Building a Schoolserver

One of my tasks for this summer has been to try and get the FOSSBox's schoolserver up and running again. We previouly had one a number of years ago, but the hardware failed some time ago and the system itself was running a hacked-together Debian build and did not have access to some of the actual schoolserver scripts.

I first attempted to run the instructions for the latest proper release of the XO Schoolserver (henceforth XS), but this did not end very well. For one, the instructions (and many automated scripts) assume you have two network cards: one for the internal LAN to which the XO laptops connect, and another connecting to the Internet. This assumption that the XS would be the gateway device for a network of XO laptops would be fine in most deployments where there is no existing infrastructure to get in the way, but at RIT where there is not only significant infrastructure, but infrastructure I cannot easily modify or control, it is less applicable.

Here are the steps I have taken to turn a fresh CentOS/RHEL server into an XS:

  1. Set up EPEL.
  2. Add the OLPC-XS repository to your yum config.
  3. yum install ejabberd idmgr ds-backup-server xs-activity-server
  4. xs-domain-config <domain name>
  5. xs-setup
  6. Use system-config-firewall-tui to unblock ports 22, 80, 8080, 5222, 5223, and 4369

xs-setup is the most trying of the commands, because it does a lot of background work to set up the OLPC versions of many config files (while still leaing the originals in place).

There's more to it, xs-setup tends to have some annoying side effects, some of the config files need to be manually updated, but this is the general idea. This post will be further updated as time goes on.

The main problem seen so far is that this is being set up on a RHEL server backed by XEN, and the OLPC-XS repository keeps wanting to install an incompatible kernel, hosing the system on a regular basis.

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