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[vox] [fwd] Re: [K12OSN] Why Linux? [in schools]
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[vox] [fwd] Re: [K12OSN] Why Linux? [in schools]

Here's a great post by David Trask (of the Vassalboro Community School
in Maine) on the K12OSN list (where K12LTSP thin clients in schools is

At the bottom is a link to an article he was quoted in in
Education Week newspaper...

----- Forwarded message from David Trask <dtrask@vcs.u52.k12.me.us> -----

Date: Thu, 04 Nov 2004 16:49:26 -0500
From: "David Trask" <dtrask@vcs.u52.k12.me.us>
Subject: Re: [K12OSN] Why Linux?
To: "Support list for opensource software in schools." <k12osn@redhat.com>
Cc: "Support list for opensource software in schools." <k12osn@redhat.com>
Reply-To: "Support list for opensource software in schools." <k12osn@redhat.com>

"Support list for opensource software in schools." <k12osn@redhat.com> on
Thursday, November 04, 2004 at 12:35 PM +0000 wrote:
>I work for a school board that just quite doesn't understand the benefit 
>of Linux especially LTSP.  We did have Linux servers for authentication 
>for Windows machines and proxy etc but they got cold feet and went with 
>MS 2003 Server (not without problems)

I'm perplexed....what the hell is a SCHOOL BOARD doing making IT
infrastructure decisions?  My school board makes decisions regarding
policy, curriculum issues (to some degree), budget, and some central
office stuff like approving the warrant and hiring the
superintendent....and approving new hires.  They hired ME to make the IT
decisions.  They could care less if it's M$ or Linux so long as it works. 
My server closet has 9 servers....6 are Linux...2 M$ (one for FirstClass
Email server and one Win 2003 Terminal Server that we access via rdesktop
from K12LTSP) and one OS X Xserve I use to image laptops.  What they like
is the money I'm saving.  The last computer lab I budgeted for cost
$24,000 for 20 machines (two years ago)...all P4's with 256 mb RAM all
with XP Pro...etc.  [We now dual boot...90% of the time they run as
expensive terminals  ;-)  ]  This year I plan to replace that lab (and
migrate the other machines to classrooms)....it will cost less than $5,000
for 22 machines.  I mentioned that to a couple school board members the
other day and they were beside themselves with glee ;-) 
Seriously....because I show them how I save thousands of dollars....when
it comes to something I really want like a new server to play with or
something like that....they don't bat an eyelash.  You should see my
cabinets in the server closet....they're filled with brand new Amer.com
switches and NIC's...(spares mind you...not installed) that are waiting
for me to use when donated machines come in and I expand classroom
offerings.  I'm given this type of treatment because I've delivered the
$$$ savings and we have incredible network stability and security.  Two
years ago we had 100% uptime...not ONE server went down all year.  Last
year we had one day where the Samba/LDAP server crashed, but that was my
own stupid fault....thanks to folks on this list and the fact that it was
a LInux Server (key selling point here)...NOT ONE SHRED OF DATA WAS LOST! 
I am now at the point where I am replacing recycled machines with nicer
recycled machines that have been donated by local colleges and businesses.
 I recently received a crapload of Gateway E-3200's from SAPPI (local
paper mill)...and they are awesome terminals...all come with 3Com nics
built-in and compatible sound and video.  They cleaned up nicely and are
smaller than many of the others we have been using.  A local publishing
house donated 6 Dell Optiplex GX1's today.  I replaced some older
HUMUNGOUS Gateway terminals (full towers)...and the Dells are PXE
bootable!  The folks who donated them wanted the HD's and RAM out of
them....I told them that was fine....I had some RAM kicking around (I put
32mb in them) and don't have any need for the HD's.  They're gorgeous and
everyone loves Dells.  Anyway....long story...short....a good school board
should be leaving these types of decisions up to the people qualified to
make them!  YOU!  

Windows, Linux, Mac OS X....or all three!  (that's what we have)  It's a
decision that you and your colleagues should be making...not a bunch of
elected folks who meet once or twice a month.  Use what's best for your
situation...I chose Linux for my server closet, because of the stability
and cost....I'm now using K12LTSP in the labs and in classrooms because of
cost and the ability to provide more access to technology as a result. 
Gone are the days of the "one computer classroom".  All our classrooms
have mini-labs of 3-5 machines now.  What a HUGE difference it makes in
the amount of time kids use technology.  I've made a PDF of an article in
which I, Paul Nelson, and a host of others are featured in support of
K12LTSP (or Linux in general) in schools....it was featured on the front
page of the Sept. 29th edition of Education Week Newspaper
(www.edweek.org)  http://web.vcs.u52.k12.me.us/linux/article.pdf    I hope
you can put some of this information to use in your argument.  :-)

David N. Trask
Technology Teacher/Coordinator
Vassalboro Community School

K12OSN mailing list
For more info see <http://www.k12os.org>

----- End forwarded message -----

bill@newbreedsoftware.com                            New Breed Software
http://www.newbreedsoftware.com/               Tux Paint 0.9.14 is out!
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