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Linux Terminal Servers as backbone for Unity Centers

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  • Franz Nahrada
    I am very happy this group is focussing around the issue of Unity Centers/LearningCafés, and thanks to Janet for her great leadership! There are some
    Message 1 of 5 , Jun 20, 2006
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      I am very happy this group is focussing around the issue of Unity
      Centers/LearningCafés, and thanks to Janet for her great leadership!

      There are some resources which I would also like to mention, maybe they
      could be "brought to the boat" because it seemed much more efficient for
      me to do it in new ways.

      The issue is using a Linux Terminal Server which substantially improves
      performance of old machines:

      http://www.ltsp.org/

      and getting in touch with groups that successfully created such
      environments, like the one in Rome:

      see
      http://www.globalvillages.info/wiki.cgi?GlobalVillages/FranzNahrada/Blog

      entry of 13.5.2006

      .....
      In the ground floor of the Inverso I met Davide Lamanna, who works with
      other people in a group called "Ingegneria Senza Frontiere (ISF) a name
      that is not easily translateable but everybody understands intuitively.
      These are people that work with all kinds of supportive technology, and in
      the Inverso they have a computer lab. I could not believe my eyes when I
      saw a very familiar picture, the same old configuration of a bunch of slow
      old Pentium-90 or even earlier PCs with two modern servers. Without even
      asking two much I told Davide Lamanna and his team that I think they were
      using discless clients. In fact this was an experiment that some Linux
      whizkid had performed years ago in the GIVE premises and that proved that
      with Linux and a network you could well bring old computers to life. This
      was the dream I had in mind to save our Cameroon project, but our wizzard
      at that time decided that he was not really going to continue support
      without getting substantially paid - one of the deeper wounds I have
      concerning Linux and free software. A year of work was wasted because
      there was nobody to take up the torch. Maybe I should have waited a bit
      before trashing the more than thirty old computers sitting idle in the
      Karolinenhof basement. The ISF people aptly call their project
      "Trashware" but they are wise enough not to ship old computers to Africa
      (the other burning issue of those days seven years ago, that burnt up more
      money than we all could afford. There was not enough local technical
      repair capacity! But thats a different story).

      Rather they use them in local settings to bridge the digital divide. Maybe
      the knowledge could be shared and by that slowly capacity could evolve in
      Africa, too. ....

      Franz
    • lucas.gonzalez@canarias.org
      ... Franz, LTSP. That s exactly what my LUG friends used. :) Actually there s even competition in that arena, there are choices, and experts abound. That s
      Message 2 of 5 , Jun 20, 2006
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        > The issue is using a Linux Terminal Server which substantially
        > improvesperformance of old machines:
        > http://www.ltsp.org/

        Franz,

        LTSP.  That's exactly what my LUG friends used. :)  Actually there's even competition in that arena, there are choices, and experts abound.  That's why I suggested Linux User Groups as a resource.  And maybe as a natural venue for growth and contagion of "how to" documents.

        Over at my local LUG there's a discussion where - just before final exams, but they are intrigued - I'm suggesting we could have some community currency tied to giving away the machines.  Perhaps get the receivers of the machines to do several things:
        * they receive the machines with Linux inside (maybe they buy the server + get recycled terminals)
        * they join one or more lists if they want to get help from the community
        * some sort of community currency is set up so that help can be counted somehow
        * different NGOs are on the same lists and use the same currencies so they can help each other

        I can imagine a group of food growers contacting a group of windmill builders etc.  Paying each other with what each of them can do best.  Yes I like the integration Jeff champions, and it would happen - with everyone aproaching it from their own corner.

        Of course, the model needs further developement. Just kite flying at this stage.

        Lucas
      • Jeff Buderer
        Lucas, What we could do is to set up the wiki for the idea that we are discussing so that everyone can find information as relevant to their corner in the
        Message 3 of 5 , Jun 21, 2006
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          Lucas,

          What we could do is to set up the wiki for the idea that we are
          discussing so that everyone can find information as relevant to their
          corner in the larger integration matrix.

          Expample consider ICT and its role in the process of promoting
          integrated sustainable development solutions. We can consider using LUG
          network for promooting open source solutions for our network in Africa
          and so we could set up a section on that including:

          - Cawdnet/Fantsuam Foundation has a link to a LUG at the University in
          Jos Nigeria

          - OVF has worked to establish the Winneba Ghana Linux User Group in
          Winneba at the leading educational University in Ghana - the University
          of Education Winneba Ghana

          - Kenya LUG as Lucas mentions and also the Network that emerged from
          Sam's participation at Africa Source II.

