Indiana high schools save state $1m by running Linux

More than money, educators say, is the value in teaching students how to use computers rather than training on specific applications.

In Indiana, Linux is softening the cost of an aggressive state education program to equip every high school student with a computer. The state's INAccess program is providing computers to 25 high schools and by installing Linux as the OS instead of Windows, the program is saving about $1 million, according to Mike Huffman of the state's Dept. of Education. According to the Indianapolis Business Journal:

If we add Microsoft [Windows] and everything else, we're looking at close to $100 a machine, Huffman said. "When you're comparing $100 to 50 cents, that's a dramatic difference."

Indiana educators say the transition from Windows to Linux has been seamless - at least for students. Quoted in a Linspire press release:

"We put our students in a room with Linspire, just to see how they would adapt after using Microsoft Windows," said Scott Back, Technology Coordinator for Shelby Eastern Schools, outside Indianapolis, Indiana. "Guess what? They figured it out right away without any training or special help. They were using Linspire."

"I've toured the schools and seen for myself that it doesn't really make a difference to students what operating system they're using as long as it can perform how they need it to," Carmony added. "Students should learn computer skills - not be trained on applications that only run on one specific operating system. The reality is that we have no idea what kind of computers these kids will use when they get out of school - why not branch them out now?"

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