January 20-22, 2012, Hilton Los Angeles Airport Hotel

Bringing Linux into Public Schools and Community Centers

Elizabeth Krumbach


Volunteers with the San Francisco Bay Area non-profit Partimus have been working to put Linux and other F/OSS software into area schools. Getting into schools is one of the biggest hurdles for anyone looking to bring F/OSS into education and can often be an insurmountable one, so the first suggestion will be that if the goal is to spread Linux and F/OSS in education is to start with an adult learning center, after school program or similar organization in the area. Partimus itself benefits from an enthusiastic, outgoing leader who took the time to make connections with schools and volunteers in the area and made involvement in one public charter schools into involvement with several programs and schools.

Once in a school the organization has to come up with solutions that will not only meet the needs of students, teachers and staff, but be maintainable, work with the existing IT infrastructure and have the ability to scale with developing needs of the school, so the use of a PXE boot server, custom ISOs, OpenLDAP, proxy services and local repositories which we document in the Partimus "School Lab in a Box" document will be covered. Beyond the technological challenges comes working with teachers who are frequently over-worked and don't have time for ticketing systems or reaching out to volunteers when there are problems with the systems.

Partimus has had to employ the talents of individuals who would not necessarily consider themselves highly technical to meet with teachers to frequently discuss their needs and challenges and then organize the appropriate training or instruction for programs and tools that the teachers have a need for.

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