Debian JR. for school project.
I am currently working on selling the idea of a Linux-based network for my
daughter's primary school here in Ireland. At the moment they have about 10 PC's
of recent vintage on roll-around carts running Windows98 and a basic Educational
pack installed. They also have a single phone-line tapped to several classrooms
for Internet access. Of course this means only one computer can access the
Internet at any time.
The Headmaster in interested in adding a few extra terminals in one class to get
some more use from the computers. At the moment, I volunteer my time to help
when I can. I've been explaining what Linux can do to improve the performance of
their current system, but was a little weary of the lack of educational tools
available for this age group on Linux and the limitations of wine to run their
Imagine my surprise when I had another look at Linux for kids and found a link
to Debian JR.!
My personal system is Debian-based, with KDE from tdyc. My daughter used to have
a 486 running as an X-Terminal from my system but now has a P133 with Mandrake,
because it was easier to install and set-up. The down-side to her system is with
only 16M of ram, she can't use KDE or Gnome and uses sawmill for the moment.
I've got a 486 running SmoothWall for a gateway in the loft and have resurrected
my daughters old PC for X-Terminal service again as a demonstration for the
The system I would like to set-up consists of:
The most powerful system in the office, with StarOffice, for M$ Office
compatibility, providing Internet gateway access to the rest of the classroom
One PC in each classroom networked to the office for Internet service and
running StarOffice clients as well. Though I've heard at least one experience
where running StarOffice this way caused nothing but trouble.
Then I was going to set-up several X-Terminals in the classes running off the
classroom PC. This will simplify set-ups, as only the classroom PC will need the
software installed and all the X-Terminals will have the same menus.
I've been offered upto 20 P100 machines for £1 per Mhz. That's £100 each. My
current X-Terminal is a 486 with 16M ram, 130M hard drive 1M trident video. The
display is limited in colour, but more than useful.
Originally I was going to use Mandrake for the systems and Debian for the
X-Terminals because I like the KDE desktop with Mandrake and have a little
experience setting up Debian X-Terminals, but Debian JR has made me re-think the
use of Mandrake. I prefer Debian's superior packaging system, but have found
Debian to be rather slow in putting things into stable. I was running a half
slink/half potato system with varying degrees of success for a while until
Potato became stable. I find Potato to be quite good, but had to go to tdyc for
KDE and the menu system is rather messy. I also had quite a bit of trouble
trying to get sound and a bttv card to work at the same time when I re-compiled
my kernel for SMP. At least Mandrake has the RedHat sound configure tool which
worked first-time on my daughters PC.
I haven't updated to KDE2 yet, the last time I included KDE2 in my apt source
list, it broke kmail. but I think I'll give it another go, now that KDE2 is
I had a quick look through the archive for this list and saw another mail about
using Debian JR for a school project. I thought I'd let you know about mine and
keep you up-to-date on my progress. At the moment this is just my idea. I'm
still working on getting a good demonstration set-up to show what Linux can do
for the school. Hopefully I'll have the demo ready after the holidays and if I
can get approval, set-up the system over the summer and roll-out in the new
year! I mentioned this system on my local LUG listing and got loads of offers of
old hardware for the X-Terminals.
I was interested in one mail about using 3COM boot PROMs for disk-less clients,
but I think I'll stick with what I know now rather than trying something new.
Thanks for Debian JR. It looks like a great place to get educational software
for my project. Linux for kids lists more, but I'll see how I get on, then put
in some requests for other packages as I need them. I've always found Debian
people to be quite helpful and responsive to requests for packages.