Saturday, April 15, 2006

"Skolelinux" Report - Thin Client in 234 Norwegian Schools

This is a 17-page condensed English version of a 65 page report by the Norwegian Ministry of Education and Research about the use of free software in Norway's schools. In Norway, a version of Linux called Skolelinux has been created that is quite clever. Skolelinux uses Debian and a single-CD installation concept which allows one to install either a "main server," a "thin-client server," a client machine, or a standalone version for home use--all from the same CD.

While the technical details (and cost analyses) here are a little difficult to understand, due mostly to translation issues, the conclusions are significant. All told there are 234 schools using this system in Norway, with 33,000 client machines, and 101,000 pupils and teachers participating. And from what I can tell, the costs per computer appear to be less than half the cost of Windows by direct comparison with the City of Oslo, which runs both Skolelinux and Windows.

"The main conclusion is that no pedagogic, technical, or economical objections [to] using free software in schools [remain] valid."

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