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  4. <title>TUX&amp;GNU@school - 2nd edition</title>
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  7. <div>
  8. <h1>TUX&amp;GNU@school - 2nd edition</h1>
  9. <p><i>Every month the column TUX&amp;GNU@school reports about
  10. free education software, a homepage on the topic and an easy
  11. to implement idea. This month I talk about <a
  12. href="">GCompris</a>, a GNU
  13. education program for the young and the old, about <a
  14. href=""></a>,
  15. a homepage for GNU/Linux support at german schools and about
  16. the idea "Text4mator - text modification made easy".</i></p>
  17. <p>Welcome to the second edition of TUX&amp;GNU@school [18].
  18. At the beginning I want to thank all the people who sent me
  19. tips for education software I could report about. At this
  20. place it would be good to explain this column's name: TUX is
  21. the name of the meanwhile well-known mascot of Linux, a
  22. little dinky penguin. But GNU [2] on the one hand stands for
  23. the recursive acronym "GNU is not UNIX", which is the name of
  24. a project that's developing a free version of UNIX and on the
  25. other hand it stands for the animal species of the mascot of
  26. GNU. Finally the "@school" means "in or at school". But now
  27. we're going on to the first item.</p>
  28. <h3>GCompris - free education software for the young and the
  29. old</h3>
  30. <p>GCompris [3] is a free education program that has become
  31. official GNU software in the meantime. Actually it's more a
  32. uniform interface for different learning boards. I tested the
  33. version 1.0.5 under Debian GNU/Linux 3.0 (testing) and KDE
  34. 2.2.</p>
  35. <p>When you start the program, the main window of screenshot
  36. 1 appears. This window is split in three sections with the
  37. single learning boards at the top, a short description in the
  38. middle and a short menu panel at the bottom. Up to now there
  39. are at the head four links that are guiding to another boards
  40. and under it, in the second row, there are four boards
  41. guiding to the following boards: With the first one, the kid
  42. can learn the clock or time, the second link goes to a simple
  43. vector painting programm, at the third board you have to set
  44. the watergates that way TUX with his ship can go trough and
  45. eventually the child learns with the fourth board, where the
  46. different countries are situated in North and South America.
  47. The pictures at the head of the main window are indicated by
  48. different symbols. The small yellow arrow tells the link is
  49. going to additional teaching boards, whereas the little
  50. stars, at the pictures which are boards themselves, show the
  51. level. At teaching boards with an integrated sound output the
  52. loudspeaker symbol tells you, if sound output is possible or
  53. not, like it's the case in screenshot 1. You can always read
  54. a short description and the name of the author in the middle
  55. part of the main window. And eventually at the bottom there
  56. are four symbols which, from left to right, go to more
  57. information about GCompris, open the configuration menu, show
  58. the helping documentation and with a click on the last
  59. picture closes the program. At the configuration menu you can
  60. make settings like the language you prefer or if GCompris has
  61. his own window or it starts in fullscreen mode. Regarding the
  62. language settings, you should adapt the environment variable
  63. LANG to match your language. If not, you can change it e.g.
  64. for english by writing the following command on a console:
  65. <tt>export LANG=en_EN</tt>.</p>
  66. <p><img src="./img/gcompris-menu.en.png"
  67. alt="Screenshot 1: GCompris in action" width="808"
  68. height="628" border="0" /><br />
  69. </p>
  70. <h5>Screenshot 1: GCompris in action</h5>
  71. <br />
  72. <br />
  73. <p>With the board for learning the time, I want to show how
  74. the single subprograms are built. As you can see in
  75. screenshot 2, there is a menu at the bottom too, which
  76. contains little pictures. By clicking on the picture
  77. rightmost you go back to the main window. By the other two
  78. the picture with the die shows you the current level und by
  79. clicking on it you climb one level. If you are content with
  80. your settings, push the hand with thumb up or alternatively
  81. you can push RETURN and the computer checks the correctness
  82. of the settings. If the answer was correct you see either a
  83. happily clown face or a flower with a laughing mouth and you
  84. can even hear it with activated sound output; if the result
  85. was wrong, the clown and the flower are sad and you can try
  86. it again. The problem you have to solve in this board is to
  87. set the watch as the text at the left says. The watch hands
  88. can be moved and set with the mouse. In higher levels even
  89. the hour watch hand are set to the time given by the minute
  90. hand watch. At the right you can see in which of how many
  91. levels you are, shown by to numbers.</p>
  92. <p><img src="./img/gcompris-uhr.en.png"
  93. alt="Screenshot 2: Learning the time with GCompris"
  94. width="808" height="628" border="0" /><br />
  95. </p>
  96. <h5>Screenshot 2: Learning the time with GCompris</h5>
  97. <br />
  98. <br />
  99. <p>As already said at the beginning GCompris is supposed to
  100. be "only" a common interface for different teaching boards.
