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||<style="border:none; rowspan=4; vertical-align: top;">* Oslo, Hamburg, Badajoz, Tokio, Taipeh - February 8, 2010<<BR>> <<BR>>Skolelinux 5.0 is ready. This is a community release with comprehensive support from regional and national projects in Norway, Germany, Spain, Denmark, Taiwan, Japan and other places. Skolelinux is Debian for education, produced by the Debian Edu team.<<BR>> <<BR>>Several other projects have contributed additional functionality to Skolelinux, to tailor it for both local and international needs. Skolelinux can be installed in more than 50 languages. <<BR>> <<BR>>||||<style="border:none;">{{attachment:skolelinux_people-medium.png|Skolelinux Developers|width=400}}|| ||<style="border:none; rowspan=4; vertical-align: top;">* Oslo, Hamburg, Badajoz, Tokio, Taipeh - February 8, 2010<<BR>> <<BR>>Skolelinux 5.0 is ready. This is a community release with comprehensive support from regional and national projects in Norway, Germany, Spain, Denmark, Taiwan, Japan and other places. Skolelinux is Debian for education, produced by the Debian Edu team.<<BR>> <<BR>>Several other projects have contributed additional functionality to Skolelinux, to tailor it for both local and international needs. Skolelinux can be installed in more than 50 languages. <<BR>> <<BR>>||||<style="border:none;">{{attachment:skolelinux_people.png|Skolelinux Developers|width=500}}||
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Press Package to be released to the media upon release of 5.0.

The press package contains the following pieces:

  1. A general press release announcing availability of Skolelinux 5.0. with media contacts from five countries and general information.
  2. Quotes from users, beta-testers, developers and media contacts
  3. Please include pictures of users and screenshots of desktop and applications? <fixme: please suggest pictures>

The press package is available in English and other languages <fixme: add them when we have them> online at http://wiki.debian.org/DebianEdu/PressReleases/

Media information

This is the freely available 'press package' about Debian Edu ("5.0.4+edu0"), which is a Debian Pure Blends Linux distribution based on Debian 5.0.4 ("Lenny").

For questions regarding the 'press package' or any content found within, please contact the Debian-Edu media contacts found here: http://wiki.debian.org/DebianEdu/PressReleases/PressPackage_5.0/English

1: Press release

Debian-Edu: Skolelinux 5.0 available for free download!

* Oslo, Hamburg, Badajoz, Tokio, Taipeh - February 8, 2010

Skolelinux 5.0 is ready. This is a community release with comprehensive support from regional and national projects in Norway, Germany, Spain, Denmark, Taiwan, Japan and other places. Skolelinux is Debian for education, produced by the Debian Edu team.

Several other projects have contributed additional functionality to Skolelinux, to tailor it for both local and international needs. Skolelinux can be installed in more than 50 languages.

Skolelinux Developers

What's new:

  • Skolelinux is based on Debian 5.0 "Lenny" and therefore compatible with LSB 3.2, using kernel 2.6.26, KDE 3.5.10 and GNOME 2.22.2. The ?LinEx GNU/Linux project of Extremadura in Spain has now merged with Debian Edu.

  • The GNOME desktop is now supported in addition to KDE.
  • Improved student desktop with educational software shortcuts to GCompris, Kalzium, KGeography, KMplot, KStars, Stopmotion and the OpenOffice suite.

  • The documentation has been further improved and translated from English to German, Italian and Norwegian. Incomplete translations are available for Spanish, French and Chinese. Please consider helping translating to your native language or reviewing the english original!
  • Improved browser plug-in support with free software products as Gnash, Java and other plug-ins.
  • Added PulseAudio in addition to ALSA and OSS sound system for better audio and multimedia performance on workstations and diskless workstations machines.

