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ghoulmann on irc.freenode.net

On TurnKey Linux



rgoldman at 9while9.com

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Brief Vita

I'm currently a teacher of Literature and advanced technology at a nonpublic independent school. Before teaching high school, I taught literature and composition to undergraduate students at a college and a university.

My professional experience in information technology started in 1994 as I took on webmaster responsibilities for a nonprofit organization. Soon after, I began designing and deploying databases, first for nonprofit media outlets, then for my department in graduate school through 1997.

In 1997 I took on webmaster responsibilities for the college of arts and sciences at my university, and I ultimately became system administrator for our Center for Literary Computing, where I administered Solaris and Irix machines. I was very proud to have integrated Macs, Windows PCs, and the two servers using samba.

I subsequently designed and maintained the department website at the college where I taught, until taking a position as Instructional Technologist for the college. While working in this capacity, I became increasingly frustrated with closed source solutions and with the vendor lock that resulted from it.

I began experimenting with Linux distributions in 1996. In 2005, I began relying solely on Ubuntu on my spare boxes. After I began teaching advanced technology, my students built a new machine for me; at this point I began using Ubuntu on my main computer. I subsequently moved all my home machines to Ubuntu.

Technology Instruction

In my role as an information systems management instructor, I've worked together with teams of high school students to contribute to the FOSS community. We worked together to build virtual appliances based on Ubuntu in general, and specifically on TurnKey Linux distributions. We do this to make progress toward passing CompTIA's Linux+ Certification, although some students may choose to have individual coaching in pursuit of A+, LPIC, or Security+ certification.

In November 2010 we placed bronze in TurnKey Linux's international development contest, which recognized our contributions to TKL, and gave us an opportunity to celebrate that three of our appliances had been adopted by TKL and would be incorporated into their appliance library. As we've been reminded by developers, our contributions are not only to TurnKey Linux, but to the individual projects as well. After UDS 2010, we committed ourselves to the SchoolServer in a Box project discussed at UDS. Together, we've worked to create TKLPatches for as many of the appliances as possible on the blueprint. Although my work is predominantly with high school students, I also mentored a colleague, Sabre Goldman, as she worked to create an appliance for the Sahana Foundation's Agasti project.

Together with a team of students, I'm working on contributing to the Sahana Foundation's Eden project; we're working toward livecd/installers that will install a TurnKey Linux Ubuntu Lucid distribution with Eden preconfigured, as defined on their blueprint.

As a result of the success the students have had with advanced technology, my computer lab, which has 6 machines, was shifted to run entirely open-source software. Each computer runs Lucid Lynx from a custom distribution students made with remasterys; in addition, students administer 4 Ubuntu Lucid Lynx virtual machines, a Debian VM, a Linux Mint vm, and a Fedora VM. Students work on installation and configuration with Maverick Meercat virtual machines.

Appliance Contributions

I've cooperated with others, whether as peer or mentor, to contribute the patches to TurnKey Linux for each of the following open-source technologies - each effort is documented and archived at http://9while9.com:

  • Psiphon: An open-source, web-based, humanitarian proxy application.

  • phpvirtualbox: A web-based, php front-end for managing VirtualBox headlessly.

  • web2py: An open-source, enterprise web framework grounded in Python.

  • Omeka: An open-source, web-based exhibit and collection management system for museums, archives, libraries, special collections. (in progress; with Sabre Goldman)

  • Ampache: A free and open-source web-based streaming media and media management solution.

  • Elgg: A free and open-source web-based social networking technology.

  • LimeSurvey: A web-based, free and open-source survey construction and deployment application.

  • IEP-IPP: A free and open-source individual education plan solution.

  • Mahara: A free and open-source e-portfolio, resume manager, and social networking tool.

  • OpenSIS (community edition): A free and open-source student information system.

  • Sahana Agasti: A free and open-source disaster management and recovery solution (with Sabre Goldman).

  • Sahana Eden: A free and open-source crisis/disaster, environment, and resource management web-based application (in progress); two appliances complete, two in the queue.

  • SchoolTool: A web-based school administration technology with calendar, gradebook, schedule, and attendance management features.


In addition to documenting appliances on our projects' home at http://9while9.com, I've tried to contribute documentation to the FOSS community at every opportunity. I've contributed documentation for Ampache, TurnKey Linux's TKLPatch, and for the Sahana Eden development environment I've completed (usage notes and build notes).

Near and Long Term

In the near term I look forward to working with a mentor and my students to package Sahana's Agasti for Ubuntu and Debian. Longer term, I anticipate working with the same mentor to package web2py, Sahana Eden, and hopefully LimeSurvey. Ultimately, I'd like to contribute in the role of MOTU, where I think my skillset can be of the most powerful service. In the meantime, I'm learning PHP and MySQL so I can commit skills to the Ampache project. I'd also like to contribute to Sahana Eden using the Python skills I'm developing through coursework.



