[Edu-sig] Donated computers, Linux, and IDLE problems.

Richard Guenther heistooheavy at yahoo.com
Thu Jul 19 15:37:16 CEST 2007

Thanks to all the responses.  I have played around with Ubuntu a little in the past, but will try it again.  I'll report back on my progress after much tinkering around, etc. :-)

IDLE is very important to me when it comes to teaching Python....


----- Original Message ----
From: Lloyd Hugh Allen <chandrakirti at gmail.com>
To: Atul Varma <varmaa at gmail.com>
Cc: Richard Guenther <heistooheavy at yahoo.com>; "edu-sig at python.org" <edu-sig at python.org>
Sent: Thursday, July 19, 2007 5:28:36 AM
Subject: Re: [Edu-sig] Donated computers, Linux, and IDLE problems.

I agree (and this is the time of year that considering how to set up
the lab is particularly relevant, for those people who are able to
control how their lab is set up).

I am using Ubuntu now, and am able to pull up an Idle session by going
to the Applications menu, coming down to programming, and choosing
IDLE. To install IDLE, go to System --> Administration --> Synaptic
Package Manager, search for IDLE, and then go down the alphebetized
list to find IDLE (current version). Check it, "apply", and then
Ubuntu will grab anything that is missing and install IDLE.

There are two drawbacks -- currently my Ubuntu only sees 2.4.3 (I
don't know the process to allow the current version to automatically
be recognized), and Ubuntu get angry at particular graphics cards. Be
very, very careful about updating your video drivers, lest you end up
having to reconfigure them and/or X from the console (doable, but not
"I'm setting up a lab of 30 computers and need to be ready for class
before I go home"able).

The good news is that as soon as 2.5.1 has been blessed by the Ubuntu
gods, an icon will appear on the menu bar suggesting that you
automatically upgrade to it. You can manually update, but then you
don't get automatic updates as they are blessed.

Good luck,
Lloyd Allen

On 7/19/07, Atul Varma <varmaa at gmail.com> wrote:
> Hi Richard,
> Have you considered using Ubuntu?  The latest version of the distro
> comes with Python 2.5 installed, and IDLE can be easily installed
> using the built-in package management system.  I've also found that
> installing Ubuntu is easier than installing Windows, and its base
> configuration is reasonably minimalistic.
> - Atul
> On 7/18/07, Richard Guenther <heistooheavy at yahoo.com> wrote:
> >
> > I'm not sure if this is the best place to post this question, but it
> > certainly fits into the edu-sig realm ;-)
> >
> > I will be sponsoring a high school computer programming club again this
> > year.  I get older computers donated to me quite often, most in the Pentium3
> > range.  Often they have a crippled version of Windows on them, but no
> > restore disks, etc.  Also, most of these computers will NOT be hooked up to
> > the internet.
> >
> > What I'd like to do is put a simpler LINUX distro on them (MepisLite is my
> > current favorite for these situations), and then get Python up and running
> > with IDLE working.
> >
> > But it's not easy!  I don't know of a distro yet that comes with a working
> > IDLE installed.  Whenever I've done the source file dance ("./configure,
> > make, make install") with newer versions of Python, I get the common
> > PYTHONHOME and PYTHONPATH problems and also can't get IDLE to work.
> >
> > Any suggestions or advice?
> >
> > Richard
> >
> > P.S.  I know this sounds like a technical question for a n00b forum, but the
> > context of this problem (I'm a teacher trying to set up some convenient
> > Python boxes for my students to use) made me think it might be appropriate
> > here.  If not, I apologize in advance.  I am, btw, getting our PCs in the
> > computer lab set up with Python (and IDLE) running on Windows, I just wanted
> > to put these donated comps to good use....
> >
> >
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