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Debian

DebianEdu Announced 63

Posted by michael
from the apt-get-install-ucblogo dept.
Bill Kendrick writes "There's been an announcement on debian-devel-announce about a new subproject, DebianEdu, which "aims to make Debian the best distribution available for educational use." As a developer with some stuff in Debian Jr., I'm happy to see some focus on an honest-to-goodness education project!"
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DebianEdu Announced

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  • Nice! (Score:3, Insightful)

    by sethadam1 (530629) <.adam. .at. .firsttube.com.> on Wednesday September 11, 2002 @06:28AM (#4235944) Homepage
    I hope more projects are started with the aim to put Linux in the hands of college students - they're usually BUYING their first computer and they have the time, energy, and friends who understand computers to be adventurous.
  • It's about time (Score:5, Insightful)

    by frascone (466844) on Wednesday September 11, 2002 @06:34AM (#4235962)
    It seems like the educational market has been forgotten lately. I remember when I was in school, Boreland was offering Turbo C, Turbo Pascal, or the newest thing, Turbo C++ for $69-$99. This was when Microsoft C was around $500.

    Everyone I knew had a Turbo compiler. Microsoft lost major ground. And, since the students were most comfortable with Boreland, that was, of course, what they recommended to their future employeers.

    But, for some reason, companies have recently been neglecting the educational market. Kudos to Debian for re-starting the trend.

    • Re:It's about time (Score:2, Informative)

      by JohnFluxx (413620)
      Yeah I grew up on borland compliers.

      Debian isn't exactly the first.
      kde have had a educational thread for ages, with libraries etc.
    • Re:It's about time (Score:3, Insightful)

      by capt.Hij (318203)

      Kudos to Debian for re-starting the trend.

      Dude!

      Redhat has been doing ed stuff for a long time. They even have a K-12 [redhat.com] program. Here at our university we went to Redhat several years ago. We get good support and have been happy. Debian is a bit too late. They will have to be extremely aggressive if they would want folks like us to switch over.

      • Re:It's about time (Score:4, Insightful)

        by Derwen (219179) on Wednesday September 11, 2002 @07:39AM (#4236187) Homepage

        Debian is a bit too late. They will have to be extremely aggressive if they would want folks like us to switch over.
        Debian, aggressive?
        ROTFL :-)))

        Debian GNU/Linux got to be the one true distro (TM), and the most popular with admins, simply by being the best :-)
        That's the only strategy Debian has ever had (backed up, of course, by its social contract [debian.org] and the Debian Free Software Guidelines (DFSG) [debian.org]) - and that seems to have worked just fine ;-)

        In all seriousness, it's great that Debian are doing this - and great that Red Hat do something similar. When every child has access to a Free *nix at school (or even access to a school - never mind a computer) will be the time to start bickering about which GNU/Linux distro has the biggest dick in the edu world ;-)
        - Derwen

      • They will have to be extremely aggressive if they would want folks like us to switch over.

        Debian is a non-profit entity. It wouldn't matter to them if you switched or not, except maybe on a technical level.
  • I think this disproves the myth earlier in the week that OpenSource can not be innovative and groundbreaking. Of course it isn't the norm;)
  • Hmmmm, this follows on from the earlier posting [slashdot.org] of the interview with Gael Duval of Mandrake who said
    "GD: For one year, we had a so-called "World Class Management" team that left us in a very bad financial situation, and engaged the company in ventures (such as e-learning) that we should never have been involved with. But that's all part of our history now, so I'd prefer to not dwell too much on that. "

    I wonder if this is the kind of project he was talking about and if Debian have taken on board the Mandrake experiance.

    • Mandrake is a company, Debian is a community.

      That's not to disparage the community of Mandrake users and developers, but Mandrake as a company have to do things that make money. A sub-project of Debian will succeed or fail depending only on the level of enthusiasm and interest in it.
      • Doesnt mean the community cant learn from commercial experiences. Especially if they want to compete with commercial vendors.
        If some one in the same business as you gets it wrong, whether they are commercial or open source, its a good idea to make sure you dont do the same thing.
        If this project gets off the ground and then stalls because it was badly thought out or under resourced, then it will make Debian generally look bad to those outside the community. Look at Mandrakes experiance, learn from it and avoid their mistakes. They may not cost Debian money, but they could still do harm if they are repeated.
  • Security (Score:2, Funny)

    by godot73 (182766)
    My teachers were always worried that we would poke around in the system too much, or later, that we would use too much network bandwidth. Then, the teachers wanted to configure the system themselves... (knowing less about stuff than we did...)
  • good stuff (Score:2, Informative)

