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High School Students Develop Linux Imaging and Help Desk Software

timothy posted about 9 months ago | from the but-did-they-learn-anything dept.

Education 116

An anonymous reader writes "A Pennsylvania school district is going Linux and building an open source high school with the help of student technology apprentices. As part of a 1:1 laptop learning program, 1725 high school students at Penn Manor School District are receiving new laptops running Ubuntu and open source software exclusively. Central to the program is a student help desk where student programmers created a Linux multicast imaging system titled Fast Linux Deployment Toolkit. The district posted pictures of the imaging process in action. Working alongside school IT staff, students also developed help desk software and other programs in support of the 1:1 student laptop program. The student tech apprentices also provide peer support for fellow students."

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Meanwhile.... (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46064169)

Somewhere in an office in Redmond, chairs are being thrown.

Re:Meanwhile.... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46064179)

Somewhere in an office in Redmond, chairs are being thrown.

Oh, now that's original!

Re:Meanwhile.... (4, Funny)

binarylarry (1338699) | about 9 months ago | (#46064329)

I hear that since Ballmer has been given the boot he's switched back to barrels again.

Re:Meanwhile.... (3, Funny)

davester666 (731373) | about 9 months ago | (#46064461)

Somewhere, a Italian plumber is looking for his hammer...

GH link (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46064183)

GitHub link doesn't work.

Re:GH link (5, Informative)

jetole (1242490) | about 9 months ago | (#46064209)

The correct link is https://github.com/pennmanor/F... [github.com]

This is a typo in the story posting and I contacted /. admin to hopefully have them resolve this.

What about the windows only software? and office? (3, Interesting)

Joe_Dragon (2206452) | about 9 months ago | (#46064251)

In schools there is quite a bit of windows only stuff (part why macs are not as big in schools as they used to be) but the big part is lack of office on Linux and open office does not fully work with office files.

Re:What about the windows only software? and offic (3, Informative)

Thong (218859) | about 9 months ago | (#46064301)

For me the problem is always the other way around. Microsoft Office doesn't work well with .od? files.

Re:What about the windows only software? and offic (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46064573)

I graduated from college recently. I've never even owned office, or used open office. I've been fine with basic rtf when I need formatting, or Latex for a couple things where that was the encouraged approach.

Mostly I've needed to read PDFs (Ick!). The few word documents I had to open that have complex formatting crap were just things I hard to read, and thus broken formatting was fine. TextEdit or Google Docs worked well enough.

Really, whats office for? Formatting text? Thats not an important part of my life.

Re:What about the windows only software? and offic (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46064773)

I graduated from grad school recently (PhD in physics), also without touching Microsoft Office. I did use Microsoft Word on Mac a tiny bit, in versions that pre-dated Windows; but, by the time I was doing anything sophisticated enough to need more than a plain .txt editor, I was using LaTeX (via LyX). So, I can't answer what Office is for --- neither I, nor most of my colleagues, have any need for it (despite generating substantial quantities of documents requiring sophisticated typesetting). Formatting text is an important part of my life --- so there's not a chance in hell I'd ever be using Office.

Re:What about the windows only software? and offic (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46065103)

It's nice that you took the hard way, but not everyone wants to do that. Most people want to focus on their degree and not trying to figure out how to make their computer do what they want it to do.

Re:What about the windows only software? and offic (3, Interesting)

Another, completely (812244) | about 9 months ago | (#46065269)

And you think Word does that? If you are going to write a doctoral thesis in Word, then you have my pity starting out. With LaTeX, you have a formatting area at the front, your references in a nice separate bibliography file, and most of your document is just the text you have written. Setting up a master document that includes separate documents for each chapter, allowing cross-referencing, a single bibliography, and a table of contents is possible in Word, but it's dead simple in LaTeX.

Setting it up in the first place may take a little looking into, but building a master document in Word isn't intuitive either. If it takes more than a day to get your basic file structure sorted, then you aren't trying. It's three or four years of your life that you will be writing this thing. If the format guidelines change during that time, you can fix it in one place (in fact, some procrastinating student will probably build a fresh style file to share so you don't even need to fix it yourself). How long would it take you in Word to change the margins or line-spacing for a multi-chapter document? What about copying formatted text from a research paper you just finished, keeping all the figure references and citations, but in your university format instead of the journal publisher's?

I'm in business now, and use Word and Excel regularly because that's the de facto standard. Every time I need to re-format anything in Word I wish I just had to edit LaTeX instead. It's just simpler. In the long run, it will save you time and agony.

Re:What about the windows only software? and offic (0)

Osgeld (1900440) | about 9 months ago | (#46065311)

they teach word first year as a required course, not open libre whatever it wants to be this month

Re:What about the windows only software? and offic (1)

kuldan (986242) | about 9 months ago | (#46066183)

Well, you generalize way too much - maybe they do where YOU live/study.. they sure as hell did not where I went to university / high school..

Re:What about the windows only software? and offic (1)

Osgeld (1900440) | about 9 months ago | (#46067187)

must be old cause they have been doing it world wide for at least 15 years if not 20

Re:What about the windows only software? and offic (1)

q.kontinuum (676242) | about 9 months ago | (#46065919)

In my pre-master time I had to write some SW documentation using Word. I guess there is a reason Word is named "Word" and not "Text" - that's why I wrote my master thesis with LaTeX as well (typing most of it in emacs), and I'm pretty certain it saved me a lot of work, even if it meant to invest a small bit up-front in learning.

