About a month ago on one of my rambles across the web I ran into a very interesting site - that of the Organization for Free Software in Education and Teaching (OFSET). In my last post I mentioned an intention to create a Linux distribution specifically for use in schools. I didn't explain what I had in mind then, so I will now:
-Available for Macintosh, Intel-compatible PCs, and Intel compatible 64 bit PCs
-Contains all software neccesary for an educational environment
-Easy to install and use
-Usable in a client-server environment
On OFSET's site I discovered some very helpful resources - the Freeduc, a collection of free software helpful for education and also the Freeduc-cd, a Knoppix-based LiveCD with the software from the Freeduc. My original plan for the OpenSourcEd distro, as I will call it for now, was to use:
-The Anaconda installer from Fedora/Red Hat (ease of installation)
-PLD or Ubuntu kernels (support for all three architectures mentioned above)
-Various packages such as the Auto Mount Daemon and the Kudzu hardware detection wizard (ease of use)
-Graphical configuration wizards from various distributions (ease of use)
and to find and install whatever educational software I could dig up online. This last part has changed, thanks to the Freeduc. I downloaded the image of their LiveCD and tried it today. Even for an x86 kernel running on a 64 bit Intel compatible processor, not to mention the lag caused by reading data off the CD, it was very effective and easy to use, once I got the hang of the rather foreign desktop environment (IceWM, I believe). 'Marques' said in reply to my last post that he did not believe Linux would be as useful in schools as commercial operating systems, and although I do not know what background he has in the area I would like his opinion of the Freeduc-cd's ease of use. Even after a few months with Fedora Core 2 and my recent endeavors to build a Linux web server almost from the ground up I do not feel myself to be competent in the more complex areas of Linux, and the only time I needed to use a command line in twenty minutes of exploration on the Freeduc-cd was to mount my hard drive (automatic drive mounting seems to be a process that few Linux systems, if any, have perfected).
I completely agree with Derek on the tech support, but would the payment be necessary for the support? If a community of advanced Linux users could familiarize themselves with OpenSourceEd Linux then they could provide tech support to other users. Another possiblity is a wiki-style manual. I admit that these support systems would not be completely reliable and would take time to build, but they have been effectively used for years, mainly by those with backgrounds in technology.
I may start a project on sourceforge.net
soon, probably under the title "opensourced." If so, there is a good chance this blog will move to the home page of that project, most likely opensourced.sorceforge.net/darin/blog
. If so I plan to post a notice on this site if that is possible with blogger.