LinuxQuestions.org
Review your favorite Linux distribution.
Go Back   LinuxQuestions.org > Forums > Linux Forums > Linux - General
User Name
Password
Linux - General This Linux forum is for general Linux questions and discussion.
If it is Linux Related and doesn't seem to fit in any other forum then this is the place.

Notices

Reply
 
Search this Thread
Old 03-03-2007, 07:18 PM   #1
mohtech
Member
 
Registered: Dec 2004
Location: Denver Colorado
Distribution: Kubuntu/Debian
Posts: 120

Rep: Reputation: 15
HELP! Looks like I might be getting my first BIG gig, Thanks Tux!


Good Saturday to you all!

I might have bitten off a lot, however I was just talking to a lead founder about how to implement a technology program for a charter school that is going up in a year.

Of course I put the FOSS spin on things, the charter schools in Colorado have to pay for their own building out of the revenue that they get from their enrollment. That with everything else doesn't leave much room for a technology budget.The children will be from poor families. Think single parents working 3 jobs and you can imagine how much support the children get at home...that is life for too many in America.

With FOSS, we could give the poor families copies of Firefox, Open Office etc. In the schools we could use terminal servers and cheap thin clients. Children could get their first taste in programming through python. The Icecast server and clients could be used as a hacked intercom/radio show.

ARRGGG my head's gonna explode! What would be a cool thing to do with Linux that could be done in the classroom but isn't? For example, a Mr.House automated computer lab.

If anyone has gotten a really big gig, what were the most difficult challenges? What should I watch out for!
Mohtech
 
Old 03-03-2007, 11:00 PM   #2
drewbug01
Member
 
Registered: Aug 2006
Location: Detroit!
Distribution: Ubuntu 7.04
Posts: 182

Rep: Reputation: 30
:-D what exactly is a "Mr.House automated computer lab" ?
 
Old 03-04-2007, 02:05 AM   #3
greeniguana00
Member
 
Registered: Feb 2007
Distribution: Gentoo AMD64
Posts: 42

Rep: Reputation: 15
That looks very interesting, except for the thin clients. Computers are so cheap already that it makes sense to go for full fledged computers for a minimal increase in price (and probably a decrease in price once you consider you wouldn't need as powerful a server) for the large amount of performance increase you will get.

What you should do is make sure to set up ghosting of some sort in case (actually I should say for when) one of the computers is completely screwed up software-wise. With so many people using them, you know someone will eventually get a hold of the root password and cause havok.

The server should mostly be for network storage and databases (attendance, grades, etc.) and should be stable as a rock and very, very, very, very well backed up.

EDIT: and use Gentoo!

Last edited by greeniguana00; 03-04-2007 at 02:07 AM.
 
Old 03-04-2007, 06:34 AM   #4
mohtech
Member
 
Registered: Dec 2004
Location: Denver Colorado
Distribution: Kubuntu/Debian
Posts: 120

Original Poster
Rep: Reputation: 15
arg, I should of said misterhouse

Quote:
Originally Posted by drewbug01
:-D what exactly is a "Mr.House automated computer lab" ?
http://misterhouse.sourceforge.net/
from the website "misterhouse is an open source home automation program. There is also the plutohome project www.plutohome.com.

As for the terminal server thing, I'm still weighing the advantage of having one computer to manage, backup and restore. I think that the only real purchase could be at the server end and the others could be from corporate donations.

I have a LONG ways to go...the school will be up in a year, and I'm still a newbie. I'm most comfortable with Deiban, so do you think Etch or Edubuntu would be a good solution server/school wise?
 
Old 03-04-2007, 06:53 AM   #5
SciYro
Senior Member
 
Registered: Oct 2003
Location: hopefully not here
Distribution: Gentoo
Posts: 2,038

Rep: Reputation: 51
Ignoring the gentoo flamebait. Why have root at all? Either there will be a single master password, or individual passwords. Having a master password is a BAD idea. It would be better to just block root logins (no password, or a randomly-generated-on-startup password). If you ever actually needed to maintain the computer, just do a simple procedure: Place a boot disk in the cdrom, erase the hard disk, now copy over the ghosted image, ok, all done. That, or do a network boot (if you use a terminal server this is probably what youll be doing). Either way, youll make sure its fairly easy to repair if they do get root access.
 
Old 03-04-2007, 07:31 AM   #6
mohtech
Member
 
Registered: Dec 2004
Location: Denver Colorado
Distribution: Kubuntu/Debian
Posts: 120

Original Poster
Rep: Reputation: 15
I like how you were thinking....make it impossible to know or use the root password

EXCEPT for maintenance. Blocking physical access will be key for this. I think a Knoppix disc and a chroot could be used to modify such a system.

Would having a hidden (unmounted, ro, encrypted) duplicate root partition be secure, or would I be better off by ghosting it to a portable hard drive that I take with me?
 
Old 03-04-2007, 08:39 AM   #7
Hangdog42
LQ Veteran
 
Registered: Feb 2003
Location: Maryland
Distribution: Slackware
Posts: 7,791
Blog Entries: 1

Rep: Reputation: 414Reputation: 414Reputation: 414Reputation: 414Reputation: 414
Quote:
Originally Posted by mohtech
Good Saturday to you all!

ARRGGG my head's gonna explode! What would be a cool thing to do with Linux that could be done in the classroom but isn't? For example, a Mr.House automated computer lab.

If anyone has gotten a really big gig, what were the most difficult challenges? What should I watch out for!
Mohtech
This doesn't have anything to do with Linux, but I've been a consultant for a bit and I can tell you that the single biggest failures happen when expectations (frequently set by the consultant) get out of line with what can be delivered. You've got a great opportunity here, but you've got to keep your enthusiasm in check and make sure you can deliver.

