Thursday, September 29, 2011

CIS(theta) 2011-2012 - KISS Natty 64 install fest! - Meeting III

What was discussed:
There was a unanimous decision to Nattify my entire PC Classroom/Lab using the latest 64bit version of Ubuntu. Thanx guys, you did a great job. We decided to KISS: Keep It Simple Stupid, as you will see in the steps listed below. PC24, aka omega, still has some issues, but I think we just need to reinstall that one. Also, I forgot one drawback we encountered the last time we tried a 64bit Linux kernel. Most 64bit related issues seem to have been resolved since then (jre, flash, etc). However, one problem still remains, there is no 64bit version of SmartNotebook for Linux! I may have to downgrade PC25, aka the Teacher Station, aka shadowfax, to 32bit leaving only 24 PCs for openMPI. Before I do that, I'm going to try out which is an online SmartNotebook you don't have to install. I may also try out I suppose I could use any pen app I please, such as xournal, but I like SmartNotebook for some reason. I did manage to add chrome ( and setup my bluetooth tablet (SmartBoard is still down). I didn't get a chance to add jre to FireFox (, but I'll get to it on Monday! BTW, the servers are fine, so we left them alone. The servers are running 10.04 LTS 32bit Desktop edition plus openssh, vsftp and jdk. For more info on what we did to install the servers last year, take a look at, and

What was accomplished: KISS Ubuntu Install Fest!
Step 1) Student and Teacher Stations
Download latest Ubuntu ISO (64bit Natty Narwhal 11.04 Desktop LTS edition)  from

Step 2) Student and Teacher Stations
Burn at least 8 Linux live CDs to reinstall 24 PCs. Actually it was 21 PCs as 4 Student Stations were already done as a test bed and I redid the Teacher Station too! OOPs, I fried the entire partition table on the Teacher Station which had WimpDoze on it. I don't use WIMxP anymore anyway. The only thing I go on WimpDoze is for old legacy Word files with Equation Editor. I use to upload such a file from my USB drive, even from Linux, and download it as a *.pdf with all equations in place! Then I can easily print them for the copy room in the case of a test or a quiz. BTW, I also use to break up large free online textbooks I use in my Computing classes into chapters. I can then easily share these files with my students on

Step 3) Student and Teacher Stations
Follow onscreen instructions from install script naming each Linux box from alpha to omega. We also allowed no passwd logins on the Student Stations.

Step 4) Student and Teacher Stations
We configured static IPs for eth0 ( -,,, and printers ( Set backgrounds and screen-savers as you like. Remember not to lock the Student Stations when the screen-saver kicks in or the students will need the passwd! BTW, the Teacher Station should lock....

Step 5) Student and Teacher Stations
Using the Ubuntu Software Center, we searched for and installed WINE and the flash-plugin.

Step 6) Student and Teacher Stations
We tested WINE by copying VTI to each desktop from our FTP server. You must run VTI (make sure the permissions are set to executable and that the open with tab has WINE selected)! We also tried out flash with links to and

Step 7) Teacher Station only
Installed and tested it with eschool.

Step 8) Teacher Station only
Enabled BlueTooth and tested it with my Smart Airliner Slate (aka Wacom Graphire 6x8 Tablet).

Step 9) Teacher Station only
Tried to download all the *.deb files from to install SmartNotebook, but could not find a 64bit Linux version. I'm trying out xournal (Ubuntu Software Center) and its fine so far!

Step 10) Teacher Station only
I installed the 64bit version of jre in FireFox for Chrome to run 3D graphs in SAGE and to screencast with SOM. BTW, goto for the jdk
(Servers) and for the jre (Teacher Stations)! Students can live with Tachyon for 3D graphs. Take a look,

Install jre1.6.0_27 as a Firefox plugin for SOM and 3D graphics in SAGE, etc.
-use firefox to download latest jre *.bin file (linux 64bit version) from to /usr/lib/firefox-addons/plugins
-open a terminal and 
    cd /usr/lib/firefox-addons/plugins
    chmod 755 *.bin
    cd /home/userid/.mozilla
    mkdir plugins
    cd plugins
    ln -s /usr/lib/firefox-addons/plugins/jre1.6.0_27/lib/amd64/
-test firefox with "about:plugins" as the url to see that jre was plugged in!

Optional Step 11) Teacher Station only
I didn't install VLC. Chrome's VLC plugin is sufficient for playing the *.mp4 files I downloaded from for YouTube Wednesdays via I won't install VLC unless I really need it since it has 50 dependencies. I'm thinking I may need VLC for the movie marathon during AP Week when I play "Math Movies" from my DVD collection!

Optional Step 12) Teacher Station only
I didn't install handbrake either as it depends on VLC. I will install handbrake if I start converting old, non commercially available, out of copyright documentaries I have on VHS to DVD again. I use handbrake to make *.mp4 files from these DVDs for YouTube. See some here,

What we are researching I (look what this school did in the 80s and 90s): 

Today's Topic:
CIS(theta) 2011-2012 - KISS Natty 64 install fest! - Meeting III

Today's Attendance:
CIS(theta) 2011-2012: GeorgeA, GrahamS, KennyK, LucasE

Today's Reading:
Chapter 1 Building Parallel Programs (BPP) using clusters and parallelJava

Well, that's all folks, enjoy!

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