Linux Educational Comicbooks

Hackett and Bankwell is an educational comic/cartoon manual designed to teach readers how to get started with Linux-based operating systems. You can download copies of the ebooks here.

New users often feel overwhelmed by all of the new information they need to digest in order to confidently use Linux, and Hackett and Bankwell provides them a quicker way to get familiar with using Linux-based operating systems and master the material.

The publication is available to purchase here or you can make a donation which will help them to publish futher material, the comic is also available with Ubuntu on cd. This comic is suitable for all ages and has real educational value so by all means download the pdf and pass it on to younger readers, the illustrations are really fun.

Hackett and Bankwell can be instrumental in helping new users understand the various elements that comprise the operating system and how they work together.

Sharing Optus cable internet using Ubuntu Gnu/Linux

Theres many guides on how to share the internet using gnu/linux on the web, this one will be fairly basic and I’ll try not to ramble on about you could also use this or that device to do it this way or that way. This will just be the cheapest way to get it up and running.

All you need is an optus cable internet connection, 2 computers with network adapters and a crossover cable. Most computers have an onboard network adapater. In this guide we are using a computer running Ubuntu 8.04 and one running windows XP.

This guide is loosely based on a Howto Share internet connection from ubuntu forums but hopefully a bit more newbie friendly and specific to Optus cable internet.


The hardware setup

By default the optus cable modem uses a usb network connection so plug that into the modem and connect it to the computer running ubuntu in a spare usb port.

Plug the crossover cable into your ethernet port on the ubuntu computer and the into the windows computer.

On my setup eth0 is the ethernet card, and eth3 is the usb connection to the cable modem.

On Ubuntu systems, eth0 is the first network device (ethernet card) plugged into a slot. Additional ethernet cards plugged will become eth1, and so forth. I’m not sure why the usb connection is eth3, Im not very familiar with networking using USB, perhaps someone will enlighten us.

Windows called the connection Local area connection.

Software Setup

The configuration settings for both computers


We’re going to use the command line on Ubuntu for this, you can find it under Applications > Accesories > Terminal.

Just copy and paste the commands after the “#” :
1. For this guide we will change to the root user, the root user is the administrator account or superuser account on unix-like systems.
# sudo -s

2. Assign an IP address to the network card that interfaces to the other computers on you network
# ifconfig eth0 up

3. Then configure the NAT as follows:
# iptables -t nat -A POSTROUTING -o eth3 -j MASQUERADE
# echo 1 > /proc/sys/net/ipv4/ip_forward

4. Install dnsmasq and ipmasq using apt-get:
# apt-get install dnsmasq ipmasq

5. Restart dnsmasq:
# /etc/init.d/dnsmasq restart

5b. If you get an error message here that says the socket is in use, try.
# pkill named

6. Reconfigure ipmasq to start after networking has been started:
# dpkg-reconfigure ipmasq

7. Repeat steps 1 and 2.

Tip: check your internet is connected
# ping
If theres not reply try
# dhclient eth3
then try ping again


Make sure you record your current setting before changing them so that you can change back later if you want to. You can click the images below to enlarge them.
winxp_1.jpg1. We need to change the network settings on windows to assign it a static IP.
Open Start > Control Panel > Network connections
Right click on Local Area Connection and select properties

winxp_2.jpg2. From the window that opens select “Internet Protocol(TCP/IP) and click on properties

winxp_3.jpg2. Select the “Use the following IP Adress option and for the IP address:

The subnet mask should default to, for the default gateway and preferred DNS server : and select OK and OK.

Final Notes

If you find your having trouble it should be easy to change your settings back to their original state on windows and on ubuntu you can reboot.

The Worlds Best Desktop Environment


To enable your computer to play both video (Theora) and audio (Vorbis) files, please select a program from the listings here.

When it comes to designing digital learning environments we need a powerful interactive multimedia system that allows the user to control the experience and pace through self-selected hypermedia. Software Libre operating systems serve the personal needs of the user rather than focusing the user’s attention on the machine. The strengths of the Software Libre desktop for education, research, productivity, or entertainment are that it’s imaginative, making possible various tasks that can not be accomplished in other desktops.

We also need an environment that fosters a culture of cooperation, collaboration and social interaction. The Software Libre learning environment is optimized to provide access to information and communication technologies, express our imagination and creativity, process information which can be freely studied, applied, copied and/or modified, by anyone, for any purpose and distributed through self organising connective knowledge amplification networks for a more productive society and the benefit of humanity.

The video above is a good example of these principles in action, you can:

A big thanks to Noiesmo for his help.

Kids say “Thank you to (Ed)Ubuntu Team”

Edubuntu News:

Weve just installed these two donated computers in a community nursury and breakfast/after schol club in Lincolnshire, England. The machines are 600mhz/128mb/4.2gig and they took about 3/4’s of an hour to install and configure perfectly, and have cost the centre nothing!

The kids absolutely love them, most are from underpriviledged backgrounds and many of them have never used a computer before. As a result they will grow up computer literate. The Nursury just wanted to say a heartfelt thanks for all of the effort and long hours that the community has put into creating this supurb collection of software.

Keep Up the Good work!

From this forum thread

Order your copies of Edubuntu today, its free

I wrote a post in my EdNA group about shipit and how to get free copies of Edubuntu for yourself and your students. I orderred 60 copies of Edubuntu so if your near Brisbane and looking for a copy then send me a message. I read Klepas blog and his copies already arrived so you can see what I’m talking about below.

