[Server-devel] the "first user is admin" moodle policy

Daniel Drake dsd at laptop.org
Wed Jun 17 09:02:15 EDT 2009

On Wed, 2009-06-17 at 14:31 +0200, Martin Langhoff wrote:
> On Tue, Jun 16, 2009 at 6:27 PM, Daniel Drake<dsd at laptop.org> wrote:
> > I don't feel that the "first user is admin" policy in the new XS-0.6 is
> > going to agree with deployment procedures that well, especially when you
> > are deploying XSes in number.
> >
> > For example in Paraguay, we installed all the XSes at the office and a
> > separate team installed them in the schools. We might want the head of
> > the school to be the course creator person, but at that time we haven't
> > even assigned him/her a laptop so registering him would be impossible.
> I don't follow very well. You either
> A - performed the initial "choose your name and colour" and registered
> the XO to the XS, visited moodle
> or
> B - didn't.

Option B. We installed the school servers without XOs. Having to use XOs
would be an extra step in an already dull-and-time-consuming process.

> In case A, mark the privileged XO somehow, and ship it with
> instructions that the marked laptop goes to the head of school.

The teachers already had their XOs at this point, so there's no way we
could have possessed the headteacher's XO without someone driving for a
few hours.

> In case B, ship the laptops with instructions that the head of school
> must get the laptop before anyone else and complete the aforementioned
> steps.

This would have been logistically challenging, and we really needed
these things to be under our control.

> > How about this instead: Nobody is course creator by default.
> > We add a command that can be run by root on the XS
> I am not opposed to adding that as an option. But it goes against the
> workflow that I am trying to get to, which is to move _everything_ on
> the XS to a quick webbased configuration.
> Right now, my 0.6 alphas only need a single "setup" command: defining
> the domain. If I move that to a webbased one-time step, no more need
> for cli interaction in mass deployments.
> I do intend to add another step (hopefully webbased) to configure WAN.
> With those 2 in place, 99% of mass deployments are covered, AFAICS.

I think this is basically a conflict between the case when you are
installing 1 XS (in which case what you are describing is perfect) vs
10+ of them.

Having to connect up other computers and open web browsers and things is
extra hassle when you know what you're doing and can just run 1 command.
Especially when it's stupidly hot ;) And command-based interfaces can be
more easily automated by the deployments.

> Back to your concerns... after the setup in the warehouse, you ship
> the laptops with absolutely no instructions? Is it reasonable to go
> from "Make sure everyone put in their name, chooses colours,
> registers" to "Do <steps as described> with the head of school first,
> and ensure he/she logs into moodle ok, then distribute laptops and get
> everyone to do same steps"?

In my experience, even with instructions this would not happen according
to plan. It really needs to be in the control of the team doing the

Everything is always a little chaotic and disorganised when you involve
the school.. and don't overestimate the capabilities of the headteacher.
Those instructions would be pretty hard for a lot of new users.

At least for Paraguay, this system would have just been plain
inconvenient and we'd have had to hack it out before deploying the XSes.
Maybe Paraguay is a one-off and it's perfect for all other deployments
(even big ones), but I personally doubt it.


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