On Mon, Sep 18, 2000 at 11:52:35AM +0100, davef(a)gbdirect.co.uk wrote:
> My 3 'peneth on the offering (speaking as someone with recent secondary
> teaching experience):
> Basically, linux in its raw state is no use to anyone in schools except
> for after-school tinkering by comp sci clubs or geeky physics/maths
> teachers, etc ... and there are not many of the latter with much time for
There are quite a few schools already making use of the complicated
stuff like Squid, Apache and Samba. They're very keen on the savings
on licensing costs. So I think your characterisation of linux in
it's `raw state' being of no use doesn't quite tally with the facts.
> In short, any offering must be completely and simply packaged (Mac-like)
> and fully supported.
> Anything less will simply be a waste of time for both wylug members and
> any targetted schools/teachers.
> P.S. Sorry for the stridency, but with the current state of UK teaching
> (i.e. shite pay, shite status, no time and the blame for all social
> ills) the usual bollocks which over-skilled Unix-gurus come out with in
> response to serious useability issues just won't wash
> Please, if you feel compelled to remind me about the amazing efficiency
> and useability of "vee-eye" and the bash ... don't bother
Perhaps schools should not be educating their pupils in little more
than an ability to push a mouse around and taking instruction from a
Shouldn't they perhaps be teaching them to use applications such as
bash and vi to get a more solid grounding in how computers actually
work? After all most can learn the GUI stuff at home or at school in
their own time.
Just my 2p
| Boroughbridge | Tel: 01423 323019 | PGP keyID: 0xC0B341A3 |
I updated my core system from 6.4 to 7.0 last night and all seems to work well but I have lost my own e-mail. I am sending this through netscape with a root log-in. When I log in to my own user account, I can dial up my ISP but when I try to send mail from K-Mail I get SMTP refused by server or something or port already open for checking pop. When I use Netscape it says the server is unreacahble.
I have seen this before ages ago with my first Linux installations and know it is something to do with privaleges but can't remember where to look or what to change.
Also, with a straight install, there is the chance to install KDE2 stuff and SAX2 but not it seems with an update? Admittedly I was over anxious in waiting for my full version and used the one from Linux Format but it only instaled the base files so should not have affected anything else?
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Free BeOS: http://free.be.com/
I am trying the same tactic on my SMT which is partly helped by our lack of technical expertise in the network department. We have a semi-competent "trainer" and the network manager is an ex-A level IT student (got a B last year). All of the A level IT students maintain the network and they do a fairly good job but it is not really enough.
I digress. Over the summer I got my hands dirty with Squid and we now have our Internet caching which would have been a costly venture with any MS solution I have seen. I have also had a mare trying to get consistent printing in my teaching room due to "my" machine having the printer attached locally. I'm sure it was the set up but when other staff or students would log on it would set the printer off-line (Win98) for the other users. I now have SuSE running it and it sings all day long. This could be due to other staff being frightened of the "stange" desktop.
I am now pushing for a Linux/Star Office solution in the DT department because of some of the excellent design software included. The computers are going to be on a sort of independent network but that is okay for now (and mainly due to the fact that my knowledge of Samba is okay but I have yet to get Linux machines to go the other way--more reading needed?).
BTW Roger's excellent article in September's LinuxUser was quite useful in turning the head towards a more sustained Linux deployment. We lost technology status this year and expenses are mounting.
Also, on the issue of licensing, this month's PC Plus mentions that buying computers from places like Tiny et al and replacing the OS with a ghosted version invalidates the license. If that is the case I suspect that my school, and many others, are doing some paddling in an unpleasant creek?
>Date: Thu, 14 Sep 2000 19:46:10 +0100
>To: Christopher Dawkins <cchd(a)felsted.essex.sch.uk>
>Cc: Schools List <suse-linux-uk-schools(a)suse.com>
>From: `paul <smartart(a)cableinet.co.uk>
>Subject: Re: [suse-linux-uk-schools] Advice please
>In message <Pine.BSF.3.96.1000913213958.15715A-100000(a)server.felsted.ess
>ex.sch.uk>, Christopher Dawkins <cchd(a)felsted.essex.sch.uk> writes
>>Citrix is very expensive, but configuring VMware for multiple concurrent
>>access is a complex job.
>>> Can I do the job with only £7K: new server, CAT5 cabling, (thin client)
>>> licences, probably more memory for each machine, new NICs and so on.
>>Easily, I'd say, but don't say so, keep the surplus, be useful for
>>black-market petrol. Our last batch of ISA NIC's was four pounds each.
>>Spend money on Netgear 10/100 switches, Intel EtherExpress 10/100
>>cards in the server, maybe a RAID array, though that'll chew up your 7K.