Re:What about the windows only software? and offic (1)

q.kontinuum (676242) | about 9 months ago | (#46066733)

Just to clarify: The SW documentation I had to write was for my job, not for my education. At the university I never had to use any MS product. Even in the nineties, some tools were available only for Linux, and Linux was encouraged.

At work, I was later able to switch release note generation from Word to LaTeX, which was much easier to script (extract change logs from the vcs, match with some extracts from the error database and test results etc, feed a database with release specific information [which bug was fixed in which release and merged to which branches]), and generate the final release notes as HTML and PDF.

Re:What about the windows only software? and offic (3, Insightful)

0100010001010011 (652467) | about 9 months ago | (#46066315)

Which is why they teach LaTeX.

If you want to spend 20% of your effort on formatting my school suggests using Word.

If you want to spend 5% on your formatting and 95% on your content you use LaTeX.

Re:What about the windows only software? and offic (1)

Osgeld (1900440) | about 9 months ago | (#46065309)

so you never touched office, cept when you touched office

stfu

Re:What about the windows only software? and offic (2)

Axynter (684016) | about 9 months ago | (#46065407)

I graduated from grad school recently (PhD in physics), also without touching Microsoft Office. I did use Microsoft Word on Mac a tiny bit, in versions that pre-dated Windows; but, by the time I was doing anything sophisticated enough to need more than a plain .txt editor, I was using LaTeX (via LyX).

Really? Which particular versions are you referring to? Anyway, Office != Word, and as much as I hate storing data in Excel files, a lot of basic things are just much easier in Excel ("real" data and complex manipulation are a different thing, obviously). Then there's Powerpoint, which is actually pretty good for group presentations, teaching, etc, as well as OneNote, another fantastic tool (the enterprise features of office, such as Outlook/Exchange, I'm not particularly impressed with, but I can see many scenarios in which they make perfect sense). Yes, you have alternatives for all these tools, some of which may work better, but you sacrifice compatibility, and that is a really big deal for collaboration, administrivia, etc. I'd gladly replace Windows with Linux on my personal computer (I worked as a Linux/Unix sysadmin for over a decade before starting grad school), but the truth is that I just can't afford to use something that's incompatible with the formats co-authors, administrative staff, etc use. Besides, most open-source tools are available for Windows now. It really is a shame, but what can you do? Using a Mac is not an option for me because, although I do like the OS and some aspects of their hardware, I strongly dislike Apple's attitude.

Re:What about the windows only software? and offic (2)

fisted (2295862) | about 9 months ago | (#46066233)

Well I engineer enterprise grade software, and this wouldn't be at all possible if there was no MS-Office, and hence no VBA.

Re:What about the windows only software? and offic (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46066861)

Well I engineer enterprise grade software, and this wouldn't be at all possible if there was no MS-Office, and hence no VBA.

Enterprise grade software and VBA is a contradiction. I'm sure you write some kind of software, and I'm sure somebody somewhere hobbles along with it, but please don't call VBA "enterprise grade".

Re:What about the windows only software? and offic (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46066807)

I graduated from grad school recently (PhD in physics), also without touching Microsoft Office. I did use Microsoft Word on Mac a tiny bit, in versions that pre-dated Windows; but, by the time I was doing anything sophisticated enough to need more than a plain .txt editor, I was using LaTeX (via LyX). So, I can't answer what Office is for --- neither I, nor most of my colleagues, have any need for it (despite generating substantial quantities of documents requiring sophisticated typesetting). Formatting text is an important part of my life --- so there's not a chance in hell I'd ever be using Office.

You haven't used Microsoft Office in years and you have a PhD?? I hope you are comfortable on welfare checks (either directly from the government or indirectly through your principal investigator), because good luck getting hired outside of academia with credentials like that.

LaTeX and rtf are fine, until EDIT with Others (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46066961)

When it's just you producing the document in your cloister for submission to the Obscure Journal of Esoteric Research, nobody cares what tool you use. When you have to pass the document around at work and have 13 people edit different sections, it helps to have everyone be able to do it. For better or worse, MS Office is the dominant product in the real, income-producing salary paying world for most areas of commerce. So you need to be able to effectively read and write MS Office documents. If you give me a Latex document or a pdf from the Latex, I'm going to have to cut and paste it into Word, so that I and my coworkers can edit it. I'll do that once, and then after that, I'm going to ask you to give me a .doc or .docx file.

No amount of your claiming it makes YOU more productive to use that tool will avail. Nor appeals to the inherent superiority of the tool for the task (which I may agree with) If we were all using punch cards and NROFF it would be the same.

  What's important is the group's productivity, and if 15 people are using word, and you are the only rtf/latex holdout, either you get with the program or you find other work, because I'm not going to pay for those 14 people to adapt to you. YOU are a nail sticking up and you will be hammered down, because I have deliverables to deliver so that I can get paid and you can get paid and the other 13 people in the group can get paid.

Furthermore, you're going to have to edit documents produced by other people, and they will be in some fairly recent flavor produced by Word or PPT or Excel.

