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OpenSuSE to Release Linux Distro for Educators

Zonk posted more than 7 years ago | from the not-the-best-conglomerate-word-ever dept.

Education 51

christian.einfeldt writes "The next version of openSUSE, due out in the fall, will include an add-on CD optimized for educators. According to the Education section of the openSUSE wiki, the openSUSE community sees the add-on as a way to make it easy for school administrators to create both networked systems and stand-alone desktops for teachers and students. To tailor the add-on CD to the needs of educators, the openSUSE community is asking educators and technologists to submit their software successes, applications used, and 'HOW-TOs' for writing applications and using applications. Dubbed the SLEDucator, the package collection is being included as an add-on, as opposed to a new distro or a fork."

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the SLEDucator (4, Insightful)

Overzeetop (214511) | more than 7 years ago | (#19648415)

Another stroke of linux name/marketing genius.

Re:the SLEDucator (1)

niceone (992278) | more than 7 years ago | (#19648541)

Another stroke of linux name/marketing genius.

Agreed. The article also mentions edubuntu... which is a bit of a better name I guess (worth a look too if you run linux and have kids).

Re:the SLEDucator (2, Interesting)

Overzeetop (214511) | more than 7 years ago | (#19648743)

...edubuntu...worth a look too if you run linux and have kids..."

Looked at it, loved it, got it running now on an old laptop for the 4yo. Can't get the wireless networking running, but she's still working through the "games". Wish there were some more puzzles; for some reason they're her favorite.

Don't you see the resembalence.... (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19648769)

of how Richard Stallman's hair is like a bush of pubes?

In other news (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19648417)

Linux is still for fags.

The Lone Troller

Re:In other news (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19648649)

Right along with you brother!

GO LINUX!!!

Seriously....slashdot is for faggots. I hate all slashdotters. 8==========D~~~~~~

Now I'm going to blog about how M$ is evil and Richard Stallman is soooo dreamy.

SLEDucator (1, Offtopic)

FredDC (1048502) | more than 7 years ago | (#19648423)

How can it go wrong with a name like that?

frist Psot (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19648455)

were nuulified by

Stop, Vile Fiends! I am the SLEDucator! (3, Funny)

Enoxice (993945) | more than 7 years ago | (#19648491)

Didn't I read a comic book about the SLEDucator? He used his mighty Sledge Hammer of Justice to teach criminals that crime doesn't pay, right?

Now just break out your Toboggins and Snow Shoes! (1)

PrescriptionWarning (932687) | more than 7 years ago | (#19648537)

and ride the SLEDucator down the bunny slopes of wintery bliss land!

What is different? (4, Funny)

Kohath (38547) | more than 7 years ago | (#19648567)

- Does this Linux distribution take the summer off?
- Does it complain about the pay?
- Does it blame parents for poor computer performance?
- Does it have TV commercials promoting itself?
- Does it claim to be a "professional" distribution even though "home" distributions have better performance?
- Is it certified?
- Is the government paying for it?
- Does it work on 30 documents but tell you that you'd be better off paying more and only doing 25 documents?

Re:What is different? (2, Interesting)

JasonWM (991689) | more than 7 years ago | (#19648775)

-school technician
-uses LTS in school district
-doesn't get summer off
-knows techs aren't part of the teachers union
-no commercials, no crap,no budget, just work as hard as you can
-doesn't bitch

Being the tech director (sole technician/network admin/everything guy in a system with 250 desktops, 13 servers, 1200 accounts), and having tested SUSE enterprise for distribution, I know it isn't close to edubuntu as far as being ready for school distribution. I know some CIO's/techs are saying SUSE is ready for enterprise, and it may well be, but I don't have the time, money, or political support to move something like this forward despite a solid pushing from my part towards open-source technologies.

Time will tell, but even with an add-on to suse, it will be awhile before they get my support

Pay Attention People (1)

mpapet (761907) | more than 7 years ago | (#19649069)

Here's a guy who does the work in an educational institution and he's got practically no influence on IT.

I don't have the time, money, or political support

Because his superior(s) up the chain have got other socio-political arrangements with entrenched software vendors that most likely violate the intent of every corruption law on record.

Much like Moses bringing back the ten commandments from a mountain top, software probably materializes on his desk regardless of the time he spent creating a report on various tools for the job at hand.

This is why ladies and gentlemen it never pays to sell a new software into government, unless of course you sold the old software to government.

