Edubuntu 10.04 has arrived

Free Software 3 Comments »

Ubuntu 10.04 LTS has been released, so has Edubuntu 10.04 with other derivatives soon to follow! Thanks to everyone who helped made the Lucid release cycle one of the best ones ever!

The logo above is also the new Edubuntu logo, and replaces the old 3-colour logo we used to have. I think it’s way less cheesy than the old one and it’s much more sleek, it looks great in the system too! We’re working on a new Edubuntu website and we’ll have some nice screenshots there!

I was planning to be in Canada this month, but one upside from visa issues is that I can at least attend the Cape Town release party! (ooh, and also thanks to Raoul for our Loco team’s cool new site!). If you’re in Cape Town and surrounding areas, be sure to come along!

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Then and Now Meme

Free Software, Humour, Jonathan 9 Comments »

Maybe it didn’t exactly start out as a meme, that doesn’t mean I can’t make it into one :)

My Very First Time

My first GNU/Linux desktop was installed in 1999 on a 486DX4-100 with 16MB RAM. It was Red Hat Linux 6 (Hedwig). I still have the CD, it has “Linux 6.0″ written on it which sounds extremely futuristic considering I’m on Linux 2.6.32 now in 2010. I don’t have any of my original screenshots, but I found this one which is a typical RHL 6.0 desktop:

Today I run Ubuntu 10.04 LTS on my desktop, laptop and netbook:

Not too much to see though since I generally keep my desktop clean. I usually use my desktop to store some files temporarily while I work on a task, afterwards they are stored somewhere safe just in case I need them again. I also keep my window list on the top panel, it saves some screen space especially since I only have 2-3 windows open on a desktop space. The space saving is also great on my netbook, since I don’t use the Ubuntu Netbook Remix on there.

Then and Now Edubuntu Edition

Earlier this week, I posted about new futures available in Edubuntu 10.04. This evening I put together a wiki page showing some of the artwork differences in Edubuntu between Karmic and Lucid. I also added some additional information that might be useful to the website and marketing teams similar to what the Ubuntu branding page has done. It’s still early work but I’ll copy and paste it in a page for Maverick and continue to improve on it there. For now I’m getting some sleep since I have a CTWUG meeting early in the morning, seems like blogging just before 2am is becoming a habit :)

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7 Days

Free Software 1 Comment »

It’s just one week away! If you still haven’t added your countdown banner yet, it’s not too late! There’s also a Facebook app if you’d like to add it to your profile.

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What’s been happening with Edubuntu?

Free Software 9 Comments »

I don’t blog nearly as much as I’d like to (but more about that in another post), which is why I think it’s about time that I make a catch-up post on what’s been happening in the world of Edubuntu during the Lucid release cycle. Edubuntu 10.04 is due for release on the 29th of April. It’s just about finished and tomorrow’s daily build should be pretty close to the actual release.

New Stuff in Ubuntu and Edubuntu 10.04

1. Reworked Edubuntu Disc

Edubuntu 9.10 was our first release that returned from being an add-on CD to a full installation disc. It had a big problem though, it was almost double the size what it needed to be. The alternate installation that shipped with the disc required for LTSP installation meant that every program and its files were shipped twice on the image, resulting in a very bloated disc. It was unavoidable at the time though but for Lucid we have managed to integrate everything that’s required for a full Edubuntu setup into the desktop LiveCD, so no more alternate installation is required. The effective overall gain on the Lucid installation media is about 1GB. We don’t want to waste space since the current 2.2GB image is already quite heavy on mirrors, but at it is good to know that we have some more leeway when we want to add more features.

2. Live LTSP

Edubuntu now provides the fastest way to get an LTSP server up for experimental or demo purposes. Simply boot from an Edubuntu Live Disc or USB MSD, select “Start LTSP Live” from the Other menu and choose an interface it should run on. About 2 minutes later you’ll have a working LTSP environment you can try out. Stephane made a screen cast demoing how easy it is to get an LTSP server up and running in less than 5 minutes running an Edubuntu live DVD and thin client in two virtual machines.

3. Easy LTSP Installation

If you have poked around Edubuntu and the Live LTSP environment and you decide that you’re ready for the real thing, you can install Edubuntu and an Install LTSP option will also appear on the desktop. It pretty much only asks you on which interface you would like to run LTSP on, just like the LTSP live environment. All you need to do is click on OK and sit back for 10 minutes while it does everything required to get the LTSP environment set up.

It’s notably faster than installing from an alternate CD similarly to how installing from the Ubiquity (Desktop CD installer) is faster than installing from the Debian Installer (alternate CD installer, more on this in another post) since it extracts the files from a pre-built squashfs image rather than installing a few hundred debian packages one by one.

4. Edubuntu Menu Editor

The Edubuntu Menu Editor is a new tool that allows administrators to create custom menu profiles and apply it to users and groups. This is written by Marc Gariépy who also works with me and Stéphane at Revolution Linux (which sponsors pretty much the bulk of Edubuntu-specific development at this stage)

5. Easy Netbook Mode

Installing Edubuntu on a netbook? Choose the network interface to get the latest Ubuntu Netbook interface on Edubuntu. It’s a lot faster than previous implementations, I even got great performance from it in a virtual machine with no hardware video acceleration at all.

6. Qimo Packages

Qimo is an entirely different educational distribution for young kids based on Ubuntu. I’ve been talking to the Michael Hall who develops it for a while so that we can get Qimo in Ubuntu so that Ubuntu users could install it easily. Since then Michael has joined our team and since I became a MOTU it became a lot easier getting his packages into the archives. Michael will probably also become a MOTU and an Edubuntu-Dev member over the next development cycle. We don’t include the Qimo packages on the Edubuntu DVD since it also depends on Xfce, so it is probably better starting with a minimal Ubuntu system or a Xubuntu system if you don’t want too much bloat on your system. Or just get the Qimo beta directly and install.

