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A year of Linux desktop at Westcliff High School

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Around a year ago, a school in the southeast of England, Westcliff High School for Girls Academy (WHSG), began switching its student-facing computers to Linux, with KDE providing the desktop software. The school's Network Manager, Malcolm Moore, contacted us at the time. Now, a year on, he got in touch again to let us know how he and the students find life in a world without Windows.

Stu: Hi Malcolm, thanks for agreeing to the interview. Could you tell us a bit about the school and your role there?

Malcolm: Westcliff High School for Girls Academy is a selective Grammar School with a Sixth Form of about 340 students. It was founded in 1920 as a co-educational school in Victoria Avenue, Southend, and moved to its present site in 1931. Since then the school has grown to its present size of around 1095 girls.

The IT Support department consists of three staff: myself, Paul Antonelli, and Jenny Lidbury. My role is that of Network Manager. The IT Support department covers provisioning and support of all IT-related equipment within the school. This includes 200 teacher machines, 400+ student machines, 33 IMacs, 100+ laptops, and a few Android tablets. We also support all the multimedia devices such as projectors, interactive whiteboards, and TVs, etc.

Stu: Whose idea was it to switch computers over to Linux? What were the reasons for doing so?

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