rickbike
Posts: 5
Joined: Wed Jul 22, 2015 12:15 am

pinet and homework

Wed Jul 22, 2015 12:24 am

Can the students take an R-Pi (set up on Pinet) home, finish a homework assignment, and then connect to the Pinet later (in the classroom) to submit their work? Are the R-Pis otherwise fully functional when not connected to the Pinet?

Edit: Some background: I am a System Admin for our school, and am interested in setting up R-Pis in our classrooms. The documentation for Pinet is lacking regarding the details of the server/"fat client" relationship. I'm not clear what gets synced. Also, I assume the system admin can use normal unix tools (user and group permissions) to provide access to the file system. Or does Pinet provide more user-friendly tools for teachers to control access? For example, a classroom dropbox. And if so, are multiple classroom dropboxes supported. I assume it will be clear once I set up a system to play with...

Thank You!

- Rick

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DougieLawson
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Re: pinet and homework

Wed Jul 22, 2015 8:33 am

You may get an answer quicker by joining the PiNet mailing list from the online form at http://pinet.org.uk
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Please post ALL technical questions on the forum. Do not send private messages.

Gbaman
Posts: 123
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Re: pinet and homework

Wed Jul 22, 2015 9:48 am

If a student takes home a PiNet card, they will not be able to do anything with it. PiNet does not write anything to the card (other than the boot files when there is an update). It just has the 40mb of boot files on there. Once they are loaded into ram, it unmounts the SD card and it isn't mounted again till a reboot.

The system was solely designed to be used in a classroom setup. Caching stuff on the card would involve a lot of writing to it frequently and storing every user account which isn't feasible?
So in answer to your question, nothing is synced to the SD card.

With PiNet, all users are just normal Linux users, each with a folder in /home. It also includes shared folders which can be set up as read only for students or read/write for them, teachers always have read/write. You can have as many or each type as you want.
Finally, most of the other questions relating to how PiNet works can be found on the key information page - http://pinet.org.uk/articles/key-info.html
Lead developer of PiNet, a free and opensource centralised user accounts and file storage system for Raspberry Pi classrooms used in over 200 schools across the world.
http://pinet.org.uk

rickbike
Posts: 5
Joined: Wed Jul 22, 2015 12:15 am

Re: pinet and homework

Wed Jul 22, 2015 12:59 pm

DougieLawson wrote:You may get an answer quicker by joining the PiNet mailing list from the online form at http://pinet.org.uk
Yes, thanks for the link, although this question was answered here, I have more best directed to the Pinet forum.

rickbike
Posts: 5
Joined: Wed Jul 22, 2015 12:15 am

Re: pinet and homework

Wed Jul 22, 2015 1:13 pm

Gbaman wrote:If a student takes home a PiNet card, they will not be able to do anything with it. PiNet does not write anything to the card (other than the boot files when there is an update). It just has the 40mb of boot files on there. Once they are loaded into ram, it unmounts the SD card and it isn't mounted again till a reboot.

The system was solely designed to be used in a classroom setup. Caching stuff on the card would involve a lot of writing to it frequently and storing every user account which isn't feasible?
So in answer to your question, nothing is synced to the SD card.

With PiNet, all users are just normal Linux users, each with a folder in /home. It also includes shared folders which can be set up as read only for students or read/write for them, teachers always have read/write. You can have as many or each type as you want.
Finally, most of the other questions relating to how PiNet works can be found on the key information page - http://pinet.org.uk/articles/key-info.html
I missed that page somehow, thanks for the link. Yes, that's clear now. I have some follow-up questions though, which I'll take to the pinet forums. Andrew, thanks for your work on the Pinet project!

rickbike
Posts: 5
Joined: Wed Jul 22, 2015 12:15 am

Re: pinet and homework

Wed Jul 22, 2015 1:59 pm

rickbike wrote:
DougieLawson wrote:You may get an answer quicker by joining the PiNet mailing list from the online form at http://pinet.org.uk
Yes, thanks for the link, although this question was answered here, I have more best directed to the Pinet forum.
OK, I see the MailChimp newsletter, but I can't find an actual Pinet mailing list. So I'll follow up here.

rickbike
Posts: 5
Joined: Wed Jul 22, 2015 12:15 am

Re: pinet and homework

Wed Jul 22, 2015 2:15 pm

I see that the server/fat client relationship pretty much requires a LAN setup for practical performance. So bring Pis home for homework is out.

One more question please. If I use the Pinet installer to create the Raspian images, does the package get installed on the server? For example, does creating the LibreOffice image mean that LibreOffice is installed on the Ubuntu server? I want to set up PiNet on a Ubuntu 14 Server Edition as a VM, and I'd rather not have LibreOffice actually installed/running on the server itself.

