Debian-Edu Meeting 2006-08-21


The Debian-Edu meeting has been held from 21:00:17 (CET) to 22:24:13 (CET) on Monday August 21st 2006 on

There were over 20 people connected to the channel during the meeting and 8 of them spoke during the meeting at least once.

The full log of the meeting is available at

1 Patiticipants

2 Installer status - auto-partitioning

Petter Reinholdtsen mentioned that Ronny spend time to make partman-auto-lvm work and Petter fixing ext3 generation. He stated furthermore that he do not like the fact that partman-auto-lvm ask so many questions during installation and allocates the entire LVM volume capacity to the created partitions making Debian-Edu not flexible.

2.1 Autopartkit

Autopartkit is now working. We now have a choice on which auto-partitioner to use. Autopartkit is as good as it used to be. Same feature set and same set of problems as Partman. Autopartkit supports creating several volume groups, and limiting the disk used to a certain percentage of available disk space and can use an upper limit. It also support sizes relative to amount of memory, useful for swap.

2.2 Partman

Partman-auto-lvm ver 13 seams to work flawlessly with online resize. Partman also support size relative to ram, but uses whole disk. Ronny Aasen use it for the swap partitions in the recipes. Partman has encrypted file system and raid support.

2.3 Fixing Autoprtkit

Petter Reinholdtsen "fix" is in debian-edu-install-udeb, moving /sbin/tune2fs away before the file systems are created. Then mkfs.ext3 is used instead of libparted + tune2fs. Ronny Aasen sent a diff to that from his tests works it will overwrite lvm volumes when auto-partitioning

3.4 Partman Questions

Two questions from partman and both are filled with information. The list of partitions to make (in the question) is not userfriendly.

2.5 Conclusion

Petter Reinholdtsen would like to add the nice features from autopartkit into partman, to be able to share the features of partman. So we should keep working on improving it. But for the short term, Petter Reinholdtsen suggest we switch to autopartkit for the normal profiles, and switch to partman for the expert and standalone profiles. We should come up with a way to activate partman when we say no to the autopartkit question. If you are not OK with wiping clean all your hard drives, you should get more manual control over the process.

3 Installer status - Package selection

3.1 CD Populated with Packages listed in Debian-Edu Tasks

Petter Reinholdtsen spent some time trimming the package lists, and making some scripts to make summaries on how the CD space is spent. The changes are sent to commits@ whenever a new CD is built. He used the information provided by, as well as his knowledge about the packages listed in the task files and edubuntu package list, to try to make sure we have all the vital packages on the CD. He tried to reduce to one program in each category, while giving priority to the programs to be new user friendly and those with lots of users reported to popcon. He started by dropping every kernel-related package except those 2.6 kernels for i686-smp. He also dropped vim (emacs went last year). He choose over koffice, kmail over thunderbird, firefox as a web browser (but am not sure if we can remove konqueror so it stays). He've added all laptop-related tools listed in the normal laptop task, and made sure the kde desktop actually work. He would like to drop one of kate, kedit and kwrite, but this seem to be impossible. kate and kwrite both come from the kate package, and kedit is a dependency of kdeutils. We now have kino, gcompris, stopmotion and kaffeine on the CD, as well as several other tools. We lack a package manager, java, flash etc.

3.2 Priority

The packages are placed on the CD in priority order, until the CD is full. The priority order is depends first, next recommends, and last suggests. All the depends for the wanted tasks are placed on the CD first in this order (from memory) common, networked, laptop, main-server, workstation (subtask standalone), thin-client-server. Next, the recommends using the same task order, and last the suggests from the same tasks, using the same task order. At the end, the other tasks (astronomy, math, etc) are placed, depends first, recommends next and suggests last. at the very last on the remaining CDs (we are well into the second CD by then), are the packages listed as ignore. So, if you have some package that should be included in debian-edu, and hopefully find its way to the first CD, it need to be listed in one of the tasks. The cutoff point, where the first CD is full and the second CD is started, is at the very end of the list of user applications, between quanta and sane. The list of packages in the tasks now fill 700 + 600 MiB

3.3 Not Listed Packages

Petter Reinholdtsen noticed several of the packages that are discussed on the mailing list, like squeak, CipUX and the collection of french packages are _not_ listed in the tasks. Those interested in these packages _need_ to get the listed as recommends or suggest in one for the tasks.

3.4 486-Kernel

LTSP needs 486-kernels. It is not a hard dependency. Many thin-clients use via /cyrix, or other CPU's that require <686 kernels. Though, by default, Ronny Aasen will try to pull in the -486 kernel. It would work, just not optimized. You'd have to manually install some other kernel, though.

Petter Reinholtdsen have no problem with switching to the 486 kernel. At least Petter Reinholdtsen believe that, we should use the same kernel as the Debian installer images are using. Christian Kuelker agrees. Etch-test Debian installer uses 2.6.16-2-486

Ronny Aasen can test some of our thinclient apliances, and try to notive why it didnt work.

3.5 Teaching Software

Kurt Gramlich thinks one CD should have all services for server and administration, teaching software will never have enough space, so we need a second CD anyway. Petter Reinholdtsen believe we should have at least some of the most useful teaching software on the first CD.

