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Linux Makes the Grade in California Schools

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A few growing pains aside, a Linux deployment in a Santa Rosa, CA elementary school district is maturing robustly, letting teachers and students stand apart from their previous dependence on Microsoft Windows while they try on new open software attitudes.

The transition in Santa Rosa from Windows NT 4 to Ubuntu Linux Terminal Server Project (LTSP) might not get an A+ mark based strictly on smoothness, suggested Jordan Erickson, who’s been overseeing the seven LTSP school networks ever since their launch about three years ago through his company, Silicon Valley-based Logical Networking Solutions (LNS). But overall, the Linux deployment is ranking highly with the seven schools involved, because it saves them money on Microsoft licenses, spares them from Windows upgrades, prevents computer viruses, and spurs greater collaboration, Erickson said.

The school district in Santa Rosa decided to switch to LTSP following a pilot program at a Boys and Girls Club in Petaluma, CA. Initially used in an after-school program for six-to-14-year-olds, the implementation at the kids’ clubhouse is still up and running, along with a smaller deployment at LNS, for a grand total of nine managed LTSP networks, all in Sonoma County. LNS administers the whole configuration from its offices in Santa Rosa, using Virtual Network Computing (VNC) over Secure Shell for Workstations (SSH) tunnels.

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