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Introduction for new developers

Skolelinux - the project

We are developing a Linux distribution for schools. Our aim is to make it simple to install and maintain. Furthermore, to be of real use from primary school on up, it should be available in as many local languages as possible. For Norway, that means both official standards of Norwegian (Bokmål and Nynorsk) as well as Sami.

The distribution is based on Debian GNU/Linux for Intel x86 hardware. The base distribution is based on woody and the debian-installer. More information on Debian is available in the next section.

For more information about the Skolelinux project, please visit our mainpage.

Debian GNU/Linux

The Skolelinux distribution is based on the Linux distribution Debian GNU/Linux. To be a Skolelinux developer it is important to know Debian; how it is structured, Debians policy and how to build Debian packages. Below we have listed a few links that will tell you more about this.


In this project we use the Internet as our communication-channel. More specified this is web, email-lists and IRC. Our webaddress is http://developer.skolelinux.no, alias d.s.n. The email-lists we use are listed here. The most important of them for developers is probably debian-edu@lists.debian.org.

We also have a channel #skolelinux on IRCNet. Norwegian servers you can use is:

For bug-handling we're using Bugzilla - Bug Tracking System. Documentation for Bugzilla is located here and our Bugzilla-site is here.


All development on Skolelinux is "living in CVS" (Concurrent Version System), which is a system for keeping track of our files and all the changes made to them. If you want to join us as a Skolelinux developer, as we hope you will (!), you have to manage the usage of CVS. For a short introduction to CVS, take a look here, and for detailed view of CVS you shold consider reading "Open Source Development With CVS" by Karl Fogel which can be found here. When you feel ready to take a look at the files in our CVS-tree, go to our cvs-page. You can also view our CVS-tree on web here.

developer - our server

The Skolelinux project has some computers to do the development on. Our main server is developer.skolelinux.no, also known as d.s.n. This is the server where we have all our files. If you think you need a user on this server, take a look here. Below we have listed the most important directories on developer:

Skolelinux - the distribution

Our distribution is based on Debian, but we want it to be installed with a complete set of applications that will fulfill our architecture. Of course, the person/school who wants to use the distribution, should not need to do any configuration to make it work properly.

Mainly you can say that Skolelinux consist of three parts; the installation system, packages from Debian and packages we maintain ourself. We shall take a closer look the theese three parts.

The installation system

The installation system is, shortly explained, a modified version of the debian-installer and some scripts that put the installer and a collection of packages on a CD. These scripts are run every second hour. For more information about the CD-building process, take a look here.

Packages from Debian

On our server developer, we have a mirror of all the Debian packages from woody (stable).

Packages we maintain ourself

We try to use as many packages as possible from the Debian stable archive, but in some cases we have to build our own packages or use packages from sarge or sid.


In our distribution we try to store as much configuration as possible in an LDAP-catalogue. A Skolelinux developer does not have to know LDAP, but in some parts of the system it is important. We can recommend these pages for further reading about LDAP:

Further reading

Morten Werner Olsen
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