356,800 green Linux workstations going to Brazil's schools

356,800 green Linux workstations going to Brazil's schools

Summary: Userful announced yesterday that it was, in concert with Brazil's ThinNetworks, rolling out over 350,000 Linux workstations in Brazil's schools. Userful employs unique desktop virtualization software to turn a single desktop PC into as many as 10 workstations.


Userful announced yesterday that it was, in concert with Brazil's ThinNetworks, rolling out over 350,000 Linux workstations in Brazil's schools. Userful employs unique desktop virtualization software to turn a single desktop PC into as many as 10 workstations. Like solutions from ThinComputing, users can simply add VGA cards and USB hubs to an existing tower and share the computing power of the single computer.

Userful, however, supports more workstations (10 total for a given PC with dual video outputs) and full desktop virtualization. It is also built around Linux, currently supporting 10 different distributions, enabling an open computing environment with lower system requirements than those of Vista.

As the Userful press release reads,

Desktop computers sit idle while we check our e-mail, surf the web, or type a document. Userful's PC sharing and virtualization technology leverages this unused computing power to create an environmentally efficient alternative to traditional desktop computing. Up to 10 users can work on a single computer by simply attaching extra monitors, mice and keyboards. "This deployment alone saves more than 170,000 tons of CO2 emissions annually, the same as taking 28,000 cars off the road, or planting 41,000 acres of trees”, said Sean Rousseau, Marketing Manager at Userful. Turning 1 computer into 10 reduces computer hardware waste “e-waste” by up to 80%, further decreasing its environmental footprint.

In addition to the environmental impact, the cost savings allowed the Brazilian government to deploy many more workstations than it could have otherwise, even with a traditional thin client setup.

While Userful and their Brazilian partner, Thinnetworks, have had success deploying these computers in extremely rugged situations, this represents a very nice solution for classroom deployments in mature markets as well. The software even provides a web-based management interface for all of the workstations and virtual machines, enabling very simple setup of in-class labs at a fraction of the cost of traditional deployments and without the complexity of a full server-based thin client setup.

Topics: Linux, CXO, Hardware, Open Source, Operating Systems, Software, Virtualization

Christopher Dawson

About Christopher Dawson

Chris Dawson is a freelance writer, consultant, and policy advocate with 20 years of experience in education, technology, and the intersection of the two.

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  • Christopher: I have tried to clue you in on this a few times. This is much

    better than the LTSP alternative, as you only have one CPU for each 10 workstations. A very good example of the innovation you get when you take out all of the licensing friction.

    The initial cost is much lower, and the annual electricity bill is much lower.
  • A Belgian firm offers a multiseat PC based on Ubuntu

    Check this interesting link:

    Up to 12 users on one PC.

    I've seen this company with a demonstration set on various Ubuntu Release Parties in the last couple of years. Impressive. And what's even more astounding: each user has a quick, responsive computing experience. Needless to say, on those occasions I tried it myself as well, and I was pleasantly suprised.

    Although I suppose that video editing will slow things down quite a bit.... :-)
    • Thanks for the link! That is very interesting. MS will have to figure out

      how to untangle the ridiculous licensing, or get left behind.
  • RE: 356,800 green Linux workstations going to Brazil?s schools


    Another helpful link, i think
    • Still not convinced linux is the best?

      Try linux for yourself! Here at Linux Made Geeky we offer a wide choice of linux distros!
      So, if you want to get the best OS on earth, why don't you go <a href="http://www.linuxmadegeeky.weebly.com/">here</a> and download one? Please post in our forums, this helps us know someone visited. Enjoy!
  • RE: 356,800 green Linux workstations going to Brazil?s schools

    This is going to be a nightmare for Brazil and its students. Imagine having to sit down at a workstation and check the versions of 500 pacakges, go to all their websites to look for the latest versions, download the source code, type in some commands to extract the source, guess at some more complicated commands to get it to compile cleanly and spend hours waiting for that to happen, then let the application install into whatever random directory it feels like, then search for an hour to find the application, run it and watch it segfault then go into a kernel panic.

    On top of all that you have these students using incompatible systems. They won't be able to share photos or documents or other media with the rest of the world. The linux system is capped at playing only one sound at a time, it can't share photos that others can open and view. In one month you can expect to read an article saying this project has been cancelled due to complications. I will be here laughing the whole time.
    Loverock Davidson
    • Lovey, would you PLEASE develop some maturity?

      When YOU come over HERE and post stuff like THIS, all you do is justify THOSE who come to the Microsoft blogs and post anti-MS stuff. Do you really believe you help any cause, be it yours, Microsoft's, or any other pro-Microsoft users? If you don't yet know the answer to that question, I'll give you a tip. It's a firm and resounding "NO"! Please grow up.
      • Unfortunately, he never will.

        Rockhead will never grow up, he will never learn. It's very sad that he would rather spend all his time coming up with his drivel, than use that time to learn something on how his PC works. Any correction or explanation is beyond his grasp to understand.