Re:What is different? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19653449)

I guess you place no value at all on being a teacher then. However, to amuse myself, here is my response to you lamitudes.

- Does this Linux distribution take the summer off?
I guess you haven't been through the "maintaining your credential" dance, or taking on a summer job because the base pay isn't good enough.
- Does it complain about the pay?
Are you responsible for around 200 teenagers and to blame for everything they do and all for less than an average BS graduate who goes off and makes fun things like say smart bombs?
- Does it blame parents for poor computer performance?
Why did my kid get an F? They tried to do some of the work but it was too much and too hard. Who cares if they did it wrong, they tried. This is going to affect their chances at getting into a good college. What has doing classwork, taking notes and doing homework and coming to tutorial sessions got to do with my kid's failure? You can't teach is why. My kid's smart. Oh, and I'm rich and/or so totally anal I will sue the district unless/until they fire you, or you give my kid an A.
- Does it have TV commercials promoting itself?
They probably (foolishly?) think that the likes of you will think that teaching is worthwhile and should be promoted.
- Does it claim to be a "professional" distribution even though "home" distributions have better performance?
Some homeschooling works (when it is done right), some doesn't (when it is done wrong). Foolishly teachers think that you might consider them as professionals. You know, degree, credentialing, ongoing training mandates, large set of responsibilities, that sort of thing.
- Is it certified?
Are software "engineers" certified? As in is there are professional body and government oversight on those fiendish code monkeys to ensure they don't make crappy applications/systems?
- Is the government paying for it?
There's a reason it's called PUBLIC education.
- Does it work on 30 documents but tell you that you'd be better off paying more and only doing 25 documents?
Does it work on 30 programs but tell you you'd be better off paying more and only doing 25 programs?

I guess nobody taught you anything.

Yawn (1, Informative)

qweqwe321 (1097441) | more than 7 years ago | (#19648573)

Novell makes their own Edubuntu. Wonderful.

Re:Yawn (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19651711)

hmmm. the guys from boycottnovell.com [boycottnovell.com] have a live cd for schools, now opensuse community (not liking the boycottnovell guys) add an educational aspect to their distro and blow edu-nix.org [edu-nix.org] away...
such is politics in the community

Re:Yawn (1)

ehaggis (879721) | more than 7 years ago | (#19653679)

I recently deployed a small school lab with Edubuntu (with LTSP) and it was easy! OpenSuSE had better do their homework since the bar has been set high.

Good approach (2, Interesting)

SplatMan_DK (1035528) | more than 7 years ago | (#19648583)

Making the CD as an add-on is a great idea. One of the nightmares most educators face when they attempt to introduce Linux into their school is the myriad of distros and choices they have to somehow analyze and understand. By simply adding the tools an educator needs for administrating a collection of Linux computers in a school, they make the distro a lot more attractive.

Schools generally don't have large IT department loaded with hardcore Linux geeks.

Re:Good approach (2, Insightful)

Random BedHead Ed (602081) | more than 7 years ago | (#19649519)

One of the nightmares most educators face when they attempt to introduce Linux into their school is the myriad of distros and choices they have

I've read about 1,000 variations on this sentence over the past few years, and I haven't been able to puzzle it out. Maybe I'm dense, but I've never figured out why diversity is a problem that threatens to make all our heads asplode. You don't see Baskin-Robbins cutting back to serving only vanilla and chocolate because people have avoided their store, heads dizzy with thoughts of cookies-n-cream, mint chocolate chip and the like.

I suppose computing is an inherently stressful field. (I know this first hand after spending a few years supporting desktops for some of the smartest neuroscientists in the world, who still can't organize a folder or set up a wireless network nearly as easily as they can publish a 100-page paper on brain chemistry ... if they can figure out how to get their network printer to work.) But still, in software I've always found a lack of choice to be more stressful than too much of it. This is particularly true with free operating systems. Pick one of the major ones: Ubuntu, SuSE, Fedora, RedHat, CentOS. To find out whether it works, just install it. If it runs on your hardware (which almost any major distro will) and if suits your needs (you may be able to figure this out relatively quickly), the choice is made. If the choice was RedHat Enterprise, having people tell you that Ubuntu was also a good choice doesn't diminish the choice you already made: you are not qualified to feel stress. If you decide that the cost of running RHEL is not worth it and you want to run Ubuntu, you have the freedom to switch.