>Many thanks for the words of advice and for giving me another route to
>consider, Chris. It's much appreciated, believe me. It's come as a bit
>of shock to be actually be making a "real" decision, IYSWIM, instead of
>just being occasionally asked an opinion but not having to make the
>choice. A big shock. Think I'm starting to grow up here a bit :-)
>>But tell me, since when have "licences" cost money?
>I would love to go Linux only for that room (and then the whole place)
>and I appreciate that as the new boy I've more chance of actually
>getting it done too. The problem will be colleagues. Not the ones who
>need the NOF training but the more knowledgeable users who are dedicated
>I think the senior DH & H would love to be able to save all that cash we
>have to spend on licences for MS products. And I've noticed that SuSE
>7.o has more educational style packages too.
>Hmmn well, I won't know until I ask, will I? And the head's ambition
>is to make our school (new Technology College) the best for IT in the
>LEA so I was hoping of selling it as a way of leading the way for
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Further to Malcolm's enquiry about, I've found that, provided the CD is
mounted at the point from which it was loaded (e.g. shared via SAMBA or as a
mounted Netware volume) it works fine across the network BUT it doesn't seem
to work as an image file.
I use VMWare to enable me to run Win98 to maintain the Novell side of things
but at present it insists on crashing as soon as I run Novells 32bit
software (e.g. nwadmn32.exe) but runs old Win95 stuff fine if a little
Corel Office 2000 runs as WINE apps - OK but you need the processing power
and memory. However, Corel does offer English english dictionaries unlike
the US english of Applix.
Best wishes, Derek Harding
> You underestimate how distructive children can be :)
I know exactly what you mean. My children have a
P90 multi-media system made from scrap bits of
lots of old PCs. I came home from work one day,
to find that our toddler had been putting twigs in
the floppy drive ....
We have got through 3 mice and 2 keyboards.
... off to trash some more machines for bits ...
While we are on the topic, this machine runs
Win 3.1 (good performance, simple to setup, etc)
Seeing as most multi-media titles run as Win 16,
Win 32 or Mac (the ones we buy anyway) - has any
one had any luck running them under Wine ?
(Have I asked this before ? I asked it somewhere ...)
> looking at the related HOWTO's on thinclient, X terminals etc,
> there not as straightforward and clear as many of the other documents.
If you have comments on the XDM /X Terminal one - do pass them
on - I maintain it :-) This was the first version - so it could do with
One of the biggest confusions here, is the large number of choices
you have. For example, to provide a remote desktop using networked
X, you can do any of the following (depending on what equipment you
1. Diskless workstations - see thin client/diskless/etherboot howto
2. Locally booting workstations, with root on a server - see NFS Root/thin
3. Locally booting and running workstations
It really depends on how much diskspace you have locally,
and what level of future maintainence you want vs how long
do you want to take to set it up ?
> I am about to (today) do some experimenting with
> Etherboot/Netboot and booting net kernel images
> from floppies.
Our Northants group project Angelcynn (constructing a cluster
out of junk 486s) involved doing this. I had a system with a server
providing root images for each client (mostly using symbolic links)
and using a boot floppy for my clients, containing a kernel, built with
'nfsroot', 'rarp' and 'bootp' startup configured. The beowulf stuff
had some scripts for creating the rarpd/bootpd server configurations
and duplicating the servers filesystem image using symbolic links,
providing a directory structure that is mountable via NFS for each
When I was mucking about with XDM, I didn't bother with this - I
just installed a minial SuSE system, in (approx) 200 Mb of local
disk - enough to get me to run the networking code and an X server.
This was with SuSE 6.3 - which is not easy to scale down. I am
told that SuSE 6.4 is more easily scaled - but haven't tried it
personally. The RH distros (sorry Roger :-) are quite good at
scaling down too - as you can individually select the RPMS
on a smaller granularity - but the best is debian or slackware
- which you can really chop down to a small size.
> A document and/or a workshop on making X terminals from
> refurbished kit would be really good, and also access to an
> EPROM burner. Any suggestions here?
Well, like I said, really you are trading off ease of initial setup
against ease of maintanance. Personally I see no need to
blow eproms - just boot of a floppy if you want diskless
workstations (ok - diskless apart from the floppy :-). Is this
a problem in the classroom ?
A small local harddisk is always useful for swap anyway.
The easiest to setup is a local installation on each client
- enough to run X. This is also probably the easiest if you
have quite a diversity of different hardware - as each
PC may need a different X server, etc.
This is the hardest to manage though - as you have to
maintain each maching individually.
The O'Reilly book 'building Linux Clusters' has a CD with
some tools for managing large numbers of machines,
but this is dedicated more to clusters than X terminals,
but I would say the principles are the same.
I would certainly contribute (if I could) to anything you
have in this area. Like I said - if you want something
adding to the XDM X terminal howto - just pass it on.
