Today I would like to introduce a command-line tool that I have been using for some months for time tracking. Until Ubuntu 18.04 I always used the hamster applet, which was great. But under 20.04 this applet does not work anymore. So I looked around for alternatives and ended up with Watson — a command-line tool. Time tracking with Watson is different from the Hamster applet, but let’s have a look at the installation first.


Watson is a Python program and is best installed using the Python package manager pip:

Photo by Maxim Zhgulev on Unsplash

At our school we have not issued BIOS passwords in the last few years. This hasn’t been a problem so far (especially for Linbo), as we only have nice students 🙂. For some time now, however, some of them have been having fun and assigning passwords in the BIOS. So we haven’t been able to change any settings. Not only that: There are other passwords that can be set in the BIOS… Unfortunately, the problem was not detected immediately, so we now have a few laptops that are provided with a BIOS / setup / admin password. What now? …

Photo by Ankush Minda on Unsplash

Almost four years after the last release, the new version 7 of was released today. This is another important milestone in the history of the free open source school server solution.

What Is New?

With version 7 some things have changed compared to the previous versions. Here is an overview of the most important changes:

  • Change from Samba 3 to Samba 4 (more than necessary to use a current server operating system, Samba 4 makes it easier to connect Windows and other software)
  • OPNSense replaces the previous firewall (IPFire)
  • new school console (web-based administration) is more modern (Responsive Design, etc.)
  • Version 7…

Photo by Matthew Guay on Unsplash

In the last few weeks I have tried a software that was on my list for a long time: Wekan. Wekan is an open source alternative for Trello, a Kanban software. It allows you to manage projects or processes with the Kanban method. Some also use it as a task management system. There are several Open Source alternatives to Trello — Wekan is one that comes closest to the original. Today I want to show how to install and set up Wekan.


Wekan can be installed in different ways (manual, docker, snap, …). We will install it today in an… is an open source school server solution for schools of any kind and size. Version 7 is currently under development and the beta phase is about to start. A lot has happened in the last months and I would like to give you a short overview of the current developments.

News around

  • has already received two awards this year. The free school server solution won a 2nd place at the Thomas-Krenn Award as well as the “Comenius eduMedia Seal”.
  • The beta phase of v7 will start very soon. Many things are already finished and some schools are already using…

For some years now we have been using Zammad as support or helpdesk software in our school. We are very satisfied with Zammad because it offers many features and an easy to use user interface. Some time ago we had to move our server and therefore our Zammad installation. In this article I would like to briefly show how to backup and restore Zammad.

Backup Zammad

Zammad provides a backup script, but it is disabled by default. You can use the script to make regular backups. The script is located at /opt/zammad/contrib/backup/. The backup script reads a configuration file in which all…

At our school we use Citrix Hypervisor (formerly XenServer) (soon xcp-ng) to virtualize our school server and other applications. Citrix provides XenCenter, a management tool for Windows. With it you can easily manage all virtual machines and make settings on the Citrix Hypervisor. Another possibility is Xen Orchestra. It is a web-based tool that can do much more than XenCenter. On the website you can download a completely configured appliance. This is however strongly limited by the features (you have approx. 2 weeks time to test all features). …

Digital signage offers new possibilities for schools. What used to be solved with posters on so-called “bulletin boards” or information boards is now increasingly being taken over by screens. Whether information about upcoming events, substitution plans, room signage or other important information — you can display many things more flexibly on screens. Updates can be applied from a central location or automated (e.g. for the substitution plan). Which Open Source Digital Signage solutions are available? What could be the requirements of a school? …

About a year ago I wrote about how to measure the air quality with a Raspberry Pi and a cheap sensor. Make sure to read that article first! We’ve been using this setup in our school and privately for a few years now. However, this project has one disadvantage: it is not portable, but depends on a WLAN network or a wired network connection. You actually cannot access the measurements if the Raspberry Pi and the smartphone or computer are not in the same network. That’s why some time ago we added a small screen to the Raspberry Pi so…

School networks are becoming more complex as requirements grow. A school server, school-wide WLAN, the use of tablets and laptops in the classroom, a school cloud, uniform logins for all services — the requirements for a network administrator or service provider in the school are many and varied. If everything works, then everything is usually also good. But what if the server, firewall or switch fails? The consequences can be very different. How quickly can normal operation be restored? How important is high availability in a school network?

High Availability

According to Wikipedia, high availability is defined as follows

High availability (HA)…

Open School Solutions

Open Source Solutions for Schools

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store