Server Applications - General and Education-Specific













Using GNU/Linux as a server operating system is very popular. Google, Amazon, Yahoo, and eBay, just to name a few, all run GNU/Linux servers. A specific suite of popular server programs goes by the acronym, LAMP, which stands for
L - Linux
A - Apache (web server)
M - MySQL (database engine)
P - PHP, Perl, or Python (programming languages)

Building your students' understanding of these free, open-source tools will probably help them land a job in their future.

Even more popular than free, open-source desktop applications and operating systems, are server-based free, open-source projects. Among those are Apache, a web server; Sendmail, a mail processor; Samba, a file-sharing program; OpenNMS, network analysis tools; MySQL, a database engine; Drupal, a content management system; and, of special interest in education, Moodle, a course management system; OpenAdmin, a student information system; SchoolTool, scheduling and information management; and the work of the K12 Linux Terminal Server Project (K12LTSP).

The SchoolTool Project consists the sub-projects (SchoolTool Calendar and SchoolBell and CanDo) aimed at supporting school administration and instructional goals.

OpenAdmin is a Web-based information system that offers features for the administration of a single school or a collection of schools within a district.

Course management systems (CMS) support online learning by providing content hosting and organization, student registration and enrollment services, and various tracking and assessment features. Here are some example open-source CMS projects: LogiCampus, the tools from the .LRN community, LAMS, Joomla, Moodle, Sakai, the Open Source Portfolio, and Mambo.

A category of applications related to CMS involves social networking functionality and content management features. Among notable examples are: Elgg, Drupal, Google Tools for Educators, and WordPress.

The ServerAtSchool project involves a central server running Linux that supports distributed computers running Windows.

Other popular and more generic (i.e., not education-specific) server applications include the following:
Apache - the most popular Web server application
Sendmail - an e-mail server application
Samba - software that supports Linux and Windows internetworking
OpenNMS - network analysis and management software
MySQL and postgreSQL - database applications


Given that the system requirements to run a Linux server are not much different from those for a Linux desktop or laptop, you might consider using an older computer to install and test some of these server applications. When you are ready to use any of these server programs in a production environment (e.g., for a school or a class), you will need to use an appropriately configured computer with sufficient storage, CPU power, working memory, and network bandwidth to serve your intended purpose adequately.