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Linux explodes in Indiana high schools with new funding

20,000 more students will have access to Linux workstations, thanks to new state grant program.
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In a coup for open-source advocates, Indiana schools have received a state grant to implement Linux workstations for 22,000 students, reports CRN.

Under the Affordable Classroom Computers for Every Secondary Student (ACCESS) program, the number of high schools with Linux workstations will jump from 24 high schools to 80.

"The use of [Novell] SLED 10, I think, will increase significantly this year in schools, and we have Red Hat participating. They are getting some penetration in the local schools," Huffman said, adding that one school district has been having "a good deal of success with Ubuntu." "The amazing part of this is, with everything we're doing in the classroom, teachers don't bring up Linux," he said. "They don't bring up open source. They bring up curriculum. You don't want the focus to be on Linux or open source."

Although schools can choose which operating system to use, Linux has a definate advantage, according to Huffman.

"We have a million kids in the state of Indiana," he continued. "If we were to pay $100 for software on each machine, each year, that's $100 million for software. That's well beyond our ability. That's why open source is so attractive. We can cut those costs down to $5 [on each computer] per year."

The suppliers are Dell and Hewlett-Packard. Wintergreen Systems, an Indiana-based system builder have been contracted to supply and build the system. A complete desktop system costs less than $250, a very affordable price for schools.

"The schools that have received [the grant] have been successful in their deployment. And the schools that have not received the product yet are trying to figure out if they need more infrastructure, " said John Levy, CEO of Wintergreen Systems.

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