[PLUG-TALK] Bascom - Small K-8

AthlonRob AthlonRob at axpr.net
Sat Sep 4 15:42:56 PDT 2004

I inherited a network at a small K8 private school (5 classrooms, 5
teachers) and have run in to some issues.  At the moment, I'm on orders,
so am only really available to talk to individuals over the phone after
normal business hours.

Their network consists of approximately 50 Windows 98 computers and a
server.  They just upgraded from 56K dialup to DSL yesterday.  All the
systems plug in to a single 10BaseT hub.

The systems then access the Internet through an old server running
'Bascom'.  nmap identified it as Linux-based.  It's running 2.4.20 or
so.  I haven't yet booted with a rescue CD to attempt to identify the
underlying distribution.

It isn't working.  Packets are filtered through the box, utilizing some
bridge/firewall software I'm not familiar with.  Currently web access
absolutely crawls - the box is, simply put, lagging.

What I haven't yet been able to determine (they don't know) is if the
school is paying a continued support license of some sort for the system
and if there's anything bascom provides (that is actually used) that I
can't simply replicate, myself, with Slackware, Squid, DansGuardian,
ClamAV, and a nice iptables script.

Is anybody familiar with what Bascom provides, and if they do charge a
continuing fee or if it's buy once, use forever?  I am, thus far, not
horribly impressed by it.

On another note, due to the age of so many of the systems and there
inherent issues (I did help clean up a virus about two years ago on
their LAN), I wonder if utilizing K12LTSP might be a worthwhile
endeavor.  They don't currently have either the budget or the iron to
run K12LTSP on a single system, serving out to the whole LAN, so I
wonder if a more distributed solution might be in order...

I'd love to replace MS Office on those systems with OpenOffice or
similar, but OO is *so* sluggish on modern systems I know these systems
wouldn't be able to handle it.  They're all 32-64MB of RAM, Pentium or
Pentium II systems, none over 300MHz that I've seen.

Thoughts?  Suggestions?  Experiences with Bascom?

Rob                                |  If not safe,
   Jabber: athlonrob at axpr.net   |    one can never be free.

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