Thanks for the warm welcome… from Bergamo, Italia! It is just beautiful right next to the Alps. Well, I’m in a semi-tropical, always green setting in northern Argentina, sandwiched between Paraguay and Brasil. Like I’ve said, I’m in charge of technology in a school of about 600 students (200 on each level: primary, secondary and junior-college). I have a background in industrial electronics engineering but not much in system administration of computer science.
I was, for the last few years, becoming accounted with different servers (Windows, Linux, etc.) and I think the best I can do is to find a simple pre-packaged distro that I and others can manage from a Web GUI. So far I’ve played with pfSense (which I have right now as a gateway, main router, firewall and DHCP), ZeroShell (which can act as main domain controller with Kerberos, Radius, etc.), various TurnKey options, SME, Zentyal, Karoshi (Linux Schools) and NethServer.
As far as being of any helpto the NS community, I’ve had some past experience with building web-sites with PHP and mySQL (for building a lab request/report system) and can manage Adobe PhotoShop/Illustrator/InDesign very well as I’m currently designing our page yearbook. As far as languages… 99.99% proficient in either Spanish or English as I’ve lived exactly half my life in Argentina/Uruguay and the other half in the USA. If you need anything translated to Spanish or write technical guides/manuals in either language, count me in! I can understand a lot of italian and portuguese.
Right now I like the modularity of Karoshi were a main server can control others through a SSH session. You can delegate and move functions around other machines. You should really check that out. BUT it is based on Ubuntu, the interface is not very intuitive even for simple tasks as adding/deleting users or moving them from one group to another, etc. It is a bit buggy and I don’t feel 100% confortable to go online with it.
I’ve really liked the NethServer GUI, very simple but elegant, easy to manage, etc. and seems more mature. If I can have one machine as a domain controller and authentication (LDAP, Radius, etc.) and a second or third with large amounts of storage for OwnCloud and Moodle, I am set.
The User and Group interface in NethServer is very easy to manage and I can delegate the data entry to any secretary or student helper (such as adding new or dropping old students, regrouping from one year/class/assignature to another, etc.)
For our school (and probably many others) I would need:
• Central authentication and grouping functions by: Admin and Teaching Staff, Students, Visitors (for special events, parents), etc. and then Teaching Staff and Students could be subgrouped by level (Primary, Secondary, College), years (1st, 2nd, 3rd) and Assignatures (Math 101, English 201, Science 301, etc.).
Then special groups for allowing more or less Internet access based on merit and grades.
In the end, what I would like is to divide my LAN into several VLANS: IT Admin (myself, access to all servers GUIs, printers, etc.), Security (IP cameras, alarms, etc), Office Staff (which already have their own domain and servers), Academics (library resources, Moodle and OwnCloud for students and staff), Visitors (anyone needing quick internet access by vouchers/portal or pre-assigned users for special events). Our WAPs will have various SSIDs for those functions.
• Gateway/Firewall for managing internet, based on the LDAP grouping. Some countries/states require specific content filtering for explicit and graphic content.
It would be nice to see/produce a report of visited sites, traffic and times by username and from what device (the PC in the library or a personal tablet). A database of installed/fixed devices… which could be part of an inventory and even a repair ticket system by MAC or FQDN would be interesting. I’m using
• Moodle for at least a place for teachers to place teaching material (PDFs, video clips, etc.). Then it could be setup as an off-site or distance learning tool (once we get better internet and on a dedicated public IP).
• OwnCloud for students to have their own private space where they can keep homework safe but access it anywhere inside of campus in their laptops, tablets or phones.
Also, a library system is typically needed in any school.
My dream would be to have an integrated portal come up after authentication for each teacher/student where it shows their files (from OwnCloud and/or home directory), calendar (from OwnCloud and Moodle), current assignatures by class (from Moodle) and current/overdue library materials. Then of course have a place to see their status (disk quota, password/picture/personal info, etc.). From there, they can navigate to each module (Moodle, OwnCloud, plain internet, etc., etc.)… basically a sort-of Academic FaceBook… which Moodle almost is.
Sorry for the long and complicated and general introduction/comment/feature request. Next time I’ll keep each into their separate sections/threads… or should I create them now?
Thanks anyway for the responses as I’m trying to learn and figure things out.