Thursday, October 04, 2007

I have a new focus

Okay, after a long time of trying to decide exactly what this blog would be about I guess I've decided to make it about open source in education. Specifically I will be dealing with issues associated with using Edubuntu in the classroom. I suppose I will still find time to contribute some personal information about myself, but I guess I'll try to title those ones "personal" or something. Mostly I guess I just don't care to have an online diary and would rather put my thoughts and frustrations trying to implement Edubuntu into the Internets so that maybe someone will find it useful and improve the product. So a few things:

Just yesterday I received our order for 35 8-port 10/100 ethernet switches. I plan on using them to setup Edubuntu LTSP miniLANs in every teachers classroom. I'm still waiting on the ethernet cords we ordered so it probably won't happen until next week some time. In the meantime though I'll probably have my tech crew (6 middle schoolers I have been training on tech stuff after school each week) at least start setting up the servers and thin clients in each teachers room.

I finally got the labs both set up. I have my own that has a bunch of donated P3 dell GX150s running at 800Mhz with 128MB RAM and the outside lab with a bunch of donated Compaq P2s running at like 333Mhz with 128MB RAM or something. Here are some pics of the process of setting up just the inside lab (in the pics are the Compaqs, I switched the computers after a few days so the better ones would be inside with me).

So on the first day I'm running 12 of the Compaqs in the inside lab computers off of a 3Ghz P4 Dell with 2GB DDR400 Dual Channel RAM and I have my first class of kindergarteners go to this alphabet flash game on the bbc site and the thin clients all run like molasses! I was so disappointed. I did have some extra ram so I bumped it up to 4GB but they still ran terribly. It was impossible for the students to do the assignment. After school I tried to go to the bbc game under Windows 2000 and it ran nearly as slow so I figured it had to do with the thin clients' processor and switched all the Compaq's with the Dell's with some help from the librarian and my Tech Crew. The problem seems to have been fixed a little bit, but when I watch the system monitor on the Server the CPU is pretty much maxed out with 12 thin clients. I think I need to look into getting a better server because I really want to do some cool stuff in the inside lab. I'm hoping to use kompozer for webpages and Google Earth and definitely some fun games for free time rewards. Plus, what if I want to use Kino or do some podcasts? So I'm not sure what the relationship is for what kind of servers and thin clients are needed for that level of computing but everything I read seemed to suggest that I had adequate levels of equipment. I'm guessing those sources were referring to simply being able to power the thin clients and to use them for any serious tasks would require more power, but this was never clearly stated and now I find myself in the unenviable position of needing another 3k or so to buy my new Dual Xeon server. Hopefully future guides will provide some sort of graph or chart to illustrate exactly what kinds of processes are capable of being executed with a given server/thin client setup. I know I would have appreciated one (still would!) Until next time. -joe

1 comment:

Stephen Walder said...

This is somthing I would love to see too. We have not yet given our system a good test to it's limits, but I'll be sure to post some figures to my blog when the day comes.