Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Setting Up a New LTSP Server

Spring is coming, which is my favorite time of the school year.  Between now and late May is when most of the work gets done.  Students have spent the year thus far acquiring the skills they need to do exciting projects, and they haven't yet hit the "it's Summer" mode that kicks in around mid May and ends most productive learning.  So now is the time to make things happen.

The first thing I want to do is get our infrastructure improved so we have the hardware and networking tools we need to support our projects.   This week there are two main goals:
  1. Getting a ticketing system in place.
  2. Setting up a new LTSP server to free up the machine on which it is currently running to use as a KVM server.
Our new sys admin, Devin Kuhn, is working on the ticketing system.  He plans to use RT, and I'll let him blog about that project.

I'm setting up the LTSP server using these instructions.  I ran into a problem with the install, where it asked me to insert the same CD I was using for the install in the middle of the installation.  The problem, and the solution - burning the image onto a DVD instead of a CD - is documented here.

Installation proceeded without incident until the Building Thin Client System step, where it failed, and I got the evil looking red screen with error message.  I hit cancel and proceeded with the next step, installing grub, and the installation finished without any additional errors.

Since we want fat clients, not thin clients anyway.  The failure to build the thin client system may not be a problem.  I plan to look at this documentation to install the fat client system, and will report on my progress in a later post.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

New Need for XMPP Server

On Friday I promised my Advanced Placement Computer Science students that I would setup eclipse for them.  When Kevin Cole and I got together this morning for our weekly web application development study session, he told me about a plug-in for eclipse called Saros that supports collaborative editing on eclipse.

It would be a great help to our aspiring Java programmers to have this capability, and since it uses XMPP for communication, it provides us with an additional use case, besides Sugar, for our ejabberd server.

Looks like it's time to raise the priority level of the the ejabberd server project....

Friday, February 4, 2011

Sugar Labs DC Plan for 2011

At the monthly meeting of the OLPC Learning Club DC on Saturday, January 22nd, we had the chance to discuss goals for Sugar Labs DC for the coming year.  After considering available resources and our desire to build on work from last year, we decided on the following goals:
  1. Update the TurtleArt for Gnome package in time for the 11.04 ("Natty") release of Ubuntu and port it to Fedora.
  2. Port the physics activity  to gnome and get it into Debian and Fedora repositories.
  3. Create a social networking site for sharing physics worlds, using the same technology we used last year to create the TurtleArt site.
  4. Use Pyjamas to create a browser version of Guido van Robot.
  5. Setup, test, and document a CentOS based "School Server" with the
    following features:
    • an rpm for a working ejabberd server
    • turtleartsite and physicssite installation
We decided to migrate our lab from Ubuntu to Fedora.  The Ubuntu Sugar Remix (USR) project is being abandoned for the time being, so sugar won't run on the next Ubuntu release.  We lack the resources to support USR ourselves, and since educational software is our focus, the move to Fedora makes sense for us.