Thanks!

- Rick
Gbaman wrote:If a student takes home a PiNet card, they will not be able to do anything with it. PiNet does not write anything to the card (other than the boot files when there is an update). It just has the 40mb of boot files on there. Once they are loaded into ram, it unmounts the SD card and it isn't mounted again till a reboot.

The system was solely designed to be used in a classroom setup. Caching stuff on the card would involve a lot of writing to it frequently and storing every user account which isn't feasible?
So in answer to your question, nothing is synced to the SD card.

With PiNet, all users are just normal Linux users, each with a folder in /home. It also includes shared folders which can be set up as read only for students or read/write for them, teachers always have read/write. You can have as many or each type as you want.
Finally, most of the other questions relating to how PiNet works can be found on the key information page - http://pinet.org.uk/articles/key-info.html

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fruitoftheloom
Posts: 15443
Joined: Tue Mar 25, 2014 12:40 pm
Location: Bognor Regis UK

Re: pinet and homework

Wed Jul 22, 2015 2:42 pm

rickbike wrote:I see that the server/fat client relationship pretty much requires a LAN setup for practical performance. So bring Pis home for homework is out.

One more question please. If I use the Pinet installer to create the Raspian images, does the package get installed on the server? For example, does creating the LibreOffice image mean that LibreOffice is installed on the Ubuntu server? I want to set up PiNet on a Ubuntu 14 Server Edition as a VM, and I'd rather not have LibreOffice actually installed/running on the server itself.

Thanks!

- Rick
Gbaman wrote:If a student takes home a PiNet card, they will not be able to do anything with it. PiNet does not write anything to the card (other than the boot files when there is an update). It just has the 40mb of boot files on there. Once they are loaded into ram, it unmounts the SD card and it isn't mounted again till a reboot.

The system was solely designed to be used in a classroom setup. Caching stuff on the card would involve a lot of writing to it frequently and storing every user account which isn't feasible?
So in answer to your question, nothing is synced to the SD card.

With PiNet, all users are just normal Linux users, each with a folder in /home. It also includes shared folders which can be set up as read only for students or read/write for them, teachers always have read/write. You can have as many or each type as you want.
Finally, most of the other questions relating to how PiNet works can be found on the key information page - http://pinet.org.uk/articles/key-info.html
You questions are all answered in the Documentation http://pinet.org.uk

Personally would set aside a dedicated PC rather than using a VM,.

Though if you actually test ran rather than theorising, PiNet capabilities and features would become blindingly obvious ;)

SD Card
The SD card image contains just the required files to start the Raspberry Pi booting and connect it to the server.
My only "PC" is an Asus ChromeBit running ChromeOS, cloudcentric at its best !
Rockchip Quad-Core RK3288C ARM32 SoC as used in ASUS Chromebook C201 & Chromebook Flip C100PA as well as the Tinker SBC.
3 Mobile Huawei E5330 Mobile Mi-Fi

Gbaman
Posts: 123
Joined: Mon Jan 21, 2013 2:43 pm

Re: pinet and homework

Wed Jul 22, 2015 8:05 pm

rickbike wrote:I see that the server/fat client relationship pretty much requires a LAN setup for practical performance. So bring Pis home for homework is out.

One more question please. If I use the Pinet installer to create the Raspian images, does the package get installed on the server? For example, does creating the LibreOffice image mean that LibreOffice is installed on the Ubuntu server? I want to set up PiNet on a Ubuntu 14 Server Edition as a VM, and I'd rather not have LibreOffice actually installed/running on the server itself.

Thanks!

- Rick
Gbaman wrote:If a student takes home a PiNet card, they will not be able to do anything with it. PiNet does not write anything to the card (other than the boot files when there is an update). It just has the 40mb of boot files on there. Once they are loaded into ram, it unmounts the SD card and it isn't mounted again till a reboot.

The system was solely designed to be used in a classroom setup. Caching stuff on the card would involve a lot of writing to it frequently and storing every user account which isn't feasible?
So in answer to your question, nothing is synced to the SD card.

With PiNet, all users are just normal Linux users, each with a folder in /home. It also includes shared folders which can be set up as read only for students or read/write for them, teachers always have read/write. You can have as many or each type as you want.
Finally, most of the other questions relating to how PiNet works can be found on the key information page - http://pinet.org.uk/articles/key-info.html
Yes, PiNet requires a wired network connection, preferably gigabit if using any more than a few Pis.
PiNet when it installs create a virtual Raspbian image. When you select additional packages (like Libreoffice) to install, it installs it into this virtual Raspbian image, not onto Ubuntu itself.
Also, just to put on the record, as is mentioned in a number of places on the site, I only officially support PiNet on Ubuntu 14.04 Desktop Edition as this is significantly more user friendly an OS than the server edition and that is key for the projects target audience.

