The school I'm working for as an administrator requested a system upgrade. Currently we are using a government-suggested Linux distribution called SuliXerver - it would be great, but most of the admin functions have been disabled, and are controlled by the company managing the distro. As there are major issues with it that are ignored by this company, the school board decided to switch to something else.
As our budget is limited, Windows solutions are out of the question. This leaves us with open-source and free software.
I've been looking into education-oriented distros, but the thing is, none provides (by the things I see) the level of comfort for the end-user as SuliXerver did - mostly the unified web interface, which, while being limited, had all needed features (user management, user network access control, email, etc.).
I'm still undecided though about the best choice. The distros I've checked so far:
- Debian Edu/Skolelinux - apparently the best choice for us. Supports a grand part of what we need be supported, BUT is limited when it comes to modifying the initial values it is preloaded with - the LDAP schemes, network setup, domain, server name, etc.
- Karoshi Server - seems limited in my opinion, and still not yet ready for prime time. Also less maintained compared to Skolelinux
- ClearOS - while not directly meant for schools, a great deal of the system can be salvaged and slightly modified to work with our setup.
- Zentyal - same as ClearOS but limited functionality in regards of the web interface. Also has better support, and the interface is easier to use.
Is there any other distribution I've missed, that would be a better match for our solution? Due to the limited timeframe I was given to complete the whole transfer (by the end of October I should have a working prototype system, and latest end of December, transition must be done), I do not feel up to the task to write our own solution.
- Unified web interface that is easy to use for students, teachers, and admins. Teachers should be able to control the rooms' internet access via proxy settings, modify students' passwords, but not core system settings. Students can change their own password.
- E-mail system - web interface is given (RoundCube or RainLoop), back-end is not yet decided (would like to have Exchange ActiveSync)
- OpenLDAP + Samba for Windows domain login and Documents storage (to store user settings, bookmarks, files). Also automatic assignment of network drives.
- Web server - either Apache or NGINX, running with PHP and MySQL.
- Print server for the offices
- DNS server for local computer name resolution