Thursday, April 07, 2011

Linux in schools

Classroom setting using Linux Applications and architecture
(from Linux Bible 2010 Edition book, page 27-28)

Cost savings, flexibility, and a huge pool of applications have made Linux a wonderful alternative to proprietary systems for many schools. One project has been particularly successful in schools: the K12 Linux Terminal Server Project (

K12LTSP is based on the Linux Terminal Service Project ( and Fedora (, but is tuned to work particularly in schools. With K12LTSP, you centralize all your school’s applications on one or more server machines. Then you can use low-end PCs (old Pentiums or thin clients) as workstations. With thin clients starting under $200 or old PCs already hanging around your school, you can service a whole class or even a whole school for little more than the cost of the servers and some networking hardware. Figure 2-5 illustrates the general
steps you would go through to confi gure a Linux LTSP sever to manage multiple workstations.

By centralizing all the school’s software on a limited number of servers, K12LTSP can offer both security (only a few servers to watch over) and convenience (no need to reinstall hundreds of Windows machines to upgrade or enhance the software). Each client machine controls the display, mouse, and keyboard, whereas all the user’s applications and files are stored on and run
from the server.

Figure below:
Configure LTSP on the server, and then boot up workstations to work from that server.

The K12LTSP distribution contains many battle-tested open source applications, including full GNOME and KDE desktops, Evolution e-mail, Firefox browser, OpenOffi offi ce suite, and GIMP image application. They also add DansGuardian (open source Web content filtering) and educational software (such as Gcompris).

If the Windows application you are looking for is not available in Linux, you can almost surely fi nd a similar Linux application. Many schools in Oregon have adopted K12LTSP, including those attended by Linus Torvalds’ children in Portland, Oregon. Adoption of K12LTSP has also begun in Atlanta, Georgia and many
other cities across the United States.