My name is Paul, and I've delayed my introduction to the list so that I could tell the general direction of the discussions etc. I have basically joined the list to keep up with those closest with Linux and schools. I worked part of a year in a Corby Technology College and watched expensive proprietary solutions being implemented knowing that there is a better way. Having used SuSE Linux from version 6.0 and being a regular user of a lot of open source software (I'm studying an HND in Network Support) I think that a compelling argument for open source software in schools is the simple fact of its being "open". There is a major philosophical as well as financial argument to using open source software, not to mention the more than obvious technical argument!
My main interest is seeing Linux used alongside, if not replacing, proprietary solutions in schools. I would like to help in any way I can with the promotion of Linux for that purpose and being a Dad of four it makes sense for me to introduce children to a true multi-user, multi-tasking OS from the outset of their education. I think if we were to truly open up IT to the masses and make school a level playing field for the "have-nots" then there is most definitely a financial incentive to use and adopt open source solutions. Having been an IT technician in a school helped me see that even though proprietary solutions "work" in schools, often the need to customise and enhance software is huge but without the source code to do it from- or even the finances. Lists like this could help to show many schools and teachers in particular that open source (Linux in particular though not exclusively) can offer a better financial and technical basis for teaching and using IT in their school--enhancing the quality of education and not as some assert reducing it.
I'll be keeping a close eye on the discussions and maybe I could interject some thoughts or points along the way.
Thanks for listening!
> > (In general as well people are usually better disposed to you if you
>seem to be in
> > favour of something rather than against something.)
Surely it should just be a matter of 'put out a better more appealing
product with superior funcionality' and then advertising it.
Rather than just MS-bashing.
Yes a simplistic view and doesn't take account of potentially aggressive
monopolistic actions, however aiming for a good product is better than
aiming to bash MS.
Get Your Private, Free E-mail from MSN Hotmail at http://www.hotmail.com.
> No, I don't agree with you here. Allowing a large group of people to all
> have root access is simply asking for trouble.
Not a large number of people - just the core admin team ... but I actually
agree with you ... (see later).
> The admin team would have access to whichever files it turns
> out to be necessary to have access to on more than a one-off basis.
> /etc/named.conf, for example, is *not* such a file:
> it needs to be set up only once, not changed regularly.
I am just trying to clarify things - remember you initial statement
was that is was key to be able to "install and run arbitrary programs"
- I am just trying to see how a structure can be enforced so that
such things are possible.
>From what you are saying is that you propose to install all the bits
we would require for OSE for us, setup apache and DNS as required,
and then let the admin team get on with the mechanics of the site.
So you would naturally retain control over your server, but would
be open to suggestions for its configuration ? Is this a fair summary ?
If so, then it all sounds great to me - but I am just trying to clarify
exactly how you see it working, and what level of access could be
possible (or even needed) for OSE to function.
> Why is this a problem?
It is not a problem. I am just trying to clarify what needs to be done
and what options are available, and to see how this could fit in
with your proposal for a shared server.
Thanks for explaining.
Hope no-one minds a quick advert. One of my technicians has just told me
he is moving on to a local business, so I have a technician's post
available - see http://www.felsted.org/vacancies/ict.htm
(If replying to me, check you don't unintentionally post to the list!)
Christopher Dawkins, Felsted School, Dunmow, Essex CM6 3JG
01371-820527 or 07798 636725 cchd(a)felsted.essex.sch.uk
> Martin Devon wrote:
> > Would there be anything to be gained in becoming an umbrella for all anti-M$
> > interests
> ...writing as someone who has been trying to interest the government in
> Open Source software in education, I fear this would be a disastrous for any
> lobbying effort. Time and again I have been told by civil servants that
> supporting Open Source software would "distort the market" and received heavy
> hints about the consequences for those in power of p***ing off His Gates-ness.
> (In general as well people are usually better disposed to you if you seem to be in
> favour of something rather than against something.)
Such as being in favour of ensuring that monies collected from
a substantial portion of the UK population (call them "voters"
assuming the general election does go ahead in May) actually
stay within the UK. Rather than contributing the "wrong way"
to contry's balance of payments...
As for the "distorting the market" the market is distorted
as much as the event horizon of a black hole anyway. Because
of the Microsoft situation having been allowed to develop.
If a corporate entity is capable of intimidating any nation
state then something is wrong. It the same entity is capable
of intimidating any nation state in the "first world" then
something is very seriously wrong.
