[Freedombox-discuss] Comparable project?

William Gardella gardellawg at gmail.com
Tue Jun 14 16:55:19 UTC 2011

There was a discussion last week of the One Laptop Per Child XO-1 and
its mesh networking capabilities, but an aspect of the OLPC project that
might be even more interesting to Freedomboxers is the "school servers,"
also known as XSes.  The operating system and toolset for the XSes aims
to provide a surprisingly similar feature set to some of the things that
get discussed for the Freedombox:

- Being easy(ish) to administer for non-technical people, important for
  a school deployment in places where having a dedicated sysadmin is
  pretty unlikely

- Encouraging good security practices (instructor and student PCs always
  use public-key authentication to communicate with the server, never
  just user name and password; the admin interface for the XS itself
  uses one-time pads)

- Acting as a NAS for the student machines

- Acting as an internet gateway and caching Web proxy for wireless mesh

- Providing a web server and content management system

- Providing a Jabber server for collaborative work (on the XS, this is a
  heavily patched Ejabberd that allows XOs to share school activities
  via Telepathy when out of mesh range)

- Being suitable for relatively low-power, modestly specced systems
  (OLPC schools in areas with poor electrification have used fanless
  low-watt boxes like the Aleutia T1 and netbooks like the first
  generation Eeepc as school servers)

It's pretty tightly integrated into Sugar, the XO operating environment,
and of course the installation images are Fedora-based, but the XS might
be an interesting basis for comparison and discussion for some of the
capabilities we want the Freedombox to have.

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