Our last LUG talk was about X, its architecture and
using XDM - I demoed my 486 showing my usual
desktop from my main machine. I will help if I can, but
with a full time job and a very young family, tanking around
the country is not so easy at the moment :-)
The LUG talk contains some very simple instructions
(in conjunction with the XDM/X Terminal howto) on
configuring 2 existing machines to share X desktops
using XDM - if you have 2 machines - I would start from
See : http://www.northants.lug.org.uk/ for meeting notes.
I don't know why this came to me personally and not the list (?)
SuSE Linux Ltd
The Kinetic Centre
020 8387 1482
---------- Forwarded message ----------
Date: Fri, 15 Sep 2000 09:29:06 +0100
From: Derek Harding <hardingd(a)warlingham.surrey.sch.uk>
Subject: Squid help
I'm running squid 2.13 on my system here. I am using some local filtering
and forcing all traffic out through the ISPs proxy/cache (also squid). It seems
that a lot of sites aren't getting cached here, or if they are, they are being
renewed at every request. Consequence is that we seem to have a very slow
internet link (but it is 256k ISDN!).
Two questions - any ideas about improving our cache/speed and how can I remove
all caching and simply run squid as a proxy? I want to try simply proxying
everything without any filters to see if it goes faster!
Help urgently needed!!!!
Derek Harding, ICT & Network Manager
> I was telling the boss about how old kit could recycled using a thin
> client and he said if I can get the job done for £7K, I can go ahead.
Thin clients to do what exactly ? I would say you could kit out an
internet lab (for example) based on Linux using this technology
(single meaty server, other 'thin clients' using X over the network).
It all depends on what you want to run on the other machines.
If you additional PCs have to be doing Windows apps - then
I don't see how Linux/open source could help ....
I would say go for a pilot internet lab. The documents you
need to consult are :
- Thin Client Howto
- XDM and X Terminal Howto
- Networking Howto ?
from the LDP (http://www.linuxdoc.org/)
For this sort of project, it may be worth adopting a network
where you lab is on a subnet (ie separated from the main
network) with your server having 2 network connections,
one to the subnet and one to the main network.
This means that all thin-client network traffic is isolated
from your main network.
In future, you could perhaps look into providing Star
Office type things too, using the same setup.
Just my opinions. Disclaimer - I know the theory but
have not done it in practise.
Mmmm, remember my comments about word being a world class piece of
software? Used by nearly everyone? The ideal way to disseminate documents.
You all booed and shouted! :-) Did I return fire? - No! I just waited :-)
Thanks Malcolm! Regarding OSE too, Whoops!
>From smug of Weston-super-Mare :-)
There is no smart comment below this line
At the risk of proving I am no expert on this....
The choice of a thin client (low bandwidth) LINUX SERVER is limited. Are
you thinking of deploying M$ products? If so then I don't know of a way to
do this from a Linux box.
If you are using Windoze based apps then perhaps Citrix will is not
required; too expensive, but there is evidence that it works (to a point).
The Windows 2k thin client server route has improved over the NT4 version
and is cheaper.
An ICA client (Citrix type) is available on Linux and works very well but
needs a M$ server. Watch out for the cost of licenses with all the
commercial solutions - it may not be as cheap as you fist think to deploy
Thick clients (higher bandwidth) work well and could be very cost effective.
There is a lot of info about configuring X-based apps in a distributed
What about wordperfect and Staroffice?
Anyone have a view on this?
From: `paul [mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org]
Sent: 13 September 2000 21:22
Cc: Malcolm Herbert; Schools List
Subject: [suse-linux-uk-schools] Advice please
I need the benefit of your wiser and more experienced heads please.
I'm acting up as HoD (unpaid, alas) and I've managed to talk the senior
DH into giving me some money. I've been given up to ?7K to do away from
a room full of equipment.
The current room has 25 i333MHZ PCs, on 10MB BNC. network is a queer
mix of 2 x Novell 3.12 servers, with an NT proxy & Wins server. The
clients run under Win98.
I was telling the boss about how old kit could recycled using a thin
client and he said if I can get the job done for ?7K, I can go ahead.
He would like to be able to free up 12 machines to re-distributed around
Obviously I'd like to get a Linux box in there as the main server for
the thin client end.
Now, I could go down the Citrx route - if I can ever afford the
licences, but what about having another server and using VNC, VMWare or
But I haven't got any experience with any of it, apart from the 30 days
when I ran VMWare on my own SuSE machine.
Can I do the job with only ?7K: new server, CAT5 cabling, (thin client)
licences, probably more memory for each machine, new NICs and so on.
Any ideas or advice would be very gratefully received. If I do a good
job then there's a small showcase for other schools in the LEA, the
bosses get to swank at other schools' bosses about what the school's
done, SuSE gets to sell my school a half-price copy of v7.0 ;-) and
maybe I increase my chances of a permanent FT position in January 2001.