Friday, July 18, 2008

Another incredible idea...

Brian Dolan-Goecke said on the phone last Saturday, "You know, we could put your server on the internet for the summer and then people could work on it from wherever, whenever." I thought this could be very cool, and, as I started to consider this idea, reservations popped up in my mind:
  • What happens if something somehow messes up the system?
  • How much would this cost? The grant has a little wiggle room, but not much.
  • How exactly could this be coordinated?
Over last week Brian and I communicated via e-mail, then answers to all of these doubts became wonderfully clear. Brian works at TIES, one of the biggest providers of technology services to Minnesota schools. Brian was willing, through ties generosity, to put the server on their network as one of his, "projects". Thank you Brian and TIES.

The solution to the first and last concerns above are connected. Last weekend Conner came up with the idea of creating a wiki to provide a knowledge base to support the development of this project. This wiki idea developed into using Minnesota Ubuntu LoCo wiki site which, as of yet, hasn't seen much use. So, the idea is that as we work on the project we document what we do on the wiki, creating a knowledge base for this project which then, of course, is easily shared with anybody else trying to replicate part or all of what we're doing. Cool solution!

Brian's vision of what could happen with the server this summer was that people interested in helping out could experiment around, working to solve all of the needs and challenges presented on the wiki, documenting their efforts. Then, at the end of the summer, the computer would be wiped clean and a fresh system installed with all of the additions and modifications detailed on the wiki. Cool, ay?

This afternoon Johnnie and I visited Brian at TIES, carting that 80 pounds server along with us. Brian gave John and I a tour of the ties facilities and if I had a penny for every meter of cable in that building, well I could probably buy the building. Of course, the cabling is only as good as all the routers and switches and servers and it has those in spades. Cool that Linux has a significant role in what they do.

Brian hooked up the server to their network gave it an IP address and name and it is ready for some ssh action! if you are interested and available to help to start setting up the system, let me know! I'll give you an account and the IP address.

I've spent some time this weekend adding to the wiki on the Minnesota LoCo site. I've got a good bit more outlining to do for this project wiki to be ready for prime time, nonetheless this is an awesome means by which people with GNU/Linux knowledge can influence, in a very direct way, education in Minnesota.

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