Installing FUSS-Debian in one or more schools in Albania

FUSS is a Debian based system that is being used in around 80 schools in Italy:

They have proposed a project where the candidate will install FUSS in a school or educational institution outside of South Tyrol, with help and support from mentors of the FUSS team. Another goal of the project is to translate the FUSS documentation from Italian to English:

If the school where FUSS will be installed is in Albania, they can also donate, as a bonus, several used PCs, with 2GB RAM, dual core, 250/500 GB HD, with monitor, which work very well with FUSS. (For logistic reasons, they cannot send them to other countries, like India or Pakistan.)

Of course, the candidate should be familiar with the Linux commands, and some experience with Linux administration is preferred.

By the way, the applications for GSoC-2022 end up in 19 April:

If you intend to apply, hurry up!

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This is pretty interesting and would be usefull to schools in small towns where they lack access to technology but knowing how things work in Albania it will be a bureaucratic hell going through the Ministry of Education and local municipalities.

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Based on my previous experience this is true @IrdiIs @dashohoxha

R.S

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Thank you for your feedback @IrdiIs

To be honest I am not aware of the intricacies of the educational system in Albania, but I don’t see why a school (at least) cannot decide to install Linux in its labs, if the computer teachers and the directors of the school are OK with it. Maybe they can install it in parallel to Windows, if that is required by the teaching program.

In any case, my opinion is that all the schools should include Linux as well in the teaching curricula. They cannot ignore it anymore.

I have a similar experience too.

But I have been a sysadmin at a small university and I installed Linux everywhere. After I left, I think that they could not find someone to maintain it, so they replaced everything. By the way, installing Linux in an educational institution is not as simple as just grab a CD and start installing.

I have been a computer teacher at a high school, and I installed Linux with dual boot Windows in the lab. I was allowed by the director to do anything I want, as long as I didn’t harm the Windows installations, because they are required by the teaching program (according to them). Of course they didn’t pay me anything for the extra hours that I spent with Linux. According to them I was doing it for fun, and people don’t pay you for having fun :slight_smile:

I was thinking that the only incentive to motivate them could be the computers that they are willing to donate (because i am thinking about school in small rural towns where they don’t have a tech lab) but for that even if the principal is on board you probably have to go through the local education board and maybe even through the ministry of education.

I sent your post to a friend who works in Berat and has good relations with institutions there to see if they can collaborate with some technical school in order to implement this. It would be great if this kind of project started somewhere in Albania.

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I think that Linux is much better, flexible, cheaper, etc. compared to the alternatives, so the prospect of using Linux should be the incentive for motivating the schools. But I am biased, since I have always used Linux myself.

What are some of the reasons that prevent people (schools, institutions, etc.) from using Linux? And how can we convince educational boards or even the ministry of education to encourage using Linux?

I have come to know some of them, which I am listing here. I am sure that I don’t have the whole picture, so feedback and discussion is welcome

  1. The general opinion is that Windows is the most widely used system for the desktop, so they want to teach their students what they think most probably they will be using during their life.

    However I think that this is not a reason for not teaching them Linux as well. It is like claiming that because English is the lingua franca of the world they should not teach to the children French, German, Italian, etc.

    Besides, Linux dominates on the server side, on mobiles, etc. And one day it may become the universal operating system, dominating on the desktop as well, because frankly it is quite advanced and competitive on the desktop too.

  2. It is difficult to install and maintain Linux on a school or institution environment. It is not as simple as installing computers one by one. You need a central server for the accounts, you need to restrict access to the internet, probably you need a mail server and other services, you need to automate the installation of the workstations (clients), etc.

    I think that these tasks are difficult for Windows too, but Windows advertises some commercial solutions for them, and people are willing to pay for them, but usually expect Linux solutions to be for free.

  3. There are Linux solutions for schools or institutions, some of them are even for free, but usually you need some expertise to use them properly.

    School teachers (who are often responsible for maintaining the computer labs) do not have such an expertise, even if we assume that they are Linux users (and most often they are not, at least in Albania). I think that the computer teachers should not even be expected to be Linux experts. They may assist in the maintenance of the computer systems of the school (for example creating accounts, backup/restore, re-installing clients and servers, etc,), but definitely they need some professional support in order to setup and maintain the whole thing.

    This support may come either from private companies that are specialized on such things, or from groups of experts employed by the ministry of education for such a purpose. As far as I know, none of these exist in Albania.

  4. Some Linux solutions for schools (that I know) are:

    Do you know some other solutions?
    Unfortunately, there is no private company or institution (including the ministry of education, RASH and AKSHI) that supports such solutions. So, even if a school is willing to try Linux, it is on its own (they have to find and pay their own Linux experts, which most of the schools cannot afford, even the private ones).

Short answer: companies like MS spend millions on lobbying to governments and that makes it hard to fight, but I think it is the role of international and local communities that promote free libre open source technologies to raise their voice and present Linux as the way to go when it comes to public infrastructure.

R.S

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Let me try to do the devil’s advocate (since no one is willing to do it).

companies like MS spend millions on lobbying

It is called marketing, isn’t it? All the companies try to do it.
I don’t think that lobbying is an illegal activity, it is not the same thing as corruption.
Free libre open source activists try to do it too (they call it “promotion”), but apparently they are not as successful as the big companies. Why? This is a big question.
Maybe because the services that they offer are not as good and competitive as those of the big companies. Or maybe because they are not as good at marketing as them.

Another interesting case: I organized a course about Linux Commands and no one showed up, no one was interested. Should I blame the big M for this? I don’t think so. I don’t think that the big M has some strange powers that can twist the free will of people and prevent them from learning Linux (this is in the realm of conspiracy theories). Most probably the reason is that I am not good at advertising and marketing, and that the collaboration between the free-libre-open-source supporters is not as it should be. Another explanation might be that people somehow are not interested on activities that are not related to money in one way or another. Everyone of us has a little devil inside, so don’t always blame the big M for everything.

Quick answers

Indeed. Marketing and lobbying (PR) are activities in the same field.

Not everything that is legal is also ethical (my opinion)

Again in my opinion: we live in a capitalist society officially (in many countries I would call it kleptocracy) where money is valued by societies more than other values. In this context, comparing entities that can spend lots of money on people that will spend their time to talk to decision makers with a group of people that do this on their free time is expected to not have an even outcome.

My view: promotion plays a big role on this and promotion brings adoption of a platform and adoption brings more money, more money can give you more people working full time compared to people working on their free time to improve something. It is a circle…

Personally I have major doses of respect for anyone sharing their knowledge with other, especially knowledge related to floss. I don’t know the reasons for the others not showing up, but personally I have tried many times with different methods to become better at the command line and hasn’t worked. Si this is a bit outside the things that I feel comfortable doing. But you are right on saying that in general (and generalization is not good, but I’m doing it for the sake of economy in the discussion) in many cases people don’t show up. Unfortunately, in an attention economy era we need to become better on promoting what we do. That’s why I think that it would be amazing if people with such technical skills like yours are helped or team up with people that have skills on promoting such activities.

you are right, many social groups, communities, countries and governments have raised generations that value money over ethics. I don’t see any other option other than doing what we thing it is the right thing: continuing talking and teaming up with people that focus on values other than money.
Again, thanks for your efforts and I honestly wish you don’t get demotivated and continue sharing your knowledge with others. It is not easy, but life is (relatively) short and it is worth doing our best to do what we think is the right thing.

R.S