OpenOffice/LibreOffice and all the others are marginally OK, as long as all the document metadata (figure, table cross references, indexing, fonts, formatting) is transparent. But the first time I have a formatting problem at 11PM when I'm trying to get the document out by 7AM the next morning, and you cry "FREEDOM - I demand to be released from the Shackles of Bill and use this open source product to promote peace, love, understanding, and the vision of RMS, praised be his name" I'm going to point out the economic realities of buying $1000 software packages vs $100/hr labor costs for all the time you cost your co-workers. The second time you insist on doing it your way, your way will be the highway.

Now, if you're lucky enough to find employment in a Linux only shop or in academia, then more power to you. But recognize that this is substantially less than 5% of the total employment market for people.

Re:What about the windows only software? and offic (5, Interesting)

symbolset (646467) | about 9 months ago | (#46064733)

What about viruses, anti viruses, malware and antimalware? Novell network compatibility? Flash and Silverlight, IE and Exchange compatibility - and persistent mutual incompatibility? Patch Tuesday and its need to intercept updates, test against your set of mission critical apps before rolling them out and then triage and treat the inevitable undiscovered issues? Recurrent planned obsolescence? SharePoint and pirated Photoshop? Landsharks? Goblin invasion?

It appears they have chosen to operate in a domain where these problems don't exist. Good on 'em.

Re:What about the windows only software? and offic (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46065139)

I'm 100% with you; I just wanted to clarify that Linux supports Novell IPX/SPX and Adobe Flash (I thought people knew that...)

Re:What about the windows only software? and offic (1)

Another, completely (812244) | about 9 months ago | (#46065275)

And the landsharks?

Re:What about the windows only software? and offic (2)

q.kontinuum (676242) | about 9 months ago | (#46065489)

And the landsharks?

Lawyers are supported like normal people, yes

Re:What about the windows only software? and offic (1)

redback (15527) | about 9 months ago | (#46065557)

The 928 predates fancy in car computers.

Re:What about the windows only software? and offic (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46068797)

Besides the native Linux version of flash, there's also the Pipelight project, which is a Linux-native browser plugin that runs the Windows versions of Flash and Silverlight and a few others through a patched version of Wine. It supports Netflix and Youtube (even 1080p) transparently, painlessly, and without any noticeable performance impacts (beyond the fact that Flash and Silverlight are CPU hogs to begin with, I guess).

There's also Davmail, which allows email clients that don't support Exchange natively to connect to Exchange servers. I have noticed it is a bit slow, but I also haven't bothered to investigate that, yet.

Re:What about the windows only software? and offic (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46066137)

This. There is no reason for a hugh school student in this decade to graduate with anything less than an ITIL Foundation certification. Next let's have the AP Biology class staff the school nurse office.

Re:What about the windows only software? and offic (1)

Osgeld (1900440) | about 9 months ago | (#46065303)

office was chosen over dozens of competitors, but somehow its a problem when od files are not the norm, when 99% of the world doesn't use them

Re:What about the windows only software? and offic (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46065453)

You've clearly never tried to open a .doc(x) or .xlx(s) in open/libre office then.

The majority of the time the formatting is way off, WAY off - background colours wrong, offsets wrong, margins wrong, spacing wrong.

About the only thing it gets right are font sizes, font types, and the actual text - which is fine for near-plain text documents, but anything with serious formatting, images, tables, etc - it's just horrible.

Re:What about the windows only software? and offic (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46066165)

Oh my, that sounds as if the Open/Libre developers completely ignored the publicly available definition of .doc(x) standards provided by the nice people at Microsoft and instead tried to reverse-engineer it. What a waste of time and effort, right? /s

Re:What about the windows only software? and offic (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46066905)

Oh my, that sounds as if the Open/Libre developers completely ignored the publicly available definition of .doc(x) standards provided by the nice people at Microsoft and instead tried to reverse-engineer it. What a waste of time and effort, right? /s

Oh, you mean the publicly available .docx standards provided by the nice people at Microsoft with such helpful and detailed implementation specifications as "DoLikeWord95"?

Re:What about the windows only software? and offic (1)

fast turtle (1118037) | about 9 months ago | (#46067217)

you've never tried opening an .xlsx file from 2014 in 2007 or earlier have you? The formatting, colors, margins and everything else is fucked up if you can even open the file. I get Word and Excel files from folks who're using the latest greatest from MS and many times they're fucked up as I'm only using 2007 and am not going out and upgrade for no good reason. Hell I'm moving all of my older files to RTF as it's the only one other then PDF that I can ensure is cross platform.

Re:What about the windows only software? and offic (5, Insightful)

Nerdfest (867930) | about 9 months ago | (#46064305)

I look at it the other way. Microsoft products do not fully work with open formats. Public institutions really should be using open formats.

Re:What about the windows only software? and offic (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46064505)

And yet the rest of the world could care less about open formats.

Re:What about the windows only software? and offic (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46068311)

That's because the rest of the world doesn't know they have a choice!

Re:What about the windows only software? and offic (1, Insightful)

TrollstonButterbeans (2914995) | about 9 months ago | (#46064665)

Open Office and Libre Office *really* need the Excel equivalent (Calc) to be able to print better (like zooming, fit to page, select a range).

