1 What applications would I bundle with the Ubuntu-NGO edition?
- Modem drivers. Well, during the Samfya trip, the Zain dongle (Huawei E220) we used didn't work straight forwardly. So it would be good if there were drivers for commonly used modems. It's of course hard to support a large range of hardware, but there could be a 'modem hotline' through which NGOs can request support of certain modems.
- Skype. Likewise, skype installation wasn't trivial. Ideally Skype would come bundled, but this may not be possible due to legalities. But everything should be pre-configured to allow single-click installation of Skype.
- Opera 10. Opera has got a low-bandwidth email mode, as well as bandwidth compression technology, so it should be included. Same comment as for skype: May not be possible to bundle it, but everything should be pre-configured to allow single-click installation of Opera. (Btw. I don't usually use Opera for everyday browsing - but I do use it when I am on low bandwidth, because it makes a real difference!! So this isn't a "ABC is my favourite browser and it must be included". More on Opera here.)
- I'd also bundle http://www.frontlinesms.com/ (I've now submitted this as a packaging request, see here: https://bugs.launchpad.net/ubuntu/+bug/395886 )
- Of course standard office apps should be bundled.
- Mediawiki should be included, ideally with an (as yet non-existing) simple-to-set-up two-way mirroring process (see Mediawiki synchronisation for technical details).
- A typing tutor should be included. (This may seem like a weird point, but the system may be used by people with no prior computer experience, and learning to communicate quickly in a text-based way is important.)
- Also (for advocay), one may want some sound-recording apps, and something to process pictures.
2 What else do you need?
2.1 Good ubuntu and applications manual
There is a need to be a good manual as to what's been included: I.e. an introduction to Open Office, bandwidth issues and what to do about them (for instance talking about loband.org).
2.2 Off-line content
Off-line content. This is a big one. In an idea world, there would be an easy to use OER content catalogue, that you could just download to get off-line content. It's an area that I've tried to raise awareness for (see http://oerwiki.iiep-unesco.org/index.php?title=Access2OER), and hopefully we'll be moving towards such 'content catalogues' at some stage.
For now, you would have to cobble the content you want together from various sources. You might want to include content from wikipedia (and other wiki-based systems, see Mediawiki synchronisation for technical details). If you're teaching primary, often there is an emphasis on literacy, numeracy, and life skills, so you might want materials that support this. More generally, there are many OER projects (see OER listings), and you might find suitable content there. You would probably want some first aid related content, as well as some local language related content. But if you were an NGO, you would already know this, and you may want this in book form, rather than on your desktop computer :-)
A simple way to enable LTSP. You may find that you're bringing a powerful computer into a setting with old and outdated computers. If you can simply enable LTSP, you might be able to do more with the older computers.
2.4 Data protection
If a system is use to store valuable organisation data, then there should be backup. In preparation for Samfya, we spent a while installing a raided system on the servers, and this was fairly technical work. It would be great to have a much simpler solution, perhaps something similar to 'time machine' on OS X, that could either backup to internal or external drives, or even over a (slow) network (via rsync). But it needs to be user friendly.
Also, the institutions may be handling sensitive data, in which case that data should be encrypted in case computers/drives get stolen. So some (easy to use) encryption options should also be available.
2.5 Offline updating
There should be a simple way of updating an ubuntu installation offline, and there should be a way in which computers can share updates. (This was prompted by some suggestions on the mailing list, see mail/2, and see https://wiki.ubuntu.com/NGO/OfflineUpdating)