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*nix Thread, Which *nix distro in Technical; Just trying to see the usage patterns for *nix in the education sector. Do use an RPM, apt or tgz ...
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    Which *nix distro

    Just trying to see the usage patterns for *nix in the education sector.

    Do use an RPM, apt or tgz type Linux distro?

    Do you use the subscription-ware version or take your chances with the donation-ware version?

    Does anyone use BSD or Solaris?

    Do use *nix just for generic services (DHCP,DNS, email, SMB) or client side in teaching or admin.

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    ChrisH's Avatar
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    Re: Which *nix distro

    I prefer Debian based distros. Only use at the moment is proxy/Web filter. Future uses Spam filter and monitoring eg Nagios and some kind of syslog server for all server logs etc.

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    Re: Which *nix distro

    Do use an RPM, apt or tgz type Linux distro?
    All of the above. Centos/debian for servers and Ubuntu/SuSE/Thinstation for workstations.


    Do you use the subscription-ware version or take your chances with the donation-ware version?
    free, but we have a support contract to look after a BSD box for us.
    I don't see much difference really. For example SuSE just has some extra apps and some proprietry stuff over the free version (mp3 support). Centos == RedHat enterprise. Adding most of the 'extras' is usually trivial and support comes direct from the intraweb.

    Does anyone use BSD or Solaris?
    Solaris is pretty slick, but I find there is more support for Linux. We also have mac's that are essentially BSD.

    Do use *nix just for generic services (DHCP,DNS, email, SMB) or client side in teaching or admin.
    we now have more Linux than windows here - mostly thin client though so they run windows apps through Citrix.
    One of our RS teachers uses Ubuntu in the classroom - he tells me he uses free software to teach philosophical arguments?!
    I'd love to see our school run LTSP with some educational distro but SMT won't consider it. Its entirely possible, esp with citrix access, but I think it freaks them out too much knowing how much they pay MS.
    Teachers have a pretty serious MS culture here anyway.

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    Re: Which *nix distro

    Thanks guys.

    There appear to have been a number of 'Which Distro?' threads before but I think I can justify this one by emphasing the edu as well as the geek.

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    Re: Which *nix distro

    ..........and some kind of syslog server for all server logs etc.
    @ChrisH. A sound plan. Having logs go to a central location is pretty usefull. I can recommend a combination of phpsyslogng and snare clients for windows.
    phpsyslog makes it really simple to chase bugs/abuse - its also handy to be able to read the logs if a server gets compromised/toasted. Also their is a good chance your network equipment will support syslog.

    http://www.intersectalliance.com/projects/index.html
    http://www.phpwizardry.com/php-syslog-ng.php

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    ChrisH's Avatar
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    Re: Which *nix distro

    It was one of your previous posts that prompted the idea

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    Re: Which *nix distro

    I just switched my home desktop machine from Gentoo to Ubuntu. I got bored of compiling everything every night.

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    Re: Which *nix distro

    Quote Originally Posted by Geoff
    I just switched my home desktop machine from Gentoo to Ubuntu. I got bored of compiling everything every night.
    Eh? Why don't you use a VM or disk imager if you need to roll back on such a frequent basis?

    Joking aside, Geoff, what's your *nix usage like at work. What situations do you use it?

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    Re: Which *nix distro

    RPM based cus we use FC3 and 4. We're an LTSP site, running K12LTSP. The version we run was built on FC3 but I've successfully installed it on FC4. The stand alone boxes, such as the library system, my PC, and the non M$ staff PCs all run FC3 and will soon be upgraded to FC5. Our students use Linux for all of their work, apart from in DT; the milling machine and lathe only work on M$. We've also sent a copy of the open CD to every students home and recommended that they install it on their PCs. Those that come in and complain that "stupid Linux has reformated their work" get the response "use the same software at home as you use at school and you'll get no problems".

    Quote Originally Posted by CyberNerd
    ..........and some kind of syslog server for all server logs etc.
    @ChrisH. A sound plan. Having logs go to a central location is pretty usefull. I can recommend a combination of phpsyslogng and snare clients for windows.
    syslogd can log to a remote host without the need for any additional software. You can do something like *.info;mail.none;authpriv.none;cron.none /var/log/messages,@hostname in the syslog.conf file, which will log messages both locally and to a central server.

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    Re: Which *nix distro

    @openhgs

    You can do something like *.info;mail.none;authpriv.none;cron.none /var/log/messages,@hostname in the syslog.conf file, which will log messages both locally and to a central server.
    sure, I'm using the snare client for the windows boxes as it will send MS eventvwr logs to syslog. The phpsyslogng put all the logs into a browser-searchable database.

    your site sounds cool, I do have a couple of off topic linux questions though:
    what do your teachers use to teach databases? what about interactive whiteboards? random rubbish software that teachers insist you install? and what about KS3ICT online tests ?

