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Graduation Day for Linux - page 3

The First Day of School

  • May 22, 2002
  • By Brian Proffitt

While the financial benefits of K12LTSP seem clear, how do the numbers break down in a real world environment?

Nelson provided these numbers from the hardware budget of a recent 30-computer lab installation in the Portland Public Schools:

Server:
ASUS Dual CPU/LAN/SCSI Motherboard1$366.00
Enlight case, 250W power supply1$63.00
Intel 1.13Ghz PIII CPU2$161.00
512MB PC133 SDRAM4$169.00
18.4GB SCSI LVD 7200 RPM2$390.00
Intel 10/100 NIC3$33.00
Total$2066.00
Workstations:
Amptron compact computer [BCII-630e]30$153.00
CTL 17" .28 monitor30$130.00
128MB PC133 SDRAM30$36.00
StRUT PIII CPU30 $0.00
Total:$9570.00
Data projector:
Epson Powerlite 50C projector1$1626.00
Printer:
HP 4100TN Laser1$1589.00
Switches:
SMC 8-port 10/100 Mbps unmanaged4 $55.00
Total:$220.00
Cabling:
15FT cat5e ethernet40$2.35
Total:$94.00
Power strips:
Fellows split surge strips8$14.42
Total:$115.36
Total lab cost: $15280.36
Standard lab cost: $30914.36
[For the standard lab cost: LTSP workstations/server were removed, 30 of the standard CTL workstations we usually order were put in there place at $909/each]

This does not, of course, include any of the licensing costs for using Windows or Mac operating systems. All of these cost savings combined have given the project a tremendous push.

"We have experienced a ground swell of community support. Imagine, a public agency saving tax payer money and ending up with a better product at the same time," Nelson said, "It's a cost savings that just keeps on piling up when you count all the upgrades you don't have to pay for. Just the savings from yearly virus software subscriptions is important not to mention the freedom from infections."

There were some other unexpected costs savings gained along the way, as well.

When the U.S. Congress passed the Children's Internet Protection Act, Harrison said, all schools were required by law to provide filtering software on Internet-connected systems. Natually, he added sardonically, the cost of commercial filtering systems skyrocketed at just about the same time the bill was passed. But when he costed out these software packages to the free SquidGuard package, the choice was clear. Harrison then developed a custom filter setup package for SquidGuard and has since distributed the software to "half the state of Oregon, shaving millions of dollars off [software fees]."

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