Red Hat discusses deal to supply Linux to UK schools

Free distribution software deal for schools on the cards

Red Hat is currently discussing the details of a deal supply Linux to British schools that according to some reports may involve free distribution software as well as technical support services at a significantly reduced price.

This follows a sponsorship deal between Red Hat and Parrs Wood high school in Manchester, which recently unveiled an extensive computer network largely based on Red Hat Linux.

Director of with Red Hat UK, Andy Dickens outlines the hopes that his companies hopes for the forthcoming deal. "What we're doing at the moment is discussing the details of the project. The whole education market is very important to Red Hat. We want people going through the educational system with a very good experience of Red Hat."

Martin Green IT manager at Parrs Wood, believes that wider implimentation is good news. He says, "From an IT perspective, Linux is coming in at a low cost. We have a network going live now that will have 300-400 machines running a number of systems."

Tim Towers a Unix technical expert who has set up Linux networks at a number of schools in Hertfordshire, says this is a major advance for schools in Britain mainly because of the ongoing support Red Hat is to offer. "The technical support if the most newsworthy thing because Linux is already free. Providing support is the key because the teachers here were most worried about technical support."

According to one report all recycled and refurbished business computers supplied to schools under the government's Computers for the Community initiative, may even come with Red Hat Linux pre-installed.

This is a significant boost for the profile of Red Hat as well as the Linux operating system in general. Linux is already a well established formidable force in the server market and is rapidly gaining ground as a viable alternative desktop operating system.

Because Linux software adheres to the GNU public licence for software development, a vast array of software is available over the Internet extremely cheaply or for no cost whatsoever. Linux is also a very powerful and robust Unix-based operating system that comes packaged with a considerable number of Web development and programming tools. These factors make Linux an attractive choice for many educational institutions wishing to teach computer skills at a low cost.

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