Over a hundred schools using open source

More than a hundred schools across Finland are using open source for all of their desktop PCs, according to Opinsys, an open source services provider.

The company assists ninety schools in 28 municipalities with the maintenance of PCs and laptops running Ubuntu Linux. Tens of other schools are managing similar PCs themselves, according to Mikko Soikkeli, the company’s sales director.

The costs per Linux PC or laptop, including maintenance, is about 282 Euro per year, according to a presentation last month by one of the schools using Ubuntu. “This infrastructure is easy to extend, it is secure, reliable and easy to use”, according to Allen Schneitz, a teacher at the Kasaviori School. “The system allows utilisation of second hand computers that are four to five years old.”

A second case study on Linux based PCs in schools, by Risto Rönnberg for the city of Jyväskylä, puts the cost at 153 Euro per PC per year.

On-line schools – The Kasavuoren School in Kauniainen hosted a conference on its IT use last month. Next to using Ubuntu Linux, the school uses various open source web-based applications that are integrated with the school’s user database and other systems, such as Moodle and a wiki. The schools also uses Google’s free, web-based office productivity suite. Open source OpenLDAP is used to provide authentication and access to computer services.

“With these tools pupils can do real-time collaboration and the services are also available from home using the Internet”, Schneitz explains in a report published on the company’s website.

Two years ago the company began assisting three schools in Kauniainen, a community just to the west of Helsinki, that wanted to replace their proprietary desktop systems by open source software. “Since then we have migrated (number) to Ubuntu Linux”,. At the three schools in Kauniainen, for instance, the number of open source desktops has increased from 120 to almost 600. “We now maintain thousands of Ubuntu thin clients and several hundreds of laptops running Ubuntu.” source.

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