Re:What about the windows only software? and offic (1)

stoploss (2842505) | about 9 months ago | (#46064723)

Open Office and Libre Office *really* need the Excel equivalent (Calc) to be able to print better (like zooming, fit to page, select a range).

How about having a chart as a sheet to itself? Has either project ever gotten around to that?

Polynomial regression trendlines? Passing an entire column as a range to a function (e.g. SUM(A:A) rather than SUM(A1:A1195756262959999287362))?

Calc makes me a Sad Panda.

Re:What about the windows only software? and offic (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46064813)

If you're going to be summing up to A1195756262959999287362, then you shouldn't be using Calc. Or Excel. Learn a proper programming language for data analysis --- there are great tools in everything from Python to C, plus specialized mathematical/statistical environments like R, Octave, or Maxima. Spreadsheets of any variety are a poor choice for serious work; once you go beyond adding a couple dozen numbers, you'll be wasting more time fighting against the inherent shortcomings of spreadsheets than the learning curve of a proper data analysis framework.

Re:What about the windows only software? and offic (1)

stoploss (2842505) | about 9 months ago | (#46067879)

Thanks. I already use R as appropriate. Your overly generalized comment about spreadsheets being inappropriate will be taken under advisement.

The satire of the row offset is based on the fact that once there is enough data that there are rows offscreen, *I don't want to have to care* what the final row in the data is... I want to apply the function to the entire column. Excel makes this easy with full column references like B:B, whereas with Calc one has to come up with a guess for a final row number that will include all the data (current and future). Hence, inputting some farcically large final row reference, which, incidentally, makes the damn formula unnecessarily long.

Javelin solved most of these, in 1984 (1)

jabberw0k (62554) | about 9 months ago | (#46065461)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/J... [wikipedia.org] In Javelin, you defined a variable (like Electric Usage or Product X Sales) as having a period (daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly, yearly...), you had a screen for entering values into a variable at any time period, and you could use those variables in functions that automatically split or combined values appropriately. Then you'd lay out a worksheet (not a spreadsheet!) for whatever combination of variables and time periods you liked. Charts and graphs existed independently, and would automatically adjust to data and dates. Javelin won over the (then) new Excel as Infoworld's best Software Product of the Year 1985. It is a great mystery why no-one in the last 30 years has replicated this functionality. Instead all we get are Lotus 1-2-3 clones like Multiplan, err, Excel.

Try a different print driver (1)

dbIII (701233) | about 9 months ago | (#46064805)

If that's all you can find you are reaching. Most of that is the fault of the MS Windows mess in the print system where most printer vendors have to roll a lot of stuff their own anyway. I could easily find worse problems in excel charts (it's been shit at XY plots since day one and still has stupid defaults) and I'm sure there's worse in libre/openoffice too.
I suggest try libre/openoffice with a different printer, or on a Mac or linux and that problem will most likely go away.

Re:Try a different print driver (2)

TrollstonButterbeans (2914995) | about 9 months ago | (#46066731)

I prefer Free Software, Excel has been able to do that since 1994 on Windows 3.1. I should haven't to switch to a Mac or Linux to be able to print "Fit to page" or "Fit to width". Besides, I can't --- this is at work and most of the software is Windows only.

And please don't say something like "I should switch employers" or something unhelpful like that.

Why should public institutions use open-source? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46067545)

Why should public institutions use open formats? Why shouldn't they use the tools that allow them to get their product out most efficiently and the lowest cost?

I will agree that for archival data (e.g. email records are a good example) that they should be archived in a published format (meaningfully published not a "conforms to .NET API in 2012" format). But that could be accomplished in many cases by "printing to pdf".. less than optimum, but widely readable.

However, is your argument that public institutions shouldn't be paying MS license fees? Why not? MS produces a useful product, the price is reasonable (as witness millions of reasonably satisfied customers), etc.

Would you also argue that maintenance workers should use only tools that aren't patented and that have their complete designs published? Good luck laying that sewer pipe at reasonable cost without the backhoe, hydraulics, and so forth.

What about fire fighters? You do know that Nomex and other fire resistant fabrics are patented and subject to license fees? The pumps and nozzles are also patented. Or, are you advocating wool and leather shirts and bucket brigades with oaken buckets made using hand tools?

So let's parse this argument down a bit. What *specifically* is wrong with MS? Is it that you think they are an evil, immoral company and therefore we should not support them with tax dollars? I don't think that's a reasonable approach: modern civilization depends on many things, and not all of them are produced by benevolent, moral entities. Is it because MS products have obscurities and promote vendor lockin through complex file formats? Well, then, what societal good is achieved by NOT having lock-in? The archival retrieval is a valid argument, but if MS came out and said, "you can save all MS office files to this format which allows all the information to be retrieved without any "secret" information" wouldn't that fit the bill? (and hasnt MS done that).

