[Server-devel] Can XSCE benefit a tablet deployment?

Anish Mangal anish at activitycentral.com
Tue Dec 3 01:08:05 EST 2013

Since a lot is being read and written about I'd also like to throw this


On Tue, Dec 3, 2013 at 10:46 AM, James Cameron <quozl at laptop.org> wrote:

> On Mon, Dec 02, 2013 at 09:42:46AM -0500, George Hunt wrote:
> > This is a branch off of the thread "Does XSCE need a new home?", and
> > stimulated by James Cameron's comments quoted where  in part:
> >
> > > I also disagree with the implication that the tablet is any more
> > > proprietary than the laptop.  The mix of intellectual property is
> > > certainly different, but the opportunity for use is also
> > > different.  Therefore the products shouldn't be compared at an
> > > intellectual property licensing level.
> > >
> > > What is very different is that the laptop was ground-breaking
> > > original technology, and the tablet is buy-in technology.  This
> > > cascades into completely different community involvement models.
> > >
> > > (I don't yet see how XSCE can benefit a tablet deployment, nobody
> > > appears to have enumerated that.)
> I note this has become the subject of this thread ... but then you
> went on to say:
> > At the SF summit, last month, Rodrigo demonstrated sugar running on
> > a google Nexus tablet. This was achieved by running the python/sugar
> > mega-package on top of the Ubuntu touch distribution.
> >
> > Is the Nexus the right hardware platform long term? Well, it's
> > bootloader is unlocked! And here, in my opinion, is where the
> > licensing becomes an issue.
> You lost me at this point, although I did go back and read the rest
> later.  The digression did not address the question.
> > [...]
> >
> > I believe a tablet should be thought of as part of a learning
> > technology system, which also includes a laptop, and a school
> > server. The tablet is more appropriate for younger grades, and I
> > believe will always a more cost effective solution. Touch
> > keyboarding, an essential skill for upward mobility, can come with
> > the addition of a bluetooth keyboard, or in upper grades, a
> > laptop.
> True, but not really relevant to the subject of the thread; how can
> XSCE benefit a tablet deployment?
> > The school server is essential for both of these client interfaces
> > to manage media storage, limit pornography, collect usage
> > statistics, etc.
> Well, I don't see it as essential.  I see it as helpful, and
> potentially useful.  XSCE is a niche product; the niche being schools
> with no support from a large scalable ICT team provided by central
> governance.
> (Schools with such support will find it difficult to adopt XSCE,
> because centralised ICT tends to resist shadow ICT).
> So I tried to answer the question myself.
> For the research, I used the summary feature list here:
> http://wiki.laptop.org/go/XS_Community_Edition#Our_Product
> And the planned feature list for XSCE 0.5 here:
> http://wiki.laptop.org/go/XS_Community_Edition/0.5/Project_Specifications
> And the planned feature list for XSCE 0.6 here:
> http://wiki.laptop.org/go/XS_Community_Edition/Features
> How can XSCE benefit a tablet deployment?
> 1.  it can be an advanced home router; probably you mean the core
> services, like DHCP, BIND, and Jabber.
> 2.  it can be an internet gateway; probably you mean the core service
> iptables, the extended services proxy server, web cache, and content
> filtering,
> 3.  it can hold content, (a cache); probably you mean extended
> services such as web server, course manaement system, backup, book
> server, offline content,
> 4.  it can hold software updates, (a cache); probably you mean
> activity update, olpc-update, and customisation stick.
> Now, a tablet learner can benefit from these things to varying
> degrees;
> - DHCP, helpful, if the wireless routers don't do it,
> - BIND, helpful for finding local resources, but not essential,
> - Jabber, not useful,
> - iptables, helpful, if only because the server is to be positioned in
>   the exit path to the internet,
> - proxy server and web cache, potentially helpful, if a tablet can be
>   properly configured to use it,
> - content filtering, as above,
> - content caching, useful,
> - software updates, not useful, unless tablet specific updates are
>   made available.
> Where is the documentation for how to use an XO laptop with XSCE?  A
> teacher must have this.  Such documentation may be a basis for writing
> documentation on how to use a tablet with XSCE.
I don't think any of the above points answer "how is it useful to a
*tablet* deployment". Were you trying to answer how is it useful to a
"generic computing machine" deployment?

What, in your mind, are the characteristics of a *tablet* deployment? A
list of assumptions you make might be useful. Perhaps even a real world
example or two to take this further.

> p.s. note how the future features in 0.5 included MediaWiki and a
> Restore service, which are not listed in 0.6.  Why is that?
P.S.  FWIW, looking at something's usefulness from purely technical
viewpoints like the ones above might not be the best way to answer "how can
it benefit a student's learning potential or a teacher's teaching
potential". (though I agree it digresses from the point of this thread)


> --
> James Cameron
> http://quozl.linux.org.au/
> _______________________________________________
> Server-devel mailing list
> Server-devel at lists.laptop.org
> http://lists.laptop.org/listinfo/server-devel
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