Brent's Homepage

Using Linux in an Education Environment

While work ing for Edmonson County Schools, I have had the opportunity to work on and develop several projects using Linux. While most of the time these projects are behind the scenes, there have been a few times when Linux has been deployed out in the schools themeselves.

This page will catalog some of the various projects that I have worked on and developed.

Linux Terminals

  Using a program called PXES I was able to make thin client network boot terminals. These terminals boot to the network and then load Linux from a TFTP server. They detect all the hardware and then load up X and use rdesktop to connect to our Windows Terminal Server. From the users point of view "it just looks like the machine boots up in DOS for a minute and then Windows comes up."
  This has been a boon to us since it allows us to save out Pentuim 166 and turn them into completely functional computers. These machine make great web browsing and word processing machines and offer up no noticable change from a normal desktop to this, from a users point of view.

Rsync Backups

  I developed a system using rsync on my Linux backup server to connect to a Windows rsync server and pulling files off of them. I then use use hardlink on the Linux machine to save space between the multiple backups. Using this method I can keep twenty-one backups of all the data on our network in less than two times the space of the data on the network. With these we perform backups every four hours and store the midnight backups for three months.

Video Streaming

  With the program VLC we have developed a set of computers that stream KET channels across our data network. These machines are Linux boxes with special scripts to make them perform the various VLC commands and IVTV commands to set the cards to the inputs and volumes that we want. It then compresses and sends the channels out via HTTP streams. Linux boxes out at the other schools then decode the streams and display them out through their video cards. This signal is then injected into the cable network at the school and sent out to all the televisions. I am working on a document talking about how I set this up

File Serving

  Using SAMBA we were able to work around some file locking issues that some learning software had. By intentionally breaking Windows locking support in SAMBA we could use CD images that we had on several machines instead of having to have an individual CD for every machine. Even though we did have the CDs for every machine, this was a much more elegant solution which actually used the power of the network.

Phone Switch

  Using Asterisk and Trixbox I was able to build a phone switch for one of our schools that saved the district over $8000. It will also provide four digit dialing for our entire district and provide voicemail for everyone as well.

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