Is it because MS lock-in makes it difficult to change software environments? Well, my car runs on gasoline, not any hydrocarbon fuel, as do most all consumer vehicles. Gasoline was produced by a virtual monopoly (Standard Oil), but it seems we've survived that aspect of lock-in. If you're worried about this, it's a sort of speculative fear: MS might go out of business next year and we'd be screwed because we couldn't read our files. The probability of this happening is small though. Is it because of a market power: because MS is dominant, there's no incentive for alternate solutions to arise, since you can't make a living producing them, and that means MS can hold cities, counties, states, provinces, etc. for ransom when it comes time to buy the next year's licenses? Well, that's a legitimate concern, but can also be addressed by existing anti-gouging and anti-trust laws. If it were bad enough, the "state" could nationalize MS or seize it under some theory of eminent domain.

Ultimately, I think you want public money and resources to be used for open-source as a "philosophical" statement. Perhaps you believe that it is in some way, better than closed source, in a "freedom of action" sort of way. That could well be true, but it's also the domain of politics, not technology or economics. You can advocate for government spending their money in a way you prefer, and get other like minded folks to agree on the basis of a sort of woolly "because it's nicer to society" basis, and make it it happen.

Re:What about the windows only software? and offic (3, Insightful)

cheater512 (783349) | about 9 months ago | (#46064343)

Link to a document that does not open correctly in up to date Open/Libreoffice.

It is harder than you think. It has been on par for a while now.
And if the entire school uses it then there is no Office anyway.

Re:What about the windows only software? and offic (1)

Joe_Dragon (2206452) | about 9 months ago | (#46064353)

I don't thing the full back office work / school district is windows free / outside stuff needs office files.

Re:What about the windows only software? and offic (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46064669)

outside stuff needs office files

Then as OP requested, please link to a file that cannot be opened in Open/Libreoffice.

In my experience, the import filters have been steadily improving to the point where its rare to have a problem with MSO files any more. If you have evidence otherwise, please produce it.

Re:What about the windows only software? and offic (1)

Axynter (684016) | about 9 months ago | (#46065455)

My wife regularly gets Word documents from work containing schedules for the week, etc. I have yet to see one that actually renders 100% correctly in LibreOffice (I can't check the version now, but she downloaded it in September 2013 I think). The main problem seems to be with the placement of tables, which sometimes get overlaid on top of text that should be placed before or next to them. I can't link to those docs for obvious reasons, but trust me, compatibility is an issue, both for my wife, and for me (I need to exchange revisions, which may include formatting changes, with co-authors).

Re:What about the windows only software? and offic (1)

cheater512 (783349) | about 9 months ago | (#46068709)

Like I said, care to share one of the documents? (Redact personal info if needed)
I've never actually seen a table issue since they are so similar to HTML tables these days.

Re:What about the windows only software? and offic (1)

dannydawg5 (910769) | about 9 months ago | (#46065955)

Documents with "shared" access on network drives do not open properly. The render correctly, but LibreOffice will remove the shared status causing the next person to open it to lock the file and have it no longer shared.

That's the only situation I've found, but it is a pretty big deal at my office. I use LibreOffice everywhere except there.

Re:What about the windows only software? and offic (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46066745)

Link to a document that does not open correctly in up to date Open/Libreoffice.

It is harder than you think. It has been on par for a while now.
And if the entire school uses it then there is no Office anyway.

I found it surprisingly easy. A friend's resume opens incorrectly in LibreOffice, Softmaker's Office, and Kingsoft Office. Formatting errors - incorrect indentations for bullet lists, something you'd think would be simple - were the same in LibreOffice and Softmaker's Office. There were different formatting errors in Kingsoft's Office. The resume opens correctly in Microsoft Word 2007, 2010, and 2013.

A resume is something you want to look right. Not all companies accept resumes in PDF. If an employer asks for your resume in Microsoft Word format, create it in Microsoft Word.

Re:What about the windows only software? and offic (1)

cheater512 (783349) | about 9 months ago | (#46068895)

Got a link for a example?

Re:What about the windows only software? and offic (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46067699)

Link to a document that does not open correctly in up to date Open/Libreoffice.

http://download.microsoft.com/download/5/5/F/55FF3173-F61E-49A7-A737-BB474FFBEFA0/Wireframe_Toolkit-Win81.pptx

Don't get me wrong, Open Office etc are great, but they are not a 1:1 replacement for MS Office. It's fine for hobbies, homes and small business, but if you need to send interact with other companies for anything but billing, you need Office or a support staff to proofread ever document going out that could embarrass you if its wrong.

Re:What about the windows only software? and offic (1)

billstewart (78916) | about 9 months ago | (#46064579)

If the school's going to make a commitment to Linux, Open Office is usually compatible enough. Yes, you can probably build a spreadsheet or word doc that doesn't render correctly on OpenOffice, but you don't need to do that if you have people doing most of their new documents in open software.

Re:What about the windows only software? and offic (2)

Noxal (816780) | about 9 months ago | (#46064903)

It works well enough. I work for a city that has been using Linux exclusively for many years and between WordPerfect, OpenOffice, and LibreOffice shit gets done just fine. Sure we have the occasional formatting problem but it's better to rack up some small help desk charges here and there than shell out for a ton of M$ Office licenses (and Windows licenses....and Windows Server licenses....)

new Word won't open old Word files, Ooffice do (1)

raymorris (2726007) | about 9 months ago | (#46066101)

My mother was upset when her new copy of Word wouldn't open her Word files that are so important to her like her will, all of the family recipes, etc. She feared that she had lost everything.

