eGovernance in India

Improving eGovernance in INDIA

Schools Save Big with Open Source

Posted by egovindia on July 14, 2006

Schools Save Big with Open Source


Publication: Networkworld Date: Jul 13 2006

I asked before about success stories of schools using Open Source Software. Here’s a few examples with dollars attached.

Schools Save Big with Open Source

I asked before about success stories of schools using Open Source Software. Here’s a few examples with dollars attached.

Reader John sends in the first story, detailing his $100,000 savings. Yes, $100,000.

“Our school has been running the Linux terminals for students for over two years. We currently have 110 student terminals available. We use OpenOffice for our student and faculty. The conversion has been a great success, savings are over $100,000 while our users remain satisfied with the computer tools they have available. You may read this article for some details. In 2003 we were running near to 110 five year old machines with Windows NT and Office 97. We also had new machines that were running Windows NT and Office97 and needed a software upgrade. The $100,000 savings was the amount saved from switch to a Linux terminal server configuration on the student lab PCs and switching to OpenOffice on all faculty and student PCs.”

That’s a lot of savings. Reader William’s story focuses on an elementary school.

“We successfully transitioned an entire public elementary school’s student computers from Win 95/98 to K12LTSP; it has been an outstanding success. The average classroom went from having 1-3 working student computers to an average of about 7 (and as many as 12). The student/computer ratio by the end of the year was 2:1. Because we wanted to take advantage of existing desktops, most classes run off an individual server but the entire 5th grade (about 40 stations in 4 classrooms) runs off a single P4 dual core server. The software just works – training and transition were minimal and everyone loves their computers. More importantly, we’ve seen a fundamental seachange in how computers are used in the classroom – this is the point that is often overlooked in these conversations. And, by using existing old, donated and new, inexpensive thin clients, we did this all for about a tenth of the cost of the “proprietary” paradigm. Our school system was impressed enough that they will be piloting K12LTSP in 6 other schools next year.”

K12LTSP is the (Linux thin-client distribution for schools) mentioned in more detail back on July 3.

Finally, Reader Daniel brings up some savings not normally considered. “Current estimate is that using OSS and thin client architectures coupled with donated PCs from local businesses, the parent volunteers have put 250 working PCs in the school for about a tenth of what it would have cost using WinXP PCs. And the total cost of ownership numbers are impressive: acquisition and deployment costs are less than a third of conventional costs (new thin clients running OSS vs. new standalone PCs with WinXP Pro, Office XP, and NAV), operation and support costs are far less due to only managing the servers (the clients are more like appliances, and you can hang 25 or more clients off a single server), clients use less electricity (6 Watts vs. 60+ Watts, and they are diskless and fanless, so no moving parts), clients last longer (7-10 years vs. 3-5 years) and retirement cost will be lower because new thin clients are lighter (4 lbs vs. 30+ lbs) and you have to pay by the pound to have them hauled off.”

Cheaper upfront, cheaper to run, cheaper to haul away. That’s thinking ahead. Any business could save similar amounts with Open Source as well.


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