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Friday, March 7, 2008

Letter to the school district

So, the other morning I'm reading our local paper and start spluttering! The article is about how the school district has already spent 35 MILLLLLLIIIOOONNN DOLLARRRSSS (the exaggeration is not in the amount itself, but that it COST so much!!!) for their upgrading of their computers, and yet it's not enough. The project needs to be put on HOLD until they can get another 12 MILLLIIIOOOONNNNN (no joke!) By which time the system may be outdated, leaving them with a bigger mess. Yeah, I'd say so. Here's the link to the article:

So, I shove the paper over to Brian (techy son) and he wisely proclaims that most of that is probably licensing and program fees, shame, considering so much free stuff is available (like his beloved Linux, and Open Source applications like Open Office, etc).

I say we should write them and let them know of this option. Maybe their high paid consultants don't know, or maybe the district doesn't know of this option. Regardless, the PUBLIC should know of this option and that the school district has naysayed it! And frivolously spent millions of dollars.

Oh, my son. His knowledge astounds me. He starts rattling off how various school districts across the nation already use linux. And all the benefits of using linux. And that there's a version especially MADE for schools, called EduBuntu.

Now I'm fired up, so we sit down and I start typing, while he sends me links in IM from his computer, and on a 3rd computer he's downloading the EduBuntu version to show me how cool it is, and easy to use.

After I finished the document with all of his incredible knowledge, he edited it for technicalities of which I know NOTHING! I didn't write everything just so in computer lingo.

After those finishing touches, we sent it off. To the original Newspaper reporter, to various school district administrators listed in the article, and to the school board trustees.

Today, in my InBox, the reporter sent an email , "Very Interesting. I will be looking into this." WOW!! COOL!

If you want to learn more about EduBuntu, or just for the heck of it, below is the text of his letter

RE: CCSD Computer System March 6, 2008

Mr. Bradford,

It was with interest (and dismay) that I read the March 6th SUN article regarding the school district’s computer system.

You see, my son is a computer geek. Through him my computer education has gone so far! I now know there are Open Source applications widely available that are free parallels to big name brand programs.

We wondered, upon dissecting this article, if your big financial output was due to licensing of Vista etc?

We’d additionally love to know if your computer consultants have researched the possibility of using Linux based computers and/or Open Source applications, versus Windows based computers and programs, thus saving an enormous amount of money?

Presuming that not everyone understands the difference, I’ll briefly try to explain how this could benefit CCSD.

Each computer that uses Windows must have its own license. That costs $. Linux is an alternative to Windows, developed by companies and volunteers alike who don’t want everything to cost so much. There is no fee. Linux is not only for Desktops, but is widely used for servers because of it's stability and security. Many people already use Open Source programs without even being aware of it.

Looking to the future, IT schools already offer classes in Linux certification; it would behoove the students to understand its abilities. As for administrators who would also be using the system, Linux is not hard to learn.

There is a version of Linux called Edubuntu, built for schools. Whether you chose to use that version or one of the many others, the results would be similar….no cost and more crossover in the technical realm for students who might be headed in that way as a career choice. There are already schools across the nation using Edubuntu and Linux.

Whether using Linux, or sticking with Windows, using Open Source applications like Open Office versus Microsoft Office would save a bundle! 200 computers= approx. $12,000 (based on $60each/Microsoft Office Ultimate 2007, discount) That’s a LOT of $! And we KNOW there are more than 200 computers in the district.

Some points to also consider:

· Linux runs easier on older hardware…saving the constant upgrading of machines

· Edubuntu has a long term support release that will be available mid April and be valid through 2011 with continuous updates. After that, an upgrade to the next version will be available, also for free.

· Optional upgrades for Edubuntu come every 6 mo, once in April, once in October

· Linux can easily be installed on existing computers via a CD

· Linux is secure, built from the ground up with that purpose in mind

We’ll attach some links for your perusal:


Using Edubuntu

An article about Edubuntu
Open Office

We sincerely hope you will give this idea some time and research.

Many thanks to my son who has downloaded Edubuntu and walked me through it and who is helping me write this. He’s a dedicated Linux user!


Elissa Wahl (and son)

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