XS Community Edition at a Critical Crossroad

My strengths and weaknesses are now apparent in what we have been calling the School Server — Community Edition.  Let me explain:

I’m pretty good at picking targets that are strategic, and starting to explore the paths that might lead towards that destination. I can write quick and dirty code  to learn how stuff works.

I’m not very good at finishing the job, starting over when necessary, in order to end up with clean, well structured, tested, software. And I tend to end up with a huge number of unfinished projects, waiting to be incorporated in the final product.

A good example of this would be the Server Sleep program I wrote.  It’s a python GTK-GUI interface to turn the School Server off on nights and weekends in order to conserve power when running off of solar power. I need a partner to help me test and finish the job.

My partnership with Jerry Vonau is a success story.  I started with the idea that the monolithic setup script, used in previous XS builds, needed to be pulled apart, at least conceptually, so that individual components could be selected independently.  His experience with packaging rpms, led him to make an additional segregation.  He separated the pieces that would be unique to the XS running on an XO into a separate rpm.

I’ve been working this last week on the GUI that I think is needed. The challenge has been to get the output from a php server side program, running as an unprivileged apache user,  initiated by an http client, to be visible to the remote desktop vnc client, so that the user can monitor the process and know when it is complete (not stalled). This is to enable a “headless install” (no keyboard, monitor, mouse on the server).

What’s up for next week, when Jerry and I both decend on Adam’s parents’ house west of Toronto?

  • Rework our git commits, preparing to add them to OLPC Boston repositories, evolving XS Community Edition towards XS-0.8.
  • Get all the XS-0.7 services running, and tested.
  • Remote configuration http client GUI, integrated into the setup process. Add in root password authentication, and an access cookie which expires at the end of the session.
  • Jerry and I should make more rigorous attempt to incorporate the ideas, from the different use cases discussed on the OLPC lists. If we do this successfully, we may be more able to incorporate additional programmer volunteers in our ongoing development process.
  • Make a first attempt to write a script to generate a USB stick for offline, and more automatic, server installs on an XO.
  • Automate the generation of XS-CE rpms for use on the XO-1.5.
  • If time permits, it would be great to get the sugardextrose webdav client talking to the XS webdav server (which is incorporated in our code, but not configured/tested).



About George Hunt

Retired electrical engineer and programmer, enthusiastic about OLPC as a vehicle for gathering together volunteerism, mine and so many others', for helping education in developing countries.
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