Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Another Open Source Program

While I have been continuing to work with Open Source software I found a program that might be helpful to some on small budgets (whether you are using Windows, Mac or Linux). If you are familiar with Microsoft Publisher then you know it to be a desktop publishing software package which allows you to create many different types of paper based layouts (brochures, flyers, signs, etc...). It is relatively easy to use (there is no Ribbon Bar to try and figure out where your buttons went!) and can create just about any type of layout you need (there are 28 different options to choose from in the opening menu alone). It is not part of the Office Suite, unless you get the professional grouping (which is very expensive). It is a niche program, Google doesn't have anything to compare it to; and, with the exception of Adobe's InDesign (even more expensive then Publisher) there aren't too many similar programs. If you are used to the program, you will miss Publisher when it is gone (or at least I know I certainly do).

Enter the Open Source option. There is a program called Scribus. It is a free download and available for Windows (2000/XP/Vista/Windows 7), Mac, and of course, Linux. It's layout is similar to Publisher and allows you to make publications easily. There aren't the pretty step-by-step wizards that you will find with Publisher but if you need a desktop publishing program (familiarity with Publisher will help but isn't essential), I think this one will fit the bill nicely. If you give it a shot or you know of another program that can accomplish the same thing, please leave me a comment and let me know!

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Ubuntu snag

Hello! If you have been following this blog at all, you know that I am working on playing with Ubuntu in the classroom. I am using Ubuntu 8.04 LTS (the current version as of this post is 10.04) because it is the software that works with the NComputing boxes that allow virtualization. Well, as is usually the case, I have hit a snag that I can't get around right now. Like most people I have a Windows environment in my school with a server running Active Directory. All of the students log in to the server using their username and password and I control policy and so forth using Group Policy for each grade. Well, I am trying, unsuccessfully at this point, to integrate the AD with my Ubuntu box. I have read about Samba and I even found and downloaded the GUI (Graphical User Interface) program SADMS which automates much of the process (it edits the necessary files for you after you provide pertinent information). However, I keep getting an error message about changing the password on the server before I can get a Kerberos ticket. I can ping the AD server and I sync time servers so it isn't either one of those problems. I have changed password several times to no avail.
So, I am putting out a plea for help. If anybody has any leads or can direct me somewhere, I would be very appreciative.
I would also love to hear about any successful (or unsuccessful) OpenSource integrations into a classroom setting if someone would like to share!