3.6 Popcon

Klaus Ade mentioned that several servers have been off during the summer holiday, and haven't been turned on yet.

4. Installer status - Configuration

The pre-seeding is finally working, and we can pre-seed Debian-installer and /target/ using the default.* files in Debian-Edu-install. The cfengine run is executed after the packages are installed as it should, but the code that used to run just before base-config and the package installation is now executed after all the packages are installed and before cfengine is executed. It need to be moved from finish-install.d to post-base-install.d. Also, Petter Reinholdtsen suspect a lot of configuration is incorrect for the new versions of a lot of software in etch.

Petter Reinholdtsen added a quickfix for the libnss-ldap issue, where the entire installation would block because all user and group lookups would block forever because the ldap server was unavailable.

Petter Reinholdtsen plan to start working on the configuration this week. He plans to start on the localization-config package. It is currently not enabled in etch.

4.1 bug

We should getting the packages we use pre-seedable, to avoid the problem described in the bug.

Ronny Aasen solution is to renaming the conf files and making a symlink in the packages.postinst file. Then we could just point the symlink to _our_ config file without touching the packages conffile He will write the symlink suggestion to the bug soon.

Petter Reinholdtsen stated that the d-e-c package is not breaking policy. But even if it isn't, the release managers have decided that its behaviour is unwanted, and he doubt we will get a waiver for etch.

Sergio solution: (have a working approach) he move away files before upgrades, and move them back after upgrades.

Vagrant Cascadian opionon is that he is pretty sure any moving of configuration/conffiles would be a bad thing.

Our goal is to merge debian-edu completely into debian. But it isn't quite ready to be completely merged. Petter Reinholdtsen wants debian-edu to just be a special way to configure a normal debian system. We still have some work left before we are there but maybe it shouldn't be released with etch in a broken state.

4.2 LTSP muekow - current packages in debian (0.93debian1)

Just recently there is a release of new ltsp (muekow) packages in sid. There are may changes, including a plugin system that might be useable by debian-edu for special installer needs. Vagrant Cascadian think it broke sarge compatibility, though it would be fairly easy to make a working backport.

4.3 Network Swap and Memory Issues

The current packages seem to have at least basic functionality with 32MB in sid. Configuring network swap on the server requires creating a swapfile for each possible ip address that might need network swap and we'd really like to get local device support working someday.

The network swap is claimed to be vital for some schools using skolelinux. They can't upgrade because their clients only have 32 MiB of RAM.

It would be possible to create a script that makes all the swapfiles. You'd need a patched nbd-server for that, ltspswapd is basically that.

4.4 Diskless Workstation

Diskless workstations would be fairly easy to implement

4.5 Network Swap

Network swap is the only blocker for debian-edu for the moment.

4.6 Conversion of Environment for normal LTSP to Diskless Workstations

We have a script to convert the normal ltsp environment to diskless workstations. It works fine on the ltsp in debian edu 2.0 .Though it might be difficult to get working for sarge- it requires the "fuse" kernel modules.

4.7 USB

USB sticks support has been requested. ogra's working on getting ltspfs/ltspfsd integrated. ltspfs is the ltsp 4.2 way of accessing local devices.

5 Status of CipUX

CipUX is working on the Debian-Edu LiveCD and French ?AddOn CD.

5.1 Getting CipUX into Debian

CipUX is not uploaded to Debian yet and the maintainer (Xavier Oswald) need more help (see debian-edu mailing list) even he has the sponsor Lior Kaplan. There might be more work for several people left. Getting all the packages from the french extra CD into Debian, and updating the task lists, tuning the build, fixing configuration etc.

Petter Reinholtsen asks: when is it going to be uploaded?

5.2 Getting CipUX into Debian-Edu

Kurt Gramlich ask how can we now get CipUX into Debian and on the first CD. Petter Reinholdtsen suggested that those who know the package names should them listed in the relevant task files.

CipUX will may be a part of the main server task (Ronny Aasen) at least the server part (Petter Reinholdtsen).

French Add-On CD

We started in Extremadura ,but it has not been touched since. It might be an idea to continue with that page for a status. Werner would like to announce that page on the list.

Status of SkoleLiveCD

Kurt Gramlich finished a new version of the Debian-Edu Live CD. He would like to ask for testers and help on translation to Norwegian.

Pettere Reinholdtsen asks if all the packages on the live CD are listed in the debian-edu tasks. Because Kurt Gramlich internet connection break down, there could not be a valid answer.

Petter Reinholtsen have some questions regarding the CD witch should be answered by Kurt Gramlich. But Kurt Gramlich internet connection broke down, so he can't answer then during the meeting. Christian Kuelker suggest Kurt Gramlich to answer them on the mailing list.

Christian Kuelker assumes that the translation is already done for German, French an English and that the texts are welcome texts and a lesson about Skolelinux.

Petter Reinholtsen suggest that the easiest approach is probably to put those files in a debian package and uploading it to debian first. Then, the debian translation team kick in. Assuming .po files are involved, which they should be for translations.