Contrast with non-free software. You can buy Windows from one vendor. Ditto with OS X. And with Solaris. If you decide you don't like their terms, tough. If you want to take OS X and run it on a non-Apple machine someone donated to your school, or roll out more copies of Windows Vista than your budget allows, then you become eligible to feel stress.

Re:Good approach (1)

AncientPC (951874) | more than 7 years ago | (#19651535)

The reason people don't stress over Baskin-Robins is because the choices are unimportant and don't impact your life very much. Didn't like your ice cream? You're out a few bucks and can try another one.

Since this is /. let's use a car analogy. Assume you know nothing about cars and the respective market. Buying a car is a fairly large purchase and you can't change cars without incurring significant losses (unlike the ice cream analogy). There are so many makers, models, features, and reliability issues to research.

While Linux distros are free there are still research, testing, and infrastructure costs in implementing an OS change. Yes it is better for the school district in the long run, but the upfront costs are still quite intimidating.

Re:Good approach (1)

CastrTroy (595695) | more than 7 years ago | (#19653447)

If your analogy made any sense, then there would only be 1 model of car. What actually happens is that we have thousands of different models of cars, each with their own options. And there's also a lot of third party accessories that you can add to your car. If Joe Schmoe can pick out which car they want to buy out of the thousands of models available, I'm sure that most people could pick out an OS that works well for them. It would probably be even easier. Because if you're looking for a "sedan" you have about 18 billion choices (ok, maybe I'm exaggerating), but if you want a desktop OS, there's probably only about 15 really good competitive offerings, maybe less than 10. Sure there's tons of specialized distros, but most users won't even have to research those since they don't have those specialized needs.

Re:Good approach (1)

turbidostato (878842) | more than 7 years ago | (#19656739)

"let's use a car analogy. Assume you know nothing about cars and the respective market."

OK, let's use it. The fact is most people really know almost nothing about cars, and the fact is that there *are* many car brands. To add insult to pain, car companies have merged (a lot) and still they *insist* about having a lot of brands when they could easily merge brands along with companies and even save a real big hill of bucks.

Neither producers nor consumers fill that having so many car brands is hurting the market or disgusting consumers.

Now tell me please, what was your car analogy again?

Re:Good approach (1)

AncientPC (951874) | more than 7 years ago | (#19658275)

Lots of choices + large investment = lots of research (which most people don't want to do) and buyer's remorse. [wikipedia.org]

When there is a defacto choice it is easier to simply go with the industry standard, and that is Windows.

I'm not saying it's right or best for the school district, but administrators do it because it's easier.

I think you miss the point (1)

SplatMan_DK (1035528) | more than 7 years ago | (#19652709)

Diversity is not at all a bad thing. And I dont think anybody has said that either.

Also, diversity and "myriads of choices" is not per definition a function of "free software". Nor is the opposite.

But confusion, bad overview, high demands for planning and high demands for technical skills *IS* the result of too much diversity and an abundance of choices. This is true for any kind of software or product - free, open, closed and commercial.

While the power of Linux and FOSS in general is its diversity it is also its Achilles heel. It scares a lot of potential users away because the extreme freedom increases the demand for deep insight and technical skills.

The solution is to make "packages" that target a specific use. And that is in fact a very common Linux approach. There are distros dedicated to serve info-kiosks, firewalls, routers, Media computers, company network clients, etc.

Now, for the first time, someone has made a distro (or rather: an add-on for a distro) which specifically targets the needs for non-Linux-geeks in the education sector.

How on earth did you turn this debate into a "free vs. non-free operating system" topic??? :-)

Re:Good approach (1)

myowntrueself (607117) | more than 7 years ago | (#19656781)

I've read about 1,000 variations on this sentence over the past few years, and I haven't been able to puzzle it out. Maybe I'm dense, but I've never figured out why diversity is a problem that threatens to make all our heads asplode.

Its the same effect that herd/flock/swarm/school behavior exploits; when a predator can't single out an individual from the group its pretty hard for them to select prey.

Heres an experiment you can try at home.

Try getting a cat and some small fluffy objects that the cat may like to play with.

Get the cat interested in playing with one of said fluffy objects so that you drop one in front of the cat and the cat goes for it.

Now, take that one fluffy object away and get the bag full of fluffy objects and drop the lot of them in front of the cat. Observe cats reaction. Unless one of the fluffy objects falls away from the others the cat will, typically, act confused and almost dazed.

