[sugar] offline moodle

David Van Assche dvanassche
Mon Jun 30 04:01:26 EDT 2008

   I'm currently working with OLE Nepal to find the best solution for
synchronising online and offline course material via Moodle. There are
currently 2 projects that do exactly this via different mechanisms, though
currently they use what some might consider to be a heavy memory and cpu
footprint by using the same mechanisms of a regular online moodle (namely a
webserver, server side scripting and database (mysql or sqlite) )

I'll talk about the 2 options in detail below and what their status is in
terms of finished development work.

1. Open University Moodfle on a stick

This, till now seems to be the more worked on version, with support from
both Open University and Intel. Martin Langhoff has also been involved in
some of the coding for this, with the intention of using it for the XS and
XOs... At present, the system is highly windows centric with a Linux version
planned. That said, we are really only talking about an installer, as the
environment is easy enough to build and is done like so:

- Install the xampp package (apachefriends.org/en/xampp-linux.html)
- Install Moodle and sqlite patches. (Currently sqlite support is a Google
summer of code project which should be fully functional by August, making it
a viable option for the XOs)
- Secure Moodle and enter test data
- Install 3rd party Moodle plugins of interest (to date the DOOR plugin for
adding a course resource repository seems very promissing)

Installing xampp with mysql is also possible, in the interim, while the
sqlite port of moodle is being completed, but looking at the memory and CPU
footprint on an Asus eeepc and an XO shows that it is preferable to have
sqlite for the final product (I will post exact data in reference to this
soon.) Incremental backups is the current focus of the OU moodfle project
and when that is done, I believe it will be the best option for installation
on the XOs

2. Jolongo (meaning backpack in slang Latin American Spanish)

This project seems very promising, and having spoken to the developers, they
are both honoured and motivated to be working on something that might be
used by OLPC. Right now, the majority of their work is in Spanish (which is
not a problem for me as Spanish is a native language for me), but the
interface might need some translating... Their system has been packaged with
adobe AIR, making it totally cross platform and a one click package to
install and run. Adobe AIR, however, is currently in alpha stage for linux,
and from what I've gathered so far, will not install on an Asus eeepc. I've
still to try and see if it will install on the XO. On another laptop, I've
managed to get it running along with Jolongo, which after installing gives
you a visual representation of a minimal moodle which synchs with an online
moodle using a username and password, along with the mother moodle url. But
this is currently quite iffy... as in it sometimes works, sometimes doesn't,
and at the moment only the course material is downloaded (no events, no task
manager, etc.) I am in contact with the developers who were keen on me beta
testing it, and they are doing what they can to make it more stable.. I will
post progress as it happens.


For now, it seems like both projects are still ironing out the finer
details, with the OU version seeming to be the more complete project.
However, the Jolongo project, with its reliance on Adobe AIR might be both
lighter and more portable, as well as easier to install. That said, the OU
version will be using sqlite, so that could even things out. Giving it a
couple of months will allow us to see which one of these projects is the
best adapted to usage by OLE and olpc.
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