Ubuntu Gutsy: winecfg freeze due to 3D conflict

I’m spending another beautiful sunny afternoon in my wife’s primary school. The school bought a Windows based learning software (Oriolus) which we had previously successfully tested to run on WINE.

So, it’s install WINE on 15 PCs, configure, create the required “My Documents” folder, copy the server software over (for some strange reason running from an SMB share won’t work, and I can’t be bothered to investigate) and create links.

Worked beautifully, except for ONE PC which froze completely when I started winecfg. I updated the Ubuntu installation, but still no luck. It was also not due to the lockup with the ICE1724 sound chip.

In my case, using the VESA video driver instead of VIA solved my problems.

That kind of crap is no good for Linux desktop adoption, let me tell you…

Is there an easy solution for doing something like this from a central server instead of on each workstation? I looked at FAI, but it seemed overly complex. Any suggestions?

Ubuntu In Primary Schools – Part II

The Ubuntu installation in my wife’s primary school is doing well so far. We hit a lot of scepticism initially, the local paper even reported that the PCs “only run Linux”. In daily work (mainly Firefox and OpenOffice Writer) everything works fine.

The main complaint was that the school couldn’t use their Windows based learning software anymore. WINE might be a solution to this, so far I have installed software by Oriolus and Pusteblume successfully.

Another complaint arrived yesterday, when the headmistress tried to work on OpenOffice documents in Microsoft Word and couldn’t read them – easily remedied by changing the default save file format to Microsoft Word.

I also set up one PC as a server, sharing a folder via SMB. Two questions around this:
– where do I configure that sharing independently from the logged on user?
– how do I set access permissions – right now any client PC can copy/delete files, but the locally logged in user can’t (nouser.nogroup)

Same crap with USB drives: they mount nicely, but creating folders on the stick and managing access rights across multiple PCs is a nightmare. Is there an easy way to do that properly?

The schools internet connection isn’t too fast. Is there an easy way to upgrade Ubuntu from 6.06 to 7.10 without destryoing all the users home directories? Or would I be better off putting home drives on separate partitions and simply re-installing?

Any help appreciated.