As an update on the Wizzy project, a fair bit has been happening.

In partnership with Inkululeko Technologies and Amobia Wireless Access, Wizzy is providing its email solution for a number of schools provisioned by Inkululeko and Amobia. Inkululeko are the spinoff from the Shuttleworth Foundation and their efforts to put computer labs down in South African schools, and Amobia are a local Wireless ISP.

The labs that Inkululeko put down are Thin Client labs, using old, recycled computers in front ofthe learners coupled to a large Linux server that runs the applications and fileserver. Wizzy provides a local mailserver installation, a squirrelmail IMAP client useable from a browser, and UUCP connectivity to the main mail server hosted by Amobia. Authentication is provided by LDAP.

Amobia plan on being a content server for the 70 schools with antennas, rather than providing full internet access. This saves a lot of bandwidth, and requires a great deal less policing. Bandwidth is still needed for email, but the content hosted will probably be a full copy of the English wikipedia, and whatever else can be easily provided under a free licence.

A vaguely-related cousin Kelsey arrived in Cape Town last week, and will be in South Africa until May of next year. He will be helping to set up Internet access for schools in KwaZulu/Natal, and he will be based in Eshowe. He is also a photographer, and will be documenting his experiences. He will be concentrating on the Nkandla area, home of the future president of South Africa, and the Kosi Bay area up in the north. He came along to the September Geekdinner,and visited the Inkululeko offices, and stopped by a Tuxlab school in Lavender Hill, a very poor township area close to Muizenberg, where I work at AIMS. I appear briefly in a video by Underdog in the same school, demonstrating an offline version of wikipedia.

We also stopped by at Antoine van Gelder’s house to show Kelsey the One Laptop per Child project that Antoine does programming for. Though not directly related to the wizzy project, enough money is being spent here that we need to consider its impact, particularly as a mailserver in a classroom environment.

Ubuntu Gutsy Gibbon will be released later this month, with (for me) the most interesting aspect being improved thin-client support. To quote :-

The speed of LTSP thin clients has been greatly improved through the use of compressed images, and LDM, the thin-client login manager included in Edubuntu, also now has support for autologin, multiple servers, and unencrypted graphics transport as an additional speed boost.