XS Community Edition/0.3/Project Specifications


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School Server - Community Edition 0.3 Project Specifications



The school server is very similar in concept to a standard home wireless router. In everyday usage it provides various services which extend capabilities of the connected laptops while being totally transparent to the user. These services can include:

  • Network connection – various services similar to what you would find in a home router.
  • Presence server – Augments sugar's native collaboration functionality.
  • NEW IN 0.3 - Web filtering – Enables schools to comply with local legal restrictions on internet access for children.
  • FUTURE - Security – XO related security services.
  • FUTURE - Content management

Reference User

The XS-CE has two different types of reference user:

  • Skilled sysadmins running micro-deployments
  • OLPC-AU schools.


School servers can be either XO-1.75 or standard x86 based hardware.


In common usage, the XO may be augmented by SD cards and two off the shelf USB devices:

  • Network connector – Allow the server to offer internet access to connected XO's.
  • NEW IN 0.3 -- External hard drive – Allows the server to provide additional storage capabilities.

This strategy it is simple for a deployment to inventory and maintain school servers.


NEW IN 0.3 For greater flexibility some schools will want to use standard x86 hardware.



A RPM combined with tested installation instructions necessary to convert a standard XO-1.75, XO-4.0 or Standard x86 computer into a School Server.


NEW IN 0.3 -- An image combined with tested installation instruction which can be flashed onto a laptop by deployment support staff. At initial 'power on' the support staff or teacher will be greeted by a simple GUI to do initial configuration.


The school server will be available on Fedora 17/OLPC-OS 12.1 and NEW IN 0.3 -- Fedora 18/OLPC-OS 13.

User Interface

Command Line

Command line configuration should be gradually discouraged as the system matures. Future target users are often not familiar with Linux system administration. Initial setup or fixing a problem with their server is not a good time to introduce system administration skill.

Browser based

NEW IN 0.3 -- Browser based GUI. – The primary configuration tool will be a browser based GUI. Initial expectations are to configure install setup and core services.

Modular design

One of the key design criteria of all successful community based projects is modularity. The original XS suffered because developers took used monolithic design overcome hardware limitations on the XO-1. The improvements in the XO-1.75 allow for the potential inefficiencies of modularity.

NEW IN 0.3 -- 'plug in services'

Core Server

The core server will contain five services which can be extended via extended services.

Service: Network setup
Provider: xs-setup-network

Service: Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol
Purpose: Schoolserver and clients need to be on same subnet.
Provider: dhcpd

Service: Iptables -- Network Address Translation (NAT)
Purpose: Permits all XO’s to access the internet.
Provider: gateway

Service: Internet domain name server
Provider: named

Service: Backup of student work and restore
Provider: idmgr

Service:Jabber server
Purpose: collaboration > 15 clients needs to work.
Provider: ejabberd

Extended Services

Service: Web server
Purpose: Building block for many other extended services
Provider: apache

Service: proxy server and web cache
Purpose: bandwidth, web-filtering, web-monitoring
Provider: squid

Service: OLPC-update
Purpose: OLPC-update is necessary to update the kernel of XO
Provider: rsync

Service: Activity update
Purpose: Enables teachers to easily distribute new or updated activities to their students
Provider: activity updater

Service: Virtual Private Network (VPN)
Purpose: Creating secure point-to-point or site-to-site connections in routed or bridged configurations and remote access facilities
Provider: open vpn

NEW IN 0.3 -- Service: Content filtering (TimM??)
Purpose: age-appropriate surfing, legal compliance, religious risks
Provider: dansguardian

NEW IN 0.3 -- Service: 1-N WebDEV(JerryV, GeorgeH)
Purpose: Journal submissions to teacher, academic record (homework etc)
Provider: WebDAV

Future services

Please consider adding features and objectives to this list if you feel they should be included in a future release. If you consider the feature important and are willing and able to do the necessary work please sign your name to take responsibility for that service.

Service: (GeorgeH, Gerald)
Purpose: local distribution/replication of Sugar Activities etc
Provider: pdsh

Service: (DSD, GeorgeH)
Purpose: Remote administration – There are several systema such as CFEngine and puppet which enables remote management. While not immediately required by AU it is highly desirable by large deployment
Provider: Puppet

Service: Book server (SameerV, AlexK, GeorgeH struggling!)
Purpose: compete with Khan Academy?
Provider: pathagar

Service: Moodle

Service: MediaWiki

Targeted Features/Objectives

  • Modularity
  • XO-1.5 support (get around the kernel usb-ethernet dongle bug)
  • External USB disk
  • Working with 2 Ethernet dongles
  • ejabberd roster admin
  • Stastics collection (sugar-client stuff)
  • DNS filtering
  • Script to connect to OPENVPN
  • Consideration of other devices (Android, Kindle, iPods, iPads)
  • Content curation (beyond dumping stuff into Apache directories)
  • Khan Academy
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