We might all dream of every school kid competent in linux. However the
important ideas in education often slip in unnoticed and take a while to
In a perfect world every school that wished to would have a network
providing web proxy, user accounts and e-mail for every student and
What prevents this in most school is costs, lack of technical
experience and support problems.
Licenses for NetWare and NT networks cost money. Add to this the fact
that networks are installed frequently by the lowest tender, with little
thought to strategic planning.
Teachers have neither the time nor inclination to acquire skills of
network administration. Nor do they have time to run them (official
time allocated varies from 0 to 8 minutes a day to run a network!). The
result is a series of ad hoc solutions, with each network evolving to
its eventual state of inoperability.
Nobody in their right mind would support these networks as a commercial
concern. 99% of troubleshooting is spent trying to figure out how they
should be working in the first place.
One solution would be the development of a *nix based solution the would
be nailed down and fully documented.
The clever bit is to go against all that is holy to open source: Hide
the code behind a basic gui which provides all that is needed to
administer a network. Those that wish - and some will - to look under
the bonnet can, creating an entree for linux work within schools.
The result is a shrink-wrapped black box solution for schools - cost is
free and support a doddle as each site has an identical set-up. A model
of this exists in Pobalscoil Neasain www.psn.ie that was set up by some
former students. It is running on patches and has no documentation.
I have been shouting in the Wilderness for three years now. I have not
met anyone who thought the idea is crazy/unworkable. Nor have I met
anyone in three years willing to help.
pat at psn.ie (Please do not use June-Aug)
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