Wednesday, August 1, 2012

2013 Image Blue Prints

The terms has barely started - the imaging hasn't been completed yet and I've already got a fairly good idea of what I need to do for the image next year (It's probably a full time job in it's own right. I do wonder what I did so wicked to still be getting no rest). I hesitate to call it "The Manaiakalani Image" as it now contains a few entities outside of the project and could probably have infinite permentations

So here it is. There are now going to be two elements to it.

The Keys to the Castle will be made redundant and re-purposed as "The Seed". Basically, every machine with have what is effectively a rescue partition that can be booted to (put on there by "The Seed"). The password file will be synced with the main OS so that users can log on themselves AND there'll be a administrators password - so that teachers are also able to get on and do things like reset passwords. What does "The Seed" do? Basically, it'll create that rescue partition and then reboot the machine. From there, the bootloader should just boot into that environment which will do the actual imaging (The aim would be to try and make it as automated as humanly possible. i.e. check the partition table and do it automatically if there is no partition other than the rescue partition). This will probably be based on Debian. I have a whole lot of work to do around reliably updating that rescue partition.

The OS itself will be based on Ubuntu 12.04. I'm not even thinking about the interface at the moment - when I do start thinking about it again, I'll start doing some gnome-shell posts (boring nerd speak stuff). So I have to make sure that the existing scripts work in the new environment and alter a bunch of things such as how default and mandatory settings are processed (Geek speak: provide a migration path from gconf to gsettings).

The new image MUST work with UEFI (as well as BIOS). I've just purchased a machine with UEFI so that I can start development and testing. I'll also be getting the code up onto GitHub at some stage soon (someone has offered to step me through how to use it) so it'll be that much more accessible.

What does all of that really mean?

The kids will be capable of imaging their own machines - further distributing those administration tasks downwards. Term updates would be to that rescue partition only (and the image contained there in). It would be at the children's (and/or their teacher's) discretion to actually do the imaging.

I'm looking to try and make things as graphical as humanly possible so will be replacing grub with burg (and then to Plymouth and finally X11/Gnome?).

So basically, I'll be looking to try and get the main parts (the rescue partition, The Seed etc.) done by the end of this term which should give me some time to work on an Interface...

Feel free to comment...

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