Migration Project : National Engineering School of Sfax (ENIS)

The project was launched under the initiative taken by the ENIS to migrate its computing equipment to a free solutions. Our LoCo was contacted by the ENIS administration to contribute to this project by providing presentations on ubuntu and free software and support them for migration.
This migration was carried out in two phases. A first phase in December 2008, code name ENIS Event 8.12, and a second phase in January 2009, code name ENIS Event 9.01. The initial planning of the first phase was scheduled over two days (December 20th and 21th, 2008): a conferences day and another for assistance to the migration (planning in french). Finally this first phase lasted 4 days because of unforeseen problems and some hardware troubles.
  • Day 0 (Friday 19/12/2008): Trip Day.
Seven members of the ubuntu-tn LoCo Team who do not live in Sfax made the travel from Tunis (5 members) and Monastir (2 members). Two other members made the trip from Tunis the next day. Upon arrival to Sfax we were invited to an excellent dinner offered by the ENIS. During the night a first physical meeting was made to refine the planning and make small edits to the presentations.
  • Day 1 (Saturday 20/12/2008): Conferences Day.
Members of the ubuntu-tn LoCo provided various presentations to students, teachers and ENIS technical staff (arround 80 people). These presentations focused on the presentation of ubuntu, the switching to OpenOffice.org, the ubuntu administration, programming, virtualization, security and ubuntu server for TPE/PME. Each presentation was followed by a discussion between ubuntu-tn LoCO members and the audiance in the amphitheater. The presentations, in french, made by the LoCo members are hosted at this address.

After a group dinner in a very warm and friendly atmosphere, we took advantage of the evening to make a second physical meeting between the ubuntu-tn LoCo members to set up the action plan of the second day especially that there was a strong public demand to organize an install party not initially planned.

  • Day 2 (Sunday 21/12/2008): Migration Day (Draft).
This day was the most loaded, the members of the ubuntu-tn LoCo divided into several working groups:

– Group 1: Installing and configuring an apt-cacher and NFS server (3 members)

– Group 2: Install party (4 members)

– Group 3: Development of the scripts of installation and configuration of the Desktop PCs (3 members)

– Group 4: Preparing a Win XP virtual image using VirtualBox (1 member)
– Group 5: Desktop PC installation and configuration (1 member)

Obviously the number of members in each group changed depending on their availability and the degree of progress in each task.
The day began with an install party of ubuntu 8.10 , assured by the group 2, around fifty people who have either come with their laptops or used the school PCs. At the same time the group 1 began the process of installing ubuntu server on a Desktop PC before attempting to use a dedicated server. This group will spend the entire day to assemble and disassemble the 2 servers provided by the ENIS to have a stable and functional hardware configuration. Meanwhile, groups 3 and 4 were in full preparation of scripts and the virtual image.

The longest stage was the migration of 10 classrooms (about 150 PC) to ubuntu. This migration was done in several steps, a first step for the standard installation of ubuntu 8.04.1 LTS desktop, a second step for configuration and adding user accounts, a third step for installing applications and updating clients with apt-cacher server and a final step for deployment and configuration of the virtual machine. Except for the first step of installation, we wrote a script for each step so that it would just be enough to run the script and all is done with a minimal human intervention. Because of the hardware concerns on the apt-cacher server, we was limited during the day to achieve the two first steps in 8 classrooms of the computing center.

In the late afternoon some members had to leave us for the travel back because they have work next day. The remaining members have the opportunity to spend yet another evening together. During the night, one of our laptops was switched on to download hundreds of mega bytes of open source softwares which must be installed. This allowed us to save valuable time especially because the connection in the school was very slow.

  • Day 3 (Monday 22/12/2008): Migration Day (Finishing).
The day started well, we got a new PC with a very good configuration. While the apt-cacher server team was installing ubuntu server, configuring the apt-cacher server and creating the local repository, the second team was driven to complete the installation of ubuntu desktop in the two remaining classrooms. The server is now operational in record time, it must be said that our server team has become expert in the field, it is placed in the servers room. We grouped the members of the LoCo as well as the ENIS technical staff in one classroom. The aim was to prepare a model classroom that will allow us to test the scripts and correct the bugs. The preparation of this model classroom was made in the presence of the technical staff of the school so that they will be autonomous in the future. Each script was explained by the ubuntu-tn LoCo members to technical staff as well as each bug or problem. Once the model classroom finalized, all the presents were divided into different classrooms and the massive deployment can start.
In the late afternoon the last non-resident members of the LoCo in Sfax left the school with the desire to return for the second phase of the migration project.
  • Day 4 (Tuesday 23/12/2008): Control Day.
During the fourth and last day, some residents LoCo members in Sfax visted the school to see if the technical staff was able to ensure the continuation of work and whether there were other bugs or problems.


P.S. 1: Thanks to Rached for his contribution on translating this report.
P.S. 2: The french version of this report is availeble here.

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