Monday, May 17, 2004

Used Computer Magic, Continued...

Last month I wrote about the Academic Computing Environment
(ACE) Linux server solution that can convert obsolete PC's
into high-performance student workstations. (See .) I continue to be
very impressed with this technology.

Two weeks ago I brought an ACE Linux server with me when I
visited with the head of Canada’s Computers For Schools
Program (they have supplied one-fifth of the computers in
Canada’s schools). As a test, we hooked up a Pentium 1,
200MHz computer that had 16MB of RAM. Unbelievably, it ran
faster than any of the other computers that we had tested
(including a P3-933 with 256MB of RAM). I can only say that
I was shocked.

Maybe excited would be a better description. For me, there
are two great benefits of this technology: first,
potentially saving *millions* of computers from landfill;
and second, being able to provide significantly greater
computing resources to schools and districts that are
struggling financially.

A few quick things to note... Because the hard drives of
the older machines actually get disabled or discarded in
this solution, the computers don’t generate nearly the heat
they normally would. This means that the PCS will run
better and last longer. Also, of significant note, this
solution is Microsoft™ and Windows™ friendly—there are
multiple ways to run your favorite Microsoft™ programs,
including using your current licensing or setting up a
Microsoft™ server with server-based applications.

And last, but not least: because ACE’s Linux solution is a
server/network upgrade, it can qualify for E-Rate funding.
ACE will help any school or district in this category to
install most (if not all) of the school- or district-wide
computing resources that they need, even in situations
where there might not be any technology funds available