        I do have to admit, he is amusing, but for all the wrong reasons.
        linux for me
      • Ok, done. Now its your turn

        I post stuff like this to warn people of the dangers of using linux and how they will be set up for failure. As an IT professional I hate to see half-done jobs which is all that linux is. I'm not part of any cause except the one to exterminate linux from the face of the Earth. I never mentioned Microsoft in my post but you seem to be really hung up on them, which is understandable since they make products that would be ideal for this situation.
        Loverock Davidson
        • Lovey also warns people about ...

          ...the dangers of flying in those aeroplane things and those horseless carriage things that go way too fast. He also claims it's impossible to get a virus through email unless you open the attachments. OK, maybe it just [i]SEEMS[/i] like he does because everything he spouts about Linux is from the same timeframe.
    • Remember LR

      Just click your ruby slippers together three times while saying "There's no place like home, there's no place like home, there's no place like home"
      • And when I wake up

        linux will be no more! Isn't it wonderful? :)
        Loverock Davidson
    • Do you have this problem often?

      You appear to have some reason to want to go and manually check for all the software and components that make the software on Unix like systems. I bet you are one of those strange geeks that even goes out and finds all the sources and required libraries for your Windows and BSD apps, also. No wonder you are still living at home sponging off your parents, have no job, still have those Star Wars or Star Trek toys and remain untouched by people of the opposite (or same, if you swing that way) beyond your own parents. Sad life dude, get some natural sun light!
      • Not often, only with linux

        The problem with linux is that you have to check the packages manually since the repositories are always getting hacked and are down for months at a time. Other systems have updates that just work. Oh and get it right, its Star Wars toys, everyone knows its 100x better than Star Trek. I play with them outside in the natural sunlight because it gives me vitamin D.
        Loverock Davidson
        • Mea Culpa

          Star Wars, Star Trek.... both are virgin geek things (as is most Sci Fi movies/series/toys). And you can build your own repositories if that is a problem (be they for Debian (apt-get), FreeBSD (ports trees), Red Hat/YellowDog (yum), Gentoo (emerge), etc. Btw, if you ditch the Star whatever toys and move onto <a href=http://www.shopping.com/-shop+erotica>better toys</a> that other people might like (as in, non geeks).

          See: <a href=http://www.gocomics.com/thenorm>Star Wars geek comic</a>
    • hey Loverock Davidson! Ever hear of .deb or .rpm?

      Grow up. Learn. Hardly any linux users compile from source dickwad. You act like you think we need to type a command to go to youtube. Ever hear of GNOME?
      You don't even need the terminal to install software. Download the package. Double click it. You can also get stuff from the distro's repository, WITHOUT the terminal. Actually, I like the terminal.
      • Ever heard of hacked repositories?

        You should have if your a linux user because the repositories are always getting hacked and said deb and rpm files corrupted. Then the repository is down for months at a time. Do you really trust it? I sure don't.
        Loverock Davidson
        • The fun thing

          The fun thing about posting flamebait is that you can make stuff up and act surprised and rational when you get angry responses.

          I've heard of two hacked repositories in my two years using linux (different distro). They were very badly dealt with, IMO. The reason you don't hear about repositories going down for months at a time, is the same reason you don't hear about McDonalds running out of food. It doesn't happen, and if it did, people would stop going at some point.
    • Some support for Loverock...

      This morning I tried to play a news video on CNN.com using Firefox. Wouldn't play. Suspected Firefox 2.00.16 was to blame. Tried to upgrade to Firefox 3.0.6. Wouldn't run on my SuSE 9.3 box, saying libpangocairo couldn't be found. System requirements specify pango-1.14 or later. Located pango at pango.org. Downloaded, unarchived, attempted build. Build failed saying needed newer version of glibc. Found one at gtk.org. Attempted build. Failed wanting newer version of pkg-config. Googled and found one. Unarchived and built successfully. Tried again to build glibc. Success. Tried again to build pango. Failed looking for glib-mkenums. Located it in a strange place on my box. Created symlink in /usr/bin. Tried again to build pango. This time was successful. Reran Firefox 3.0.6. Failed again! Despite having built the new pango, libpangocairo was still nowhere to be found. Tried downloading and building cairo from cairographics.org; build failed-wanted libpixman. Downloaded, unarchived libpixman. Build succeeded but automatic test failed for unexplained reason. So can't complete installation of cairo. Pulled a large tuft of hair.

      Jeez, I was just trying to upgrade to Firefox 3.0.6! True, SuSE 9.3 is getting a little long in the tooth, and this agony didn't occur on my newer OpenSuSE 11.0 boxes. But, I'm still stuck using SuSE 9.3 on the box in question because OpenSuSE 11.0 hung during installation (the hardware is 5-6 years old). WTF about libpangocairo, anyway???

      OK, upgrade to Firefox 3.0.6 failed utterly, so tried disabling adblock and flashblock on Firefox Video now works. Am thinking about my next couple of ounces of Scotch (5 pm can't come too soon).

      Now, I've been around the block a few times (although still do plenty of stupid things around computers) and still failed. Granted my distress was caused in part by using over the hill hardware and software, but I sure hope the Brazilians can get some help when they need it!!!!
      Feral Urchin
      • Try OpenSolaris

        You'll find it's like a better Linux, and I've installed it on an old HP laptop with 384MB ram; the laptop came with Windows 98 preinstalled, so it's got to be circa PII or PIII. Not fast but stable.