    by Lord Prox (521892)
    I work with a local school (Long Beach School for Adults) recycling machines and one of the biggest pains in the butt is having to buy an OS license (redmond tax). This is going to be a big thing for me and I am glad to see an educational directed distro.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Desktop? School server? Programming tutition? Educational settop box? Internet box? University level or under 10year olds?
    'Education' can mean so many different things... I don't mean this as a troll, but I hope they realise that mere mortals can not use Debian as it is. It'll have to be made alot easier before it can be used in non-techy educational environments. Maybe something like http://www.bluelinux.org [bluelinux.org].
  • by jukal (523582) on Wednesday September 11, 2002 @07:02AM (#4236050) Journal
    I would think that not all of the benefits of open source are true in education, as in business use for example. Which means that the open source option needs to outperform the commercial option by other criterias (functionality, performance, feature set, reliability) - not price.

    As commercial vendors tend to provide schools and universities with cheap or free licenses for educational uses - to make the students familiar with their products so that they would buy them when they finally graduate and enter work-life. So, am I terribly wrong if I assume that there is not the cost benefit or atleast it is not very significant?


    • So, am I terribly wrong if I assume that there is not the cost benefit or atleast it is not very significant?
      You are right to assume that cost is not significant, as the 'market' is skewed by all sorts of factors (special site licences, donations tying hardware to software, support deals, education authority incompetence, overworked and poorly-trained teachers , etc).

      The real strength of Free Software in education is - Freedom to share, study, understand, modify and improve the code matters everywhere, but it counts double in education, which is based on foundations of openness, experiment and passing on of knowledge.
      - Derwen

    • As commercial vendors tend to provide schools and universities with cheap or free licenses for educational uses - to make the students familiar with their products so that they would buy them when they finally graduate and enter work-life. So, am I terribly wrong if I assume that there is not the cost benefit or atleast it is not very significant?

      When pitting Free Software against commercial counterparts, it only makes sense to go for the commercial counterpart if the difference in functionality between the Free Software and the commercial software is worth at least the cost of the commercial software.

      At my school, Microsoft Office is available to students for $65. Thus, for it to make sense for students to buy Microsoft Office rather than use OpenOffice, there must be some aspects of Microsoft Office that OpenOffice lacks which are worth at least $65 to the students. It turns out that frequently, the polished spelling and grammer checking, the 100% compatibility with MS Office files, or simply brand name recognition alone is worth $65 to most students.

      However, buying something like Microsot Office under an educational license is somewhat short-sighted. For example, if a student is married, then that student's spouse (who isn't a student) is not supposed to use the software, according to the terms of the EULA. In addition, when you leave school, you can no longer use the software. If you want access to all your data, you must purchase the full retail version of MS Office, since educational versions are not elligible for upgrade prices.

      Plus, you lock yourself into the ``Perpetual Upgrade Cycle.'' Your lifelong costs for using that software will long exceed the up-front cost while you're in school. When you look at it in these terms, it just doesn't make sense to purchase commercial software in most cases while you are in school.

  • Very happy to read this news. Maybe something is going to change after all in .be! Years ago, one of our ministers signed a contract with M$ to get Windows and the other Mico$oft products for a bit less money. In schools, every PC needs to run on Windows. Maybe now the government will see how it can free some money.

    The big problem Debian is going to have to cope with is convincing the educational system to start making a switch to Linux.

    Good luck guys!
  • A Little Late (Score:4, Informative)

    by Daemonik (171801) on Wednesday September 11, 2002 @07:11AM (#4236084) Homepage
    As a developer with some stuff in Debian Jr., I'm happy to see some focus on an honest-to-goodness education project!
    There's at least 2 other Education oriented distributions already. Blue Linux [bluelinux.org] and Seul [seul.org].
    • Other installations like Seul have problems, however... certain things like integrated dependancies and smooth upgrading (on line imho!) from one release version to another set Debian ahead of all other software packages.

      RPM at current doesn't even come close... you ever tried to install over 5-10 packages? RPM doesn't upgrade easily at all... Redhat has made some nice tools, but it is slower a 12th grader waking up for school....

      And to mention the whole ./configure thing... Autoconf/Automake/GNU make can kiss my @$$ even though when the origional packages are built for Debian these are essential, but for the common user, (and respectively for admins with not much time on their hands) custom compiling is hardly ever an option!

      • Why is it that whenever you have a conversation about Debian someone always has to jump in with the the APT vs RPM stuff? APT might be a floor wax and a dessert topping, I don't care and it has nothing to do with what I posted.
    • Actually, there are a number of education-oriented distros. Most of them are targetted at the schools in non-US countries and you folks probably haven't heard of them. However, SEUL doesn't have an education-oriented distro. SEUL/edu is working on a distro-neutral ISO of educational software that will be downloadable for individual use and modifiable for inclusion by distro suppliers in their own packages. We plan to collaborate with DebianEdu on this so that all the applications in our ISO are available as DEBs and RPMs. There's a lot more work being done on Open Source/Free software in education (particularly education below university level) than most of you realize. Take a look at Schoolforge [schoolforge.net] for a glimpse of what's happening.

