Device Administration

How do I monitor systems with EdUBudgie Linux on them?

Screenshot of Cockpit main Host page for a single device

Basic info about Cockpit on EdUBudgie Linux

Cockpit is one included package from the standard Ubuntu repositories with an endless number of uses on EdUBudgie Linux and it is important to highlight it here as a tool for IT administrators to use in their endless quest to simplify school IT administration. This is 'the Excalibur of IT software' in a situation where many devices need to be accessed on a network for whatever reason.

In short, Cockpit allows for any device, if properly configured, to be accessed by the IT team so that school policies can be enfored while on the same network (in other words, while students are on your school's WiFi network). This enables the school to, for instance, force updates in the background, install applications that are needed, even to stop apps which students should not be using while in school. This level of control is extremely important to maintaining the safety and security of the school's network and any other machines connected to it.

This software is normally used to adminstrate servers in the enterprise and is a powerful tool for IT teams to use to help ensure that students remain focused on the material that they need to focus on and are not lost in social media apps or the like as is all too often the case in schools.

Image showing the Cockpit Dashboard, where multiple computers on a network can be accessed quickly with the click of a mouse

Cockpit Dashboard

The Cockpit dashboard is used to access multiple servers (or in this case, students' computers) to be able to do a myriad of things remotely. For example, if a teacher suspects a student of playing games while in class, then the IT administrator can set a CRON task to run in the background so that every five minutes a list of running processes is written to a .TXT file and uploaded to a network attached storage device. The admin can then check the file and let the teacher know if the student is playing any games such as Nexuiz during a lesson. The dashboard gives access to many computers all from one device.

Image showing the Updates feature in Cockpit for quickly and easily bringing a device up-to-date remotely

Cockpit Updates

Updates can be run from within Cockpit so that an IT admin can make certain that any students' or teachers' device is up-to-date, greatly decreasing the possibility of a virus or other malware wreaking havoc on a school's network. As more students and teachers bring flashdrives into school and as ransomware becomes ever more prevalent, Cockpit proves itself to be an incredibly powerful and handy tool that is not just for servers and data centers any longer.

Image of the Cockpit Terminal function for more advanced remote root administration of a users''device

Cockpit Terminal

Cockpit includes a terminal for each device so that specific and individualized commands can be run in real-time, in the background, on any users' device. With this capability, IT admins with a cursory understanding of the Linux command line can oftentimes diagnose and fix a students' or teachers' computer without having to leave their office, greatly, improving response time for problem solving in many cases and, in particular, regarding the more common issues. Programs such as HTOP can be run to diagnose memory or CPU hogs if a user complains of a system hanging and reboots can be triggered remotely as well if a users screen becomes unresponsive.

Cockpit has many other features not mentioned here to help make EdUBudgie Linux as easy to administrate remotely as it is to use locally. While doing maintenance on a device-by-device basis may not be as quick and easy as using the Google Admin Console for Chromebooks, the advantage with Cockpit is that it doesn't matter what manufacturer or model of device, nor does it matter what the problem is or what is needed. Cockpit makes remote administration individualized for each user while also giving admins a centralized control panel for access to all devices on a network at once. If a teacher needs a program installed, with Cockpit the IT admin doesn't even need to leave his or her office - simply connect to the device, sudo apt update && sudo apt install the program, and the teacher is good to go! The same principle can be applied to a class or even an entire grade for that matter.

More information on Cockpit and its uses and advantages can be found on its website.