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Doubts and question about the merging of LinEx in Debian Edu

Hi all, after some months testing and getting a better knowledge of all
the Debian Edu infraestructure, comparing it with ours, we consider have
a reasonable knowledge of the whole situation to begin the worst part of
the merging: changes. This is going to be a long mail, so those who are
not interested in the development of Debian Edu might avoid reading

I want to begin saying that, luckily, many parts of both projects are
similar or even equal. 

In some cases the problem is only a matter of changing what package
provides the same service. An example of it would be dns & dhcpd
daemons: we use  dnsmasq and Debian Edu uses bind & dhcpd3. In those
cases, we can perfectly assume changing to Debian Edu configs, as it can
make things easier for the integration and also can free us of some work
in the future.

Some other services are not as easier to change, as an example we use
OCS inventory[1] together with GLPI[2] for our inventory and call
center, and Debian Edu uses site-summary. In this case we can not switch
as the integration between the inventory and the call center is
something we can not loose.

There are also some services Debian Edu uses and LinEx doesn't need them
(samba as an example) and the opposite (puppet[3] as an example).

Another problem is debian-edu-config: even using same services and
packages, there are some configurations that are very skolelinux related
and we can not assume. That will take most of this mail.

And the final problem is the desktop: Our students and teachers have
been trained and using GNOME for the last 5 years, so we can not discuss
if GNOME is better or worse than KDE: It just something that can not be
changed and both desktops have to live together. Happily,
freedesktop.org initiative has made thing easier in this field, but
there still some configurations very kde-related in a Debian Edu

These problems affect to the debian installer and to the configs that
are applied after installing. So, sooner or later, we have to discuss
how to get a solution that will satisfy everybody needs. As there are
many items to work on, I see clearly that the best place to do it will
be in some of the gatherings that are going to be hold this year. I
don't know if at Narvik we'll have time and occasion to begin to work on
it or maybe it's too soon, then we would go to the following meeting on
March or April.

After seing things like:
../src/debian-edu-install#  grep -r skole * |wc -l
../src/debian-edu-install# grep -r "10\.0\." * |wc -l
../src/debian-edu-install# grep -r "tjener" * |wc -l
../debian-edu-config# grep -r "10\.0\." * |wc -l
../src/debian-edu-config# grep -r "tjener" * |wc -l
../src/debian-edu-config# grep -r skole * |wc -l

I must confess we are pretty scared (I hope many of these lines will be
in changelogs ;-). So we have thought of these alternatives:
a) The easiest one but worst one from my point of view: work together
but build different cds for LinEx.
b) Create one or more packages to apply LinEx configurations instead of
Skolelinux configurations, using d-i tasks to apply them if the user
types "linex" at the installer first  prompt. In that case, some of our
configs will be hardcoded in the config files as currently skolelinux
configs are, will install GNOME instead of KDE, and will prompt for the
network configuration and hostname if the main server profile is chosen.
c) All the configurations in the debian-edu-install and
debian-edu-config will depend on variables that will be filled using the
installer udebs: If the user types expert, it will ask for the ip,
hostname, ldap base suffix, and Desktop to be used, if the user types
linex it will be like b) but without hardcoding the preseeds or answers
and if the user just press intro it will be like the current

Option c) seems the more elegant and flexible solution, from a technical
point of view and thinking of people around the world who will have
different names for the computers and different network ranges, but it's
also the hardest one. If this option is chosen a lot of work need to be

We have a more detailed explanation of many of the needed changes in the
configurations, but it doesn't make sense to copy them in this mail.
Now, it's time to begin to take decissions so any opinion, help or
discussion is welcome, here or at irc.

Best regards.
José L.

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