Classroom Laptops

From HacDC Wiki

This page serves as a specification and feature request page for the classroom laptops.

The classroom laptops are running a Linux distribution, currently Debian (probably better to be running testing than stable), with MATE desktop environment. Tom maintains a canonical image.

They are used primarily for modeling, rendering, and slicing 3d printed parts, but can and should be functional for all purposes in the classroom.

Currently implemented on a bunch (6) of Dell D430s, maybe some D420s.


I (Tom) donated 6 old Dell Core Duo D430/420 laptops for this use. They're super cheap and I had a pile of them. I think they're actually kind of ideal for this purpose, all things considered. They're not nice enough that anybody would want to re-purpose them to any other job, and since most of them don't have batteries nobody walks off with them. After almost a year they seem to be doing the job and getting lots of use.

Software (locally installed or remote access)

3d design

  • Cura
  • Meshlab
  • Implicitcad (runs on Jobs or gygax)


  • Firefox
  • Chromium
  • Midori or something similarly lightweight.


  • INO
  • Arduino


  • Python 3
  • Rust


  • Something for email
  • Printing should be enabled

Sys utils

  • tmux ssh vi/vim emacs etc.
  • Terminator
  • guake
  • most
  • avahi-utils

Other HacDC activities

Documentation, links, and how-tos on the desktop...


  • Update image and re-image all laptops.
  • Enable all laptops for incoming and outgoing email...?
  • Fix the HW clock issue possibly by setup NTP so that SSL errors don't happen.
  • Work out a way to do efficient X-forwarding over our WiFi to job server for heavier applications.
  • Configure laptops in some way to be more like a thin client so there is no/less need to 'update' the image or re-image regularly. In the dumbest case we could have them be simple VNC kiosks to a VM running on jobs...?
    • Test above last two for practicality.

Feature requests

  • Most recent Arduino suite. [INO]
  • More scripts and or instructions for usability -- 2d printing, 3d printing, using jobs.
  • Maybe put ~/* or ~/Desktop on a network share.