User Manual

This user manual includes guidance for some of the day-to-day tasks that may be required to be performed by an administrator (computer lab in-charge, teacher). It is assumed that the administration has some basic knowledge of working with a Linux distribution as the server is intended to be used to teach the Linux subject in schools. Providing comprehensive server administration guidance is outside the scope of this document.

User Management

This section provides the steps to create and manage new and existing users.

  • Via GUIGraphical User Interface:
System → Administration → Users and Groups
  • Via Command-line:

Login as mssadmin and then execute the following commands in a terminal –

To switch to root user privileges –

sudo su

To add a new user –

useradd -m username

To set a password for a previously created user –

passwd username

To add a user to epoptes group, needed only for teachers and admin accounts –

usermod -a -G epoptes username

By default, the appliance is shipped with the following user accounts pre-configured i.e. if no customisation has been requested during order placement –

student accounts: student1 to student100; password: 12345

teacher accounts: teacher1 to teacher10; password: imteacher

Web Server to Host Web Content

The My sCool Server comes pre-configured with a ready to use web server to help you host your content and make it available on the local network.

Hosted content can be accessed from all clients via any web browser at http://server/

Each user can host their independent content at /home/<username>/public_html and it may be accessed by all at http://server/~<username>

Epoptes – The Monitoring and Teaching Tool

Only a user belonging to “epoptes” group can launch epoptes application, see User Management for how to add user to a group. All pre-configured teacher accounts are already members of the “epoptes” group. Using epoptes is self evident and intuitive, however complete documentation is available here.

When running in thin-client mode or when directly logged into the MSS, Epoptes can be started as below:

Applications -> Internet -> Epoptes

When in Fatclient mode epoptes has to be started as below:

Alt+F2 -> ltsp-remoteapps epoptes

Create Live USB

Li-f-e: Linux for Education OS image is included on the server and can be used to create a bootable media when logged in as mssadmin account via –

System Tools -> Live USB GUI

When creating a bootable media intended to boot computers that only support EFIExtensible Firmware Interface booting select “isohybrid” option. Do note that this will wipe the USB device and thereafter it cannot be used as a normal storage media from Windows PC until it is re-formatted.

Use “Ubuntu” option if you wish to use the device as a storage media on Windows or preserve data on a vfat formatted USB stick.

Backup and Recovery

We understand that accidents happen and that everyone deserves a second chance. Being open-source one may be tempted to play around with the server and we do not penalise you for doing so. The My sCool Server provides ‘Factory Restore’ options via –

  1. Server boot menu or
  2. USB created with the tool

Factory Restore option restores the system to the state the server left Recherche’s premises, which may include customisation such as user accounts etc., if the data is given at the time of order placement.

Multiple snapshotsa record of the contents of a storage location or data file at a given time can be created. It is limited by space available on the /recovery partition. MSS uses borg deduplicated backup so only the changes made to system since the last backup are stored on subsequent backup attempts.

  • To create a backup, run the following command as root (sudo su -): create

  • To restore to factory image from a running system, run the following as root (sudo su -): restore [optional snapshot number]

  • Snapshots are numerical, 1 being the factory, by default running restore will restore to that snapshot, to restore to last snapshot taken run the following as root (sudo su -): restore last

  • To list all snapshots:
sudo borg list /recovery/system

Snapshot management is beyond the scope of this tool and document, refer to the borg documentation for details.

  • To create snapshot of  /home for example:
borg init --encryption=none /backup/folder/path/home

borg create --stats --progress --compression lz4 \ /backup/folder/path/home::snapshotname /home

/backup/folder/path/ must have sufficient space.

  • To restore /home from snapshot
borg mount /backup/folder/path/home::snapshotname /mnt

rsync -avP /mnt/* /home/

When restoration is complete:

umount /mnt


Booting or Freezing Problem

If the clients do not boot or they freeze while working, it can be caused by a faulty network cable, connection or switch. Try connecting a client directly to the server using a LAN cable and attempt booting the client. If the client boots, it confirms that the client and server both are in working order. Then continue troubleshooting your physical network or contact your network engineer.

In case the client still does not boot, contact the MSS support team using the contact details given below.


Top Panel Missing

If the top panel does not show up execute the following –

Alt+F2 -> resetpanel


Restore Desktop to Default Settings

To restore the desktop to default settings of any user run this in terminal from mssadmin account login once the user has logged out –

sudo mv /home/<username>/.config /home/<username>/.config-backup

Next ask the user to login again.


One can also try this from running session –

Alt+F2 -> resetdesktop

User will need to log out and back in for changes to apply.

Useful Documentation

In keeping with our core goals of infusing fun into learning we have included Hackett and Bankwell comic books (accessible via the application menu) and content from Spoken Tutorial, an Indian Institute of Technology initiative that walks you through everything you need to know about using Ubuntu Linux and more. Almost every GUI application comes with F1 help, and respective documentation in /usr/share/doc folder. Lots more community created documentation is also available at these links:

Recommended reading before asking for assistance (It is a bit lengthy but will help us help you better and faster.)

Seeking Support

Every My sCool Server has a sticker bearing a unique MSS ID. This ID is important for all communications with Recherche Tech in regards to your MSS hardware. If you ever have an issue with your MSS hardware and it is under warranty, simply open a ticket through any of the support channels and quote this MSS ID and the nature of your problem.