I opened them in LibreOffice with no problems at all. In this respect, older files, Word is the one program that is not compatible with Word. OpenOffice/ LibreOffice can handle older Word documents; Word cannot.

Does this image system do UEFI? Clonezilla does (4, Informative)

Joe_Dragon (2206452) | about 9 months ago | (#46064285)

Does this image system do UEFI? Clonezilla does

Clonezilla also can do Multicast as well as PXE and Wake-on-LAN

Re:Does this image system do UEFI? Clonezilla does (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46064703)

Does this image system do UEFI? Clonezilla does

Clonezilla also can do Multicast as well as PXE and Wake-on-LAN

Exactly. We implemented CloneZilla at the office and it does this sort of stuff no problem. I suppose it doesn't actually execute "scripts" after imaging but something like chef would. I don't understand why they needed to write this (other than for the obvious learning opportunities afforded by reinventing wheels; many of which I've done).

Re:Does this image system do UEFI? Clonezilla does (1)

symbolset (646467) | about 9 months ago | (#46064769)

Apparently their system works with the hardware they have. They don't have to borrow trouble. In the future they can choose hardware that works with it.

My quick reflex was to ask "whar Clonezilla" too. I use cz to image systems by the thousand and ltsp to netboot guest thin clients. They are both great stuff. Apparently they considered the lessons Clonezilla gave and leapt from there. Don't forget that as useful as clonezilla is the primary purpose is to image supercomputer nodes, not end-user laptops.

Dell KACE K2000 (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46064313)

Anyone know of an open sourced equivalent of Dell KACE K2000? I currently use the appliance (runs linux under the hood as I understand) and it freaking rocks!

Re:Dell KACE K2000 (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46064455)

Make sure to get the 3.6 update. It introduces multicast.

What's the point? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46064481)

While this is a great project for a high school student, I think anyone who has worked in a large organization already knows that manufacturers have been loading custom images onto machines out of the factory for nearly a decade now. Grass roots projects like this are great when you don't have the clout to do things properly for large scale projects.

What year was linux on the desktop supposed to take over the world? Yeah, still waiting for that.

Re:What's the point? (2)

symbolset (646467) | about 9 months ago | (#46064815)

Verily the sound of whooshing overhead doth bespeak the heart of the matter escaping thee. 'Twere better thou mind thy muttons and leave these heathens to their devilish ways.

yay for common sense in education (4, Insightful)

rogoshen1 (2922505) | about 9 months ago | (#46064483)

Refreshing to see a HS teach something tech related that's actually useful, and will teach these kids to find work later in life.
so often it seems the answer is just "throw some money at it, give the little shits an iPad" with no real .. technical chops being conferred.
any idiot can use a computer for lowly office grunt work. Basically, that is to technology what working at McDonald's is to culinary training.

Re:yay for common sense in education (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46065385)

Great part is because it is open source they will learn to program, and not have a few students being exploited be there closed software overlords {Um hmmm MS, Apple]. The will be able to share and hopefully be open minded enough to accept any criticism or help in being able to better there programming, and in turn add to the community him/herself...

Kudos to the school!!!!!

Linux: made for teens by teens. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46064487)

That's why it's broken.

Re:Linux: made for teens by teens. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46064851)

Windows: made by 40-year-olds with the minds of teens, for corporate drones with the minds of demented hamsters. That's why it's broken.

THAT'S education (5, Interesting)

emaname (1014225) | about 9 months ago | (#46064509)

Kudos to that school's admin staff. This is a real educational experience. You can't beat hands-on. Plus the students are engaged in the operation of their school; IOW they have some ownership or at least a partnership.

I agree with the comments re compatibility. MS is the odd-man-out. They've been forcing their proprietary stuff on the world for too long. And innovation has been stunted as a result of their dominance. My peers and I witnessed time and again in the 80's when someone would come out with a great idea and then MS would buy them and the great idea would disappear so there would be no competition in the marketplace.

Re...

open office does not fully work with office files

To be more specific, that comment must be with re to macros because I've never had any problems and I still don't.

I did a lot of support work for a one of the divisions of a large, world-wide corporation. One of the things I did was edit/fix Word, Excel, and PowerPoint files. I pulled the files into OpenOffice, fixed all the formatting, spelling, grammar, calculation, and punctuation mistakes and then exported the files back to the appropriate MS Office file format. Nobody knew and I always received compliments re how nice everything looked. As a matter of fact, I did most of that work on a Mac and later on Linux. And, of course, that corporation was Windows only.

It still brings a smile to my face. They were paying huge sums of money for their licenses and here I was using an open-source solution to fix all their problems.

Re:THAT'S education (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46064561)

Kudos to that school's admin staff. This is a real educational experience. You can't beat hands-on. Plus the students are engaged in the operation of their school; IOW they have some ownership or at least a partnership.

