Debian Edu Wishlist
This is a wish list for next Debian Edu releases. Some wishes are already in Debian. A HOWTO might be written explaining how to use a feature, an applications or a server.
Others might not go in as several of the Netbook alternatives. We might pick two or three alternatives given our voluntary resources got time to do it. But we will not pick all. If you're unhappy with our priorities, you can join our effort making your preference a part of Skolelinux. It's free software, so no one stops you in adding new desktops, features or other things yourself :).
Suggestion: Prepare two ordered lists from the brain storming list: On the first list, the complexity and the need of time or effort to be realizable (as estimated by developers) should increase for items from top to bottom of the list. The second list should be ordered representing the need or priority of features. Important items should be moved to the top, nice to have things more to the bottom. This ordering should be discussed and agreed on, probably personal needs and preferences will apply. However, having these two lists all that's left to do is: Choose items from the top region of both lists and start implementing ... . Let's go!
See also ?DebianEdu/Devel/Squeeze.
OCR scanning - Automatic OCR on pdf-, jpg-, png-, bmp-, gif- files in a specific folder. GoogleDoc as an example - Using my cellphone camera I take a picture of a document. The I upload the .jpg image to google-doc, an tells it to run OCR on the file. Now I can edit the text using googledocs. Having this feature in SLX would be a real killer feature. (Is this a possible solution - http://watchocr.com/index.html )
- Easy text-to-speech in web browser, text-editors - mark text - right click - text to speech
- A netbook version of skolelinux. There are several Netbook alternatives today. Some examples are listed underneath.
WiFi-controller based on wrt-hardware
WiFi "roaming" profile, connecting laptop to the Skolelinux network - added to squeeze as roaming workstation profile.
An easy way to freeze all screens in a classroom. One button. ControlAula is already in Debian. Please add HOWTO.
Exam-mode, where communication, internet and so on, is blocked. Draft implementation is provided in Lenny in the debian-edu-update-netblock script. Please add HOWTO.
More than 50 static addresses for workstations (why is there a limit). Ralf Gesellensetter has extended that IP range himself. It took 2-3 hours with trail and errors. Let convince Ralf to make an HOWTO
- Send message to all users, or group of users.
- Print quota
A way to use the amount of free disk space on "diskless workstations". They are sold with hard drives most of them
- Digital signage app (info screen) that runs on the server.
Wii whiteboard, or something similar. All required tools are in Debian Lenny (gtkwhiteboard, bluetooth, xournal, wmgui, wminput) and for example http://www.wiiteachers.com/> can provide IR pens. Howto is needed.
- New artwork for d-i, grub, usplash, kdm and the desktop background
Easy content creation and organizing tools for teachers. A tool like eXe would be excellent for the teachers to compose their own classes.
- Better integration between the different educative applications, in a web interface, if possible.
- Have the Iceweasel extension adblock-plus installed by default. (h01ger recommends to install privoxy on the proxy instead; filters more then ads and needs less resources)
- clarify/update profile explanations in the installer: diskless workstations are not mentioned there at all.
- release with Debian squeeze, to get newer software, to get new hardware supported ASAP.
- usb installer. stop burning and discarding discs. netinstall-size flash memory is cheap now. DVD-size is becoming affordable. FIXME: we have a usb installer, its "just" not documented how to use it...
- Make teacher accounts non-readable (at least) for students by default
document (better) how to turn a Debian installation into a Debian Edu installation and how to install Debian with ready made iso images with newer kernels, supporting more hardware. Actually, this can already be documented for Lenny, it doesn't have to wait for Squeeze
- Make the d-e-i able to easily use local mirrors and proxies with netinstall images
Netbook Desktop alternatives
Here is a list of Netbook alternatives shipped today. Several are in production, and most can be run on Debian Testing today without to much hassle (apt-get install ...).
Sugar Desktop witch is default on One Laptop per Child.
Moblin is an Intel initiative
Android is promoted as a netbook alternative.
Maemo is Nokia's alternative for mobile PC's and Mobile Internet Devices.
At LinEx we've prepared a Desktop for secondary schools based on Gnome and are working on another one for primary schools based on LXDE. In both cases, using some configurations and simple scripts. The first one is for powerful laptops, and the second one for low resources laptops a.k.a Netbooks.
<fixme: There are several others not mentioned here. E.g Gnome developers are working on a new netbook interface>
As you can see there are many Netbook alternatives. Looking at the goals for Skolelinux reaching out to education, the Sugar Desktop is an obvious choice for lower grades (the 1-5 first years at school). Since KDE 4.4 comes with a Netbook desktop as a choice, that might be a convenient choice for those using KDE. The KDE Plasma Netbook also got good reviews initially.