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General Chat Thread, Suddenly... Upgrades!! in General; we have loads of linux servers. I find them MUCH easier to look after, manage and migrate than any of ...
  1. #46


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    we have loads of linux servers. I find them MUCH easier to look after, manage and migrate than any of our windows machines. They save time and usually use significantly less resources than windows to do the same thing. We use windows for SIMS, Citirx and currently active directory. I can see us dropping AD in the next 3-5 yrs.
    Linux isn;'t harder or more complicated than windows, its just different. If you new to windows server it isn't any more difficult to pick up linux. You will need to use the CLI though, but you have to with windows too. The only real difference is in application they support.

  2. #47

    X-13's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by nicholab View Post
    Make sure you consider the whole network Workstations, Wireless, Switches, Servers, Primary storage, Backup and internet connection for any cost calculations. It would be worth doing a back of the fag packet calculating for replacing what you go and also for adding new stuff and give a yearly cost. I think HT can forget the basic a network were you can log on and no time is wasted is as good as shiny toys. Put some picture in HT/SMT love pictures.
    The wireless is new and the switches were just upgraded. If I put them in the calculations I'm likely to get a flat what.

    Desktops need to be replaced, and I'm talking about all of them.

    I've seen a nice one from Stone[?] that is the same price as one our HT was looking at. [But this has better specs. i3, 4gb RAM... etc]


    Same with the server. It's 2003 and multi-function. I've always been wary of it being in charge of everything... [It's also died at least twice.]

    Quote Originally Posted by SYNACK View Post
    Using linux schoolwide is like building the school out of log cabins from newly felled trees instead of dropping a bunch of fully apointed prefabs in. You can do it but it is going to be some heavy work as comparitivly you will be very alone.


    Quote Originally Posted by CyberNerd View Post
    we have loads of linux servers. I find them MUCH easier to look after, manage and migrate than any of our windows machines.
    Ok... now I'm confused.

    Some people are saying it's harder and I'll break it... some are saying it's easier...

  3. #48

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    Quote Originally Posted by X-13 View Post
    and all anyone really uses is MS office. And there's a built in alternative..
    Yes but you immediately have a compatability issue when trying to open old docs or if someone from outside the school sends you a file which is the problem with open office etc...

    Quote Originally Posted by X-13 View Post
    Other software either has alternatives or is available for Linux..
    It sounds like the school has not invested in software, if you can find free alternatives great but you will need to provide training for the staff / children and you wont be able to install SEN software etc... that is designed for a MS OS. How exactly do you deploy software on linux anyway? It takes about 5min when you have an msi on a MS network I wouldnt know where to start on a linux network.


    Quote Originally Posted by X-13 View Post
    Linux for schools also contains the following on the site "No need for in depth knowledge of Linux server administration." so my lack of experience with Linux shouldn't be a problem..
    sorry but - lol

    Quote Originally Posted by X-13 View Post
    If I'm not there, it gets logged with the LEA support.
    So your LEA told the school they had to use CC3 because that is all they will support and your school is now going to log linux related issues with them...

    If you were a linux god I would still have some reservations but for a noob...

    By all means (as long as you have got some form of esafety system that works on linux) use your old PCs to run linux for web browsing or any other specific tasks you have identified but replacing a working CC3 network with linux is just...

  4. #49

    X-13's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ToyHeartsFan View Post
    Yes but you immediately have a compatability issue when trying to open old docs or if someone from outside the school sends you a file which is the problem with open office etc...
    I've never had compatibility issues between Open and MS.

    No changes made to either.

    Quote Originally Posted by ToyHeartsFan View Post
    It sounds like the school has not invested in software, if you can find free alternatives great but you will need to provide training for the staff / children and you wont be able to install SEN software etc... that is designed for a MS OS. How exactly do you deploy software on linux anyway? It takes about 5min when you have an msi on a MS network I wouldnt know where to start on a linux network.
    It's not that we haven't invested in software... It's just no-one actually uses it.

    We have a LOT of software sitting about. I've reminded people about it many times.


    Quote Originally Posted by ToyHeartsFan View Post
    So your LEA told the school they had to use CC3 because that is all they will support and your school is now going to log linux related issues with them...
    Actually, by April we may not have LEA support. No-one is quite sure what's happening... I heard the phrase "they're in meltdown" this morning.



    Anyway... can we move away from the "Linux is teh hard... u gonna break it. Uze teh Windows".

