Goodbye Edubuntu, hello SUSE

Much to my children's chagrin, my basement Edubuntu setup is going away, only to be replaced by an alpha version of OpenSUSE 10.3.
Written by Christopher Dawson, Contributor

Much to my children's chagrin, my basement Edubuntu setup is going away, only to be replaced by an alpha version of OpenSUSE 10.3. Oh yeah, they were thrilled.

This is absolutely not because of any dissatisfaction with Edubuntu. It's been really outstanding and the kids have adapted to it without any problems. In fact, all but one (I have four, so 75% is pretty good) now favor it over the lone Windows box remaining in my basement. The only complaints have related to performance; unfortunately, a P4 really isn't made to power thin clients. Gigabit Ethernet would have done wonders as well since their loudest griping usually coincided with networked games and bandwidth-intensive websites.

The kids finished the school year writing papers on the thin clients, doing research, and otherwise doing everything that the average teens, tweens, and 4-year old (just turned 5-year old, he'll be quick to correct) do on a computer. The Windows box was only there for a few Windows games and a music library that I've kept in iTunes for a few years. It's going soon and it won't be missed since the kids do virtually everything online now. Overall, I'd have to say my Edubuntu experiment was a resounding success and I'm eyeing up a much larger setup for a lab I'm rolling out this summer if I can get my hands on a decent server (for free of, course).

Why then would I be dumping it in favor of an early version of openSUSE's latest and greatest? I already blogged about the SLEDucator EDU-CD packages that should be accompanying the 10.3 release of openSUSE this fall. I have to say that given my really positive experiences with Edubuntu, I'm very excited about SUSE's foray into this area, particularly because of the extensive server packages slated for inclusion (open source SIS, LTSP support, etc.). Although I'm quite enamored of the latest round of 'buntus, I've also had really positive experiences with SUSE before.

However, the biggest reason I'm wrapping up my Edubuntu experiment is that I sat in on an IRC meeting with the SUSE Education team today and managed to volunteer myself to do documentation and testing of some of the upcoming bits of educational software. What they really need are some folks who know how to create RPMs, but I couldn't package software at gunpoint, so I'll be testing instead (if you know anyone, though, send them here). And so will my kids since I'm stealing their computer. ISO torrents are downloading as I write this. There will be lots more about SUSE to come. Whether it's an Edubuntu killer remains to be seen.

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