Go Back to School With Linux: Part Two

by Ostatic Staff - Jul. 29, 2009

This week, I've been going over some options students have for setting up a computer with educational software and applications. Monday, I gave readers an overview of Edubuntu, an education edition of the popular Linux distribution Ubuntu. Today, let's take a look at openSUSE Education, a community-driven project backed by Novell.

The openSUSE Education Project is an effort to support schools using Linux and to provide an openSUSE-based Live DVD that can be used to set up a quick educational environment without installing any software. The KIWI-LTSP server supports up to five users from the Live DVD. The Live DVD is also installable, so classrooms that are switching to Linux on a full-time basis can use the "Life" (Linux for Education) DVD to do a permanent install.

In addition to providing software for students' client computers, the Life DVD contains a full LAMP stack, terminal server for thin clients (KIWI-LTSP), and (of course) a bevy of educational software for students and teachers. The goal of the project is to provide a complete solution for educators, students, and IT admins who handle the labs at educational institutions.

The software includes openSIS, a Web-based Student Information System that provides everything you'd need to manage students: gradebooks, reports, transcripts, report cards, contact management, attendance, and health records.

You'll also find Moodle, OpenBiblio, and much more for educators and administrators. Students will find a rich set of educational applications, including typing tutors, flash card programs, math tutorials, circuit simulators, and many other programs for home or classroom use. There are even several music apps for everything from digitizing audio records to writing an entire musical score.

As an astute commenter pointed out on Monday's post, "all students should learn how to script." Here's where openSUSE Educaiton really shines. It boasts nine apps that teach programming skills and how to work in development environments.

Though some of the apps and documentation surrounding the OpenSUSE Education project tend to be of a more technical nature than alternatives in other education software bundles, that won't be an issue for IT admins or advanced computer users planning to try out this collection. There's also a terrific user community ready to step up and help troubleshoot issues. If you need a strong set of apps that will work in virtually any educational environment, then be sure to take a look at openSUSE Education.