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View Full Version : Using DT in schools with more than 4 virtual CD's available: How I did it



nry
29.06.2003, 16:44
Hi all,

Since someone I know very well has spent a lot of time producing script launcher and management program for DT, I figured he deserved some advertisement!

I support ICT networks in 18 schools in the UK. Many of these schools have a small network of around 15-20 computers and usually have a library of over 20 different CD-ROM titles. Until recently, schools needed one CD of each title per machine, and with the users being between 4 and 9 years old, you can imagine what a state CD's usually end up. They're frequently lost or scratched, which interupts lessons and generally makes using lots of CD's in schools a nightmare.

Most schools tend to have very tight budgets, so a commercial CD-ROM server is usually out of the question. To this end, I now have 4 Linux based CD-ROM servers running, each of which handling around 20 simultaneous connections for CD iso's stored via a Samba share. Hard disk space is a minimum of 80GB, so storage of CD's and DVD's is not likely to be an issue for a long time. The most I have stored on a single server is currently 22. Data transfer from Linux to a Windows XP machine across a 100Mbit switched network exceeds 8Mbytes per second and is likely more if multiple clients are requesting information.

Each client machine is running Windows 95 through to XP Pro. They all have DT installed, and currently only run with one virtual drive. This is where the program I mentioned earlier comes in. Launcher and Launcher Manager are two programs by the same author: launcher is a single exe file that can reside on the server: it is passed a script which mounts the relevant CD-ROM iso, and then runs a specified file either on the CD or on the local computer. When the program has finished running, Launcher unmounts the image, leaving the Virtual drive empty. There is no limit to the number of iso's that can be managed this way, the only issue comes with the rare CD which won't allow an image to be created.

Launcher Manager allows easy creation of scripts and shortcuts, and the new version can also create the iso file providing you have cygwin installed.

For anyone interested, I have documented the entire install and usage of this program, including the setup of a Linux CD-ROM server. The documentation is based around Launcher Manager v2.x but is still relevant for v3. My documentation is available at http://www.nryonline.co.uk and Launcher/Launcher Manager is available from http://www.plextech.co.uk

I hope this is of use to others! before you ask, I am fully aware of legalities surrounding use of iso's and copies etc. I never run more than the licences allow even though the possibility exists. Currently, a Linux CD-Server can be put together for around Ј400 in the UK, with no licencing costs when used in education. My thanks and sincere appreciation go to the makers of DT and Launcher: you have made many of my schools very happy and saved them numerous problems and money!

Thanks again,

nry

LocutusofBorg
29.06.2003, 19:17
Thank you for your information. We have similar programs in our Downloadsection which are free even for personal use. Nevertheless, it's good to know we have such a great Developer-Community out there.

BTW: If someone think his program should be on our downloadsection, don't hesitate to contact me: locutus@daemon-tools.cc

nry
29.06.2003, 19:47
I don't think there's anything quite as easy to use as Launcher etc as it's 100% transparent to the end user. It took me months to find DT, and then a fair bit longer to trace something like DT. My main school has licence based software that handles virtual CD-ROM drives and I wanted to re-create the way it worked as it was excellent. Now wth DT and launcher I have exactly what I want!

I've mailed the friend who manages Launcher etc and asked him to get in touch!

nry

Andareed
29.06.2003, 20:54
You should look at DaemonScript under our 3rd party addon section of downloads.

nry
29.06.2003, 21:04
Thanks I will do. Launcher requires no station based apps to be installled other than DT and can happily sit on a secure server drive be this Linux or MS based. Is this possible with DaemonScript?

nry

Andareed
29.06.2003, 21:48
Launcher requires no station based apps to be installled other than DT

But you still need a script interpreter, right?

plexer
30.06.2003, 00:41
Launcher and Launcher Manager the GUI for script creation is my baby.
Launcher is the script interpreter, yes it does a similar job to daemonscript to run a launcher script you create a shortcut to launcher passing the name of the script you wish to launch as a parameter. Therefor launcher doesn't have to be associated with the script files on each machine.

It is available from www.plextech.co.uk in the software section if anyone wants to have a look.

Cheers,

PleXeR