School started for Beth a week ago last Monday. I had intended to make it into the school and do some major overhauling on the computers and network, but that did not happen over the summer. It had to wait until after school started.

As such, it has been rough-going. We scored a donated server last December, and I was finally able to bring it to bear this week. It’s a serious chunk of “big iron” as they used to call them.

I also upgraded a network switch, and that has unlocked the power of the gigabit Ethernet port on the big-iron. It is nice now, but as I said, it has been rough getting there.

Jonathan and I have spent several evenings at the school over the past couple of weeks getting it to this point. We upgraded to the latest release of K12linux – which is very nice compared to the previous version. With this setup, all the software runs on the server, and the student workstations do nothing more than paint the screen, play any audio, and forward mouse and keyboard data back to the server. Running all the software on the server is very nice from a maintenance perspective, because I don’t have to go around installing packages on all the student workstations – install it once in one place, and everyone can use it immediately. This architecture also allows the students to have the same computing environment no matter which workstation they use.

The old server used the same architecture, but it could not handle sound, and it was a slower machine.

I have gone back and forth between the old server and the new one several times during the upgrade because the new server was missing some important function, or performing one of its critical tasks poorly. But I think we’ve got it now. We’ll see what happens when our teacher unleashes a herd of kids on the network tomorrow.

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