This! ^^^^

Re:THAT'S education (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46065317)

proprietary, do you even know what that means? cause this one and only special no one else can use format sure as fuck has been used on every office suite since the late 80's when office came about as a pacage you fucking numbnut

which of the five Word formats is "the one"? (1)

raymorris (2726007) | about 9 months ago | (#46066047)

cause this one and only special no one else can use format sure as fuck has been used on every office suite since the late 80's

Which of the five MS Word formats is "the one"?
Different versions of Word have used first textual formats similar to rtf, then binary OLE containers, and now XML. As you surely know if you've used Word much, the product is not backwards compatible. Word 2003 will not properly display a Word 6.0 document. OpenOffice does a much better job rendering the older Word files. .doc file formats:
Word for DOS (textual)
Word for Windows 1 and 2; Word 4 and 5 for Mac (textual)
Word 6 and Word 95 for Windows; Word 6 for Mac
Word 97 (binary OLE) .docx xml formats

Re:THAT'S education (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46065549)

My peers and I witnessed time and again in the 80's when someone would come out with a great idea and then MS would buy them and the great idea would disappear so there would be no competition in the marketplace.

Such as? Such as? This is what you trolls always do. Make some remark about Microsoft doing *this evil deed* and *that evil deed*, but it's always lacking specific examples. Give me a great idea that Microsoft bought and then made disappear.

Re:THAT'S education (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46068223)

So.. how many stupid user (with high demands and pressure) stories do we have on Slashdot. We've just introduced the soul leaching aspects of tech support to these kids. (I'm half joking and half not).

Most schools that teach computing can not pull (1)

Ralph Ostrander (2846785) | about 9 months ago | (#46064519)

This off. I know I once tried to explain it to one. Group think works better than one god.

been there done that.... about a decade ago. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46064677)

before every class the boot menu (network boot) option had either the current OS or the option to install the other (XP or RHEL5). iirc it was using partimage from the main laptop (teacher's dual-boot system). this allowed for switching between ms office and rhel training on the fly; and also install images for specific situations...

Sooo frustrating! (3, Interesting)

Pav (4298) | about 9 months ago | (#46064711)

There has been a powerful infrastructure almost ready to do this (plus much more) available for ages : A GUI + LDAP based web interface called GOsa [gonicus.de] and a more active fork called FusionDirectory [fusiondirectory.org] . It does almost everything, but noone has pulled the trigger on an important piece to allow imaging and/or OS installation - this requires a plugin for their messaging daemon. This messaging daemon is either called GOsa-si, or Argonaut in the two projects respectively). This has worked in the past... though bitrot and lack of interest has broken that particular piece.

Right now it allows GUI administration of DNS, DHCP, Samba, your choice of SMTP and POP/IMAP daemons, multiple groupware, Squid, rSyslog, Asterisk, Nagios and much more... with the ability to extend the interface via plugins. If/when the messaging daemon bits get completed it will be able to deploy clients and servers... using FAI/puppet for Linux and OPSI for MS. This HAS worked in the past, and I even believe the Munich Linux project may have had this working for years - but they've only packaged it for their own distro.

Re:Sooo frustrating! (1)

Pav (4298) | about 9 months ago | (#46064721)

Should mention the IRC channel #fusiondirectory is active and helpful on FreeNode.

Re:Sooo frustrating! (1)

VortexCortex (1117377) | about 9 months ago | (#46065035)

Holy attack surface, Bat Man!

Re:Sooo frustrating! (1)

Pav (4298) | about 9 months ago | (#46065077)

Yeah, if you enabled everything there'd be potential for fun, but the features are there to pick 'n mix.

It's about time (4, Insightful)

ikhider (2837593) | about 9 months ago | (#46064775)

Finally, someone is getting it right. Students have access to run great programs, the source code, the ability to modify the programs AND share. This is how it should be, in public schools and the rest of the public domain. Now kindly extend this policy to the rest of the schools throughout North America. This is far more empowering than either of the proprietary routes.

Re:It's about time (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46064895)

Sorry, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation push for charter schools (along with friendly help from the Waltons of Walmart, et al.) --- to destroy the public schools infrastructure --- is not going to be promoting Free Software in the new generation of corporate-controlled indoctrination --- excuse me, "education" --- centers.

Re:It's about time (2)

symbolset (646467) | about 9 months ago | (#46065117)

BMG foundation is doing needful stuff. Their volunteers are risking their lives to rid the world of the scourge of polio. Some are dying for the cause.

Re:It's about time (1)

Osgeld (1900440) | about 9 months ago | (#46065321)

these kids are shooting videos of common "i cant facebooks" problems, not exactly writing anything, let alone of some value

I'd have stayed in school (2)

RandomUsername99 (574692) | about 9 months ago | (#46065001)

The people that point out existing technologically superior software solutions are being unforgivably obtuse.

Of course there are existing open source and commercial options out there, that make this high school student implemented project technologically obsolete; there are also existing craftspeople and professionally run woodworking shops that make the products in wood shop class obsolete, as well as many tailors, restaurants, fashion schools, and culinary schools that crush what home-ec classes teach... Not to mention the many science-oriented-businesses with technology and products that dwarf the technology that you would find at a high school science fair. See it for what it is: a learning experience!!

If there was some alternate dimension where I had had a chance to work on a project like this in high school, I probably would not have gotten kicked out for boredom fueled truancy, and would have worked my way into a decent comp-sci program at a college rather than working my way up in my 20s through shitty tech support and lower level IT positions... I Would have been making my current, totally decent software dev salary YEARS before I actually earned it in this dimension.

permanent computer skills (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46065297)

This is a good move for the children. It goes beyond IT education and will impact their lives with very good outcomes.