7. New Artwork

We have a new wallpaper created by Mads Rosendahl, we now use the Breathe icon theme which feels a lot fresher compared to the Gartoon icon theme that used to be the default (which is still available and included). We also went with the new Ubuntu window control positions which hasn’t been without controversy, but if some users strongly prefer the old window positioning or work in a mixed environment then it can be changed back by simply choosing another theme under the appearances menu.

Community Changes

1. New Edubuntu Council

Shortly after the Karmic release a new Edubuntu Council was elected. The role of the Edubuntu Council was also modified and now has more responsibility in the Edubuntu project. Previously it acted as a delegate for the Community Council, now it also acts as a Technical Board delegate for Edubuntu-dev as part of the archive re-organisation that continued to take place during this release.

2. New Website and new Website team

For the first time ever we have some dedicated people (Susan Stewart and Vikram Dhillion (along with others)) who will be looking after our website. Previously we only had one person at a time (mostly me who alternated with another person) who really didn’t have time to maintain it in the first place. The new website isn’t up yet but we aim to have it up around release time.

3. LP Team Restructure

We fixed up the plethora of Edubuntu teams on who all had different owners of which some haven’t been around in a while, now most of the official teams are owned by the Edubuntu Council in addition to current administrators. With some teams we had to completely re-invite all the members since we didn’t know who they were and if they were active any more. We’ve had a generally good response in doing that. There’s still some work here, but the bulk of it has been done.

4. Team Reports

We now follow the standard Ubuntu team reporting structure for the Edubuntu Reporting (eek, the March report is overdue, will do tomorrow), which are basically just a few bullet points that summarizes some items from our meetings. It works okay and as time goes on we’ll continue getting better at it.

5. Hug Days

We had wiki and bug hug days where we gave special attention to certain areas that have been neglected on the wiki and where we gave some attention to some long-forgotten bugs. Scott Balneaves and Ben Crisford hosted these, Ben is also currently working on reviving the Edubuntu Advocacy team and we’ll probably see a lot happening in that area over the next release cycle.

Is That It?

No, there’s more, but it’s past 2am now and I need to get this posted so I guess you’ll have to download a daily build or wait for the official release announcement next week to get the full scoop :)

Also, the work never stops, we’ve already started planning for Ubuntu 10.10 (Maverick Meerkat), I sent some of my preliminary ideas to the edubuntu-devel mailing list yesterday. We have a meeting on Wednesday evening UTC where we’ll plan some final wrapping up of Lucid and also put together our ideas in a Gobby document that will end up somewhere on the wiki for discussion at the next UDS.

There’s a lot of people who put in effort to make this release possible, but I think we owe a special thanks to the Ubuntu Release Team who have been extremely quick to reply to feature freeze exception requests and when we have requested new builds to test last-minute bug fixes. If the release team wasn’t as efficient as they are I shudder to think of the problems I would’ve had to worry about right now. You guys rock!

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My Nerd Score Is…

Free Software 8 Comments »

At least I’m not as nerdy as Sandro Tosi (via Planet Debian)! I was surprised at my score but I guess it’s the using Linux and SSH daily that bought it up somewhat :)

19% scored higher (more nerdy),
1% scored the same, and
80% scored lower (less nerdy).

What does this mean? Your nerdiness is:

High-Level Nerd. You are definitely MIT material, apply now!!!.

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Antifeatures at Geekdinner Cape Town

Free Software, Project Mayhem 2 Comments »

Tuesday evening I attended Geekdinner Cape Town again, the food was good and it was a nice crowd.


I did a mini-talk on Anti-features. It’s something that I’ve been aware of for a long time but never quite put a label on it. Benjamin “Mako” Hill coined the phrase anti-features and presented it at LinuxConf Australia 2010, I watched the video and thought that it would be a great topic for a Geekdinner.  Geekdinner talks are supposed to be only 5 minutes long, so I tried to get Mako’s ~45 minute talk down to about 6 minutes for the talk. I think it was a bit longer, I went first instead of last so I don’t think it was much of a problem. I haven’t given a talk in ages so I’m quite out of practice, but everyone who talked to me about it afterwards said that they enjoyed it and that it was interesting, so I feel good about it. It’s also one of the few Geekdinner talks that didn’t have any mention of Facebook or Twitter, so I gave myself another 50 points for that :)

You can get Mako’s slides and slide notes from his website, and also the video (which I recommend watching). You can get my slides right here. Stefano took video footage, I’ll paste a link to it once it’s processed.


Joe Botha talked about TrustFabric, his joint-venture with Jonathan Endersby and I believe someone else too where they want to change the way everyone works with personal information. More information on that in these two blog posts.

How to ruin people’s lives on-line

We still needed a 3rd talk so Ben Steenhuizen threw together a talk on how bad people (which he protests heavily that he’s not) can abuse your public data and can make things very difficult for you.

Overall one of my favourite geekdinners, I’ll probably go to the Montreal Geekdinners when I get over to Canada (still waiting on Visa), but I’ll probably be back to catch one of the last Cape Town Geekdinners again towards the end of this year.

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Edubuntu Bug Day

Education, Free Software No Comments »

Ben Crisford is hosting an Edubuntu bug day on Tuesday, 6 April on #edubuntu and #ubuntu-bugs on freenode. The plan is to triage and squash some of the 330 or so bugs assigned to packages that we include in Edubuntu so that we can give Edubuntu some final polish before the release at the end of the month.

If you can drop by during the day for even just a few hours or minutes, please do so! And if you could even give one bug a little attention, that would be great.

Happy bug squashing!

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