LOUD (LCSEE Optimized Ubuntu Distribution) is a modified version of the Ubuntu Linux distribution used within West Virginia University's computer science department. In addition to the standard Ubuntu packages, the department also maintains several packages containing software and scripts for use in the department's classes.
One of the 2007-2008 as well as the 2008-2009, senior project groups developed a virtualized platform using the LOUD distribution. The goal of the LOUD Platform Project was to make it easy to run LOUD in a virtual machine. This allows users to install and use LOUD without disturbing the underlying operating system. LOUD Platform gives users a fully customized out of the box environment that mimics the exact setup used in the LCSEE computing labs. This group produced a complete proof-of-concept. Within the next couple of years, the department plans to provide all new students with a DVD containing the LOUD Platform.
LOUD Platform marks one of the first times that a university has attempted to make exactly the same environment used in the classroom and laboratories available to every student.
LOUD started after a decision was made to give the LCSEE public and teaching computer labs an easily maintained standard development environment. The obvious choice for such an endeavor was to make the platform Linux based. This is because Linux is completely open source and totally customizable.
The first distribution of LOUD was called LOUD Version I Fully Automated Install (FAI). FAI was based on Debian and could be installed via imaging remotely that included software that met most classes' development needs. The next distribution was called Version II Hoary-LOUD. Hoary-LOUD was based on Hoary Hedgehog from the up-and-coming Linux distribution, Ubuntu. “Ubuntu is a predominantly desktop-oriented Linux distribution, based on Debian GNU/Linux but with a stronger focus on usability, regular releases, and ease of installation.” Ubuntu was primarily chosen because of its packaging system and emphasis on usability.