As fruitoftheloom mentioned though, I would highly recommend you give it a go, even in a virtual machine. It is designed in such a way that most of your questions will be answered by just playing with it. Remember it was designed for complete beginners to Linux to use.
Lead developer of PiNet, a free and opensource centralised user accounts and file storage system for Raspberry Pi classrooms used in over 200 schools across the world.
http://pinet.org.uk

vinntec
Posts: 144
Joined: Thu Aug 02, 2012 9:37 am
Location: Basingstoke, UK

Re: pinet and homework

Fri Jul 24, 2015 11:03 am

rickbike wrote:One more question please. If I use the Pinet installer to create the Raspian images, does the package get installed on the server? For example, does creating the LibreOffice image mean that LibreOffice is installed on the Ubuntu server? I want to set up PiNet on a Ubuntu 14 Server Edition as a VM, and I'd rather not have LibreOffice actually installed/running on the server itself.
Hi Rick - I have been looking at PiNet as I have a set of RPIs I wanted to be able to load remotely but then operate headless which doesn't seem to be possible (but might be using raw LTSP with some homework). However if you look at the advanced section on PiNet http://pinet.org.uk/articles/advanced/e ... tside.html you will see that you install software for the RPi in a chroot - which means you install software the RPIs use in their own folder structure and this is what the RPi has available when it loads Raspbian. This is also what the PiNet front end will do for the software it will install for you. So the Ubunutu server knows nothing about LibreOffice.

Gbaman
Posts: 123
Joined: Mon Jan 21, 2013 2:43 pm

Re: pinet and homework

Fri Jul 24, 2015 1:47 pm

vinntec wrote:
rickbike wrote:One more question please. If I use the Pinet installer to create the Raspian images, does the package get installed on the server? For example, does creating the LibreOffice image mean that LibreOffice is installed on the Ubuntu server? I want to set up PiNet on a Ubuntu 14 Server Edition as a VM, and I'd rather not have LibreOffice actually installed/running on the server itself.
Hi Rick - I have been looking at PiNet as I have a set of RPIs I wanted to be able to load remotely but then operate headless which doesn't seem to be possible (but might be using raw LTSP with some homework). However if you look at the advanced section on PiNet http://pinet.org.uk/articles/advanced/e ... tside.html you will see that you install software for the RPi in a chroot - which means you install software the RPIs use in their own folder structure and this is what the RPi has available when it loads Raspbian. This is also what the PiNet front end will do for the software it will install for you. So the Ubunutu server knows nothing about LibreOffice.
Just a heads up, PiNet is written using Whiptail as its frontend, so the control panel will happily run over an SSH connection. I can't see any reason why it wouldn't work headless.

Good luck trying to do it with raw LTSP... At least half the code in PiNet (about 1500 lines of it) is for building the chroot. Raspbian is a very very heavily customised version of Debian with a lot of very small tweaks.
Unfortunately you can't easily just hand it a Raspbian SD card image either.
Lead developer of PiNet, a free and opensource centralised user accounts and file storage system for Raspberry Pi classrooms used in over 200 schools across the world.
http://pinet.org.uk

vinntec
Posts: 144
Joined: Thu Aug 02, 2012 9:37 am
Location: Basingstoke, UK

Re: pinet and homework

Fri Jul 24, 2015 2:20 pm

Hi Andrew - I have enabled the root account for SSH according to your docs but I still cannot make a connection. It is odd that the router cannot see the IP address of the not-yet logged on RPi so I am not sure where it is getting its IP address from (I get it from the login screen). So if you know why this might be I would be interested to know. Is there anything odd about the SSH connection, such as a non-default port number?

Thanks - great product, wish I had it when I was trying to run a classroom full of RPIs before I retired just two years ago.

PS. If you think it is possible to do what I want then I will have another go so any extra tips would be welcome. Basically all I want is exactly a PiNet layout but with headless RPi. So boot and load common image and each one can have its own user login with all data on the server. Ideally SSH and VNC into them without having to log them in (or auto login).

Gbaman
Posts: 123
Joined: Mon Jan 21, 2013 2:43 pm

Re: pinet and homework

Sun Jul 26, 2015 5:13 am

vinntec wrote:Hi Andrew - I have enabled the root account for SSH according to your docs but I still cannot make a connection. It is odd that the router cannot see the IP address of the not-yet logged on RPi so I am not sure where it is getting its IP address from (I get it from the login screen). So if you know why this might be I would be interested to know. Is there anything odd about the SSH connection, such as a non-default port number?

