Uganda School for the Deaf Kampala, Uganda, December 2014
In 2013, teachers of the „Uganda school for the deaf“ attended classes for computer skills at the “IT Training Center for Teachers in Africa” (ITCT-Africa), which is located in Bukoto, Kampala. Christian Gueder provided trainings on behalf of Linuxola in basic Linux administration, computer assembling and other related topics. During his stay in Uganda, he also visited the „Uganda school for the deaf“. The school had a computer room with eight old workstations for educational purposes which had been donated several years back. Unfortunately, only two of the workstations were still functional and out of the eight monitors only five were still usable.
In 2014 Christian Gueder teamed up with Simon Nussbaum and Joe Scheidegger. The three Swiss IT guys travelled to Africa in a joint venture between Linuxola and ITCT-Africa to provide additional computer trainings. Again, the team visited the school to analyze and inspect the conditions of the computer training facility. There was no improvement or environmental change in the hardware since 2013. The facility was still equipped with several workstations but only 2 of them in functioning condition. The two running workstations were still equipped with Windox XP, which Microsoft no longer supports since April 2014. Security updates are no longer available for Windows XP, exposing computers running this operating system to malicious software. Furthermore, the workstations at the school were too old to run a more recent version of Windows and virus software was also not available. Within 3 hours, the team was able to repair four of the workstations and one monitor. This was possible by using a powerful laptop running the most recent version of Edubuntu Linux, featuring an out-of-the-box installation of Linux Terminal Server Project (LTSP). Several hardware modifications had to be done to repair the defective computers. The workstations are now running without hard drive, booting their operating system directly from the network. All user sessions run on the laptop. The team decided to donate the missing parts and to fully rebuild the computer room with 8 functional workstations. The next day, they went out to buy two replacement monitors and several hardware components. With help from an volunteer from ITCT-Africa they were able to get the needed equipment. In the evening of the second day, the computer facility was up and running with eight functional systems. In the afternoon of the following day an LTSP training took place in the school. The training sessions consisted of basic use, how the system works and basic system administration. Linuxola was able to refurbish the computer facility with second hand hardware and a minimal financial effort of around 300 USD was contributed to have it up and running within 2 days.
This small project impressively demonstrates the possibilities to re-use old hardware and run a recent version of Linux-based operating systems with open-source software. Linuxola and ITCT-Africa are pleased and honored to have been given the opportunity by the „Uganda school of the deaf“ to demonstrate the capabilities of open-source software. Many thanks to the donors and volunteers!
Existent computer room equipment:
– 6x Dell GX60
– 5x Dell Monitor
– 1x CRT Monitor
– 1x Switch
– 3x power extension board (2x 4, 1x 2 way)
– 9x Ethernet CAT5 cable
Additional equipment donated:
– 1x Lenovo T520 laptop by Bern University Hospital
– 2x Thin Client Neoware C21 by Linuxola
– 2x Acer V196 18.5“ monitor by Linuxola
– 2x 5 way power extension board by Linuxola
– 6x power cord by Linuxola
– 1x Zyxel Gigabit switch by Linuxola
– 3x mainboard batteries by Linuxola
– 2x keyboard by Linuxola
– 3x mouse by Linuxola
Technical work log:
1) Installation of Edubuntu 14.04 LTS with LTSP on the laptop.
2) All workstations had 512MB (2x256MB) memory installed. Some memory was damaged. In this LTSP environment the workstations do not need more memory than 256MB. The damaged 256MB memory bars was removed or exchanged with bars from workstations with usable memory.
3) Some workstations had damaged hard drives or corrupted operating system installations. Since Windows XP is no longer supported, the team decided to unplug or remove these hard drives. A thin client in an LTSP environment does not need any local hard drive.
4) 3 Monitors did not work anymore. By exchanging some parts between the monitors the team could make 1 running again.
5) Several minor repairs and replacements of hardware.
6) LTSP at the training with 5 staff members of the school and 2 staff members of the ITCT Africa Center.
– Uganda school of the deaf: http://ugandaschoolforthedeaf.com/
– ITCT Africa: http://itct-africa.org/
– Linuxola: http://www.linuxola.org/
– Edubuntu project: http://www.edubuntu.org/
– Linux Terminal Server Project: http://www.ltsp.org/
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