    Linux is an option. So is Windows. I'm equally open to either.
    Last edited by X-13; 28th February 2012 at 02:35 PM.

  5. #50

    SYNACK's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by X-13 View Post
    Ok... now I'm confused.

    Some people are saying it's harder and I'll break it... some are saying it's easier...
    Servers, sure they are easier as its the techs that need to know it, the clients are still knowen and supported Windows. It can be a pain dealing with them though as pushing stuff to a whole network of Win pcs is trivial with a win server but an convoluded issue without. Central auth is not easily possible with windows accounts on a linux server as there is no direct ldap connection between XP or higher that supports the standard encryption so you need to disable it on all clients. Its a practicality and ease thing. That and for me I hate reading through war and peace worth of config files to get things going.

  6. #51
    nicholab's Avatar
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    Have you considered thin clients?

  7. #52

    X-13's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by nicholab View Post
    Have you considered thin clients?
    I have. I believe that was shot down somewhere in the first page. [Well, I said thin + VLE on dedicated server]

    Le EDIT: 2nd page, by sonofsanta. But that may have been because I used the wrong terminology...


    Quote Originally Posted by ToyHeartsFan View Post
    How exactly do you deploy software on linux anyway? It takes about 5min when you have an msi on a MS network I wouldnt know where to start on a linux network.
    Look at the Linux server OS I linked.

    there's a demo of it, it's actually pretty straight forward.

    login as network manager -> clients -> linux clients -> install software [that's as far as you can go... there are no clients on the demo]

    From there I'm guessing it's choose client[s] -> choose software -> install.


    Not that hard really. In fact... it's almost exactly the same as CC3.
    Last edited by X-13; 28th February 2012 at 02:50 PM.

  8. #53

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    You can easily run a completely Linux back end using Windows Clients. There is a school near me which does this. The only windows servers they have are Exchange (in its own separate domain) and Sims - in the normal domain.

    There a are various ways to roll out software and updates etc

  9. #54

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    “I've never had compatibility issues between Open and MS.”

    Basic stuff should be fine but I’ve seen a teacher try to open a word doc that had a fairly complex table in it and it just didn’t work correctly in the free software that had been preinstalled on his home laptop (don’t ask me what it was I cant remember!).

    I believe there is also an issue with some formulas if you are tying to use an open version of excel.


    “Actually, by April we may not have LEA support. No-one is quite sure what's happening... I heard the phrase "they're in meltdown" this morning.”
    If your council is stupid enough to close the LEA ICT support then I think you have got more to worry about than what OS you are going to use. In fact I would be looking at a supplier that could offer more support rather than going it alone. It might be that your LEA ICT doesn’t do much but ours provides our broadband connection, content filtering, antivirus software, esafety software, mail hosting, vle hosting, remote support, vpn connections etc, etc… they are not cheap and are far from perfect but if the plug got pulled on them … eeekk


    “Anyway... can we move away from the "Linux is teh hard... u gonna break it. Uze teh Windows".

    You have a working network and you want to replace it with a solution that your LEA doesn’t support, that you haven’t used before and that will introduce compatibility issues and a steep learning curve for both yourself and the schools users. Yes it could work out fine but if it doesn’t it will have an immediate negative effect upon the education of the children at your school and your head will be on the chopping block. A quick google reveals that RM is supporting cc3 until MS drop XP i.e. April 2014 so I would suggest sticking with CC3 until Summer 2013 which gives you plenty of time to look at solutions and test things if you do decide to go down the linux route.

  10. #55


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    Quote Originally Posted by ToyHeartsFan View Post
    “I've never had compatibility issues between Open and MS.”

    Basic stuff should be fine but I’ve seen a teacher try to open a word doc that had a fairly complex table in it and it just didn’t work correctly in the free software that had been preinstalled on his home laptop (don’t ask me what it was I cant remember!).

    I believe there is also an issue with some formulas if you are tying to use an open version of excel.
    Compatibility issues disappear pretty quickly as soon as you remove MSOffice. Staff bitch about it for a little while but soon calm down. The single biggest issue is with staff who have a lot of historic documents that have gone through several MS iterations , both libreoffice and google bork those documents.
    Once staff realise that the main document format is ODF or Google Docs things will calm. But this is really the sort of strategic decision that should be made by the leadership team. If they are incapable of making decisions and it is upto you you will need to back up any actions with thorough costing plans and training sessions. You would need to do that in any case moving to other versions of office so it isn't as bigger deal as it sounds. Allowing students access to MSOffice at home or on user owned equipment is massively expensive, for us this was the deal breaker wrt MSOffice.

