Debian installer for universities?
How would it be, if we developed unified Debian / Ubuntu installer addons that would solve all the painful issues that somebody in a campus like ours at IITM faces while installing Debian / Ubuntu?
I initially had these plans for IITM. Interestingly Ritesh Bhat from NITK had similar plans (and I gave him the scripts I had written). Why not have a community project under a relatively free license where we extend the Debian / Ubuntu installer for institutes, universities and colleges?
What should such a project do, ideally speaking?
1. Set up specifics for the campus network. Configure proxy, DNS etc and configure apps to use services available on the local network. Eg: IITM has a local Debian/Ubuntu mirror, so we should use that instead of the default mirrors. NITK has a local Ubuntu cache, so we should be using that instead within NITK.
2. Configure things that a college student would typically want to configure – GMail chat, IRC (to get help), Firefox web browser etc.
3. Solve typically faced Windows-compatibility issues – like gstreamer-ugly-plugins, realplayer or NTFS support.
4. Preseed the Debian Installer, so that we ask only those questions that should really, really be asked.
Now, this is like converting Linux into Windows! But I think this is the best way to help newbies set up Linux on their systems.
I notice that most of these scripts are going to be similar across institutes, with only certain settings that need to be changed. I don’t know how far I am right in this. Everyone would want pidgin to be configured, for instance, irrespective of the campus environment. Every campus would have a proxy server, so we would need to configure proxy settings in all cases.
How much sense does it make, to have a unified framework to do this? Can we open a project on sourceforge? Is there already some project that does this?