  • New startup menu allowing users to choose between diskless workstation, thin client or workstation.
    • Diskless workstations retrieve the OS and application software from the server, and then run them on the local machine. All software comes from the server instead of the local hard drive. That means software can be installed and maintained once for many clients.
  • Improved and simplified user and machine administration tool known as LWAT (LDAP Web-based Administration Tool).
  • Improved machine and network surveillance now reporting status on all machines added to the network.
  • Skolelinux in France and Germany are providing CipUX, which makes it easy to administer workstations, lock down software or Internet, running print quotas and integrate with the Moodle learning management system.

Skolelinux is now deployed at many schools in municipalities, regions and states throughout Europe, Asia and South America. It is used by 250.000 students and teachers at 200 schools in Extremadura. The German states of Rheinland-Pfalz and Hamburg are providing Skolelinux for their schools. The Indian state Karnataka are basing their ICT@School project on Skolelinux. The Debian Edu team also co-operates with the Debian based Linux Educacionale distribution, used by more than 30 million students in Brazilian schools.

Enterprise solution

Skolelinux is designed to be extremely stable for millions of students. In many countries, the educational sector maintains more computers than any other part of the government. When supporting tens of thousands or millions of users, bleeding edge software is not an option. The software installed with Skolelinux is carefully hand-picked and configured with stability in mind.

Skolelinux is built on Debian, which has 2-3 year release cycles and an extended period for security updates. Debian is the most comprehensive and rigorously tested GNU/Linux distribution on the market. It is the most popular server system in German businesses and the basis for Maemo, Nokia's mobile PC platform which is used on N900. Being built with Debian, Skolelinux promotes stability and low maintenance costs.

The newest Skolelinux has lower hardware requirements than proprietary alternatives. Instead of upgrading to newer hardware when a proprietary vendor upgrades their operating system, schools can extend their hardware lifetime by 5-8 years using Skolelinux. This allows schools to run twice the number of computers with Skolelinux. Due to lower hardware requirements and zero license costs, schools might get twice as many machines when buying new computers with Skolelinux.

Due to its stability, enterprise features and diskless workstation option, Skolelinux cuts the operating costs in half compared to any other desktop alternative in schools. The software is hand-picked by teachers and experts on computers in education. According to maintainers of 80.000 computers in Extramedura, Spain, the annual personnel costs to run a workstation is less than 50 Euro. We recommend centralized maintenance with Skolelinux, which might take 4-8 hours a week for 50-100 workstations and 320 users at a school. This could be reduced by centralised maintenance, due to the scalability of Skolelinux.

Some computer departments argue for a zero-maintenance policy in schools, stating that computers with proprietary systems don't need maintenance. Unfortunately such schools don't have any usable computers after a couple of weeks. When having 5-10 different students using a computer each day, it's just a matter of weeks or even days until proprietary software stops working - destructive students, malware or viruses making the machines useless. Manpower and enterprise configuration management are needed to restore such machines. An unmaintained Skolelinux system might work for a month or two. We have encountered schools running unmaintained Skolelinux for years.

Even if Skolelinux is stable when run on a solid network, it is unwise to skip maintenances. Skolelinux should be maintained professionally, even if it needs less maintenance than proprietary solutions according to school authorities. Regular maintenance of hardware, software and services is mandatory when providing safe and acceptable computer services in schools.

It's not enough getting hardware and a computer network installed in schools. There is also the question of educational use. A municipality needs to invest both in system maintenance and educational training. Teachers need training on how to include computers when teaching math, natural science, history and so forth. A major benefit with Skolelinux, is that low acquisition and maintenance costs free more of the budget for training teachers in computer literacy.

Going forward

  • The next milestone is a pointrelease, 5.0.4+edu1, around mid-March 2010, with updates to the documentation and its translations as well as some important bugfixes.
  • The next further milestone of Skolelinux development includes the introduction of major new features and aims at release simultaneously with Debian Squeeze, which is currently scheduled for the second half of 2010. The Squeeze-based release (6.0.0+edu0) will include the Sugar desktop, an upgrade to KDE 4 and shall provide alternatives desktop environments for netbooks.
  • Full support for social desktop features. Both Sugar Desktop and KDE 4 have built-in social desktop features. Sugar Desktop enables a journal where students can track their activities. Both Sugar and KDE 4 include online friend to friend and group communication for sharing content, tasks and activities. With exiting applications such as Turtle Art for simulations and Tam Tam for making music, students can explore, learn and grow.

