Research and Development

How to Boot LTSP Clients From Local Harddrive Using Grub

Sometimes PXE booting LTSP clients is not possible - e.g. if the device doesn’t have PXE enabled NIC. If the client device has a local harddrive, it’s possible to install the image locally and use Grub to boot it. Everything else works still the same, just kernel loading and NBD mount are replaced by using the local harddrive. The image is placed on the harddrive as a single file and it is not uncompressed.

Managing Thousands of Linux Desktops With Puavo

It’s been quite a while since the last post in the blog, but we certainly haven’t been sitting idle. I’m personally so excited about Puavo and its possibilities that I wanted to share our experiences over time.

We are now managing IT systems for some 170 schools in tens of cities around Finland. The schools have close to 8000 computers in total. The number of laptops is still relatively small, but approaching 1000. All of this is now managed with Puavo.

Hello Labs and How to Use Guard::LiveReload With Octopress

Our development team at Opinsys has grown tremendously during the last year and our frustration of Wordpress had escalated to the point we had to do something about it. Since I was already familiar with the developer friendly Octopress by having used it in my personal blog we decided to go for it too.

This new Labs site contains news and updates about our development efforts. Expect posts about Linux and Web technologies. Checkout the archives to see what we have been previously posting.

While making sure that our experience with Octopress would be smooth as possible I integrated Guard::LiveReload with Octopress. Since I could not find any proper documentation on the Web how to do it I’m posting it here.

Bringing HTML5 to the Desktop With AppJS

As we and many others are relying more and more on the Open Web Platform or HTML5 as more commonly referenced to. We want to bring some of that goodness to the our desktops too. With it we can utilize our current in house talent and existing code much more efficiently.

We decided to take shot at the new project called AppJS and try reimplementing Gnome’s good old menus with HTML5. Here we will take look on how AppJS delivered.

How to Fix Linux Kernel Crashes in Systems With USB2 SMARTBoards

tl;dr use Linux 3.6 or later

Those who are still reading this, this story describes how we debugged and got solved initially mysterious problem of oopsing kernels. It is written hoping others would find it useful and we would remember how to do something similar next time.

Building and Packaging Kernels

These days the need for custom kernel compiling has almost disappeared. There used to be a time when make-kpkg was almost in daily use, but after the kernel-ppa repository was published, we have found ourselves using either backported Ubuntu kernels or vanilla kernels from kernel-ppa in our systems when a newer kernel was required for some reason.

Exploring Ldapjs

During summer it’s pretty quiet here at Opinsys, because all the schools are on summer break. This allows us to explore with new technologies. So I decided to take a crack at ldapjs as possible OpenLDAP replacement and see of what it is made of. I’m also fairly new to LDAP in general and this seems to be a nice way to learn how LDAP servers work in general.

What Opinsys Does?

Some background on the Finnish school system and how it affects school ICT.

School technology is a tough job - specialised tools, lots of demanding users, little money and usually also politics are involved in some way. I'm working at Opinsys developing new technology that best addresses the needs of schools. We are working with kindergardens and schools up to high schools (K12). Our aim is to make school technology usage as seamless as possible so that teachers can concentrate on pedagogy and help pupils learn better instead of spending their time fighting with unusable technology.

Finnish School System and ICT

It has been almost two years since I last wrote about the use of Ubuntu in Finnish schools, so I thought it'd be a good time to write a small update on the current situation. As I was writing things down, I noticed that I kept explaining the Finnish school system, so I thought to write first about the Finnish school system and illustrate how the system reflects to ICT in schools.