    • > I'm happy to see some focus on an honest-to-goodness education project!

      There's at least 2 other Education oriented distributions already.


      To clarify - good to see some focus in Debian ;)
      Thanks for the links, though (BTW, I learned about DebianEDU from Seul)
  • As is debian can't seem to release in a timely manner why add more fuel to the fire. Wouldn't it be simpler to accomplish the same thing with task packages? Why a whole seperate distro? I mean the base system would be the same, only difference should be the additional packages installed. Seems pretty silly to me.

    Perhaps some good will come of it, maybe some .edu(s) will donate cash to debian (not just bandwidth and such as the UofM [umn.edu] does.
    • As is debian can't seem to release in a timely manner why add more fuel to the fire. Wouldn't it be simpler to accomplish the same thing with task packages? Why a whole seperate distro? I mean the base system would be the same, only difference should be the additional packages installed. Seems pretty silly to me.
      Ahem, it /is/ such a task package. From the announcement [debian.org]:
      HOW TO HELP

      Many things can be done and needs to be done :
      - integrate in Debian some external Debian packages for education
      (we created some of these for the french Debian Education)

      And as for releasing in a timely manner - not only do Debian release 'when it's ready', and stick to that, but there were some reasonable excuses [debian.org] last time :-/
      - Derwen

  • Those are why I liked "computer days" (not frequent) when I was in 2nd or 3rd grade, or whatever hazy grades it was.

    Logo? Squeak! :) (Or, just for fun, is there a Logo variant apt-gettable now?)

    Oregon Trail? I dunno. Are there any reasonably complete, complex-scenario text simulation / adventures with a learning slant (not just nethack) like this ready for kids / teachers to apt-get?

    There are a lot of other things I'd like to see of course, but those two came to mind first.

    timothy
    • > Logo? Squeak! :) (Or, just for fun, is there a Logo variant apt-gettable now?)

      apt-get install ucblogo

      ucblogo looks just as awful as what I remember using :)

      But LOGO is a great way for children to learn a different kind of abstraction: command/effect.
      (and I say 'command', not 'click' ! :)

      I remember programming a turtle on acid, with the 'random' function !
    • Oregon Trail? I dunno. Are there any reasonably complete, complex-scenario text simulation / adventures with a learning slant (not just nethack) like this ready for kids / teachers to apt-get?
      I don't know about you, but at my school, Oregon Trail consisted of seeing how fast we could kill our parties. Let's see - 0 pounds of food ought to do it. Clothing? Nah, we'll be free of those societal constraints in Oregon. Let's use a grueling pace.

      I also liked to name my people after diseases:
      Measles has typhoid.
      Typhoid has typhoid.
      Snakebite has dysentery.
  • K12 (Score:2, Informative)

    Ummm, what about K12? http://k12ltsp.org/
  • This is good, but why not just have more packages?

    Free Software for Schools is the way of the future. It is a good business model for that purpose. Payback in 20 years, like all good or bad things in Education.

    I also think it would be useful for teachers to FDL their Materials. No need for all the teachers to reinvent all the materials.
  • I admit I have never tried debian due to bandwith issues. I heard the installs are one of the hardest out there and is designed for hackers. Does the user actually have to edit all the files by hand to get the system working? I do not know if this is true but I hope debianjr and debianEDU will have to have an easy to use installer. Students do not have the time to tinker with there computers since they have projects and assignments due on a daily basis and need their machines to do like uh work. Kids do not have any interest in learning crpytic commands and get frustated alot more easily then adults as they have shorter attention spans.

    I for one would develop a graphical installer for these projects and leave the text based one for the regular distro of debian.

  • Earlier today in my Computer Science AP class, my teacher was saying that he wanted to install Lunix on the school computers, and would try to convince the school administrators (not to be confused with network administrators) to let him do so.

    It's great that they have these educational distributions. The only condition that we'd need, really: being able to get a good compiler for java, c++ and a good graphics library. Any suggestions as to which distro to get, or compiler/lib? Thanks
  • Linux SIS [school.net.th] objective is for primary & secondary school to have internet access for education, SchoolNet Project [school.net.th]. NECTEC [nectec.or.th] provide internet account for them. All they need is old PC with modem & telephone line for dialup. Everything can control via Webmin. Anyway this distro objective is only for Thai people. All interfaces are translate to Thai. Linux SIS 4.2 based on Red Hat 7.2

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