The Future of Edubuntu

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The Future of Edubuntu

Jonathan Carter (highvoltage)
Hi Edubunteros

I'm writing this message hoping to get some answers from Canonical on
the future of Edubuntu. I have just written a blog entry on the topic
[1] that explains in more detail why it's important to get these answers.

For Edubuntu to continue to exist and possibly one day flourish, we need
to find answers to the following questions:

1. What does Canonical want and expect from the Edubuntu project?

I think it's important the the Edubuntu community works closely in line
with the goals of its sponsors, but unfortunately Edubuntu's vision and
goals are very blurry at this stage.

2. What do our users and potential users want from Edubuntu?

Combined with question #1, the goals of Edubuntu can be shaped so that
it will be beneficial to both Canonical and our users. There are many
ideas in our community that can be implemented to improve the education
experience for our users, but we certainly don't want to feel like we're
stepping on the Canonical's toes either.

-Jonathan

[1]
http://jonathancarter.co.za/2009/04/26/what-should-become-of-edubuntuwhat-should-become-of-edubuntu/


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Re: The Future of Edubuntu

Mario Đanić
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Re: The Future of Edubuntu

David Farning-5
In reply to this post by Jonathan Carter (highvoltage)
On Sun, Apr 26, 2009 at 6:48 AM, Jonathan Carter (highvoltage)
<[hidden email]> wrote:

> Hi Edubunteros
>
> I'm writing this message hoping to get some answers from Canonical on
> the future of Edubuntu. I have just written a blog entry on the topic
> [1] that explains in more detail why it's important to get these answers.
>
> For Edubuntu to continue to exist and possibly one day flourish, we need
> to find answers to the following questions:
>
> 1. What does Canonical want and expect from the Edubuntu project?
>
> I think it's important the the Edubuntu community works closely in line
> with the goals of its sponsors, but unfortunately Edubuntu's vision and
> goals are very blurry at this stage.
>
> 2. What do our users and potential users want from Edubuntu?
>
> Combined with question #1, the goals of Edubuntu can be shaped so that
> it will be beneficial to both Canonical and our users. There are many
> ideas in our community that can be implemented to improve the education
> experience for our users, but we certainly don't want to feel like we're
> stepping on the Canonical's toes either.
>
> -Jonathan
>

Hey Jonathan and other Edubuntu developers,

I would like to respond with an upstream perspective.  I have cced
Walter Bender, Sugar Lab's Executive Director, and Sean Daly, our
Marketing Director, in case they have input in this discussion.

I am part of Sugar Labs[1] and our entire model depends on Ubuntu,
other distributions, and their partners for delivery and support of
our product.

From a technical POV, elementary education is a very tough market.
Some of the constraints include:
1.  A single teacher working with 25 squirmy kids.
2.  Very little system administration support.  In a typical
elementary school in the developed world there are 450 students and
150 computers.  A system administrator who splits his time between
several schools usually has less than 5 hour per school.
3.  There is a limited amount of teacher training and support available.
4.  A school day is divided into distinct sessions or lessons.  A
given lesson has well defined learning objectives and testable
performance measures.

The education market makes enterprise seem easy!

From a business POV there is currently not much money in education
technology. Several of the existing operating system vendors give away
their products as lose leaders to prevent losing marker share.

From a Social or community POV.  Most community hackers don't develop
and maintain kid's applications to scratch an itch. They do it to
scratch one of their own kid's itches:)

No one has ever accused me of down playing the challenges in the
education market.  With all of that being said, the community
development model is a natural fit for developing a standardized
learning platform.

Rational - The key to winning the educational market will be creating
a critical mass of localized learning content and activities.  That
critical mass of content and activities depends on an open, rock
solid, commodity platform around which an entire ecosystem develops.

Road Map - The wedge that got FLOSS software into the server room was
the LAMP stack.  Linux as the solid foundation.  MySql as the
datastore. Apache as the presentation layer.  Perl, Python, and PHP as
the glue to hold that stack together.

The education sector could use a similar Linux, Telepathy, Sugar, and
Python stack.

The Sugar Plan - At Sugar Labs, we intend to focus on developing the
Sugar Learning Platform and building a hardware and distribution
agnostic ecosystem around that platform.

In terms of partnerships, Ubuntu and Canonical bring to the table an
effective and well marketed distribution channel.

Sugar Labs brings:
1.  A good enough code base that others are starting to improve and
build products on top of the platform.
2.  A high visibility and compelling project to get a foothold in a
new market and attract new community members.
3.  A community focused project who's goal is to create an FLOSS
community to support our educational goals.

thanks
david

1.  http://www.sugarlabs.org/

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Re: The Future of Edubuntu

Mauricio Hernandez Z.
In reply to this post by Mario Đanić
<snip>
>
> To be more precise:
>
> http://jonathancarter.co.za/2009/04/26/what-should-become-of-edubuntu/
>

Oh, thanks. I was trying to access the wrong URL from my blackberry
with no success...duh!

/me now reviews the correct URL so that he can answer soon enough :)

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Re: The Future of Edubuntu

Mauricio Hernandez Z.
In reply to this post by Jonathan Carter (highvoltage)
<snip>

> For Edubuntu to continue to exist and possibly one day flourish, we need
> to find answers to the following questions:
>
> 1. What does Canonical want and expect from the Edubuntu project?
>
> 2. What do our users and potential users want from Edubuntu?

<snip>

First of all, highvoltage, thank you very much for your thoughts on
this. Actually, I was kind of thinking about the same because I am
close to a project named "Edulinux" (sponsored by a Chilean University
and with high expectations from Chilean Gov, too). My friends there,
got very excited about what Edubuntu is/was bringing to the FLOSS
table for edu purposes, and so, they decided to migrate from Fedora to
Ubuntu in order to base their development and customisation for
Chilean school needs.

So, responding to the 2nd question instead to the 1st, all Chilean
Edubuntu users I have met, have chosen Edubuntu is mainly because it's
Ubuntu and it's tailored to fit: LTSP, and computers with "out of the
box" edu apps.
Also, families with the idea of "parental control like computers" are
happy with Edubuntu.

Now, as for the 1st question, I can't answer on behalf of Canonical
but my expectations are simple: I would like to think of Edubuntu as a
meta distro, repository of edu apps "graded/leveled" to match school
study programmes, so that teachers can easily know which app to use
and for which purposes. Now, if Edubuntu could also "host" pre-package
content (something like apt-get install MathGeometry4thGrade)...wow!
that would be awesome!

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