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[school-discuss] Report: Experiences with Centralised operated Skolelinux installations

By Knut Yrvin - Skolelinux / DebianEdu

The Norwegian Ministry of Education and Research has founded a report
about free software in schools. It covers planing and deployment of
Skolelinux/DebianEdu that currently includes 234 Norwegian schools,
33,000 client machines, and 101,000 pupils and teachers. The focus
is on technical issues, economy and organisation. There is also some
feedback on how the teachers use free software in their teaching.

The main conclusion is that no pedagogic, technical, or economical
objections using free software in schools remained valid. The numbers
show that the municipalities save more when running and maintaining
the schools ICT equipment centrally at many schools. The savings are
considerably lager with GNU/Linux then with Microsoft Windows. Market
prices show that the most cost efficient alternative are Skolelinux
diskless workstations. This is at least 40 % cheaper than to operate
traditional workstation pools (with thick clients).

Experiences from the municipalities show that the cost of running thin
clients (ltsp) is more cost efficient than thick clients because it
increases the lifespan on the hardware. Surprisingly, the cost of
running graphical terminals such as Citrix is the most expensive
solution. It is at least three times more expensive than Windows thick
clients when comparing prices in the market. When using graphical
clients such as Free NX the schools would get around the same expenses
with operating the system. 

The ICT coordinators in the different municipalities say that there
are considerable challenges when introducing computer tools in the
school.  The management at every school must establish a maintenance
regime and the teachers must learn to use computer tools actively in
the learning process. The activity have nothing to do with the
operating system in use. But the schools running free software can
afford more equipment, and the lower cost of maintaining the system
allows more resources to be used in teachers and the learning process.

The English 17 page version for the report (that sums up the 65 pages 
report in Norwegian): 

The 65 pages report in Norwegian (with a short one page version):