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About complexity in WLUS :-)

The initial idea behind groups in Skolelinux was to do it as simple as
possible. Teachers and pupils should be enough after a good tip from
Kjetil Homme that works at USIT. I think Andreas Schuldei came with
the idea of independent sys.admin. for maintaining users. Also this is
easy and totally OK. Then a teacher suggested a class-map for sharing
files in one class. Also this is OK. But then the complexity hits in,
and we have to handle strict limitations because of the
mandatory limitations in NFS and other real life situations.

The other limitation is the local systsm.admin at schools. A teacher
has at most 1-4 hours a week to administrate the users, no more.  To
administrate users in more than a single level is to time consuming
for the 4600 teachers with sys.admin responsibilities at schools in

The third thing is all the good ideas from Kurt Gramlich. Also this is
OK, but everything is not implementable at his "oh, they have, we
should have" level, and I wrote to him that he has to make a
functional, and non-functional requirement-list. From what he writes
it seems that he mixes a general student-admin.system with a
user-admin.system for computers.  This is two different things. You
take a subset of data from a student/pupil-admin.system into a
user-admin.system, and keep it as simple as posible.

It's not a project job in Skolelinux to make a half breed
student-admin.system. It's our job to get Skolelinux user.admin as
easy as posibly, and not over complicate things. To maintain servers
is complicated enough independent of it is Windows or Linux. To put
forth to many choices to a teacher who has 1-4 hours a week to
maintain the system is a really bad idea. In that way the principal
calls the Windows-loving IT-staff in the municipal, and they reinstall
Windows as we saw it in a little school north in Norway.

To do a long story sort. There they did a apt-get update/upgrade and
the net-card module switched place on the thin-client-server. The thin
client didn't came up. Instead of calling our people, the municipal
IT-staff replaced a fully functional Skolelinux-system with
Windows. The only thing that was wrong was the switching of network

When we are operating in a hostile and very Windows-friendly
environment, we cant give away our installed based with functionality
that verify that Windows-server-operation is more easy. They say so
even if it takes months to set up a Windows network with 17 services,
and something who looks like Skolelinux architecture. The
Windows-Joe's will use every "we are better"-argument when they want
to rescue their jobs.

In my opinion Kurt Gramlich and others has to cope with this kind of
simplicity when suggesting more complexity. It's better to have a
simple solution that work good enough with Skolelinux 1.0, then to
complicate it further at this stage . Unfortunately we have to move a
lot of nice-to-have features down the latter with WLUS. Keep it simple
as posible. Please do not mix in to many good ideas where WLUS 
must mirror the complexity of many groups, projects and so on 
at a school. 

The last issue is hiding of complex data.  "Dummy" data with no
practical use should be hidden because of pretty obvious
reasons. People don't use what they cant see, and with not showing it
in a user-interface, they don't mess with it either :-) (it's a law in
designing Human-Computer Interaction field ;-). If they know an dear
to use the command line, they are probably comfortable to mess more
with the system, and we have totally freedom here. But as often, with
total freedom it comes total responsibilities.

Does this makes sense Kurt, Andreas, Petter? :-) 

I know that Finn-Arne wants to keep the old WLS for release-critical 
purposes, but we are not there yet, and in my opinion it's more up to 
Petter to decide anyway. So now I have given my concerns :-)


Knut Yrvin
Projectleader Skolelinux Norway

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