          Jeff

          lucas.gonzalez@... wrote:

          > > The issue is using a Linux Terminal Server which substantially
          > > improvesperformance of old machines:
          > > http://www.ltsp.org/
          >
          > Franz,
          >
          > LTSP. That's exactly what my LUG friends used. :) Actually there's
          > even competition in that arena, there are choices, and experts
          > abound. That's why I suggested Linux User Groups as a resource. And
          > maybe as a natural venue for growth and contagion of "how to" documents.
          >
          > Over at my local LUG there's a discussion where - just before final
          > exams, but they are intrigued - I'm suggesting we could have some
          > community currency tied to giving away the machines. Perhaps get the
          > receivers of the machines to do several things:
          > * they receive the machines with Linux inside (maybe they buy the
          > server + get recycled terminals)
          > * they join one or more lists if they want to get help from the community
          > * some sort of community currency is set up so that help can be
          > counted somehow
          > * different NGOs are on the same lists and use the same currencies so
          > they can help each other
          >
          > I can imagine a group of food growers contacting a group of windmill
          > builders etc. Paying each other with what each of them can do best.
          > Yes I like the integration Jeff champions, and it would happen - with
          > everyone aproaching it from their own corner.
          >
          > Of course, the model needs further developement. Just kite flying at
          > this stage.
          >
          > Lucas
          >
          >
        • kaippg@earthlink.net
          Dear Franz and All, Hello and great to see this! Thanks for your amazing leadership too (and the lovely compliment...may the Mutual Admiration Society always
          Message 4 of 5 , Jun 21, 2006
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            Dear Franz and All,

            Hello and great to see this! Thanks for your amazing leadership too (and
            the lovely compliment...may the Mutual Admiration Society always be in
            session, haha!). I think, if I understand this right, another name for
            what you describe is the "thin-client" solution, ie boosting the computing
            power of older machines--usually in developing countries (though am sure
            more rural areas within a country can use this too)--with the faster
            technology usually found more often in developed countries.

            Kennedy and I (our orgs), among others, were hoping to take advantage of
            just this kind of thing a couple years ago, with regard to HIV/AIDS virtual
            learning environment, which was to pair up orgs in Africa and elsewhere
            with a university and other entities in the UK. That particular project did
            not come off, but the idea has continued to intrigue me, and it's one of
            the ways in which "villages" in one part of the world and another might
            link. Knowledge and exchanges would go both ways, of course!

            In fact, that would be great for Actwid K--as you mention--and for Sam,
            once they get working machines. And this possibility enters into the
            discussion abt what sorts of machines we'll need for a project, or could
            "get away with" as a bottom-line. The good thing too is that--as Jeff
            points out--many of the older machines are found more in developing
            countries, and these are usually the ones donated from orgs like CAI and
            WCE.

            So this solution allows them to be useful in the first place, and then
            longer than they would otherwise, so they won't end up--so soon, at
            least--in junk heaps. And a great example of holistic helping too:
            fashioning a system which works for both (or all) parties, designing
            two-way (or multi-party) exchanges, ensuring less wear-and-tear on the
            environment.

            Now, there is still the issue of parts availability and local repair
            capability, but hopefully there can be a "repair" learning component to
            some of the exchanges thin-client allows in the VLE, and maybe even an
            investment seen in this "relationship" which will create incentives to find
            spare parts needed (this in developed countries most likely) to keep the
            older machines going. Links to colleges, "villages", business groups,
            nonprofits, training/vocational entities might help in this regard, ie
            having these as partners in the thin-client project.

            Thanks again for the food for thought, and to Jeff-Lucas-all for your
            thoughts and additions! Janet (a not-so-thin client, haha!)

            ----- Original Message -----
            From: Franz Nahrada
            To: holistichelping@yahoogroups.com
            Sent: 6/20/2006 2:52:34 PM
            Subject: [holistichelping] Linux Terminal Servers as backbone for Unity
            Centers


            I am very happy this group is focussing around the issue of Unity
            Centers/LearningCaf�s, and thanks to Janet for her great leadership!

            There are some resources which I would also like to mention, maybe they
            could be "brought to the boat" because it seemed much more efficient for
            me to do it in new ways.

            The issue is using a Linux Terminal Server which substantially improves
            performance of old machines:

            http://www.ltsp.org/

            and getting in touch with groups that successfully created such
            environments, like the one in Rome:

            see
            http://www.globalvillages.info/wiki.cgi?GlobalVillages/FranzNahrada/Blog

            entry of 13.5.2006

            .....
            In the ground floor of the Inverso I met Davide Lamanna, who works with
            other people in a group called "Ingegneria Senza Frontiere (ISF) a name
            that is not easily translateable but everybody understands intuitively.
            These are people that work with all kinds of supportive technology, and in
            the Inverso they have a computer lab. I could not believe my eyes when I
            saw a very familiar picture, the same old configuration of a bunch of slow
            old Pentium-90 or even earlier PCs with two modern servers. Without even
            asking two much I told Davide Lamanna and his team that I think they were
            using discless clients. In fact this was an experiment that some Linux
            whizkid had performed years ago in the GIVE premises and that proved that
            with Linux and a network you could well bring old computers to life. This
            was the dream I had in mind to save our Cameroon project, but our wizzard
            at that time decided that he was not really going to continue support
            without getting substantially paid - one of the deeper wounds I have
            concerning Linux and free software. A year of work was wasted because
            there was nobody to take up the torch. Maybe I should have waited a bit
            before trashing the more than thirty old computers sitting idle in the
            Karolinenhof basement. The ISF people aptly call their project
            "Trashware" but they are wise enough not to ship old computers to Africa
            (the other burning issue of those days seven years ago, that burnt up more
            money than we all could afford. There was not enough local technical
            repair capacity! But thats a different story).

            Rather they use them in local settings to bridge the digital divide. Maybe
            the knowledge could be shared and by that slowly capacity could evolve in
            Africa, too. ....

            Franz
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