  101. The developer encourages everyone to build own boards as
  102. descriped shortly in the documentation. Personally I like
  103. this program very much because it is interesting for every
  104. age with his different subprograms. Up to now GCompris was
  105. translated into German, English, French and Spanish whereas
  106. they work on an Italian translation and for the near future
  107. we can expect a Hungarian one. What I still miss is a
  108. evaluation or something like highscores but I think that we
  109. won't wait as long for these features because the development
  110. of GCompris is going very quickly. Therefore a great thank
  111. you for Bruno Coudoin and all the other authors of GCompris
  112. too and a lot of success for the future.</p>
  113. <p><i>Addendum: As I saw right now on the mailing list of the
  114. project, they released GCompris 1.1.0. The first edition with
  115. editor functions and a Hungarian translation.</i></p>
  116. <p>But now to the home of the PingoS.</p>
  117. <h3> - free support for free schools</h3>
  118. <p><i>Attention: This site is available in German only
  119. !!!</i></p>
  120. <p>Under the URL above you find in the first place the head
  121. quarter [4] (see screenshot 2) of the German PingoS. That's a
  122. project which wants to find and coordinate volunteers in (at
  123. the moment) Germany for GNU/Linux support at schools. They
  124. try this with the help of different online media. Willing and
  125. interested GNU/Linux appreciators can sign in the online form
  126. [5] which asks for state of knowledge and residence too. All
  127. data exclusive the name, the email address and the residence
  128. are used only internally, the others are entered in the
  129. PingoS-helper-card (see screenshot 4). Schools in Germany
  130. searching help for imminent project or that only have
  131. questions on topic can search on the helper-card [6] and
  132. click on the nearest town for a list of helpers in that area.
  133. If you only have questions sometimes it's surely not a bad
  134. idea to subscribe on the mailing list [7] of the preject.
  135. There are always able and rapid answers on the main list [8].
  136. If think about larger projects or questions, they distribute
  137. the responsibility for it on one of the mailing lists. The
  138. work is mostly documented with a short description on the
  139. project website [9]. For the future interesting is surely the
  140. corporation with groups of Austria or the "ALIS -
  141. Arbeitsgruppe Linux an Schulen" [10] (Swiss work group for
  142. Linux at school) of Switzerland. Particularly you can even
  143. hear about requests from Great Britain for building up
  144. something similar.</p>
  145. <p><img src="./img/pingos.en.png"
  146. alt="Screenshot 3: Front page of the PingoS homepage"
  147. width="800" height="600" border="0" /><br />
  148. </p>
  149. <h5>Screenshot 3: Front page of the Pingos homepage</h5>
  150. <br />
  151. <br />
  152. <p>But the support project isn't the only that's at home on
  153. the homepage of the PingoS. Not forgetting the section with
  154. the self-developed software [11] of the PingoS, e.g.
  155. education or administration software. One of the most famous
  156. projects surely is the "Tipptrainer" [12], another program
  157. for learning typing, but more about it at another time.
  158. Furthermore you can find there a lot of small scripts [13],
  159. Perl or Bash, which ease the day for us. A last section of
  160. the website I want to talk about is the area with the
  161. documentation and the schooling brochures [14]. There you can
  162. find almost everything from Python introductions to medium
  163. large GNU/Linux courses.</p>
  164. <p><img src="./img/pingos-karte.jpg"
  165. alt="Screenshot 4: PingoS helper card" width="492"
  166. height="647" border="0" /><br />
  167. </p>
  168. <h5>Screenshot 4: PingoS helper card</h5>
  169. <br />
  170. <br />
  171. <p>At the end I still want to tell about a very interesting
  172. project of the PingoS: SelfLinux [15]. With SelfLinux the
  173. PingoS want to create a complete reference to GNU/Linux for
  174. novices. Therefor they collect written descriptions and
  175. articles about tasks and problems around the free operating
  176. system and the application software and compose them
  177. structured. Until now there is already a lot of knowledge and
  178. texts but they still need writer for another texts. At [16]
  179. you can explore the work made up to now. From my side good
  180. speed for the future and may you receive a "thank you" from
  181. time to time.</p>
  182. <p>That's it about the PingoS, let's proceed to a new idea
  183. for an easy to implement software.</p>
  184. <h3>Text4mator - text modification made easy</h3>
  185. <p>Before I talk about the idea of this month, I still want
  186. to write something about the last one and what resulted of
  187. it. In the first three or four months after the publication
  188. of the first edition it seemed as if nobody had time to
  189. implement the idea. Therefor and because I had to learn
  190. programming for my studies I tried it myself. I wrote a not
  191. yet satisfying program in C++ that generates random numbers
  192. through a bash script that the program writes to a file with
  193. LaTeX formatting. The two commands <tt>latex</tt> and
  194. <tt>dvips</tt> transform this file into an Postscript file
  195. which is printed by <tt>lpr</tt>. I'll release the program
  196. and a short description in a few days on [10] under the terms
  197. of the GNU GPL. At this point still a thank you to Diego
  198. Kuonen for his help with the LaTeX syntax. Then before
  199. approximately one and a half month I received an email form
  200. Franziska Meyer that she implemented the idea too. But she
  201. made it by far more interesting. Because she was already
  202. familiarising herself with PHP at that time, she had the idea
  203. to implement it as a web service (I want to use this new word
  204. once too ;-). Thought and done and like this it is possible
  205. today going on her website [17] to generate a worksheet which
  206. is downloadable as a pdf-file for the quarter of an hour. An
  207. ingenious idea as I think; because like this you don't even
  208. have to install a separate program. When I asked her to
  209. release the source code to install it perhaps in an Intranet
  210. she said: "Ok, ich überleg's mir mal - und schaue den Code
  211. durch, ob ich den wirklich freigeben kann ;-)" (Ok, I think
  212. about it - and will go through the code whether I can really
  213. release that ;-)). Here too a great thank you to ZIS for her
  214. effort.</p>
  215. <p>But now up to the actually idea I want to introduce this
  216. time. If you learn the verbosity at school you're doing it
  217. right often with worksheets with upper-case texts. In the
  218. other case you use for the introduction of punctuation marks
  219. often texts without periods, commas, questions marks, etc.
