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Project Plan: Technology Infrastructure

Based on an analysis of the organization’s leadership, physical space and primary needs, what specific technology infrastructure makes sense? What do they need, and why do they need it? How long can this equipment reasonably be expected to fulfill their needs?

Technology Plan

Ultimately, we decided to go with Ubuntu (along with Nathan and Josh’s support) because it is free, secure, has superior tech support forums, and supports language settings. Josh’s technological skills and knowledge were key factors in our choosing Ubuntu and being realistic about its sustainability; we would not have suggested Linux as a possible operating system if we felt that the site would be uncomfortable or unfamiliar with using it. We thought that it couldn’t really hurt to install Ubuntu because Nathan and Josh were so open to just trying it (and having Windows as a backup plan if things don’t work out). Additionally, on 7 of the 9 computers we created three different user accounts: English, Espanol, and Francais–each equipped with the respective languages. Seeing as how the goal for the lab is open access, the computers, settings, and programs are equipped to accommodate users needs right now.

 

The programs that we installed on each computer:

  • Office: OpenOffice
  • Financial: Buddi
  • Multimedia: GIMP, Audacity
  • Educational: GCompris, Tux Paint, Tux Typing, Tux Math
  • Internet: Firefox, Google Chrome

 

 

(Here we are comparing four operating systems: Ubuntu, Lubuntu, Microsoft Windows, and Linux Mint. These comparisons will help us make informed decisions about which operating systems to suggest for the best fit with Salt and Light’s priorities for their computer lab. Linux Mint and Microsoft Windows have come out as the two we will set-up and demonstrate for Salt and Light, since Microsoft Windows uses software that many people are familiar with, and Linux Mint is also compatible with that software (such as Microsoft Office, Adobe Reader, and Adobe Photoshop), it is also compatible with many languages, which accommodates the growing international community in the Dobbins Downs and North Champaign area).

Ubuntu:
Pros:

  • Free
  • No viruses
  • New version every 6 months
  • Security updates automatically
  • You can set your preferred language each session you log in for
  • Free online tech support in forums, info pages, and online chat
  • Free training courses available online for Josh if he wants them
  • Desktop and program interfaces are customizable
  • Has a Software Center so you don’t have to search the internet for programs

Cons:

  • May have to download codecs for some multimedia to work (e.g. mp3 files)
  • I didn’t find any adult ESL programs, only children’s language games

Software:

  • Open Office (fully compatible with Microsoft Office)
  • Flash
  • Facebook/Twitter platforms for the desktop
  • Supports GIMP, Flickr, and Skype
  • Firefox and Google Chrome
  • Kids Education
    • GCompris–math, reading, and amusement games, ages 2-10
    • OpenOffice 4 Kids (Oo4K)–kid-friendly version of OpenOffice, simpler/fun interface and icons
    • Tux Paint–like MS Paint but more options
    • Tux Typing–typing games
    • KDE Education–ages 3-18, software package, includes games for math, science, English, foreign languages, logic, etc
      • kdeedu is my favorite, it looks like a great set of games
  • Financial
    • GnuCash–personal and small business financial accounting software
    • KMyMoney–personal finance, clean interface, multiple currencies
    • Buddi–designed for users without financial background; can budget, track cash flow, and translate into different languages

Lubuntu (Ubuntu-based distribution)
Pros:

  • Ideal for computers with less memory, processing speed, and hard drive space (i.e., old)
  • Free
  • Boots fast
  • No viruses
  • Security updates automatically
  • You can set your preferred language each session you log in for (Language settings)
  • Free online tech support in forums, info pages, and online chat
  • Free training courses available online for Josh if he wants them
  • Desktop and program interfaces are customizable
    • LXDE (Lightweight X11 Desktop Environment)–very similar to Windows interface
  • No special graphics; very simple and utilitarian

Cons:

  • May have to download codecs for some multimedia to work (e.g. mp3 files)
  • Poor wireless support
  • No special graphics; very simple and utilitarian
  • Lightweight software versions of Ubuntu preferred (however, programs like OpenOffice work fine, albeit a bit slower)

Software (again, what works in Ubuntu, should work in Lubuntu):

  • Kids Education
    • GCompris–math, reading, and amusement games, ages 2-10
    • OpenOffice 4 Kids (Oo4K)–kid-friendly version of OpenOffice, simpler/fun interface and icons
    • Tux Paint–like MS Paint but more options
    • Tux Typing–typing games
    • KDE Education–ages 3-18, software package, includes games for math, science, English, foreign languages, logic, etc
  • Financial
    • GnuCash–personal and small business financial accounting software
    • KMyMoney–personal finance, clean interface, multiple currencies
    • Buddi–designed for users without financial background; can budget, track cash flow, and translate into different languages

Windows
Pros:

  • Cathedral operating system with customer support.
  • Most commercial programming runs on Windows systems
  • Familiarity to many users
  • Primary operating system used in the local schools
  • Primary operating system used in most jobs
  • Out of the box O/S- does not need extensive set up.
  • Windows 7 networking, makes it fairly easy to set up wireless networks

Cons:

  • Target for viruses
  • Requires Anti-virus software (very few good free antivirus software- AVG is probably the best for your buck), and would require programs to search for malware
  • Monetary Costs- Windows’ licenses cost a significant amount of money.

Linux Mint
Pros:

  • Free
  • Full multimedia support out of the box
  • Ubuntu- and Debian-based editions
  • Highly customizable
  • Specifically for users with no previous Linux experience
  • Emphasizes accessibility and internationalization
  • Recent distros operate in upwards of 46 languages
  • Comes installed with OpenOffice, Firefox, Thunderbird, XChat, Pidgin, Transmission, and GIMP
  • Can run many proprietary software programs such as Microsoft Office and Adobe (includes proprietary codecs and drivers)
  • Little threat of obtaining virus

Cons:

  • Learning curve, Linux operating systems are still not as well known as Windows or Mac operating systems

Software:

  • PDF reader : Adobe compatible
  • Microsoft Windows compatibility reader: Wine
  • Photography: Picasa, Gthumb
  • Drawing: GIMP, Inkscape
  • Multimedia
    • Music : Banshee, Exaile, Audacious, Rhythmbox, Songbird, Amarok
    • Videos : VLC (viewing), Openshot (editing)
    • Webcam : Cheese
  • Internet
    • Browser : Firefox, Chromium, Opera
    • Email : Thunderbird
    • Instant Messages : Pidgin, Emesene (MSN messenger)
    • Bittorrent : Transmission, Gbittorrent, Deluge, Vuze
    • IRC : Xchat
    • Skype
    • Google Earth
    • RSS reader: Miro
  • Office and related
    • Spreadsheet : Gnumeric, Calc (and Excel compatible)
    • Wordprocessor : Writer (and Word compatible)
    • Presentation: Impress (and PowerPoint compatible)
  • Games
    • World of Goo, Battle for Wesnoth, Frozen-bubble
  • Kids Education
    • Tuxpaint, Childsplay, Tuxmath