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Fwd: Re: [seul-edu] Fw: Linux in schools?

Hi all,

The formatting of my previous message to the list got somewhat lost, so
I'm reposting for anyone that had trouble trouble reading the former.

To Dave Prentice who did manage to read it even without formatting:
Ah, I have used a box that claimed to be a P75, although Linux said it
was a 486 133Mhz chip. Performance was just okay as a stand alone box,
and would probably have be quite acceptable as an X-term.  I assume that
an Overdrive 100 is a step up from that, so I can see how that would
work.  I'm glad you filled me in, as you had me very puzzled for a while

Also, I'm curious as to how many other Australians we have on the list. 
I'm in Canberra, and would be especially interested in what use Linux
has in Schools here both nationally and in particular in Canberra and


My original post follow:

-------- Original Message --------
Subject: Re: [seul-edu] Fw: Linux in schools?
Date: Mon, 30 Jul 2001 21:47:42 +1000
From: Rasjid <rasjidw@bigpond.com>
To: seul-edu@seul.org
References: <01c118a2$830b29c0$fe271e89@prentda>

Dave Prentice wrote:
> Karsten,
> Your situation sounds similar to mine. I set up a classroom lab from
> scratch, with 14 machines now running and 9 more in the works. A few
> suggestions:
> 1. Ask universities in your area if they have any old hardware to donate to
> your school. You may catch one right after they've decided to upgrade. Even
> if all they have are 486's, those are still OK for Linux. Cost=$0.
>     You don't need a very powerful server if each client has its own hard
> drive and does its own processing. All the server needs to furnish to the
> clients is NIS (or equivalent) and perhaps NFS.
> 2. Search the net to see if there is a computer recycling organization in
> your state. You may be able to get some free hardware there too.
> 3. You can get pieces and parts like NICs, hard drives, and so on pretty
> cheap through such sources as ebay.
> 4. You only need one Internet conenction for a network like yours. I set up
> a 486 as a router using Freesco. Any 486 with 16meg and a floppy drive will
> do.
> 5. Find out if there is a Linux user group in your area. Linux people
> practically trip over themselves to help you.
> 6. Everybody has their own favorite distro. I like RedHat, but any of them
> should work.
> >From personal experience, you can put together a pretty good network for
> well under $1000.
> Dave Prentice
> prentice@instruction.com
> -----Original Message-----
> From: Douglas Loss <dloss@suscom.net>
> To: seul-edu@seul.org <seul-edu@seul.org>
> Date: Sunday, July 29, 2001 6:17 PM
> Subject: [seul-edu] Fw: Linux in schools?
> <snip>
> >On Sat, 28 Jul 2001, Karsten M. Self wrote:
> >
> >> To: Doug Loss <dloss@suscom.net>
> >> From: "Karsten M. Self" <kmself@ix.netcom.com>
> >> Subject: Linux in schools?
> >>
> >> Doug:
> >>
> >> What I'm seeing right now are efforts to set up "a small
> >> GNU/Linux lab
> >> in a secondary school, 4-20 boxes, for a small budget, $1000 -
> >> $
> >> 50,000", thereabouts.  Not sure if this is enough to make a go
> >> of, but
> >> I'm willing to wing it.  Hoping that something bigger and/or
> >> more
> >> interesting might start showing up after a time.
> >>
> >> Thoughts?
> >>
> >> --
> >> Karsten M. Self <kmself@ix.netcom.com>
> >> http://kmself.home.netcom.com/

Hi, I'm new to the list, and I assume that many of you will have seen
'Using X-Terminals in a High School'
(http://www.silvervalley.k12.ca.us/~chobbs/xterms/index.html) and in
particular the updates as at January 2001

For those that have not, it is well worth a look.

As Chris Hobbs states at his site, using anything under a Pentium 100
[actually a Pentium 75 should be okay] will in a noticable performance
drop even when just being used as a 'dumb' X-terminal, although I think
you could get away with some of the last of the 486 line.  I have done
some testing myself, and I found that a 486DX66 was simply too slow for
anything much more than console use.  (ie, would probably work happily
as a router, but don't try and do too much in X.)

However, given that here in Australia I can pick up P133 boxes for
around $A120 (about US$70) or so, and I assume that it is similar in
other countries, I don't think that this is a major problem.  And even a
P75 box will work fine as a 'dumb' X-terminal.  Use of the boxes as
X-terminals of course requires an application server which will need to
be a moderately high end desktop or low end server if it is to service
15-30 users at the same time.

Which brings me to the project that I'm just starting out on.

I would like to promote Linux in Schools here.  My idea is to offer a
'risk free' approach that allows Schools (and potentially businesses) to
use a Linux 'application server' in a Windows / Mac environment. 
Additional terminals can be added either keeping the current Windows /
Mac setup, or much more cheaply by using Linux only X-terminals.

This can be done either with commercial X-servers for Windows (starting
from US$25 per seat), but I'm hoping to put together a cut down version
of cygwin/xfree that would be easy to install and free.  A free
(commerial) X-server for Mac already exists.  And Linux of course comes
with Xfree built in.

I would like it to provide file sharing via Samba, and to make it
scalable using Linux clustering.

It is then a matter of finding / creating the tools to make it easy to
install and administer, and colating appropriate educational software

My main goals would be to provide a system that is:
a) inexpensive
b) easy to install and scale
c) easy to administer
d) allows any existing Windows / Mac computers to run as X-terminals
e) allows any existing (Win/Mac) file servers to be integrated into the
f) allows the easy addition of (cheap) Linux X-terminals

All of the above are relevant in both an educational and business
environment. So also,
g) comes packaged with as much stable software relevant to education in
h) comes with documentation appropriate for a teaching environment.

That is my dream / vision.  I am not a Linux guru.  I have only been
using Linux for around 3 years.  But I think the above is possible.

Any feedback would be welcome. If you think someone is already doing
this, please let me know.  If you are interested in helping, let me
know.  If you think I'm mad, that's okay too, and you can let me know if
you must, but I'd rather you didn't. ;-)