[sf-lug] Another school project possible

Christian Einfeldt einfeldt at gmail.com
Thu Jan 8 14:49:18 PST 2009


On Thu, Jan 8, 2009 at 12:19 PM, jim <jim at well.com> wrote:

> can you describe or point us to more specifics:
> * what tasks need to be done?

Securing a donation of at least 12 (but preferably 20) hybrid clients with
512 MB of RAM; securing donation of a decent server (I would like to see 4
GB LDAP server, not thin client); doing a mass install over the network of a
lightweight Linux distro (Xubuntu has worked at the school); bringing the IT
staff of the school up to speed on Linux (they have some Linux knowledge,
but nothing approaching that of say Rick Moen or Tom Haddon or Asheesh
Laroia for example, so they are teachable but will need an occasional
helping hand with some issues).

The school already has space committed to this Linux network, and they have
the commitment of the (very non-technical) director of the school and they
do have a moderately well-trained Linux admin who is firmly committed to
making this program work and firmly committed to starting a Spanish-language
LUG at the school, which will be great for outreach.  The school has the
basic infrastructure such as power and Internet to make it all work.

> * what goals are there?

Teaching entry level Linux admins, to be enhanced with increasing advanced
skills as their Linux student population advances; giving away Linux boxes
to Spanish speakers in SF; establishing a Spanish-lang LUG.

> * how many persons are needed?

A few hours here and there by a Rick Moen / Tom Haddon / Asheesh Laroia
level type of person to prevent them from making mistakes early on and to
make sure the system is designed well and, as Rick often reminds me, to make
sure that intelligent questions are asked early on as to their
requirements.  I am sure that there are lots of questions that I have not
asked that Rick would like me to have asked.

During set up, it would probably be good to have one or two monkeys like me
for gopher physical work type of stuff; and then occasional answers to tough

Also, there will need to be some follow up from someone like me to just
encourage them to use resources like this list.  People who come from the
Windows world are not familiar with using free resources like this list or
other lists, and so they tend to try to figure things out by themselves, and
they make mistakes.  So they will need someone to check in on them
periodically until they grok that they can get good help on places like

> * is there pay?

I believe that there will be an opportunity for someone to get into a
commercial relationship with them once they see what it is that can be
accomplished with Linux.  Currently, they have a small student body that
they are training with simple Microsoft Windows skills, and the IT guy there
has all the usual complaints about Microsoft Windows (buggy, high cost, poor
technology, viruses, lack of freedom) and he wants to take the school in a
new direction.  He is particularly interested in bringing the ideas of Free
Software to the SF Latino population, and so is particularly keen on
starting a Spanish language LUG at the school.

A brief history of the school.  It was established by an immigrant labor
leader from Latin America who saw that Latinos were failing to integrate
successfully into the English-speaking Bay Area business community, and he
wanted to do something about that.  They started with English language
classes, and grew from there to include culinary classes and other similar
trade classes, including basic Microsoft Windows administration.

As their Linux program grows, they will likely be more inclined to bring in
outside paid Linux consultants, but for right now, the IT guy has been
tasked with growing this project with volunteers, as they are not familiar
with Linux and so they are not sure it will succeed, so they don't want to
over-commit resources to an unproven idea.  It's the same old
chicken-and-egg issue that we see time and time again with Linux.  We LUGs
need to create some basic "brand" acceptance for Linux if we are going to
see it grow into a commercial success.

> * what about hours: flexible or required times?

Flexible.  Please see immediately preceding answer.

> * are there volunteer possibilities?

yes.  Please see above.

> * is there a knowledgeable mentor or supervisor
> already in place?

Knowledgeable is a relative term, but he probably does not have Jim
Stockford's level of skill.  He is certainly more knowledgeable than me (not
saying much).  I can do basic installs on standalone boxes, and I know
enough command line commands to implement solutions as instructed by
knowledgeable admins, and I can do basic computer building and repair.  He
is better than I, certainly, and runs the Microsoft Windows program there.
So, for example, he was able to build and maintain a Microsoft Windows
network, but his skills don't approach those of Rick Moen or Tom Haddon or
Asheesh Laroia.

> * replicating ACCRC without james burgett seems
> a tall order, what about working with ACCRC?

ACCRC.org is changing fundamentally.  Our public middle school project is
going to have to find other sources of machines, probably.  And James
Burgett has left ACCRC and the SF Bay Area.

> * where is/are the location(s)?

The Mission District.  I am not giving out the location just yet, because I
don't want to have lots of different people contacting the school directly,
because it will just create confusion.  We need to have just one or two
primary contacts between the school and our SF LUG community so that we
don't duplicate work.

Jim, thanks for asking good questions!

c u
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