[Server-devel] Regarding my OLPC XS Wishlist

Abhishek Singh abhishek.singh at olenepal.org
Sun Jun 5 23:06:19 EDT 2011

On 06/05/2011 09:42 PM, Tony Anderson wrote:
> Hi,
> I hope we can keep Abhisek in the loop as he has detailed information
> on the XS version deployed in Nepal. The procedure there is to build
> XS and release it as an img. The image is loaded to a usb drive
> (mkusbinstall.sh). This key is used to install all of the deployed
> school servers.  I have attached the instructions for installing NEXS
> from the olenepal redmine (slightly edited).
> I am very internet-challenged (at this campground I arrived on
> Thursday and used the internet for about two hours and then it died -
> now on Sunday evening it is working intermittently!), so I think some
> of my previous comments have not been received. So please be patient
> if you have read this before:
> I think the separation of the server into two components XS and XC is
> very valuable. The XC build should provide a working schoolserver
> which can be accessed via the LAN from an XO using ssh. With the XS-Au
> fix for the 'race' condition in kickstart, it should be possible to do
> this install 'headless' on a server which supports booting from the
> usb drive when present (and bootable).
> XC provides the content for the /library partition. However, with
> Daniel Drake's usbmount scripts XC could be used to install any
> optional packages such as Dan's Guardian, Moodle (forgive me, Martin),
> Fedora Commons, Fez, mediawiki, and so on.
> The netsetup.sh script should be used to configure the WAN network and
> should not be needed when the school server is not connected to an
> external network (the LAN network is configured the same in every
> school as The LAN should be configured for the baseboard
> (RJ45) port and the WAN for a secondary port (e.g. usb-ethernet).
> Essentially this is the procedure used in Nepal with considerable
> success over the past two years (success measured by the schoolserver
> very rarely being a problem requiring service (UPS failures seem far
> more frequent).
> Tony
> P.S.
> http://wiki.laptop.org/go/OLE_Nepal:Procedure_to_build_NEXS_from_OLPC_XS
> gives a description of the build procedure used for XS-0.4. It
> provides details on the installation of the extra packages as of that
> time. Abhishek Singh can provide more recent details.
> On 06/03/2011 04:21 PM, Sridhar Dhanapalan wrote:
>> On 4 June 2011 00:00, Aleksey Lim<alsroot at activitycentral.org>  wrote:
>>> On Fri, Jun 03, 2011 at 09:40:48AM -0400, Martin Langhoff wrote:
>>>> On Fri, Jun 3, 2011 at 7:49 AM, Sridhar Dhanapalan
>>>> <sridhar at laptop.org.au>  wrote:
>>>>> On 3 June 2011 21:31, Aleksey Lim<alsroot at activitycentral.org> 
>>>>> wrote:
>>>>>> btw, did someone try to use cloning paradigm for setting up new
>>>>>> school
>>>>>> servers instead of using regular install way? Just clonning the
>>>>>> system
>>>>>> will lest avoid many issues by design.
>>>>> Do you mean creating an image of a server installation and
>>>>> applying it
>>>>> to other machines?
>>>>> We've done that with the XS-AU (using clonezilla), and I'm pretty
>>>>> sure
>>>>> it works with an OLPC XS.
>>>> Note that without a script that cleans up config&  state, you're bound
>>>> to have some fun problems with the resulting systems.
>>> Do you mean particular script, which one?
>> You'll need to clean up:
>>      /etc/udev/rules.d/70-persistent-net.rules (delete the lines that
>> refer to all the eth devices)
>>      /etc/sysconfig/network-scripts/ifcfg-eth* (remove the HWADDR line)
>>      ssh keys (/etc/ssh/ssh_host_*)
>>      postgresql server.crt
>> Info: http://dev.laptop.org.au/issues/422
>> Sridhar
Hi Tony, and all,
       Greetings from Nepal. I would like to correct a few things in
Tony's descriptions and elaborate upon what he discussed.

NEXS (the Nepalese version built upon OLPC XS) has separated the content
part from the base server. We call the content part NEXC ("C" for
content). This separation has helped us a lot in managing content
bundles and content updates. The NEXC generally contains:

   1. Content of the digital library (see http://www.pustakalaya.org),
      which is spanned across:
          * Database dumps for Fedora Commons and Fez
          * Fedora Commons datastream files
          * Fez's customized interface (that is being used at
   2. Wiki for schools
   3. English Wiktionary
   4. Nepali Dictionary
   5. External Content: All the other static content (e.g. video files,
      maps etc) are packaged as external content
   6. Learn English Kids from British Council (recently added)

We have a 3-month NEXC release schedule. At every release, we'll bundle
the most recent content and put it on a USB HDD, test it internally on
our test school server, and then finally release it. After every
release, the deployment team will go to the schools with the USB HDDs
and plug it to the school server at the site schools. Daniel Drake's
usbmount script takes care of installing/updating the content from the
USB HDDs - you just nee to listen to the starting and the ending beep
during which all the content update is done. We have tried updating it
over Internet, but the connection here in Nepal is so flaky and slow
(most schools do not even have Internet connection yet), and the content
being huge (approx 12GB now), makes it almost impossible.

Corrections to Tony's discussion: Moodle and Dansguardian is not
installed as a part of NEXC, rather they are built with NEXS and get
installed as a part of NEXS. The NEXS is also not released as an img
file (Tony might be confused with NEXO being released as an IMG file),
rather as an iso file. The mkusbinstall (using the OLPC forth script) is
then used to copy the install image to a usb flash drive (using syslinux).

We would really try to test the Au-script for Anaconda USB race conditions.

All our customizations and scripts are available at a few mercurial
repositories hosted at hg.olenepal.org. For NEXS and NEXC, please check:

    * NEXS Scripts, http://hg.olenepal.org/NEXS_scripts/
    * NEXS Image Builder, http://hg.olenepal.org/NEXS-image-builder/
    * NEXC Maint, http://hg.olenepal.org/NEXC-maint/
    * NEXC Scripts, http://hg.olenepal.org/NEXC_scripts/

Thank You.

Abhishek Singh
System Engineer
Open Learning Exchange (OLE) Nepal
???? ?????? ?-????
Tel: +977-1-5544441 ext. 301

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