  220. The teachers make this all in toilsome handwork. On the other
  221. case it would be right easy for good script writers and
  222. programmers to implement a solution. There were again
  223. different variations and possibilities, e.g. to write all
  224. words upper- or lower-case, to write only the first letter
  225. lower- or upper-case, etc. Furthermore you have to pay
  226. attention to leave always the same space between the single
  227. words. I hope somebody of you is having a good mind and I can
  228. report about it next time.</p>
  229. <p>Ok, that's the end for this time. At the end I let you
  230. know that my (spontaneous) conceptions for easy to implement
  231. ideas are becoming quite rare. I hope so that you can help in
  232. this case and will send some to me [1] I can tell about. The
  233. next time is already in two weeks because this edition came
  234. too late and I don't want to begin with delays. Bye up to the
  235. next time when we're on it again ...</p>
  236. <h3>Links:</h3>
  237. <p>[1] <a href="">Criticism, questions,
  238. comments, ideas and more please to:</a><br />
  239. [2] <a href="">Homepage of the GNU
  240. project:</a><br />
  241. [3] <a href="">Homepage of
  242. GCompris:</a><br />
  243. [4] <a href="">Homepage of
  244. the PingoS:</a><br />
  245. [5] <a
  246. href="">Registration
  247. to the PingoS:
  248.</a><br />
  249. [6] <a
  250. href="">Helper-card
  251. of the PingoS:
  252.</a><br />
  253. [7] <a
  254. href="">
  255. Mailing lists of the PingoS:
  256.</a><br />
  257. [8] <a
  258. href="">Main
  259. list of the PingoS:
  260.</a><br />
  261. [9] <a
  262. href="">
  263. Already finished projects of the PingoS:
  264.</a><br />
  265. [10] <a href="">Homepage of "ALIS -
  266. Arbeitsgruppe Linux an Schulen" (Swiss work group for linux
  267. at school):</a><br />
  268. [11] <a
  269. href="">
  270. Software of the PingoS:
  271.</a><br />
  272. [12] <a
  273. href="">Homepage
  274. of Tipptrainer:
  275.</a><br />
  276. [13] <a
  277. href="">
  278. Skript collection of thePingoS:
  279.</a><br />
  280. [14] <a
  281. href="">
  282. Documentation and schooling brochures of the PingoS:
  283.</a><br />
  284. [15] <a
  285. href=""> page
  286. of SelfLinux:</a><br />
  287. [16] <a href="">Homepage of
  288. SelfLinux:</a><br />
  289. [17] <a href="">1x1
  290. worksheets generating online and downloading:
  291.</a><br />
  292. [18] <a
  293. href="">Homepage
  294. of TUX&amp;GNU@school:
  295.</a><br />
  296. </p>
  297. <h4>About the author:</h4>
  298. <p>Mario Fux finished 1999 the PrimarlehrerInnenseminar in
  299. Brig after he made up mathematical and natural scientifical
  300. matura. In a body with two colleagues he founded the <a
  301. href="">"ALIS - Arbeitsgruppe Linux an
  302. Schulen"</a> (Swiss work group for linux at school).
  303. Meanwhile he studies at the <a
  304. href="">Swiss Federal Institut of
  305. Technology Zurich</a> <a
  306. href="">informations technology and
  307. electrical engineering</a>. And if he once doesn't spend his
  308. time in front of the PC, he sits at his nature pond in the <a
  309. href="">mountains</a>.</p>
  310. <p align="center"><i>Copyright (c) 2002 Mario Fux. Permission
  311. is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify this document
  312. under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License, Version
  313. 1.2 or any later version published by the Free Software
  314. Foundation; with no Invariant Sections, no Front-Cover Texts,
  315. and no Back-Cover Texts.<br />
  316. A copy of the license can be found at <a
  317. href=""></a>.
  318. </i>
  319. </p>
  320. </div>
  321. </body>
  322. <timestamp>$Date$ $Author$</timestamp>
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