Welcome to the Edubuntu Cookbook! You're about to embark on a journey of discovery and empowerment. Contained within these pages are recipes for getting the most out of your Edubuntu lab. Our community of Edubuntu cooks have been busy at work finding ways to make Edubuntu meet their practical needs, and the solutions they've provided may be just what you are looking for to meet your needs as well.
Edubuntu is meant for anyone who would wants a computer laboratory that uses only free software which makes the best use of the widest variety of hardware. It is designed to be easy to administer and is well documented (for example, in the book you're reading now). It runs on inexpensive, 10-year-old IBM-compatibles as well as brand new I64-based systems. The growing Edubuntu community is working together to share ideas and solutions for bringing computing and communications power to teachers, students and community members everywhere.
Although Edubuntu is primarily aimed at schools, Edubuntu labs are not only useful in a school environment. Any kind of community organization may benefit from a secure and powerful computer laboratory, so feel free to pass on this book to anyone who can use it.
How to use this book
This book is intended to serve a couple of different audiences. If you do not yet have an Edubuntu lab, this book will provide a step-by-step guide to installing one. Anyone with enough enthusiasm, as well as access to some old computers and the other equipment necessary, can use this book as a blueprint for setting up computer labs in their community.
If you already have a working Edubuntu lab, it serves to document what you have, and to help you understand it in order to keep it in good running order. The cookbook includes recipes for some of the typical tasks you may face in the day-to-day running.
The book is also meant to introduce you to the concept of a computer laboratory, and to give you some insight into what it takes to run one.
For the impatient
If you are in a hurry to get up to speed with Edubuntu, the following list may come in handy:
- If you're getting ready to install Edubuntu, turn to Chapter ..., ..., for information on obtaining the Edubuntu software and setting up your lab.
- If you already have an up and running lab, you'll want to skip to Chapter ..., ..., to find out what was installed and how it all works, as well as tips on using the lab to present materials to an audience, and interact with individual users.
- If something is not performing right in your Edubuntu installation, check out Chapter ..., ..., for some troubleshooting tips and fixes. You'll also find information here on where to get further assistance for problems not covered in this edition of the cookbook.
Why we wrote this book
The ultimate aim of Edubuntu is empowerment: to place state of the art Information and Communication Technology within the reach of everyone. However, computers and networks are complicated things, and simply knowing how to ask the right questions can be very hard if you don't already have a lot of experience.
This book is intended to help you to be self-sufficient, and to enable you to ask for help effectively. It gathers together information about all the components that make up a lab, and it tells the story behind the global, grass-roots free software movement that created all the software, millions upon millions of lines of code, that make it work.
The book sketches a big picture, relating your Edubuntu lab to the growing network of Edubuntu users.
Vision and goals of the Edubuntu project
There are many ideas that beckon to be explored, and to be discussed and debated with other people in the emerging global community. Computers and information technology provide the critical tools to make this global conversation possible.
Publishing and distributing information on paper is expensive, and unless you are in a big city with the means to travel around easily, it is awkward and costly to take part in the global conversation. Information technology offers us a chance to leapfrog these problems by providing access to vast resources of texts, curricula, art and music via the Internet, and allows us to stay in touch by electronic means, even in remote areas. Since the technologies used play a direct part in defining what kinds of conversations are possible, the community must have control over these technologies, including the freedom to improve and modify them to meet unforseen challenges and opportunities. They must be able to take ownership of the computers and the software that they run, and to create new learning material to share with each other and with society as a whole. Only free software can provide this control.
To accomplish the objective of using technology for social innovation and empowerment, and to further the uptake of technology in schools around the world, Edubuntu has been created. The Edubuntu project aims at improving educational opportunities for people (especially children) the world over by making affordable, state of the art information technology available to schools everywhere.
Edubuntu and Ubuntu
Edubuntu is a derivative of the Ubuntu GNU/Linux distribution and is maintained as part of the Ubuntu project.
"Ubuntu", is an ancient African word meaning "humanity to others". The Ubuntu distribution brings the spirit of Ubuntu to the software world.
The Ubuntu community is built on the ideas enshrined in the Ubuntu Manifesto: that software should be available free of charge, that software tools should be usable by people in their local language and despite any disabilities, and that people should have the freedom to customize and alter their software in whatever way they see fit. For those reasons:
- Ubuntu will always be free of charge, and there is no extra fee for the "enterprise edition", we make our very best work available to everyone on the same Free terms.
- Ubuntu includes the very best in translations and accessibility infrastructure that the Free Software community has to offer, to make Ubuntu usable by as many people as possible.
- Ubuntu is released regularly and predictably; a new release is made every six months. You can use the current stable release or the current development release. Each release is supported for at least 18 months.
- Ubuntu is entirely committed to the principles of open source software development; we encourage people to use open source software, improve it and pass it on.
Join us on the journey
The Edubuntu community is made up of software developers, translators, folks who love to write documentation, and most importantly the students, teachers and other people who use Edubuntu every day. We invite you to join this community and help to make Edubuntu the operating system schools everywhere will love to use. Help to translate Edubuntu into your own language, test it on new laptops, servers and other exciting hardware, improve the web site with hints, tips and FAQ's, or help to define the set of software and educational materials that are installed by default for future Edubuntu releases.