KoC Lab Installation

On our recent trip to Huajuapan de León, KoC wanted to update and standardize the installation procedure where possible. About 80 desktops and laptops needed to be installed and/or updated to have usable educational packages, plus some offline content. Here’s what we came up with.

Software Updates

Many of the donated desktops and laptops in our schools in Huajuapan de León have only 256MB or 512MB or memory. Older versions of Edubuntu run OK with this much memory, but Edubuntu 11.04 and later seems to take too many resources to run smoothly.

Because of this, we decided to try Lubuntu 12.04 i386 on as many computers as possible. With the LXDE desktop, these machines boot quickly and the desktop runs smoothly without hogging resources.

With Lubuntu installed, we added Edubuntu‘s educational packages, the LibreOffice suite, and security updates including the most current Linux kernel. This collection of updates was about 800MB, so we added them via USB. We also had several machines that didn’t have working USB, so we needed to make 2 CDs to get the packages completely transferred to the target machine for updating.

In addition to the educational games and software packages from Edubuntu, and the office suite from LibreOffice, we also wanted to add some more content for the kids (and parents) to use as needed. Since most of the labs have no Internet access, but a little extra disk space (most of the computers had at least 15GB of free disk), we were prepared to install some offline content:

Khan Academy Videos in Spanish
Using a pre-packaged collection from the Khan Academy on a Stick project, we added 873 Spanish language videos to the local disk of computers that had sufficient space. This collection of static .html files and .flv videos took about 15GB of space! Loading with USB was slow, but successful on all computers that had working USB. Thanks to Khan Academy and Mujica Norberto for this great package.

Offline Wikipedia in Spanish
Finding a usable subset of the vast collection of Wikipedia content can be challenging. Fortunately, we found the Kiwix project, which offers a light-weight HTTP server (kiwix-serve) which will deliver content from highly compressed Wikipedia data files. We added this content (another 15GB of disk) to machines that had space, and started up the kiwix-serve process locally. Kiwix and a compressed Spanish Wikipedia file gives these disconnected machines 1,070,530 articles and 666,304 media files for the kids, teachers, and parents to learn from!

With this additional content loaded, we added bookmarks to Chromium to kids could easily get to the locally stored content.

Cams Training – Chromium Bookmarks
Watching offline Khan Academy Videos in Chromium
Offline Wikipedia (Spanish), running on local port 4200.

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