[IAEP] SoaS Breakthrough!

Caryl Bigenho cbigenho at hotmail.com
Tue Jan 10 22:06:59 EST 2012

Hi Ruben and All,
Tom has warned me that the persistent usbs really are persistent and that eventually they fill up and fail!  Not good. That would not be a problem with a Live CD as nothing is written to it. Therefore, the extra usb for file storage... journal items, extra Activities and the like.
Again, please remember we are talking about the average non-techie educator who wants to bring Sugar to their students on whatever old machines they may have. While most schools do have a person in charge of technology, in many cases it is a regular teacher who just knows a little bit more than other teachers and has the time to do it. They may get a tiny bit of training, a small stipend,  and a special "title" to go with the job, but that is about it.
In the real world, the latest buzz is all about using smart phones, iPod touches, and all sorts of tablets with students.  Nothing wrong with that, I guess, but having the Sugar Activities available would be nice.... and gladly accepted... if we can make it easy to do.  Tell the teachers they need a "thin client" and they may start looking for a skinny student!
Getting a whole school to buy into something like Sugar is a stretch.  It is a battle that has to be won, one teacher at a time.  Maybe when the others see it in action in some of the classrooms interest will reach a level where a school wide adoption would be feasible. 
So enough with the cliches (sorry I used so many), I need to find out how to make a Live CD to test this.  The instructions are either gone or buried in the wiki (I guess that is one reason why we are refreshing it).  So here is the information I need:
1) What is the most up-to-date build you folks would recommend?
2) Where can I find the instructions for making the Live CD?
3) Would it be better to put it onto a DVD since the price is so similar these days?
4) What type of CD or DVD works best on a wide variety of intel computers (PC and Mac)? (Brand, R, RW or ???)
5) Can the Live CD be easily cloned with a DVD Rewriter?  (I will probably want to make at least 100 copies)
6) What other things I haven't thought of should I know?
7) Anyone want to stand by to give advice if I get stuck? (Skype call or irc if you must... I do not type well)
> Date: Wed, 11 Jan 2012 03:21:37 +0100
> From: ruben at gnu.org
> To: cbigenho at hotmail.com
> CC: iaep at lists.sugarlabs.org; testing at lists.laptop.org; support-gang at laptop.org
> Subject: Re: [IAEP] SoaS Breakthrough!
> > I called Tom Gilliard today during his ski vacation (oops!) to get
> > some help prepping for showing SoaS at SCaLE 10X Jan 20-22.  After we
> > talked about several things I told him I had a "wild idea" that I
> > thought the average non-techie teacher could handle.  Why not run
> > SoaS from a Live CD and then save all the files you want to keep on a
> > separate usb stick? This could include additional Activities
> > downloaded from the Sugar Labs website that don't "live" on the Live
> > CD.
> This should work out of the box in TOAST -without extra activities-,
> you just need to format the usb drive in ext2(-4) and label it home-rw.
> Then, if you have it plugged during the live cd boot, it will be mounted
> as /home and keep any user changes, downloads, activities, journal...
> In any case, how is that an improvement over having both the system and
> the home in the usb as usually?
> > IMHO this could really be a breakthrough for getting Sugar into
> > classrooms that can't get XOs.
> I think live usb systems are nice for some tasks, but not for serious
> deployments. The live usb persistence methods can -and do- fail,
> specially if you don't shut the system down properly, as impatient kids
> tend to do.
> The method I think would be a breakthrough for a school is to use a thin
> client environment. One server is enough to run a typical school, you
> only need to manage one standard GNU/Linux computer, the clients need
> no software or configuration, and they can keep whatever they already
> have in their hard drives untouched and usable. Also all the students
> data are in an easy to backup spot, installing an activity in the server
> makes it available for everyone instantly, and you can also combine it
> with class management software like iTALC.

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