That cat is someone trying to select a Linux distribution (the fluffy objects).

Re:Good approach (1)

rts008 (812749) | more than 7 years ago | (#19656903)

But don't complain if the cat,instead of acting confused, just jumps up and shreds your scrotum, pisses in your coffee, and shits on your pillow...just as an experiment to see if that confuses you.

Some cats, and some people are readily capable of thoughts/actions outside of herd mentality.

Re:Good approach (1)

myowntrueself (607117) | more than 7 years ago | (#19657261)

Some cats, and some people are readily capable of thoughts/actions outside of herd mentality.

I'm not accusing them of *herd* mentality.

I'm accusing them of *predator* mentality.

Re:Good approach (1)

rts008 (812749) | more than 7 years ago | (#19659141)

Be that as it may, you are attributing herd behavior to a predator (cat) that you are comparing to a nomadic omnivore (man).

Very few humans can be classed as predators now days based on behavior.

And yes, this is part of my college degree, and state certification as a Veterinary Technician.

Humans as predators have not been an issue in nature since cities were formed. (yes- a small, but insignificant % have been, and will always remain predators in the terms you want to compare us with cats.)

Now all we need is a similar add-on for SMBs (3, Insightful)

SplatMan_DK (1035528) | more than 7 years ago | (#19648657)

It would be great if the SUSE folks also made a similar add-on CD for the SMB segment. They face many of the same technical challenges as the schools/educators, just wrapped in different words and scenarios.

Making tools which allow educators and people in small businesses to deploy and administer a small networked Linux environment is a great idea. And the lack of such tools is often what intimidates non-Linux-geeks from adopting Linux.

Re:Now all we need is a similar add-on for SMBs (1)

akaiONE (467100) | more than 7 years ago | (#19649073)

PSSST! 2002 also called and wanted to say that Debian-Edu/Skolelinux want their project details back :-)

Re:Now all we need is a similar add-on for SMBs (2, Informative)

houghi (78078) | more than 7 years ago | (#19652049)

Ask them, or even better, ask them to release the tools to make your own addons.
They already released the code to make your own distribution trademark free and information how to make your own openSUSE based ditribution [opensuse.org] .

Join their mailinglist, discuss and you might be amazed of what is possible. The educators part came there because of demand.

Re:Now all we need is a similar add-on for SMBs (2, Interesting)

SplatMan_DK (1035528) | more than 7 years ago | (#19652811)

While i do have some understanding of business processed, IT architecture and basic programming I am no way near geeky enough to undertake such a project.

I am the guy who would be able to push such a product/distro/add-on to the SMBs ... not the guy who can code it. In other words I can increase the use once it is there - but not create it from scratch.

I will be following SUSE and openSUSE more closely in the future though. I think that the more business-oriented approach that Novell has, strengthens Linux community - not the opposite (as some might say).

Re:Now all we need is a similar add-on for SMBs (1)

houghi (78078) | more than 7 years ago | (#19655193)

The you are the ideal person to ask for it and let others do the actual programming. If nobody asks for specific SMB stuff, then nobody will make it.

You can tell them WHAT those SMB's might want and need. The programmers will not have that information. Don't think that because you don't program you can't contribute. Feedback is contribution. Interacting by actively joining the mailinglist is even better.

Let them know. Tell them directly and they will listen.

Oh and just to show you that Novell is doing tjings for the community: http://idea.opensuse.org/ [opensuse.org] A week hundreds of programmers can use payed time to do what they like

Re:Now all we need is a similar add-on for SMBs (1)

SplatMan_DK (1035528) | more than 7 years ago | (#19660563)

^true

:-)

Apple called ... (4, Insightful)

trolltalk.com (1108067) | more than 7 years ago | (#19648665)

Apple called ... they want their 1980's marketing program back ...

Re:Apple called ... (5, Funny)

Trigun (685027) | more than 7 years ago | (#19648745)

Why? It never worked for Apple.

Re:Apple called ... (2)

Overzeetop (214511) | more than 7 years ago | (#19648759)

Don't tell the linux folks...they'd love to hit 4% market penetration!

(maybe I should post this AC, naaaaa)

Re:Apple called ... (1)

trolltalk.com (1108067) | more than 7 years ago | (#19649193)

It never worked for Apple? At one time the only computers you could find in schools were from Apple, from the student labs to the principal's desk.

