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Education Open Source IT Linux

High School Students Develop Linux Imaging and Help Desk Software 116

Posted by timothy
from the but-did-they-learn-anything dept.
An anonymous reader writes "A Pennsylvania school district is going Linux and building an open source high school with the help of student technology apprentices. As part of a 1:1 laptop learning program, 1725 high school students at Penn Manor School District are receiving new laptops running Ubuntu and open source software exclusively. Central to the program is a student help desk where student programmers created a Linux multicast imaging system titled Fast Linux Deployment Toolkit. The district posted pictures of the imaging process in action. Working alongside school IT staff, students also developed help desk software and other programs in support of the 1:1 student laptop program. The student tech apprentices also provide peer support for fellow students."
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High School Students Develop Linux Imaging and Help Desk Software

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  • by Joe_Dragon (2206452) on Saturday January 25, 2014 @12:09AM (#46064251)

    In schools there is quite a bit of windows only stuff (part why macs are not as big in schools as they used to be) but the big part is lack of office on Linux and open office does not fully work with office files.

  • THAT'S education (Score:5, Interesting)

    by emaname (1014225) on Saturday January 25, 2014 @12:53AM (#46064509)

    Kudos to that school's admin staff. This is a real educational experience. You can't beat hands-on. Plus the students are engaged in the operation of their school; IOW they have some ownership or at least a partnership.

    I agree with the comments re compatibility. MS is the odd-man-out. They've been forcing their proprietary stuff on the world for too long. And innovation has been stunted as a result of their dominance. My peers and I witnessed time and again in the 80's when someone would come out with a great idea and then MS would buy them and the great idea would disappear so there would be no competition in the marketplace.

    Re...

    open office does not fully work with office files

    To be more specific, that comment must be with re to macros because I've never had any problems and I still don't.

    I did a lot of support work for a one of the divisions of a large, world-wide corporation. One of the things I did was edit/fix Word, Excel, and PowerPoint files. I pulled the files into OpenOffice, fixed all the formatting, spelling, grammar, calculation, and punctuation mistakes and then exported the files back to the appropriate MS Office file format. Nobody knew and I always received compliments re how nice everything looked. As a matter of fact, I did most of that work on a Mac and later on Linux. And, of course, that corporation was Windows only.

    It still brings a smile to my face. They were paying huge sums of money for their licenses and here I was using an open-source solution to fix all their problems.

  • Sooo frustrating! (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Pav (4298) on Saturday January 25, 2014 @01:39AM (#46064711)

    There has been a powerful infrastructure almost ready to do this (plus much more) available for ages : A GUI + LDAP based web interface called GOsa [gonicus.de] and a more active fork called FusionDirectory [fusiondirectory.org]. It does almost everything, but noone has pulled the trigger on an important piece to allow imaging and/or OS installation - this requires a plugin for their messaging daemon. This messaging daemon is either called GOsa-si, or Argonaut in the two projects respectively). This has worked in the past... though bitrot and lack of interest has broken that particular piece.

    Right now it allows GUI administration of DNS, DHCP, Samba, your choice of SMTP and POP/IMAP daemons, multiple groupware, Squid, rSyslog, Asterisk, Nagios and much more... with the ability to extend the interface via plugins. If/when the messaging daemon bits get completed it will be able to deploy clients and servers... using FAI/puppet for Linux and OPSI for MS. This HAS worked in the past, and I even believe the Munich Linux project may have had this working for years - but they've only packaged it for their own distro.

  • by symbolset (646467) * on Saturday January 25, 2014 @01:48AM (#46064733) Journal

    What about viruses, anti viruses, malware and antimalware? Novell network compatibility? Flash and Silverlight, IE and Exchange compatibility - and persistent mutual incompatibility? Patch Tuesday and its need to intercept updates, test against your set of mission critical apps before rolling them out and then triage and treat the inevitable undiscovered issues? Recurrent planned obsolescence? SharePoint and pirated Photoshop? Landsharks? Goblin invasion?

    It appears they have chosen to operate in a domain where these problems don't exist. Good on 'em.

  • by Another, completely (812244) on Saturday January 25, 2014 @04:54AM (#46065269)

    And you think Word does that? If you are going to write a doctoral thesis in Word, then you have my pity starting out. With LaTeX, you have a formatting area at the front, your references in a nice separate bibliography file, and most of your document is just the text you have written. Setting up a master document that includes separate documents for each chapter, allowing cross-referencing, a single bibliography, and a table of contents is possible in Word, but it's dead simple in LaTeX.

    Setting it up in the first place may take a little looking into, but building a master document in Word isn't intuitive either. If it takes more than a day to get your basic file structure sorted, then you aren't trying. It's three or four years of your life that you will be writing this thing. If the format guidelines change during that time, you can fix it in one place (in fact, some procrastinating student will probably build a fresh style file to share so you don't even need to fix it yourself). How long would it take you in Word to change the margins or line-spacing for a multi-chapter document? What about copying formatted text from a research paper you just finished, keeping all the figure references and citations, but in your university format instead of the journal publisher's?

    I'm in business now, and use Word and Excel regularly because that's the de facto standard. Every time I need to re-format anything in Word I wish I just had to edit LaTeX instead. It's just simpler. In the long run, it will save you time and agony.

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