About Skolelinux

Skolelinux is a complete software solution tailored to the needs of schools and other educational institutions. It provides a complete system, from the central server running all the services the school needs, to the desktop software students use in class. Skolelinux works out of the box, with no tricky setting up to perform. Skolelinux provides:

  • Full support for networked thin clients, diskless workstations, workstations and laptops. With diskless workstations users get full PC functionality combined with the maintenance level of thin clients. Sound, video, USB memory sticks and DVDs are supported. A new start up screen also allows local installation over PXE.
  • Skolelinux has over 80 applications selected for educational use, available in over 50 languages. Many new applications have been introduced in addition to popular classics such as !GCompris, KDE Edu, Firefox (branded as Iceweasel) and OpenOffice.org.

  • Installation is a breeze. You can install Skolelinux from a network install CD or from a single DVD supporting several processor architectures (i386, PowerPC and AMD64). Skolelinux still has low hardware requirements. A diskless workstation runs nicely with 256 MB of RAM, local swap and a 800 MHz processor, though we recommend slightly more powerful specifications for multimedia use.
  • Skolelinux is free software. The primary goal is to provide schools and students with every building block of a computer system. By providing an easy to use system, which also includes source code, students can study the software, learn and create with it. We emphasise learning by doing. Students can grow and excel by participation and sharing knowledge. The software has no restrictions on use, copying or learning.
  • Several regions and states run and maintain Skolelinux centrally by commercial service providers or public employees. Smaller installations at single schools can be maintained part-time by a teacher with no particular training. Reports from commercial and public installations suggest that diskless workstations require half the maintenance costs compared to any ordinary desktop alternative.

Skolelinux is the result of the work of the Debian Edu project. Debian Edu is an official part of Debian, and Skolelinux is a "Debian Pure Blend". It is installed at many or all of the schools in municipalities, regions and cities throughout Europe, Asia and South America. The most active developers are in Spain, Germany, Norway, Denmark, Israel, Taiwan, Japan, Italy, France, Nicaragua, El Salvador, Thailand and Australia.

<fixme: perhaps provide some links to large installations/institutions for reference>

Contact information

<please: confirm this list>

  • General information about Debian-Edu or Skolelinux:
    • E-mail: debian-edu AT lists.debian.org
  • Media contacts
    • France
      • Xavier Oswald <xoswald AT debian.org>

    • Germany
      • Alexander Reichle-Schmehl <tolimar AT debian.org>

        Kurt Gramlich <kurt AT skolelinux.de>

    • Norway
      • Knut Yrvin <knuty AT skolelinux.no> +47 908 95 765 (cellphone)

    • Spain
      • José L. Redrejo Rodríguez <jredrejo AT edu.juntaextremadura.net>

    • Taiwan
      • Andrew Lee (李健秋) <ajqlee AT debian.org> +886 988 978760 (cellphone)

    • Pakistan
      • Tariq Farooqi <tariq AT linuxpakistan.org> +92-21-36622134 (officephone)

For more information about Debian-Edu/Skolelinux please see our webpage at

Download:

Manual, most current version:

Manual, Translations: http://maintainer.skolelinux.org/debian-edu-doc/

A complete list of improvements have been made available at http://wiki.debian.org/DebianEdu/ReleaseNotes

2: Quotes

"It is easy to maintain. We have had a few startup problems, but surprisingly few", Monica Larssen, IT co-ordinator/ advisor in Harstad municipality says.

"After a few startup problems Skolelinux is now stable. It is very easy for me to maintain as a IT co-ordinator", says Astri Sletteng, IT co-ordinator at Ankenes and Håkvik school in Narvik municpality.

"We will most likely be able to reach the goals of The Knowledge Promotion Reform because of Skolelinux.", says principal Heidi Olsen Sværd at Håvik school in Narvik municipality.