discussing a model with a bunch of different privileges, that can be 
granted to users. These are, just to mention a few: create/manage workgroups, 
allow internet, allow printing, use internet, use printer, and so on. These 
privileges can also have time based or other limits, so simply using groups 
would not be sufficient.

You see, this is going quite far when compared to what you are able to do with 
skolelinux now, but it also imposes restrictions on what your installation 
looks like. You have to use a certain way to do your user management and to 
store your user accounts, have a special schema where your home directories 
are located, have to use a special, modified printing system, use special IP 
address management, PAM setup and so on. And this is the point where we have 
problems with simply contributing to skolelinux, although we'd really 
appreciate this: We cannot expect the skolelinux project to follow all these 
restrictions and implications, but we also cannot provide our users with this 
kind of integrated functionality without them.