    As for Desktop Linux - it can work. We have a few machines inschool all linux (student use) and We have about 6 staff who are total through and through linux users at home. There are free and commercial systms that make management simple. Before you embark on such a 'radical' mission you really need to get the infrastructure sorted. This essentially means thin clients (citrix)or VDI. The VDI from RedHat (linux) is really quite cheap, you could even do it for free with Centos. Thin clients will allow you to remotely provision Windows clients, or windows apps onto linux (and OSX,Android,IOS,Windows) devices. This is strategically a good way forward towards user owned devices whilst not entirely ditching your existing apps.

  11. #56

    X-13's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by CyberNerd View Post
    This essentially means thin clients (citrix)or VDI. The VDI from RedHat (linux) is really quite cheap, you could even do it for free with Centos. Thin clients will allow you to remotely provision Windows clients, or windows apps onto linux (and OSX,Android,IOS,Windows) devices. This is strategically a good way forward towards user owned devices whilst not entirely ditching your existing apps.
    THIS is what I meant.

    Not VLE.

    Why do I keep thinking VLE..?

  12. #57

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    Quote Originally Posted by X-13 View Post
    THIS is what I meant.

    Not VLE.

    Why do I keep thinking VLE..?
    That makes a lot more sense and would be a far easier, more versitile and traveled road.

  13. #58

    sonofsanta's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by X-13 View Post
    THIS is what I meant.

    Not VLE.

    Why do I keep thinking VLE..?
    I did wonder.

    Chucking yourself in at the deep end with Linux seems... iffy... without suitable preparation. Schools are a brilliant place to learn because there's so much holiday time where you can play and no-one will notice, but you can't afford to disrupt learning and the running of the school, ever. As @ToyHeartsFan says, stick with CC3 for a while longer and play, if you can - but given that budgets are ever shrinking that may not be an option and actually, the school would be better served on spending the money now to do MS rather than waiting to do Linux and possibly saving but having less money anyway and having lost out on a pot of money that was available before but wasn't spent.

    Also: going it alone without LEA support is doable, I do it. But you'll need more than just you on site if you do that - for 400 machines and 1100 users we're a manager and 2.5 techs, which generally allows enough time for one person to be on Project Duty all the time. If you're not comfortable running a whole network and being wholly responsible for it, with EduGeek as your only backup, then get an NM in above you - as difficult as it is to admit you're not up to it and close off a career opportunity, it's about the school, not you. If you reckon you can take it on, be prepared for some long discussions with management about how you're doing it for the school and not for you.

    Good luck, either way... the times they are a-changing, huh?

  14. #59

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    Quote Originally Posted by sonofsanta View Post
    Good luck, either way... the times they are a-changing, huh?
    Indeed, they are.

    It's nice to have a HT who wants to do these things.


    He even agreed that I would need to be SLT meetings regarding IT so I know what's going on. [X for promote to SLT?]
    Last edited by X-13; 29th February 2012 at 08:32 AM. Reason: Where'd you come from "?" I don't need you... go away.

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    cpjitservices's Avatar
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    Have a look at LTSP on Edubuntu (Linux Terminal Services Project), You dont have to have a massive server to run LTSP - Attach your thin clinets to the network and they will start booting the OS, I have tried this with a Pentium 4 with 1GB RAM running as the LTSP Server, a 10/100 Cisco Switch and 7 PC's without Hard Disks and 2 GB RAM - all booted up fine and ran as sweet as a nut. The joy of LTSP on Edubuntu is you can run it off of the Live CD so you can have a play with it first before installing it onto a server.

    http://www.ltsp.org/

    CentOS looks to be a great way to Implement your VDI and keep using existing apps, although never tried it.

    The way I look at it is once you have this in a test environment and are comfortable with how it works and how you administer it, the actual administration of it will be simple, you won't even have imaging to worry about!

    I would recommend putting this sort of implementation on a test bed first possibly when your a comfortable roll it out side-by-side with your CC3 Network, maybe even try one classroom at a time with so many thin clients etc etc or even try a few people with thin clients as there own machine in an office etc.

    The other option is ditch CC3 and go with a completely vanilla Windows network, the price of licensing for Education establishments these days with EES and the likes arn't that bad.

    Good Luck, either way it'll be good clean fun!
    Last edited by cpjitservices; 29th February 2012 at 09:12 AM.

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