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    Re: Which *nix distro

    your site sounds cool, I do have a couple of off topic linux questions though:
    what do your teachers use to teach databases? what about interactive whiteboards? random rubbish software that teachers insist you install? and what about KS3ICT online tests ?
    They use OpenOffice base to teach databases, which is IMO the wrong way to do it; it's as bad as using M$/Access to teach databases - you are learning an application not about how databases work. I think they should be teaching to use MySQL and learn how to build tables, not just fill in forms on a GUI. I learned what I know about databases from my days supporting Oracle.

    WRT interactive whiteboards, those teachers that have them use an M$ laptop to drive them. (Thats all 3 of our staff that use them). Most staff just use them as an ordinary whiteboard.

    The KS3ICT tests are in the lap of RM. We don't qualify because we don't have an "approved" o/s (ie M$).

    What we like about Linux is the 100% uptime we can provide. The students have yet to appeciate this but they are learning. I ask them how many of the the 125 Linux workstations around the school, are working at any one time (answer 125). Ask them how many of the 10 M$ boxes in DT are working at any one time (answer 6 on a good day).

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    Re: Which *nix distro

    Quote Originally Posted by openhgs
    They use OpenOffice base to teach databases, which is IMO the wrong way to do it; it's as bad as using M$/Access to teach databases - you are learning an application not about how databases work. I think they should be teaching to use MySQL and learn how to build tables, not just fill in forms on a GUI. I learned what I know about databases from my days supporting Oracle.

    Isn't that like saying you can't learn programming without using GCC from the commandline.

    WRT interactive whiteboards, those teachers that have them use an M$ laptop to drive them. (Thats all 3 of our staff that use them). Most staff just use them as an ordinary whiteboard.
    That's makes them very expensive writing surfaces and/or projector screens.

    The KS3ICT tests are in the lap of RM. We don't qualify because we don't have an "approved" o/s (ie M$).
    What will you do when the test becomes madatory?

    What we like about Linux is the 100% uptime we can provide. The students have yet to appeciate this but they are learning.
    Functionality does have to factor into the equation. Yes Linux lowers support costs (if you exclude the cost of *nix capable support staff) but is lost by not running the software needed for the subject. Afterall we here to support student and teachers meet learning objectives.


    And before anybody says anything, it's my thread and I will go off topic I want to :P

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    Re: Which *nix distro

    Quote Originally Posted by NetworkGeezer
    Quote Originally Posted by Geoff
    I just switched my home desktop machine from Gentoo to Ubuntu. I got bored of compiling everything every night.
    Eh? Why don't you use a VM or disk imager if you need to roll back on such a frequent basis?
    No, Gentoo is a source based distro. When you need to upgrade a package the package manager downloads the sourcecode and compiles it.

    Ubuntu is based on debian, thus apt-get.

    Quote Originally Posted by NetworkGeezer
    Joking aside, Geoff, what's your *nix usage like at work. What situations do you use it?
    We have Samba servers at some primary schools (DIY and Karoshi machines) where there has not been the funding to get a W2k3 server in. We have Squid + Dansguardian at serveral primary schools. We have a couple of Linux boxes running as print servers. Plus a few more doing DHCP/DNS.

    At the Secondary school we have a Linux box as the main webserver. It runs MRBS, Cacti, Moodle (reverse proxied outside too), Nagios, OneOrZero Helpdesk and OCSInventory on seperate virtual hosts. We also have a Edubuntu LTSP Terminal Server running the Library machines. We have a Postfix/Spamassassin box protecting the exchange server from viruses and spam. We have a OpenSSL box running our PKI infrastructure.

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    Re: Which *nix distro

    Quote Originally Posted by NetworkGeezer
    Isn't that like saying you can't learn programming without using GCC from the commandline.
    Probably, but I don't think that you can learn programming without using the command line.

    What will you do when the test becomes madatory?
    By then we are hoping that RM have climbed down from their ivory tower and realised that there other other operating systems to those provided by MickeySoft. As far as I can tell, if you are Apple users, you are out in the cold too,

    Functionality does have to factor into the equation. Yes Linux lowers support costs (if you exclude the cost of *nix capable support staff) but is lost by not running the software needed for the subject.
    I see that old chestnust of teaching vs training arising again. When I was a uni and I first learned about relational databases, we didn't actually have one, so we emulated one using ISAM files. You don't need specific software to learn a concept. Also, *nix capable support staff should cost no more that M$ support staff, In fact they might well be cheaper, as they haven't got to repay the loan taken out to pay the high fees for their MCSE courses. (I speak from experience here, the £2500 that I spent doing mine was money that, in hindsight, I'd rather have spent elsewhere).

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    Re: Which *nix distro

    We use debian on servers and ubuntu on workstations / laptops. Usage is currently restricted to services and network management stuff / workstations.

    I do keep threatening to penguinate the network (remember that util?) whenever I'm particularly annoyed by windows, but there's no end-user use of linux on workstations, yet.

    @openhgs

    we decided to not do the KS3 testing this time round (lack of inclination / time given last years experience) and were waiting for the *nix-based version (that we were promised initially, but it never appeared). Are you saying that no-one's managed to get hold of it / RM aren't offering it any more?

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