Category Archives: Edubuntu

Edubuntu’s installer ready for 11.04

After spending the last day or so working on it, I’m proud to announce that Edubuntu finally has its long awaited fine-grained package selection in Ubiquity.

Here’s a screenshot of what will be available in Natty:

Ubiquity fine-grained package selection

With it, users can easily opt out of some of our meta-packages or individual packages.
In the future you will also be able to install extra packages this way (that aren’t installed in the live environment but are present on the DVD).

Other than this installer change, Edubuntu has also been updated to ship with a classic gnome interface by default but offer Unity as an installation option. Unity-2d will also ship by default and we’ll try to have it as fall-back of Unity for these who choose to use Unity as their desktop interface.

Enjoy !

Posted in Edubuntu, Planet Revolution-Linux, Planet Ubuntu | Tagged , | 13 Comments

Want your own Edubuntu weblive ?

Since I announced Edubuntu WebLive 8000 users have been testing Edubuntu using it.

Edubuntu WebLive

After a bit of cleaning up and packaging, I’m now pleased to announce that the source code for both our Drupal plugin and the XML-RPC daemon is available on Launchpad:

Drupal plugin


  • Provider the user interface for Weblive, like the one on:
  • Gives a basic administration interface to enable/disable the NX servers and update all the text shown in the user interface
  • Code is PHP using the Drupal form APIs and php-xmlrpc to contact the ltsp-cluster-agent plugin

Installation is relatively trivial, just follow the README file in the branch.

ltsp-cluster-agent plugin


  • XML-RPC service (authenticated and using HTTPS) that Drupal uses to create new users
  • Database of all accounts ever created, their status and expiry time
  • Support for multiple SSH servers
  • Client to query the database (also over xml-rpc) to gather statistics or manually create/remove accounts
  • Code is python, using paramiko for SSH and storm+sqlite as ORM

Installation is straightforward as everything is packaged here:

ltsp-cluster-agent is a python daemon designed for use by LTSP and LTSP-Cluster. More on that in a later post.

The VM itself

For Edubuntu, our VMs are entirely automatically generated using debian-installer preseeding and KVM.
Unfortunately these scripts are not clean enough yet for me to release them, I’d expect to have them out very soon though.

The basic requirement for the VM is to have these packages installed:

  • ltsp-cluster-accountmanager (used to cleanup session leftovers)
  • freenx-server (the NX server)

We have recent versions of both in Revolution Linux‘s PPA. ltsp-cluster-accountmanager is also in the archive since karmic and I’m hoping for freenx-server to enter the archive soon.

I’d also recommend removing the following packages as they caused some issues with Edubuntu WebLive:

  • network-manager, network-manager-gnome, network-manager-pptp, network-manager-pptp-gnome
  • jockey-common, jockey-gtk
  • rtkit

As usual, comments, patches and bug reports are welcome. I’d also be happy to hear from other deployments of WebLive !

Posted in Edubuntu, LTSP, Planet Revolution-Linux, Planet Ubuntu | Tagged , | 3 Comments

A week in Orlando (Ubuntu Developer Summit – Natty Narwhal)

Currently flying from Orlando, FL where I had an awesome Ubuntu Developer Summit I wanted to quickly share what happened this week.

Ubuntu and Linaro banners

I had the chance of being able to participate in plenty of very different and interesting sessions over the week.

Here’s a quick overview of my interests for the Natty development cycle.

I received a LOT of feedback regarding Edubuntu. There was a lot interest for Edubuntu WebLive.
I gave a plenary on Tuesday about what’s Edubuntu, why we are doing it and what are our plans for Natty as well as announce the availability of daily Edubuntu builds on WebLive.
For Natty we mostly plan on growing our user community and getting more feedback from. Our installation process should be a lot faster and let the user choose what kind of education software he wants.
We also reviewed around 20 new applications, most of them are already available in Edubuntu in Natty, two will need to be packaged.

For this UDS, we were lucky to have Daniel Lezcano from LXC attending.
So we had a few very interesting sessions on what needs to be done to get LXC to the point where it can be used as a replacement of OpenVZ.
We also discussed how we could use containers and similar technologies on ARM and on a regular desktop as a way to sandbox applications.

Desktop in the cloud
Following my demo of Edubuntu WebLive during Tuesday’s plenary, we had two cloud track related to it.
One on how to let users test Ubuntu (awstrial) and another on the Desktop in the Cloud image. We discussed the various technologies available for remote desktop and will try to get an official desktop in the cloud image for Natty.

Being an Application Review Board member, I attended the 3 sessions on the topic. We discussed the application review process as well as the technical implementation and the current limitations the ARB noticed. We should soon have a clear process for reviewing new applications and will be able to start getting new applications in Ubuntu 10.10’s extra repository.

It was really great seeing everyone, discussing and working together this week. I’m now flying to Bangor, ME for the yearly LTSP by the sea meeting, then driving back to Sherbrooke, QC to start implementing everything we discussed!

See you all in Budapest next year!

Posted in Conferences, Edubuntu, LXC, Planet Revolution-Linux, Planet Ubuntu | 1 Comment

Edubuntu WebLive now features Edubuntu 11.04 daily builds

A bit over a week ago I announced Edubuntu WebLive, probably the easiest way to test Edubuntu from any computer (Linux, MacOS, Solaris and Windows) running Java.

Yesterday during the Edubuntu plenary at the Ubuntu Developer Summit I announced that you can now try the latest development release from WebLive.

weblive logo

Just go on our website and select “Edubuntu 11.04 (development release)”. Then try the all latest features, check if your bugs have been fixed or look for regressions. As with the production server, you have two hours to test it.

So far, close to 4000 users tried Edubuntu using WebLive!

Posted in Edubuntu, Planet Revolution-Linux, Planet Ubuntu | Leave a comment

Edubuntu live now available online !

Try it now

As you may know, Edubuntu ships as a DVD.
While that’s a great thing because it gives us a lot of space for language packs, applications and content, it’s a bit of an issue for users who just want to try it out.

After thinking about it for a while and spending the weekend coding the infrastructure for it, I’m proud to announce the availability of Edubuntu Try it now!.

It’s basically a VM of the latest stable release running on some dedicated server where you can request a free test account.
The account will let you access the VM using NX for 2 hours.

A maximum of 10 users can connect at the same time. The VM cleaned up using the tools from LTSP-Cluster and reinstalled from scratch daily.

Future improvements include the availability of a Natty Narwhal VM as soon as it’s stable enough to be installed.

Posted in Edubuntu, Planet Revolution-Linux, Planet Ubuntu | 4 Comments