St. Peter's CofE High School
Phone: +44 1392 204764 X109
Fax: +44 1392 204763
> Ambiguous pronunciation can be a problem
Well yes, but this is pronounced "Open Source in Education"
- which is its name :-)
> a much more elegant and secure solution is to create an
> "osieadmin" group that has write access to all the relevant
> configuration files
Agreed - but your first email suggested
"The main restriction is likely to be that we need a server on which
we can get full root access, because it would be good to be able
to install and run arbitrary programs"
- to which I responded that the 'we' is the important word - the
admin team must be able to do what is required.
For a volunteer organisation it is important to have several key
people for all tasks. I see 3 levels of control required here:
1. Physical machine access
2. Admin access
3. Site content access
If only the owners of the machine are in a position to manage
(1), then maybe a ISP hosted machine would be best (if we find one
willing - like uklinux.net). It means that we don't need to worry
ever having to go over to the machine to do anything physical to
it (new disks, etc) - this is the ISPs problem, not us as admins,
and the ISP should have several people on the job as a matter
of course. This does assume that we have enough control over
(2) to be of use though ... which is not always the case.
Of course we could have a dedicated machine (if we can talk
nicely to someone to give us one :-) - but as an admin member
of lug.org.uk (we have our own machine, installed in an ISP) I
know that if something really nasty happens, someone has to
drive to Leeds to sort it out - so for really serious problems,
this is not ideal - ok, we have a solution to (1) but it is not too
practical ... however, there is a team of 5 or 6 people who are
able to do what is required in all other cases (2), when things
need to be done - so this works pretty well.
So it may well be that your suggestion is fine, as long as (2)
provides enough control to do what is required, without
permitting any chance of causing a problem with your
own site. (I am not quite sure how this could be managed
at the moment as presumably you would be using apache
with virtual hosting to manage both sites ... so would the
admin team have access to your /etc/httpd.conf ? Or similarly
with /etc/named.conf, etc ?)
Something to think about.
Michael Brown <mbrown(a)fensystems.co.uk> writes:
> I can't make claims on behalf of the other servers on offer, but the Fen
> Systems server is a real (not virtual) server to which we will have root
> access. It has 100Mbit connection, several GB of space and is hosted in
> Docklands, close to LINX. It would be preferable to have at least two
> servers, to add some redundancy - I think the Debian server had similar
> connectivity etc.?
The Debian machine is my machine, so yes it's real and I have root
etc. It's on a 100Mbit LAN, but is currently limited to 20Mbit/s
which it occasionally bumps into, but is generally only (I say only ;-)
pushing out about 4.5Mbit/s
so there's plenty of headroom.
It's got loads of disk space (over 30GB spare).
The only real down side is that it's on un-RAIDed IDE drives, so
hardware failures would hurt a bit --- it is backed up to tape daily
P.S. Please can someone add <phil.hands(a)uk.alcove.com> to the list of
valid from addresses for this list.
Say no to software patents! http://petition.eurolinux.org/
Philip Hands. +44 (0)20 7744 6244 philip.hands(a)uk.alcove.com
Alcove UK --- Liberating Software --- http://www.alcove.com/http://www.hands.com/ phil(a)hands.com http://www.uk.debian.org/
> So how *do* you pronounce "ose"?
Is it important ? I could ask you how you pronounce Linux - but then
that would really fill up Rogers mailing list with messages :-)
> The main restriction is likely to be that we need a server on which
> we can get full root access
Agreed - but it has to be that the appropriate members of the admin
team can get root access - we do not want this to rely on one person
- do you have anything else on this server ?
> I have also been offered linuxinschools.org.uk by someone else ...
Not to mention schools.lug.org.uk ... also available for free :-)
I agree, domain names are not a problem - lets stick with the
established www.ose.org.uk (if thats ok with Malcolm).
A more pressing question is hosting - do we have any idea where
this beast is to live ?
If I recall correctly, there was the offer of:
- uk debian
There are also community sites like lug.org.uk. Also uklinux.net
will host community projects for free, which keeps things away
from personal machines (presumably providing some sort
of backup/multiple DNS/etc). I don't know how these compare ...
(doesn't lfsp use uklinux.net at the moment ?)
It may be that the admin of the group could be via something
like sourceforge. If there is real code to be maintained for
the site and developed (there is - Michaels) and the ideas of
'things to do' and an 'admin team' that are supporting the
site in general, then it may be that sourceforge could act as a
home for all the admin side of things (mailing lists, bug reports,
requests for things to do, discussions beween admins etc).
Just an idea.