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Some notes from the Skolelinux developer gathering 2005-09

Notes from the Skolelinux developer gathering at Kongsvinger
September the 16th-18th

Around 15 contributors where gathered at the Skolelinux
gathering 2005-09 :-). Pictures:


Friday 16th September

Halvor Dahl arrived 13:30 at the school and got the overview of the
rooms etc. The rest of the developers arrived between 18-19 in the
evening. The network was connected to the admin-net to Kongsvinger
municipality through the Skolelinux-server to the translators.

At the dinner we talked about how to cooperate with edubuntu, with the
desktop, the process, and about stability. Everybody at the dinner
though that we should cooperating with edubuntu. We should find ways
to make this happen. It's the right time to do this right now. The
desktop and the laptop support with (k)ubuntu is the way to go, and
the Skolelinux-server-architecture is a proven concept we should get
into edubuntu. 

It's pretty clear, and an common agreement between the developers and
translators in the Skolelinux project, that we should continue an
strengthen our relationship with the edubuntu-effort and work
together. We should not duplicate our effort when others want to
reuse our solutions. 


Trond Mæhlum, the project manager at Kongsvinger, pointed out that the
stability with Skolelinux server, and the connectivity was that he
needed with an regional installation with 500-800 clients at 9
schools. Update every year, or every other year was out of the
question when it came to the server. Update-cycle could be 3-4 years
with the Skolelinux-server, and update every year with e.g K12LTSP on
the thin clients. The connections is done easily with a RedHat-tool
(system_config_authentication, a LDAP connection hook which just
adjust the necessary config-files and authentication through pam).

A stable Skolelinux-server is excellent with the option to change the
desktop with updates programs every year. With the RedHat
connection-tools this is extremely easy, takes a couple of minutes to
connect. If K12LTSP shifts to be based on edubuntu, the
LDAP-connection tools should be ported.

We should already now use edubuntu/kubuntu on the laptops with
adjustments, so it's possible to dock a laptop to the
Skolelinux-network. Work has to be done to do that. This should be our
second step in the edubuntu-effort that has already started. Ragnar
Wisløff also told us about the LTSP-gathering and the cooperation with
Canonical. There are also work done to include half thick clients in
the new and light weight LTSP, and a new and faster boot-up
init-solution. Petter Reinholdtsen is contributing with this.

Saturday 17th September

Two new teachers visited the developer-gathering to contribute. They
was immediately recruited as translators. It went well with learning
cvs, and Kbable. They committed many translation throughout the day.
Vidar, one of the teachers, handled unstable Kbabel also caused bye
some new features in the translation tool.

14:30 Trond Mæhlum started his presentation of the use of Skolelinux
on around 450-500 thin clients in 9 schools at the city of
Kongsvinger. He explained the network with 1 Gbit/s fibre to 5 of the
schools. The whole system was operated centrally.

Mr Mæhlum also did an impressive walk-through of the selection of
programs. They selection of programs have matured over 1 1/2 year
since the project start in January 2004. The menu is tailor-made with
48 applications, also some Wine emulated ones (e.g programs as Mons og
Marte i regneskogen). The 8 Wine emulated Windows-programs is not in
so much use, but keep the objections away from teachers who believe
that this kinds of programs is necessary, and don't know about new
browser-applications that has the same functionality easily reachable
from the Internet.

F1 Schooltool was an new application in K12LTSP that did exactly what
the a teacher needed to give messages to the pupils, forced logouts,
give the pupil guidance with VNC etc. He also showed how to connect
K12LTSP to the Skolelinux LDAP with a easy to use menu, thats standard
from RedHat 8.0.

The leader of the IT-operation in the municipality also was
present. He talked about their strategy, and the importance of using
the programs in the education. 

Just before 24:00 Ragnar Wisløff had a successful installation of a
newly build CD. Finally he had documented how to add packages to the
Sarge-build of the CD with guidance from Finn-Arne on IRC. Vidar Bakke
announced 2 month ago that he should help out doing this, but he said
before this developer-gathering that the release-team was dead. Also
Conrad Newton said earlier when he arrived Saturday, that he would
participate with this release-work together with Ragnar and
others. Frode Jemtland fixed 5-7 bugs and closed 4 obsolete bugs.

Sunday 18th September

Frode Jemtland will invite people to participate in a international
technical release-team. They will help out building an release new CDs
for technical testing, bug-fixing and developing.

Halvor Dahl will invite user of Skolelinux and free software in
schools to a product-team. The main task is to pick the applications
in real use in the schools, and get them into the CD. We have also
asked Trond Mæhlum and others to participate in this work.

Harald Thingelstad has done bug-fixing and improvements on the script
that auto-replaces words from e.g Danish to Norwegian. The work
translating KDE 3.5 is on track.

The next gathering will probably be when electing new board in
FRISK. We have to ask some school to borrow because we also will
arrange developer-gathering. The date is already fixed Saturday,
October the 15th. The gathering should be arranged from 14-16th of

Request for change from CVS to SVN. The translates want to change to
SVN. Developer Øyvind A. Holm (sunny AT sunbase org) in Bergen could
help us with this. We have also to change the documentation for doing

Other things

We got patches and a lot of tips an tricks from Trond Mæhlum after 18
moths of operation with Skolelinux. He says the Skolelinux server is
excellent, and it's easy to connect K12LTSP thin client servers with
the RedHat tool system_config_autentication (a LDAP connection hook
which just adjust the necessary config-files). On laptops Kubuntu is

The password-handling is still not acceptable. It does not work with
"junior admin" as the had hoped, told two of the IT-contacts at the
schools in Kongsvinger. This was the situation even after Andreas
Shuldei said he had fixed that issues. The teacher should be given
permission to change pupils passwords, and not as a super-user, but a
"change-password to pupil"-user. Today changing of password gives
unnecessary work, and the fix that was made don't work.

Unfortunately Ragnars harddisk failed around 12:30. He has to rescue
his disk before he can commit the guide on how to add new programs to
the Skolelinux-build on Sarge.

Link to the menu in use at the schools in Kongsvinger, and the remove
unfortunate dialogs in OpenOffice when saving files: 


By Knut Yrvin Sept 19th

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