The bird has arrived

Hey, awesome! The Dapper Drake CDs I ordered for free from have arrived. I received the trio of Ubuntu flavours: Ubuntu, Kubuntu and Edubuntu.
I’ll be giving almost all away, so if you live near me, give me a buzz. I’ll also bring them to CLUG next month and Dad has already nicked a copy of each flavour for the next PCUG meetup. I’ve got:

  • Kubuntu (x86 and 64-bit)
  • Ubuntu (x86, PowerPC and 64-bit)
  • Edubuntu (x86)

And of course this entry would not be complete without some photos:


kubuntu closeup



edubuntu closeup

I love the Edubuntu cover. ;)

It’s the ability to learn tools, not the tools themselves

From: Mark Shuttleworths Blog

It’s the ability to learn tools, not the tools themselves

Wednesday, April 26th, 2006
One of the big debates we are having at the moment in the Foundation is all about how to design a curriculum to stimulate the development of analytical skills. The thing I care most about is that we focus not on the specific set of tools, but on the ability to learn and apply a current tool set.The truth is that we constantly acquire and discard sets of tools. So we should not be fixated on one specific set of tools for all of life. Society, technology and the times change so fast that any fact, process or algorithm we learn at school is by definition not going to be useful for any length of time. The real skills that serve us are the ability to adapt, learn, apply the products of that learning, and participate in the discussions and challenges of the day. That doesn’t mean that facts are useless, nor that specific tools don’t matter. Unless you can demonstrate an ability to absorb and apply both, fast, you haven’t actually gained the knack of becoming effective in a given environment.
I was thinking about the toolsets I’ve had to acquire over the past fifteen years since I left school.

In university you are solving the problem-du-jour as set by lecturers and tutors. Each year you learn a new set of theorems, axioms, rules, laws, analytical techniques, best practices, algorithms, formulae etc. And you have to learn how to make them dance for you so that you can do well in that year. Then, by and large, you file those away never to be used again, and learn new tools for the next year of study. Sometimes, the tools and laws and rules are additive, you build new knowledge on the old stuff. Sometimes, however, you just learn the tools because you need them to get through the year, and that strikes me as being makework. See my rant on the study of economics below.
In work, you’ll have to learn the tools of the trade or the company and how to get things done. If you’re a nutcase like me, you change your toolset entirely every few years – I spent two years consulting and training (late university and early Thawte), two years writing database-driven web applications for crypto and PKI services (later Thawte), a year studying ballistics and space vehicle operations (Star City and the ISS), two years learning cooking, dancing, and the intricate details of playboyhood, and now two years learning about how to build a distribution (Ubuntu), and how to build *big* web applications ( In each of those phases the tools have been different. Its hard to know what kind of schooling could have made a meaningful impression on my ability to be a better cosmonaut – or a better programmer – or a better man of leisure.

And I’ve no idea what set of tools I’ll have to learn next.

My experience might be extreme, but for ALL of us life consists of a constant process of reinvention, learning and discovery. You are not doing the same job today that you were five years ago – the world is changing around you. the most successful people learn how to spot the best tools and trends and to take advantage of them. They also learn to LET THEM GO when the time is right. Rather than being convinced your tools are the One True Way, recognise that they are rocking good tools right now and will also certainly be obsolete within five years. That gives you an incentive to keep an eye out for the things you need to learn next.

Not everything that gets offered to you is likely to be of use. I hated economics at university because it epitomised the disposability of old knowledge. The problem was that first-year economics was basically a history lesson disguised as a science lesson. We learned one classical set of ways of looking at the world, and how to apply them to assess an economy. This was a bit like learning science circa 1252 and being told that you need to be able to draw up an alchemical recipe for lead-to-gold conversions that could pass for authentic in that era.

Then in second year they said luckily, the world has since decided that those ideas are utter crap, you can’t really manage an economy using them, but here’s a new set of ideas about economics. So we set about learning economics circa 1910, and being expected to reproduce the thinking of the Alan Greenspan’s of that era. The same people who orchestrated 1929-1935 and all the economic joy that brought the world. We knew when we were studying it that the knowledge was obsolete. And of course, when I looked into the things we were supposed to study in third year, fourth year and masters economics programs the pattern repeated itself.
There is some value in disposable knowledge. I like to hire guys who set out to learn a new programming language every year, as long as they are smart enough to stick to core tools for large scale productive work, and not to try and rewrite their worlds in the new language every year. The exercise of learning new API’s, new syntactical approaches, new styles is like jogging, it keeps you fit and energised. It’s useful even if aren’t a marathon runner by profession. But it should be kept in balance with everything else you have to do.

So, back to the topic of curriculum.

We want to create a curriculum that can:

  • be self taught, peer mentored, and effectively evaluated without expert supervision
  • provide tools for analysis that will be general useful across the range of disciplines being taught at any given age
  • be an exercise machine for analysis, process and synthesis

The idea is not that kids learn tools they use for the rest of their lives. That’s not realistic. I don’t use any specific theorems or other mathematics constructs from school today. They should learn tools which they use AT SCHOOL to develop a general ability to learn tools. That general ability – to break a complex problem into pieces, identify familiar patterns in the pieces, solve them using existing tools, and synthesise the results into a view or answer¦ that’s the skill of analysis, and that’s what we need to ensure kids graduate with.