Linux gets warm reception in Chile

Nearly 10,000 computers in Chilean schools will be turned into thin clients running Linux and applications such as OpenOffice.org and Mozilla
Written by Ingrid Marson, Contributor
Linux has secured another role in the education sector through a government initiative in Chile.

Chilean newspaper El Mercurio reported this week that EduLinux, a distribution of Linux tailored for educational use, will be rolled out across 600 schools in Chile. The deployment will be carried out by Enlaces, an organisation that was created by the Chilean Ministry of Education to improve access to technology in schools. The EduLinux distribution includes various open source applications including the office productivity application OpenOffice.org and the Mozilla browser.

EduLinux was evaluated in 25 establishments during 2004, according to El Mercurio. This study concluded that Linux would let schools make the best use of old computers with limited processing power.

In a pilot project computers were set-up as thin clients running Linux, connected to a central server. All applications used by the terminals were run off the central server, which meant that low specification PCs that did not have a hard drive or CD-ROM drive could be used.

The use of EduLinux will allow Enlaces to improve and extend the use of almost 10,000 PCs, according to El Mercurio. This will help the organisation achieve its goal of providing one computer for every 30 students in Chilean schools, Enlaces national director Hugo Martinez has said.

Other organisations have already discovered the potential cost-savings of using thin clients running Linux. Car hire firm Europcar claimed to have dramatically cut its hardware and maintenance costs by migrating 1,500 rental stations to thin clients running Linux.

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