[sugar] USB Based Community Access - What could work technically?

Walter Bender walter.bender
Thu Oct 30 18:46:18 EDT 2008

What is the current recommendation for a LiveUSB image?


On Thu, Oct 30, 2008 at 6:42 PM, David Farning <dfarning at sugarlabs.org> wrote:
> Clinic next door to a School - A health clinic located right next door
> Sasha's school has a close partnership with the school. Many students are
> scene there so they decided to add a donated computer to their waiting room
> just for kids to use Sugar. This computer still has its hard-drive, but its
> dedicated for Sugar. Some of the basic sugar files are located on the hard
> drive and it is set up to allow students to log out rather then shutting
> down and restarting between each student.
> This is an very interesting idea. A hybrid harddrive usb solutions.  From a
> technology perspective it would not be that hard to implement.  When the
> computer boots from the hard drive it waits at a login prompt for the user
> to either login or insert a USB with the users /home directory.  The current
> generation of linux distribution has excellent support for DBUS to
> communicate the status of hot swapped devices such as USBs.
> A big advantage of this method would be to take advantage of the hard-drives
> speed while storing user data on the USB.  Furthermore, the users login
> criteria would be stored on the USB.  This would allow passwordless login.
> The main concern that I have heard about storing user data on a USB is that
> kids will lose them.  Kids can be trusted not to lose their textbooks and
> folders.  Why not reverse the trend of shrinking USBs and make textbook
> sized USBs for kids:)  We make big pencils and big crayon for younger
> students. Why not big USBs?
> The Zoo: ....
> This seems very similar to the clinic.
> YMCA: After school and on snow days and vacations Sasha goes to the local
> YMCA. There is a bank of 10 computers for kids to use. They are thin clients
> run from one server. There is a USB port, and the user experience is just
> like booting on a stand alone computer, except because it doesn't really
> have to fully boot for each student switching users is much faster.
> The difficulty here seems to be defining what is a thin client.  One
> interesting approach is the one taken in the Extremadura region in spain.
> Several years ago they start putting computers on the desks of all of the
> students in the region. Now, as the computers are becoming outdated (the
> students have faster computers at home) they are adding high powered servers
> to schools.  By configuring the existing laptops and desktops as clients for
> the new servers, they are able to extend usefull life of the existing
> equipment by several years.
> For this to become possiable with Sugar we will need to engage the LTSP
> developers.
> At School: Due to the E-Rate program Sasha's school and all the schools in
> tow are well connected so the schools system decided to take advantage of
> the economies of scale and hosts a large server centrally. In each classroom
> there are thin clients and a USB port. The user experience is exactly the
> same as at the YMCA, but in this case the server is located several miles
> away.
> A current preference for US schools seems to be using E-Rate to finance a
> client server system where student can log into their virtual desktop from
> anywhere that has Internet access.
> This thinking seems to stem from the belief within the current generation of
> school sysadmins that only they can be trusted with a student's data.  A
> second reason is that schools tend to integrate students systems to closely
> with teachers administrative systems.  As a result many districts are
> putting a tremendous emphasis on backing up students data.
> Client Server systems allow sysadmins to backup a student's data to school
> or district level SAN.  It has been awhile since I have gone to school, but
> I can't remember anyone photo copying my notebooks so that I would have a
> 'backup' if I lost my original.  On the contrary, I remember losing point
> for losing my homework. It was called learning responsibility.
> This belief also seems to stem from the quirk of human nature that if we pay
> a consultant to install an expensive system, we tend to be happier then if
> we install an inexpensive system our selves:(
> On Wed, Oct 22, 2008 at 11:54 AM, Caroline Meeks
> <caroline at solutiongrove.com> wrote:
>> Hi,
>> This is a request for technical assistance for "Sugar on a Stick".
>> It looks like we have a pilot school for our USB boot project, and a grant
>> proposal in so I am trying to think through various use cases around
>> creating ubiquitous access with a USB storage device.  I've written up some
>> use cases here:
>> http://www.sugarlabs.org/go/DeploymentTeam/School_Key#Vision_of_different_ways_the_USB_might_work_in_the_students_environment
>> I'd love thoughts on what is feasible, how hard, and how much benefit
>> would each scenario actually provide.
>> I've done tests to show that "Home" and "Grandma's" are feasible.  I'm
>> curious as to whether putting some of the boot files on the hard drive (Zoo)
>> could reduce boot time or have any other advanatages as most of our donated
>> computers will likely have working disk drives.  I wonder if combining with
>> a LTSP or other virtualization scheme is possible (YMCA/School).
>> Note all scenarios are fictional.
>> Write your ideas here or on the Wiki page as you see fit.
>> Thanks!
>> Caroline
>> --
>> Caroline Meeks
>> Solution Grove
>> Caroline at SolutionGrove.com
>> 617-500-3488 - Office
>> 505-213-3268 - Fax
>> _______________________________________________
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Walter Bender
Sugar Labs

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