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OLE Nepal & Fedora Packages for SchoolTool


>From Abhishek Singh on the OLE Nepal blog -

In our continual effort of improving our systems and providing tools
to support digital education, we were presented with a new requirement
— providing schools a software based tool for classroom management and
grading. After evaluating a few available tools, we encountered
SchoolTool which was the foremost candidate meeting most of our

* Web based
* Different user levels: admins, teachers, students
* Student information system
* Calendars
* Attendance
* Grading
* Localizable
* Open Source

Though being the right candidate, SchoolTool had a few of the
shortcomings for us — the tools is readily available (as a set of
installable package) for Ubuntu only and had a lot of dependencies. As
our plan to integrate the tool in the NEXS (School Server software
based on Fedora Linux) infrastructure, a lot of packaging work had to
be done, which included:

* Developing a hierarchy of dependent packages for schooltool and its plugins.
* Finding source tarballs for each packages.
* Writing RPM spec files for each package and build binary RPMs
against the spec.
* Testing the setup.

It was daunting to perform all of the tasks manually, so we followed a
semi-automatic approach — a script based automation and manual
intervention where necessary. But writing spec files for building RPM
packages for each dependency had to be manual, meanwhile a difficult
task as well. Hopefully, we need not have to author spec files for
around 80 dependencies; thanks to Robin ‘Cheese’ Lee for writing a few
of them. Nevertheless the rest of them had to be authored, built
against and tested; and it took us a good time performing these tasks
iteratively until we arrived a stable stage. Now we are ready to pilot
SchoolTool (localized in Nepali) in a few of the OLPC deployed

We have built binary RPM packages for Fedora 13 and Fedora 9, for both
32 and 64 bit architectures. Additionally to encourage developers to
test their own builds and to contribute in porting the tool to Fedora
based distributions, we have made the packaging sources available
under non-restrictive license. If you would like to test my builds,
the RPM repository is hosted at http://ftp.schooltool.org/rpms/. Also
there are ready to use repo files for Fedora’s yum package manager. To
set up the repository:

Download the respective repo file you need for your machine —
fedora_9.schooltool.repo for Fedora 9, and fedora_13.schooltool.repo
for Fedora 13.
Copy the repo file to /etc/yum.repo.d/ directory.
The packaging sources (spec files and patches) are available at my git
repository at http://gitorious.org/schooltool-rpm/schooltool-rpm/. We
would like to see more people testing our builds and our specs and
reporting back bugs. HAPPY TESTING!!