[ILUG-BOM] NEWS: College Linux, what's it all about? (fwd)

Frederick Noronha (FN) fred@[EMAIL-PROTECTED]
Wed Apr 30 13:48:23 IST 2003


Anyone knows links for Manoj Apte and Lalita Godbole (see below)? FN

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URL             :  http://www.osnews.com/story.php?news_id=3D3305

   [16]Read articles with similar Topic   Interview with Professor David
   Costa of CollegeLinux
     By [17]Eugenia Loli-Queru - Posted on 2003-04-17 18:28:52

   There is a Linux distro for any possible need and [18]CollegeLinux is
   geared towards students and schools! Today, we interview Prof. David
   Costa of the Robert Kennedy College in Del=E9mont, Switzerland regarding
   their initiative behind CollegeLinux.

   1. What was the initial need to create a distribution specifically for
   students?

   Prof. David Costa: This is actually a great question. I read some
   students saying "do we really need this ? We have slackware, debian
   redhat and many others which are perfect for students!" Actually this
   is a myth. Many of the students I know never heard of linux. I am
   talking about students in management, law or any other non computing
   subject. Initally we used in our computer lab Mandrake 8.1 and to my
   delusion many of the things i would and our student would expect where
   no there.

   Flash and java plugins to name the browsing related ones. Network
   sharing with Windows computers to name another major concern. Not
   talking about movie player and excellent multimedia support. After all
   student life it's not just about assignments!

   2. What kind of applications your distro includes that are particular
   to students?

   Prof. David Costa: We added the complete Openoffice suite, browsers
   plug-in's all preconfigured, network sharing pre configured, windows
   emulator, many financial calculators/math tools, project management
   suite and practically everything you need for an easy move from
   windows to linux without having to give up on the convenience we are
   used to. Every students on CollegeLinux should not regret his choice.

   Before the release we tested CollegeLinux with real students. They
   where expected not to need windows for the testing period, meaning the
   should have managed to do everything they did with windows on
   collegelinux. They did and, they are still using collegelinux.

   3. Do you have any plans on 'feeding' your students in your College
   with laptops that run your distro? Some colleges and schools in USA
   have just started this initiative (reference [19]here).

   Prof. David Costa: We are mainly a career college, our student
   population is diverse but we are mainly dealing with adults. It's
   easier to change your habits when you are young, so while I am
   convinced that linux is the best enviroment to learn I do respect the
   views of students and faculty members who might disagree with me. What
   we will do is starting some classed on a dual major diploma programme:
   management and linux computing. Then our distribution will be the base
   of the computing component.

   Another think I don't like is try to push a distribution or OS with
   the pre-installed "trick". Afterall the installation is part of the
   linux learning process. I learned a lot during failed installs, you
   can tell ;)

   4. Who is actually doing the work on packaging and putting the distro
   together? How big is the dev team?

   Prof. David Costa: We are currently 4. The lead developer is Mihai
   Secasiu, other developers are Manoj Apte and Lalita Godbole. Todd
   Kulesza (from dropline system, the father of dropline gnome) might
   soon join us for the integration of dropline gnome and a collegelinux
   robot/auto upated in the next release scheduled for May.

   I know it's a small team but we do pay (not that well but) our
   developers. This a not for profit project fully sponsored by the
   Robert Kennedy College. Many linux developers are working free of
   charge (e.g. Debian) but with a small paid team we can better control
   the development and its timelines.

   5. What are your future plans for College Linux?

   Prof. David Costa: The next release will bring some interesting
   surprises. While dropline gnome is already working fine on
   CollegeLinux 2.1. The Jedi, we are trying to go a mile further with a
   perfect integration which will allow our users to keep their packages
   constantly updated. In this way students will benefit from a stable
   and complete OS constantly updated with a click.

   We are also fixing some of the problems with the installer (which was
   created from scratch) and we take into serious account all the
   installation problems reported by collegelinux users.

   We will add more plugins (RealMedia) to the browsers and must
   important we will constanctly updated our distribution to allow its
   installation in a great number of configurations.

   6. Why Slackware was picked as the "mother" distribution for College
   Linux, instead of say... Debian or Red Hat?

   Prof. David Costa: First of all Slackware is a great learning
   enviroment.Its base allows the more experienced users to customize the
   system as the want. Red Hat and Debian are excellent distributions but
   we didn't want to bring another clone to the world. I have seen many
   of the over 50 Red Hat based distributions. They all use the same
   installer and system..so I ask myself, why should someone get a clone
   of the original and not the real Red Hat ? Some of these distribution
   are certainly justified (e.g. RedFlag linux with the Chinese language
   support) but many others are just personal experiments.

   Slackware is one of the oldest distribution well know for its
   stability and the simple but great package system.We didn't want to
   bring the rpm dependencies nightmare to our users. Slackware It's
   probably one the best distributions, the only thing missing (and
   attention, not because they didn't care about it..is just the way it
   is to leave more feedom to the experienced user) is a better
   configured desktop tailored version.

   It was a challenge, but there are already desktop distributions based
   on Debian (one I like particularly is Knoppix) and they do their job
   greatly.
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