Thanks - great product, wish I had it when I was trying to run a classroom full of RPIs before I retired just two years ago.

PS. If you think it is possible to do what I want then I will have another go so any extra tips would be welcome. Basically all I want is exactly a PiNet layout but with headless RPi. So boot and load common image and each one can have its own user login with all data on the server. Ideally SSH and VNC into them without having to log them in (or auto login).
Re the root SSH bit, did you remember to recompress the OS?

What you are trying to do is doable, although rather complicated. It would require editing the lts.conf file (main LTSP config file for the chroot) defining custom configuration for different clients based on their MAC address.
I don't provide support for this type of thing as am not a fan of using VNC with Pis on regular basis (is too slow and doesn't work with stuff like Minecraft or camera module), but your best bet is have a look at the lts.conf man page. Especially the autologin section.
http://manpages.ubuntu.com/manpages/tru ... onf.5.html
You will not be able to log in as any of the server users though, only onto root on the Pi over SSH as the users are not stored on the Pi image, they are stored on the server and mounted over SSH themselves on bootup. Because of this, you can't then go and SSH into the user via the Pi.
I can't see why VNC wouldn't work though, just will be a decent bit of work.
Lead developer of PiNet, a free and opensource centralised user accounts and file storage system for Raspberry Pi classrooms used in over 200 schools across the world.
http://pinet.org.uk

vinntec
Posts: 144
Joined: Thu Aug 02, 2012 9:37 am
Location: Basingstoke, UK

Re: pinet and homework

Sun Jul 26, 2015 8:34 am

Hi Andrew - thanks for your notes. I had a feeling in my bones that PiNet could be adapted to do what I wanted so I will give it another go.

RobParker85
Posts: 7
Joined: Wed Jun 29, 2016 9:28 am

Re: pinet and homework

Thu Jun 30, 2016 12:53 am

Hi,

I have posted something else about PiNet and was directed to this topic, can you advise if you managed to access the Pi's using SSH?

I have opened another thread on this topic and trying to still find a way that I can SSH into the RPI using putty from another machine on our school network, having 25 raspberry pi's setup can be quite messy and would like students to be able to access them remotely.

Andrew - I have tried to contact you regarding this topic, can you advise if SSH for users that are setup on the PiNet server is possible? In other words, can they use the IP of the Pi on Putty and then login using the credentials that are setup for them on the PiNet server i.e. Username & Password?

Gbaman
Posts: 123
Joined: Mon Jan 21, 2013 2:43 pm

Re: pinet and homework

Thu Jun 30, 2016 9:40 pm

RobParker85 wrote:Hi,

I have posted something else about PiNet and was directed to this topic, can you advise if you managed to access the Pi's using SSH?

I have opened another thread on this topic and trying to still find a way that I can SSH into the RPI using putty from another machine on our school network, having 25 raspberry pi's setup can be quite messy and would like students to be able to access them remotely.

Andrew - I have tried to contact you regarding this topic, can you advise if SSH for users that are setup on the PiNet server is possible? In other words, can they use the IP of the Pi on Putty and then login using the credentials that are setup for them on the PiNet server i.e. Username & Password?
To clarify on this, I have already responded on the initial thread - viewtopic.php?f=28&t=152956&p=1002520&h ... t#p1002520.
Lead developer of PiNet, a free and opensource centralised user accounts and file storage system for Raspberry Pi classrooms used in over 200 schools across the world.
http://pinet.org.uk

namaste
Posts: 1
Joined: Fri Dec 15, 2017 4:25 am

Re: pinet and homework

Fri Dec 15, 2017 4:33 am

Hello!
I am running a code club using Pinet server and client on virtualbox. And i wanted to change my host laptop. So, I copied and paste every files on new laptop. It works fine after solving network bridge issues. But its kind of super slow to startup the client. Any suggestion or ideas would be really appreciated.

Gbaman
Posts: 123
Joined: Mon Jan 21, 2013 2:43 pm

Re: pinet and homework

Sat Dec 16, 2017 12:39 pm

namaste wrote:
Fri Dec 15, 2017 4:33 am
Hello!
I am running a code club using Pinet server and client on virtualbox. And i wanted to change my host laptop. So, I copied and paste every files on new laptop. It works fine after solving network bridge issues. But its kind of super slow to startup the client. Any suggestion or ideas would be really appreciated.
When you say the client, do you mean the Virtualbox VM or the Pis themselves?
If the Virtualbox VM, what spec is the laptop? Does it meet the minimum PiNet hardware requirements for virtualisation? - http://pinet.org.uk/articles/installation/hardware.html
Lead developer of PiNet, a free and opensource centralised user accounts and file storage system for Raspberry Pi classrooms used in over 200 schools across the world.
http://pinet.org.uk

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