Research and Development

Interactive Whiteboard Software Comparison

The past days have been spent on test preparations. We have been doing first test installations and finding out how the accompanying software works for each of the interactive whiteboards. The installations have been done on stock Ubuntu 10.04 LTS setup. We have been focusing at this point on installation and first-time use experiences. This will be used as reference later when we start testing with LTSP clients.

We'll write more detailed descriptions about the installations procedures as separate blog entries later. Here are the basic details for different interactive whiteboard software packages that will be tested:

Feature Promethean - activinspire Mimio Studio Cleverboard Lynx
Version 1.5.34144-2 7.11 4.3.21
Homepage Promethean Mimio Studio Linux Lynx 4 FAQ
Installation package size 141 mt (drivers, material, software together) English only: 142 MB
All languages: 369 MB
Core: 152 MB
All materials: 824 MB
Cleverboard Dual with MultiTouch drivers 4.63 MB
Package format deb deb bin installer
Supported linux distributions Ubuntu 9.10
Ubuntu 10.04
Debian Lenny
Debian Squeeze
Linkat 3
Linex Colegios 2010
Fedora 13, 14
openSUSE 11.3
Ubuntu 10.04, 10.10
Linux x86 2.6.27 and greater
Language support English, Swedish, Finnish + others English, Swedish + others English, Swedish, Finnish + others
Table contents are still living and especially licensing information needs more digging. We are working with the local representatives on to find out if there are any issues when installing them in centrally managed systems or at home. We are in the midst of going through the information, so more information will follow.

We've been also working on the test criterias and here's a preliminary list of things that we'll be testing:

  1. Software licenses
    1. How many computers and users can have the software installed and are there restrictions on using it at home?
    2. How to enter the product / licensing key
    3. Source code openness
  2. Software installation
    1. easiness of installation
    2. how the installation program behaves and does it do anything suspicious (target paths, file permissions, etc.)
    3. how possible kernel modules behave and what happens when kernel is updated miten
    4. are the both 32 and 64-bit versions available
  3. Maintenance
    1. version updates
    2. is it possible to place teaching resources and material like images on a central server
  4. System resources
    1. how much disk space, cpu power and memory is used
    2. how the processes behave when the software is closed
    3. does the software start always or does it recognise when the hardware is connected
    4. how the software behaves in multiuser environment
  5. Features and bugs
    1. do the drivers mess up with other parts of the system
    2. are there bugs that affect the usage of the whiteboard
    3. are there differences between linux/mac/windows versions
  6. Localisation
    1. translation availability and quality
    2. how software works in environments where different users use different locales
We'll keep on working on the criteria when we have the physical installations ready.

-Antti Sokero / Veli-Matti Lintu