Carsten Schmitz - lead from the LimeSurvey project

Rik Goldman has been pushing the LimeSurvey community by packaging LimeSurvey for numerous VM platforms. Also he is actively opting for an Ubuntu blueprint for educational purposes which includes LimeSurvey. We would be really happy if Rik could further promote the use of LimeSurvey by creating a native Ubuntu package for it - something that's been on the waiting list of many Ubuntu users for a long time! I am looking forward to work with Rik to achieve this goal and I want to thank for his continuous support of the huge LimeSurvey community. Thanks, Rik! - 28/12/2010

Charlie Smotherman - Ubuntu MOTU Developer, Debian Contributor

When I met Rik in Ampache's IRC channel and learned about what his special needs students had done in creating VMAmpache, and how they use it in their course work I was so impressed it motivated me to blog about it on Planet Ubuntu. From what Rik shared with me this simple little blog post gave VMAmpache some needed exposure, not to mention it gave his student a sense of pride that someone in the Ubuntu development community was actually interested in what they had created. This of course motivated them to learn more about Ubuntu and FOSS in general. It is my understanding that most of his students are now using Ubuntu as their primary OS at home and at school.

In my humble opinion we need more teachers like Rik, he has shown his students how creative you can be with FOSS software, along with the benefits of being part of a larger community of like minded people.

Rik has approached me recently and ask if I would mentor him and his students on the finer details of packaging applications for Ubuntu and Debian namely Sahana Eden, Sahana Agasti, and Web2py, to be included into the Ubuntu/Debian archives proper. I am a retired Intensive Care Registered Nurse, in which teaching was a large part of my former job so of course I said yes.

In my humble opinion as a Ubuntu MOTU developer Rik is very motivated. He has been very active in the Ampache, Turnkey, Edubuntu communities and has aspiration of becoming a MOTU developer. For these reasons I believe Rik should be granted Ubuntu Membership. Hopefully with a little help Rik will be able to educate and motivate his students to be knowledgeable Ubuntu/Debian developers one day.

Art Scheel - Ampache Developer

I am an Ampache developer and documentation writer. I have been active with Ampache for a few years now. Rik's reputation preceded him by almost a month before he showed up to the channel. The work he'd done already was impressive enough in taking an open source package he'd barely been familiar with and successfully packaging it into a TKL image ready for distribution.

Since then, I've seen him strive for perfection with his work, regardless of who it is for. He wants scripts done properly, garbage removed, and redundancy eliminated. To that end, he's incredible with finding his own answers, using everything at his disposal. He's never had to be told 'rtfm' from us. He tries all of the appropriate channels of communication in turn. Man pages, home page, IRC channel, and finally his friends in #ampache on Freenode.

He's never attempted to cut corners and the questions he asks are valid questions for virtually anybody.

As a form of reference, by trade I am a software programmer and network admin for a software company in Utah. One of my primary jobs is to bug fix and rewrite legacy code to be both more efficient and more portable as our customers are on a variety of *nix environments. What I do in my real work has shown me that Rik has got the requirements to churn out good code for the community. Coupled with his mindset towards FOSS, I think he would be a prime candidate to be a member of Ubuntu. In fact, he's thrown caution to the wind with his real job and convinced his entire school to embrace FOSS over proprietary software anywhere feasible knowing that he will still be on the hook for any learning curve they may have during their transition.

Fran Boon, Sahana Foundation's Project Management Committee Chair for Sahana Eden

Rik came to us offering to help by creating a TKL patch for Sahana, but happily accepted the wider challenge of creating different tailored versions for our specific usecases. He listened attentively to our needs & went off & tenaciously developed solutions though research, asking for help and trial & error. His contributions are of a high quality & really push forward what we'd been doing in this area. I've enjoyed working with Rik & look forward to continuing to do so as more tasks are taken on Smile :)

Liraz Siri - TurnKey Linux co-Founder

Though Rik's contributions to Ubuntu extend beyond my limited view, I've gotten to know Rik mainly through his involvement with TurnKey Linux, an Ubuntu based virtual appliance library, in which Rik has quickly become a pillar of the community.

From what I've seen Rik Goldman embodies the spirit of Ubuntu with a rare vigor of infectious generosity that makes him a precious asset to any community he is involved with, both online and off. As an educator, Rik idealizes in my mind the kind of broadminded, tech-savvy high school teacher I wish I had. One that isn't afraid to step outside the boundaries of conformity to challenge his students. He understands that true education is more like the kindling of a flame than the filling of a vessel, and has an intuitive knack for instilling motivation and curiosity in his students by challenging them with authentic assessments. Lucky for us, Rik seems to have discovered that encouraging students to get involved with the open source community and make meaningful contributions provides for a better learning experience than sterile and disengaged "book learning" on its own.

In summary, getting to know Rik and his students has been one of the most positive experiences in my personal love story with the Ubuntu community and no doubt that anyone else who gets to know him will soon share these warm sentiments. Thanks for everything Rik!

Alon Swartz - TurnKey Linux co-Founder

Rik Goldman will make an excellent Ubuntu member and I will proudly testify on his behalf. I was going to write a glowing endorsement of my own but reading the above it seems the only thing left to say is that the Rik supporters have beat me to the punch and have literally taken the words out of my mouth!

rikgoldman (last edited 2011-03-02 13:02:50 by rikgoldman)