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On 4/17/07, Greg Dekoenigsberg <gdk@xxxxxxxxxx> wrote:
On Tue, 17 Apr 2007, Jim Kronebusch wrote: >> What should Red Hat be doing in the education space? > > First off, I don't think that this should be looked at as just > "education space". Many of the approaches to help education could also > be sold to businesses. Businesses need to save money as well, and the > education space leads to the business space after high school or > college. So when putting together a model, it may help to look at the > education space as a foot in the door to the business space. > > Here is a quick background on myself. I work full time as the Tech > Admin for a Senior High School, Junior High School and 3 elementary > schools with about 850 students total. I also run a local computer > business on the side geared mostly for commercial support along with > some residential and 4 other local schools. I work with Windows, OSX > and Linux. > > I think thin clients and central system management is the way to go for > schools and many businesses. However I see 2 major setbacks in this > area. First is scalability, currently there is not a foolproof, > efficient single setup that can scale many servers with hundreds of > clients. I know that Jim McQuillan has talked to an organization in > South America (I believe it is somewhere down there) who has put > together an excellent load balanced multi server setup that can handle a > few thousand client and he hopes to build this into future releases. > But that isn't guaranteed and is definitely a way out in the future. > There needs to be a fast and easy way to centrally manage 5000 thin > clients with a single server cluster. This is the main thing keeping > Thin clients out of schools in our area. It just doesn't make sense to > manage a separate system in each classroom, they all need to be tied > together so profiles and data are available in every classroom. Sure > Samba/LDAP with NFS mounted /home directories are a way to get there, > but this isn't always speed friendly and is not widely tested for > hardware guidelines. Second is multimedia. Much of what students need > computing for very multimedia based. Terminals (and fat clients for that > matter) need to be able to deliver good and consistent sound for all > apps. They also need to be equipped with the necessary software to > access all types of online content. Many sites students use contain > Windows Media, Shockwave, Flash, Real Media, Quicktime movies, etc. > Schools need a distribution that does this out of the box and is stable > doing so. They also need this all to play from within a web browser. > > I am not an advocate of one to one computing being achieved with > laptops. I have overseen laptop programs in the past, and do not think > this is the way to go. They are costly to purchase, costly to maintain, > and have a shorter life cycle than thin clients. I've heard this complaint with laptops elsewhere. > I personally think that the best way to give students access from home > is to have them remotely connect back to the server cluster at the > school and work just as they did in school. This has been done for > years in businesses and there should be no reason they can't do it in > schools. Indiana is also doing this. An interesting side-effect it has on students: when they log in from home, they don't conceive of themselves as "doing homework". They think of it as "finishing work at school." Which is a brilliant sleight of hand to accomplish in a kid's mind. :) > However remote connection clients for Linux are lacking in comparison to > their counter parts. Windows Remote Desktop can pass sound, communicate > with local printers, and is much better at speed. If I use VNC compared > to RDP I simply do not get near the same experience, RDP makes me feel > as if I am onsite where VNC has menu and typing lags. I think an > excellent Remote software package would be a great add-on as well. /me nods.
Perhaps as part of an "official" Red Hat solution include a partnering with NoMachine for their NX remote access client and server software? I've been using the freenx server on our various K12LTSP servers for several years, with NoMachine's NX Windows and Linux clients for remote access from my home to our school's servers. Especially when connecting over the Internet, I've found the NX Client to have significantly faster response times than VNC. NX Client also supports local file sharing, local printing, and sound... though in full disclosure I've not tried those features.
> So I guess to summarize I would love to see the following come about in > the future: > > 1. Seamless Cluster Management. With Windows 2003 server I can fire up > a management console and choose server roles, Linux needs this. I would > love that when I fire up my new Redhat Server it asked me what roles I > would like to assign to this machine. Roles could be Primary or > Secondary server, Application server (gui to walk through which apps to > export to other servers), DHCP server, File Server, Directory Server, > DNS Server, etc. Then when I choose each option it walks me through a > little wizard to configure the server role. If I happen to add a server > and choose Secondary, it would allow me to pick which primary server to > choose for each role with a simple gui that let me enter in the IP > address or name of which server was the primary for File serving, > Authentication, Applications and so on. I really think a nice GUI > server role management tool would go a long way. > > 2. Strong Multimedia delivery. I know there has been a lot of talk that > a move PulseAudio as opposed to ESD or ARTS should help. But along with > sound multimedia browser integration and a single do all player would be > great. I know multimedia is a must for schools out of the box. > > 3. A good compression remote desktop tool that can transport sound and > recognize local printers. > > 4. RedHat is obviously closely partnered with Dell since RedHat is the > only distro Dell will install on their servers. Work with Dell to > package server setups that can handle different sized schools. If I > could call Dell and talk to a server rep and let them know that I am > looking at deploying a Redhat based thin client setup in a school with > 800 terminals and the rep could tell me that I need servers XYZ and ship > them as a configured package that I can just plug into my network and > start adding terminals, I would be in heaven. This wouldn't go just for > schools either, businesses could benefit from this as well. Right now > when I mention such a thing to a Dell server Rep they haven't a clue > what I am even talking about. There could be a few case studies and > some testing to determine how much hardware is needed and what the most > efficient way to cluster would be. (Personally I find a speed hit when > using Samba/LDAP with NFS mounted /home directories, there has to be a > more efficient way of doing things.) Redhat is definitely know as a > stable server operating system, couple that with Dell hardware support > and preconfigured packages, and you could stumble into a goldmine. > Maybe if Redhat and Dell worked together you could find 64bit server > setups with quad quad core Zeon processors and 32GB of RAM and 4 teamed > Gigabit NICS that could handle 1000 clients from a single machine. > People like me just don't have the resources to test this sort of thing > and see if it is possible. > > 5. Work with Dell or some other vendors and build an approved client > list that is known to work with the above preconfigured packages out of > the box. This could provide a start to finish package that is > guaranteed to work. Maybe Dell could even look at getting into the thin > client market along with RedHat. > > 6. Be sure that all common Education apps are in RedHat software > repository and can easily be installed with Yum Extender. I don't think > that they need to be prepackaged, but need to be easily searched as > Education applications and be available. A good scheduling/grading > appliation such as http://richtech.ca/openadmin/ or > http://www.miller-group.net/index.php?option=com_frontpage&Itemid=1 are > a must in this list. > > 7. Possibly build local vendor support for the sale and technical > support of such systems. I know my business would be interested in > supporting Southern Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Iowa area. > http://www.1-cs.com. Local support options may be a key in > implementation and making end users feel comfortable. If nothing else > knowing support is available could set minds at ease. > > I think if Redhat could find solutions to the above problems they could > dominate one to one computing and the terminal services market in both > Education and Business. I am not sure how much of the above is even in > the realm of RedHat's scope but if nothing else they may be able to be a > good facilitator. > > And you thought your message was long :-) > Jim Kronebusch Heh. :) Thanks for the feedback, Jim. I appreciate it. --g
David Whitmer Director of Media & Technology Calvary Schools of Holland (Michigan) web: www.calvaryschoolsholland.org email: the.whitmers@xxxxxxxxx _______________________________________________ Fedora-education-list mailing list Fedora-education-list@xxxxxxxxxx http://www.redhat.com/mailman/listinfo/fedora-education-list
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