Thanks to the hard work and dedication of
computer programmers and Linux experts from Brevard Co. and indeed all
over the world, St. Mary's was able to deploy 20 additional computers
and 16 dual boot Windows / Linux in
our Technology Center for a total of 36 workstations. An additional 16
workstations are slated to be deployed in the classrooms over the next
month. The cost per workstation was 50.00 using donated Pentium class
For those of you not familiar with the Linux operating
system, Linux and the associated open source software is free. They are
mostly built and developed by computer programmers all over the world
representing almost every race,
color and creed and nationality they donate their time and talent and collaborate on their various projects via the
Internet. Most have never met in person.
Over the last 10 years Linux has matured to the point
that more than 64% of all websites we view on the Internet are located
on Apache Web Servers running
either Linux or FreeBSD.
Linux can be found on everything from home pc's to IBM
Main Frame computers as well as set-top TV devices, mp3
players and more.
At St. Mary's we are using a few different
"flavors" of Linux. The Linux Kernel is the core of the
operating system. Different groups of people or corporations add
software programs and customize Linux as they see fit and create their
own "flavor" or distribution of Linux. Everyone can customize,
improve or rewrite the software as they see fit. It belongs to everyone.
At the heart of our new computer lab is a Dell Server
that came pre-installed with RedHat Linux.
With help from the local Melbourne Linux Users Group we reinstalled a version RedHat Linux that was customized by a group
of school Technology Specialists in Oregon. The server is known as
a K-12 Linux Terminal server.
Most of the workstations in our Technology
Center do not have an operating system or software loaded on them, in
fact most of the workstations don't even have a hard drive. The
workstations connect to the terminal server via the network and
the server does all the work.
Using this system we are able to use legacy (outdated) computers and
they will perform as well or better than computers that are nearly brand
new. Software is only updated on the server and viruses are almost non-existent
Other "flavors" of Linux we use:
and the associated open source software is saving St. Mary's School many
thousands of dollars.
installation of a Windows(tm) OS based computer lab of 20 workstations
may cost more than $20,000 while the same lab running K12LTSP would cost
less than than $6,000. Reusing legacy hardware can reduce that
cost to less than $2,000." (Source K12LTSP.ORG http://www.k12ltsp.org/press.html
addition to Linux, St. Mary's uses an Apple server and
workstations for the Library Card Catalog and Circulation
System, Windows NT and Windows 95 / 98.
three operating systems share files and network print