If Apple hadn't screwed up price-wise, your PC would be running a motorola cpu, not an intel.

Re:Apple called ... (1)

rtb61 (674572) | more than 7 years ago | (#19649379)

Yesterdays news, with Linux, you can run it on any kind of CPU you want to, CPU agnostic, don't you know ;). I wonder how many more plugs for edubuntu http://www.edubuntu.org/ [edubuntu.org] can be snuck into this Novell story ;).

Re:Apple called ... (1)

trolltalk.com (1108067) | more than 7 years ago | (#19651033)

My point was that the motorola cpu was a much nicer one to program on - no segmented memory model - and that it wasn't only Apple that was using motorola cpus at the time. If you've ever written in assembler, you know how much of a PITA the segmented architecture was. Even if you didn't use assembler, you had to keep 6 different memory models in mind, TINY, SMALL, COMPACT, MEDIUM, LARGE, HUGE.

What a mess. Overlaying code? don't go beyond 64k (32k in some cases). Added a few lines or changed some compiler options and your program goes off the deep end? Check that you haven't exceeded your memory model's limits. Need to address more than 1 meg of ram? BWAHAHAHAHA!

Re:Apple called ... (2, Insightful)

Dewin (989206) | more than 7 years ago | (#19651283)

It never worked for Apple? At one time the only computers you could find in schools were from Apple, from the student labs to the principal's desk.


I believe the idea was that by having Apple computers in schools, when parents purchased a PC for home they would buy Apple, because that is what their kids were used to.

In reality, what happened is most people bought PCs (In the "IBM and compatible sense", so don't get pendantic) because that's what they used themselves in the workplace.

Re:Apple called ... (1)

trolltalk.com (1108067) | more than 7 years ago | (#19651575)

Actually, a lot of parents bought Apples for home use, until the price differential between an Apple and a no-namn clone became too large to ignore.

Of course, we're seeing the price differential has now vanished - for many users an iMac has a lower TCO than a Windows box, by the time you add in antivirus and antimalware and anti-flavoraid-of-the-day subscriptions, and the quicker obsolescence of the windows box. Throw in a copy of parallels and they have no reason to move their windows programs from xp.

I started seeing macs sitting on reception desks last year ... business is starting to realize that windows is just too expensive to run on every desktop.

k12ltsp (3, Insightful)

zenray (9262) | more than 7 years ago | (#19649493)

What the educational field needs is not another GNU/Linux distro for them - there is k12ltsp that's been around a long time. Also the new eumbuntu distro. There exist several school districts that have implemted Linux in some form already. What would be more usefull is a new batch of 'killer apps' that the education field uses. Also cheep traning, support, and maybe a freshmeat type repository of these type of things. What Novell may have is company name brand supporting them.

Re:k12ltsp (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19650013)

... and maybe a 'killer app' that teaches spelling.

Re:k12ltsp (1)

zenray (9262) | more than 7 years ago | (#19650299)

- and grammer. I'm a mathamatician not a English major.

Re:k12ltsp (1)

Miseph (979059) | more than 7 years ago | (#19650503)

...not an English major.

Yeah, tell me about it.

Why Linux in Education Fails (3, Interesting)

MadMacSkillz (648319) | more than 7 years ago | (#19650907)

Adding another CD won't matter. Linux won't take off in schools for a boatload of reasons, support being perhaps the biggest. We've got former and current classroom teachers running networks in schools. They've got their hands full with OS X Server, they're completely blown away by Windows 2003 Server, and they've got no hope of making Linux work campuswide with all of their current peripherals AND finding replacement software for all of their educational titles AND securing the thing so the kids don't mess it up AND keeping everything up and running AND finding open source alternatives to programs mandated by the state that don't come in anything but Windows and OS X AND... I could go on and on and on. Linux will one day be the number one operating system, or some future OS based on it will. But not today.

Re:Why Linux in Education Fails (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19671465)

Your a fool if you don't think all of these open source windows programs won't run through wine on a Linux system. And securing an operating system is easier on linux than windoze.

Sound of silence (1)

ylikone (589264) | more than 7 years ago | (#19653395)

I see that SuSE no longer is a big draw for commenting on here at Slashdot. Maybe it's time to put Novell stories to rest, they killed themselves and nobody cares.

Gallagherism? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19659559)

This sounds a bit too much like Gallagher's sledge-o-matic...
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