[Server-devel] Server-devel Digest, Vol 75, Issue 25

Sameer Verma sverma at sfsu.edu
Mon Jul 29 13:56:44 EDT 2013

On Mon, Jul 29, 2013 at 11:56 AM, Tony Anderson <tony at olenepal.org> wrote:
> Hi,
> The XS-0.7 release of the school server software is built with CentOS 6.2.
> The main problem is that CentOS does not support the ARM isa.
> XSCE, as I understand it, arose to fill an urgent need to implement the
> school server on ARM to reduce the power requirements of the school server.
> Also in my understanding, XSCE was ported to run on the Fedora base used on
> the XO for Sugar. This was needed to enable XO hardware to be
> used for the school server.

Another reason for the XSCE push was to make the server less
monolithic and allow deployments to select components. For instance,
Moodle is integral to XS 0.7. Most projects (to my understanding) use
the admin pages in Moodle (added to stock Moodle by OLPC) and not
Moodle itself. Most people on this list do not have a good exposure to
the continued use of Moodle in an institution (I use it at work every
day), so Moodle has failed to take root. In my opinion, for Moodle to
take root, it needs to come populated with sample courses and a set of
simple directions to add more. From what I gather, there are NO
instructions/documentation on the use of Moodle in the OLPC context.
This is most likely because we all hit the 24 hour limit per day :-)
Is it salvageable? Yes! We need a good set of courses and a repo to
host at and download from. A Youtube search for "moodle backup
restore" will show you how easy it is.

Moving along, XSCE hopes to provide a menu approach to select the
services you need (Pathagar, Drupal, <your favorite service>). That
requirement, along with AU's need to have a server per classroom (XO
based server)  got mixed up in the granularity requirement.

> In short, there is no reason to do anything to run the school server on the
> Intel isa, just use XS-0.7.

As of now, this is true. XS 0.7 is rock solid, and it's stability
comes from the CentOS/RHEL underpinnings. Once XSCE is able to provide
a menu to "remove Moodle, add Pathagar" AND provide a CentOS base, the
reasons for XSCE may get stronger.

In case you were wondering, I am NOT a fan of using Fedora for a
server. Stability and upgrade paths are my primary concerns.

> In my understanding, the Sugar Desktop runs on Fedora on both Intel and ARM
> architectures. The fact that Sugar is extensively tested and supported in
> the Fedora environment probably outweighs any stability advantage of CentOS.
> Tony
> On 07/29/2013 06:00 PM, server-devel-request at lists.laptop.org wrote:
>> We are mixing our channels abit here.
>>>> A Sugar based desktop on CentOS is pretty unlikely. As Peter noticed,
>>>> there are many dependencies necessary for a recent Sugar which are not
>>>> present in CentOS. CentOS intentionally lagges fedora by several
>>>> releases for stability. If someone wanted to do it badly enough, it
>>>> would be possible to backport the fedora 18 GTK stack to CentSO
>>>> A school server based on CentOS or Ubuntu LTS is more likely. The
>>>> challenge is remaining compatible with XOs. For hardware
>>>> compatibility, a XO requires recent OLPC-OS versions which are based
>>>> on recent fedora version.
>>>> The step necessary to make XSCE on CentOS run on _Commodity_X86_
>>>> hardware are not that great. The problem is that it would require
>>>> maintain a non-XO branch in parallel with the XO compatible branch..
>>>> Anyone have the time, energy, and flame retardant skin to tackle that?
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