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It must be said that there are certain features of Windows that I think 'why on earth doesn't Ubuntu employ such methods!'

This is a great little way of editing files as root using the desktop. This saves having to login as root and navigating a text editor! More windows less linux

Step 1
Open a terminal and type:

sudo su

Step 2
Then type:

gedit .gnome2/nautilus-scripts/Open\ as\ root

Step 3
Now add the following three lines of code to the file:

gksudo "gnome-open $uri" &

Step 4

Go back to the terminal and type:

sudo chmod +x .gnome2/nautilus-scripts/Open\ as\ root

Step 5
Reboot the machine and now when you right click on a document and goto scripts, there is the option to open the document as root!

*note that there are certain security implications with this method see this link

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There were a few points in my departure to the latest version of Edubuntu - 7.10 that I thought I may need to downgrade. Unfortunately, it's often the case that a new version of the operating system comes complete with a new set of bugs that only maturity will iron out.

One problem in particular was really bugging me and rendered the upgrade useless for our system if I didn't find a fix - quick! The problem came when a thin client displayed it's login screen, the monitor would just go off with a disturbing message (from the monitor) saying 'unsupported resolution' or something to that effect - the message may vary between different models of monitors.

It quickly became clear that the monitor does not support the resolution that Edubuntu or Xorg was trying to output. I thought a quick tweak in the admin panel might sort things out but the problem was a little deeper - as are many linux problems. Once again I was forced to use the now very familiar terminal.

Step 1
Locate the file lts.conf using this path:

Step 2
Add the following line:
X_MODE_0 = 1024x768 #or other resolution that you'd like to use

Step 3

Bring up the terminal and type:

Step 4
Reboot the server, when it's all booted up then all systems go with the thin clients! Now you can see!

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We use a proxy server in our school and having to put the network information into Firefox for each user would be a nightmare!

Step 1
Locate the file /usr/share/firefox/greprefs/all.js and open. In the terminal you can type:

sudo gedit /usr/share/firefox/greprefs/all.js

This will open the firefox preferences file in the terminal.

Step 2
Locate the string "proxy.type" using the find function (CTRL+F) and change the following appropreately:

pref("network.proxy.type", 1);
pref("network.proxy.ftp", "YourIPAddressToProxy");
pref("network.proxy.ftp_port", 8080);
pref("network.proxy.gopher", "YourIPAddressToProxy");
pref("network.proxy.gopher_port", 8080);
pref("network.proxy.http", "YourIPAddressToProxy");
pref("network.proxy.http_port", 0);
pref("network.proxy.ssl", "YourIPAddressToProxy");
pref("network.proxy.ssl_port", 0);
pref("network.proxy.socks", "YourIPAddressToSocks");
pref("network.proxy.socks_port", 0);
pref("network.proxy.socks_version", 5);
pref("network.proxy.socks_remote_dns", false);
pref("network.proxy.no_proxies_on", "localhost,,");

Step 3
It's also possible to setup the global default homepage*, this time we edit /etc/firefox/pref/firefox.js. In the terminal type:

sudo gedit /etc/firefox/pref/firefox.js

Add the following lines:

//Setup Home...
pref("browser.startup.homepage", "");
pref("browser.startup.homepage_reset", "");

Changing the urls appropreately. Save the file(s) and reboot.

*This step might not work as expected in Ubuntu Gutsy Gibbon (7.10) It's a known bug: Bug Report

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For a while now I've been working on an anoying problem. I've been trying to get the sound to work using flash on a thin client. The sound would play on the server instead of sounding on the thin client. Flash is so important to us that a sollution needed to be found otherwise LTSP would'nt have been a solution for us. I thought an upgrade to Edubuntu would solve all our problems, it didn't and in a final ditched effort I managed to find the following fix:

Step 1

bring up the terminal and type:


Step 2

sudo dpkg -i libflashsupport_1.0~2219-1_i386.deb

Step 3
Close the terminal and reboot the server

There we have it, a 3 month problem put to bed in 2 lines of code! This silly problem just suddenly disappeared. This is one of those things in Ubuntu that should just work!

I've recently been made aware (thanks to Tom!) that this fix does not work on 64bit versions of Ubuntu. This is tried and tested on 7.10 32bit.

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Document Interoperability

'Becta, the government's education technology agency,
recently made a complaint to the Office of Fair Trading (OFT) for
alleged anti-competitive practices by Microsoft in the schools
software marketplace and in relation to Microsoft's approach to
document interoperability. Becta's advice to schools in relation to
the deployment of Office 2007 remains that schools and colleges
should only deploy Office 2007 when its interoperability with
alternative products is satisfactory. That would necessarily imply
effective support by Microsoft of the internationally approved ODF
file format.Becta's final report, on Microsoft's Academic Licensing
Programmes, which was scheduled for January 2008, will now be
deferred until after the outcome of our complaint to the Office of
Fair Trading is known. Becta's final report on Vista and Office 2007
is scheduled for publication in January 2008.'

Could this mean that BECTA is likely to (deservedly) push
open source office applications and new web 2.0 office apps? In a bid
to steer the majority of educational establishments away from a once
popular, clever but now unnecessarily costly package?

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There are plans to develop a common file format for interactive whiteboards, in consultation with industry, to allow resources to be easily shared. The lack of a common file format remains a major barrier to sharing interactive whiteboard resources. There has not been an open format available to allow a user to develop content on one platform and present it on another.

With a common file format, resources can be developed once, then immediately distributed, without conversion, for presentation on any interactive whiteboard configuration. Institutions will no longer be locked into buying hardware from a particular vendor to support content developed on their existing systems. They will be free to purchase hardware and software from any supplier, or from a range of suppliers, assured that their files will be supported.
Another good example of vendors creating a standard for interoperabilty! This move will no doubt aid the sharing of resources on various learning platforms.

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A big thanks to Joseph Hartman, San Diego, California for making me aware of his blog. He's trying hard to accomplish a similar project to myself using Ubuntu and LTSP. Just like me he's coming across many obstacles and one by one he's managed to overcome them.

He recently posted a great metaphor for his reasoning in using FOSS:

Understanding Operating Systems through the metaphor of automobiles

His full blog can be found here:

Hartman's Blogtastic Blog

I'd sure like to hear from anybody else who's doing a similar thing to our two primary schools, as they say - many hands make lighter work!