Since i switched to linux in 2005 all the command line skills and fundamental understanding of the OS and how it works has changed very little. Hence no new UI rewrite can hurt my productivity. Linux is a 'you have to learn it not guess it' system and taking the time to learn regular expressions, a bit of bash and back in the day deal with package management problems or compile your own drivers with binary blobs being at the hard end of the spectrum.

The software is mature enough for office tasks, image editing, vector graphics, 3d graphics and animation. And a super platform if you're doing in class programming or 'set up your own web server' style of skills.

Its all about time and technology (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46065625)

In school level student has study about window and other little things, In high school they teach about programming and linux etc.
but with the passage of time students has study in junior school for all about computer and programming.
Promotion Gifts in Dubai

No BLACK students then? LOL (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46065913)

Just as I expected - I didn't see a school full of BLACKS or MEXICANS, who apparently are 'just like us' - why is that?

I thought 'race is just a social construct', and that blacks are just as intelligent as other races?

Any brainwashed Left wing nation-wrecking Slashdotters care to show me a 90% BLACK or MEXICAN school the students of which have made their own Linux imaging software? Thought not.

Um.. and? (1)

nurb432 (527695) | about 9 months ago | (#46066013)

So the kids created 'yet another lame management tool'.. *yawn*

The community needs to stop re-inventing the wheel and work on improving existing ones. Hard to take over the world when your car is always on blocks.

Does it run Office.... (1)

NapalmV (1934294) | about 9 months ago | (#46066159)

How did this get transformed again into a discussion about Office... if these young gentlemen are preparing themselves for an IT career, Office is as relevant as eyes on a tapeworm... we could as well discuss Photoshop or some video editing package...
In "Enterprise IT" most of your communication will be done through e-mail or a ticket management system... you may have to read some documentation in PDF format... or WORD but guess what... it will be some text about application footprint/interfaces/configuration that needs no special formatting whatsoever and could be done as well in Notepad or vi.... you may also have the odd XCEL file with a list of servers/datacenter location/patches to be applied (where the only usefulness of Xcel is to enable you to sort the list by various columns)... and the yearly Powerpoint document from HR describing changes to your healthcare / pension plan... and that's all folks, so once again... Why was Office brought into this discussion?

Re:Does it run Office.... (1)

nurb432 (527695) | about 9 months ago | (#46067117)

I have to disagree, as regardless of what you personally like or dislike, MSO is still prevalent in the business world and if you are going to be in IT and actually have a job, you have to at least have a clue of what your future companies end users are working with. Once ( if ) you grow up and get out in the real world, you will find out how things actually work out there. .

Hell, most likely you will start working the help desk and supporting it, to prove you have skills.. so better suck it up, and shut up. Good luck.

Re:Does it run Office.... (1)

NapalmV (1934294) | about 9 months ago | (#46068403)

If you're manning the help desk, MSO is just one of the standard corporate apps. You don't need to understand how to exactly use it to the last detail/function or be proficient at it. That would be the users' concern. Your concern will be to check if MSO is installed and able to start/work on the user's workstation. If not, you'll schedule an installation or re-imaging of the workstation.

Re:Does it run Office.... (1)

nurb432 (527695) | about 9 months ago | (#46068461)

In any large organization i have worked for, if all you did is blow the customer off and call for a reload because they asked how to do something simple in MSO, you would not be there the next day. ( this would apply to both level 1 and higher levels, and in some cases you are expected to know a hell of a lot more at higher levels ). If all you do is say 'is it installed' then you are a call center robot, not a help desk.

Do you need to be at a expert level? Most often not, but a working knowledge is required. Now, that out of the way, what i was responding to was a statement that it was completely unimportant which of course is not true in the real world.

Re:Does it run Office.... (1)

NapalmV (1934294) | about 9 months ago | (#46069053)

You either must have worked for some really nice organizations or this was a long time ago... What I see these days are IT Depts starved to death by "cost cuts" initiatives to the point that they can offer only the bare minimum level of support.
A typical scenario these days would be that the level 1 guy is located offshore and all he does is to capture whatever you're telling him over the phone, using the enterprise ticket management system; then assign it to the proper queue and give you a ticket nr. Then someone else gets to look at the ticket; if it's a question about how to use a particular function in a particular application, he will decide that you need more training and close the ticket with some "user error" resolution. Otherwise he will try to decide if the the problem affects just your workstation or if it is a company wide issue. In the first case, they'll get your workstation re-imaged - no one has the time and resources these days to hunt individual obscure corruptions of Windows registry or similar stuff. If it affects more than one user, then and only then there will be some further investigation.
Yes, it's all like in the good old Bastard Operator from Hell stories. All caused by "profit maximizing" aka "cost cuts".

laptops run Linux? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46066579)

this is the first time that I've heard of a laptop being able to run Linux. I assume that Linux has the proper drivers for the proprietary hardware in the laptops. No need to worry about PCMCIA slots any more because all laptops and netbooks have USB connectors.

Its cool to see young people developing software. Thanks for sharing the article.

Nice (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46068745)

Nice, but, relinux works excellent as well if you want to make another dvd iso with all your applications, settings and configurations included.

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