What the project Freeduc-USB is not:
- Freeduc-USB is not a distribution of free-libre educational packages. If you search educational packages, you can visit the project Debian-Edu, the website Framasoft, ...
- Freeduc-USB is not a family of USB sticks with free-libre
applications for Windows. In fact it depends not on locally installed
software or OS, you can event boot a Freedu-USB stick on a diskless
computer. If you serach sticks to add free-libre educational software
to a Windows environment, take a look at Framakey.
Pecularities of Freeduc-USBFreeduc-USB is a family of fast live USB sticks. They come as an appliance, without a hardware backbone. Just plug a Freeduc-USB stick into a laptop or desktop computer, and let it boot itself. Half a minute later you get an educational appliance based on free software. Freeduc-USB allows a nomadic usage of educatioanl applications. As the software is free, there are no legal barriers preventing its scalability.
- Freeduc-USB is fast: the local workstation is ready to use faster with Freeduc-USB than booted ordinarily.
- Freeduc-USB provides freedom: the licenses of the embedded applications and background software allow the duplication of Freeduc-USB seamlessly.
- Freeduc-USB is a collection of free-libre educational applicances.
Under the hood of Freeduc-USBHere is a sketch of the software sources which were are used to build Freeduc-USB
- The boot system is provided by ExtLinux.
- The operating system is Linux, based on the release 2.6.31
- The management of the appliance is based on KNOPPIX, version 6.2.1
- All of the software packages are managed by dpkg, the Debian packaging system.
- Most of the packages come from Debian official repositories, a few of them come from OFSET's unofficial Debian repository.
Structure of a Freeduc-USB keyA Freeduc USB key has two partitions, one for data which should be seen from every system, the other one which contains the internals of Freeduc-USB, customisations, and user data which sould not be accessed from every system.Hre is a more technical description of the partitons:
- Master boot record: this one is provided by the package Extlinux,
it allows to boot from the second partition.
- Partition 1: primary partition, flagged "lba", with a fat32 (vfat) filesystem. Its content will be available from every system.
- Partition 2: logical partition (so numbered #5), flagged "bootable". It contains a directory /boot/extlinux owned by root, which contains the boot system, and a directory /KNOPPIX which contains the remainder.
- the files /KNOPPIX/KNOPPIX, /KNOPPIX/KNOPPIX2, etc. contain a compressed filesystem. Each file contains at most 2 GB of raw data, their individual weights are approximately limited to 700 MB. These files are accessed in a read-only mode, which make them more robust than customisations.
- the file /KNOPPIX/knoppix-img.dat contains a filesystem which is mounted above the other filesystems, thanks to the package aufs. This filesystem will contain all of the customisations and the user data which are not copied into the first partition.
Published Freeduc-USB releasesMaking a new release of Freeduc-USB is now a few hours's task, thanks to the package freeduc-usb which is maintained as a free software (license: GPL V.3), and available at OFSET's Debian repository.
Here is a list of published Freeduc-USB releases.
- Freeduc-AMC, version 1.0 (August 2010). Features the package auto-multiple-choice. It allows you to create paper exercises with replies based on multiple-choices, which can be scored automatically with an optical scanner. To deploy the appliance you need locally a computer hooked to a printer and a scanner (or a composite peripheral with both features).