In other words, you've gotta have your project management straight from the get go. One of the best approaches to this I've ever found is something called MOSCOW, which stands for Must have, Should have, Could have and Won't have. Basically you need to work with your clients to figure out what absolutely, positively MUST be working or the whole project will be considered a failure. Then deliver that first. Once you've nailed the musts, move on to the shoulds. Following this sort of approach usually (not always, but usually) means happy clients because 1) they feel connected to the project and their needs are taken seriously and 2) delivering the most important stuff first means the immediate impact of the project is substantial.
 
Old 03-04-2007, 09:58 AM   #8
mohtech
Member
 
Registered: Dec 2004
Location: Denver Colorado
Distribution: Kubuntu/Debian
Posts: 120

Original Poster
Rep: Reputation: 15
Hangdog42, thank you!

MOSCOW is now on an index card taped to my monitor. I am new to the consulting area,(as if you couldn't tell).

I was talking to the head lady all of the out of box approaches that could be useful through open source, explaining that python could be a great introductory computer language, and that terminal servers would be easier to maintain than having full blown work stations. I didn't mention the extra stuff like automating the computer lab...etc but I did mention icecast.

I am putting together a master list of skills that I will need to have by the time I start advising. I have a tremendous amount of technical skills to develop and hone, however the proposal to create the charter school is not until august, and even then, it will be several months before anything tangible will be going up.

I have until then to learn everything about being an educational consultant.


Hangdog42, how did you pick up your non-linux consulting information? Where should I go or do to make sure that I'm covering everything that needs to be covered? (Linux and Non-linux)

Thanks!
Mohtech
 
Old 03-04-2007, 10:37 AM   #9
Hangdog42
LQ Veteran
 
Registered: Feb 2003
Location: Maryland
Distribution: Slackware
Posts: 7,791
Blog Entries: 1

Rep: Reputation: 414Reputation: 414Reputation: 414Reputation: 414Reputation: 414
Unfortunately, I've picked up what I know about consulting from doing it and watching others do it. I've also learned a LOT by working with clients, some of whom were project management experts. You might try looking around the Project Management Institute's website and see if they have anything useful.. I know that they hold networking meetings on a fairly regular basis, and those can be a good way to meet people with decent skills.

Beyond that, a huge portion of this is working with your client to get the expectations and deliverables right. I know it is very tempting to just dive right in, but you really need to plan first. One of the major reasons is that very often, clients don't really understand what they need to begin with. You need to talk to them about the high-level goals that they are trying to reach, not the specifics of what they want to implement. As hard as it can be, you need to sit back and let them talk. Take notes and ask questions when you don't understand something. Then write, or diagram, what it is you think you heard and check back with them. Frequently, hearing someone else try to describe their goals will cause clients to modify what them. Like I said, a lot of the time, they may not really understand themselves what goals they are trying to reach, so you need to help them through this.

Getting the goals straight, and agreed upon, can also save you some major league headaches down the road. I absolutely guarantee that you will be faced with feature creep, and you need to have a defense against this. Project management is largely about agreeing on time, cost, and objectives and getting everyone to realize that you can't change one of those without changing the others. Particularly in the case where you are an outside consultant, you need to have this written down and signed off by your client, otherwise you are going to have cost overruns that could put a huge hole in your bottom line.

Once you've agreed with them on the high-level goals and their relative priorities, then you've got a bit more freedom to play as far as what gets implemented to reach those goals. Again, sign an agreement with your customer that explains the time, costs and objectives and then deliver on them. If they change one of those three at any point during the project, renegotiate the other two so everyone is in agreement on the impact that the change will have.

Oh yeah, one more VERY IMPORTANT THING.... You need to get your client to appoint one, and only one, person to serve as the contact and decision maker for them. You do NOT want to deal with your client's internal politics because doing so will cause your project to fail. So get that person in place, and if anyone else from the client asks you for changes, politely explain that person X is the person in charge from the client's side and they need to talk to them about changing the project.

Yeah, project management is a pain in the posterior, and sometimes people will try to drown a project in project management process, but you need to understand and use this stuff because it will save your bacon at some point.

Last edited by Hangdog42; 03-04-2007 at 10:41 AM.
 
Old 03-04-2007, 11:00 AM   #10
brianL
LQ 5k Club
 
Registered: Jan 2006
Location: Oldham, Lancs, England
Distribution: Slackware & Slackware64 14.1
Posts: 7,134
Blog Entries: 52

Rep: Reputation: Disabled
Sounds like a very good worthy cause. Hope it comes off OK.
 
  


Reply

Tags
education


Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
LXer: Tux and the Big, Bad Wolf LXer Syndicated Linux News 0 06-21-2006 08:03 AM
How to split a 9 Gig folder in 2x4.5 Gig folders jayhel Slackware 5 08-19-2005 12:36 AM
The Debian install thinks my 60 gig drive is a 33 gig drive! Nebetsu Debian 13 06-04-2005 01:41 AM
Why my 80 gig hard drive only shows 70 gig? dsuratman Linux - Newbie 3 11-20-2003 12:54 AM
1 gig disk drive big enough ? qwijibow Slackware 8 10-01-2003 12:30 PM


All times are GMT -5. The time now is 07:51 PM.

Main Menu
Advertisement
My LQ
Write for LQ
LinuxQuestions.org is looking for people interested in writing Editorials, Articles, Reviews, and more. If you'd like to contribute content, let us know.
Main Menu
Syndicate
RSS1  Latest Threads
RSS1  LQ News
Twitter: @linuxquestions
identi.ca: @linuxquestions
Facebook: linuxquestions Google+: linuxquestions
Open Source Consulting | Domain Registration