Saturday, November 08, 2008

The network develops further

Fred said, "That's when the Install-fest is set to happen". Conner had said yes. Jack said, "Why don't we meet at the install-fest (not Roosevelt) to work on 'the project', everyone will be there." People said, 'yes', so we did.

I got to TIES in St. Paul around 10:00, the generous host of the install-fest, lead and organized by Brian Dolan-Goecke. Even with Fred and Brian's help, it took almost an hour to unload, transport, setup and successfully start my technology. That the server sat in the trunk overnight didn't help, and it took 3 restarts for the server to actually start--hard drive with thermal expansion/contraction issues, I'd guess.

I was relegated (and wisely so) outside of the main room to the entry/break room due to the noise pollution caused by my server. At least, that's what I tell myself ;-). So the first thing that arriving Linux people saw was my multi-computer setup. This lead to some helpers! Conner was working on creating a script that would import users based on a csv text file. Don joins us and then he and Conner talk about parsing, bash, Perl etc. Well, by 4:00 Don's basically finished this import script (it will be on the Ubuntu wiki soon). Conner, besides adding ideas/insight to the script has done repeated battle with the buggy saboyan program on the server, a key component of the classroom software management system. More on that, soon, too, I hope!

Parallel to this is the effort of first Brian and then Jack. However, Brian can't start till I can get a VPN connection to the MPS web server, and for some reason the VPN didn't work inside the TIES firewall. Luckily for us, Dan the Network Man for TIES was to arrive in the afternoon. Upon arriving he dives into system logs, looking for clues as to why we can 'tunnel' into the MPS intranet (not to worry! I've got permission...). He finally finds a solution and Brian does his Virtual Machine thing and then Jack starts configuring our MPS Plone web server and then he has to go, but, many miles of the thousand mile journey has been traversed today! Additionally, Dan troubleshot the Switch issue, something about spanning tree links. yea. That info will end up on the wiki, too.

In the afternoon, Brian's wife and 2 kids showed up and were hanging around, playing around, and watching dad do his thing. This is nice. It reminded me of when Erika would come to my class when she was a kindergartner and clean the overhead and play with the snakes and guinea pigs in my classroom. She's 17 now, getting ready to head off to college... We talked a bit about choosing schools--her youngest is about to head to school, and it reminds me how parenting is sometimes about managing our kids transitions to bigger arenas, and that it takes a community to do this. Ubuntu...

The concept map at the top of this post shows contributors--to see the depth of what they've done you'll have to read my blog :-)


  1. The script to batch add users will be posted to the Wiki shortly. I would like Don's permission to post the script as a work in progress to my site, of course crediting Don for his work. I think this could be a very useful tool for the community.

  2. Actually, I'd like to completely re-write the whole script first.

  3. Cool. I always tell my students, "Ideas are always improvable". Version 1 of the script is posted on this page: where it says, v.1. Wanna put the improved script under that in the v.2 section? Seeing iterations of an idea is often educational! Thanks, David