User:Holt/XS Community Edition/0.2/Project Specifications

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School Server - Community Edition 0.2 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.
  • Squid -- Caches pages to speed requests for multiple requests for the same page.
  • Activity Update Server -- enable local repository of Activities.
  • FUTURE - 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.

As a result this design might not apply in all situations in all deployments. These limitations ease design and development while creating a functional reference implementation.


School servers can be run on XO-1.75.


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

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

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


A RPM combined with tested installation instructions necessary to convert a standard XO-1.75 into a School Server.

FUTURE - 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 based on OLPC-OS 12.1 on FC17

NOTE: Limiting the deliverable to single a OS variant meets the base requirements while limiting complexity.

User Interface

Command Line – Command line configuration should be discouraged at all levels. Target users are often not familiar with the linux system administration. Initial setup or fixing a problem with their server is not a good time to introduce system administration skill.

FUTURE - Browser based GUI. – The primary configuration tool will be a browser based GUI. This technology is well understood by developers. Many end uses have familiarity with Browser based setup.

FUTURE - 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.

Modular design

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

Core Server

The core server will contain 5 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