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Re: [K12OSN] Re: Responses to the central office


Are you with the people who got Atlanta to pilot the program in six
elementary schools and showed statistically significant performance


On Wed, 2006-10-25 at 15:45 -0400, Daniel Howard wrote:
> Hi Todd,
> We had to deal with this kind of resistance and more, and here's how we 
> dealt with the various issues:
> 1.  Keeping it off the district network: Fine, we found many classrooms 
> had two independent Cat5 wires going to the room, so we used one for the 
> district network to the teacher's PC (and any windows PCs required for 
> special purposes) and the other one to feed the K12LTSP servers in each 
> class.  We fed the Internet to the K12LTSP servers via a business class 
> cable modem (6-10 Mbps, $100/month) connected to Squidgard/Dansguardian 
> firewall in IDF.  Ultimately, the PTA paid $9000 to run 40 new Cat6 
> ports from three switches, one to each room and some in hallways (for 
> laptop carts), but finally the district acquiesced and said it would do 
> a pilot of K12LTSP.  The new wiring was timely, as they wanted to do a 
> centralized server model, which requires Gbit/sec to each classroom. But 
> if they hadn't agreed to the pilot, we could have had two independent 
> networks, one for teachers and admin PCs fed by district Internet, and 
> the other fed by cable modem to all the K12LTSP servers and student thin 
> clients.
> 2.  Concern for messing up teacher IP addresses: A district technician 
> came in one day early on in our deployment and rewired a server and it 
> began happily handing out IP addresses to the teacher's PCs, shutting 
> off their Internet access.  That was when the district finally realized 
> that we had moved ahead with our deployment.  Solution: hardcode the MAC 
> addresses of each client to an IP address from each server.  Then, even 
> if miswired, the LTSP server can't give IP addresses to the win PCs.
> 3.  Managing server/configuration: Linux allows secure login to manage 
> each server from anywhere in the network.  With Webmin, it's GUI and 
> easy.  And you can manage more Linux servers more effectively from a 
> single location than with Windows.
> 4. Agree with previous posts on routers as commonplace in home and 
> business networks now.  Point out that his home Cable/DSL router is most 
> likely running Linux.
> 5.  Troubleshooting network problems caused by non-managed computers on
> the network can be incredibly difficult: Reality, from all of this 
> groups' collective experience I'm sure, is that it is *easier* to 
> manage, and the Linux computers *are* managed, but by built-in 
> capabilities instead of purchased software.  Built in Linux management 
> capabilities exceed those of LANDesk currently, e.g., especially given 
> that you can manage all those old Win 95/98 thin clients now, whereas 
> you couldn't before using proprietary tools.  Point out that the 
> experience of others is that managing the K12LTSP servers has proved to 
> be *significantly* less time consuming than Windows platforms.
> Regarding cost benefits, note the following:
> Thin clients running Open Source Software lower the total cost of
> ownership of technology for schools in the following ways:
>    1.  Lower acquistion cost by at least 50%, typically more.  Software 
> cost is zero.
>    2.  Lower operational cost via reduced electricity requirements:  1/5 
> Wattage of normal PC, plus smaller form factor: you can fit twice the 
> number of thin clients on the same table.  Space and electricity were 
> the final challenges we had at Brandon as we moved to a 2:1 classroom model.
>    4.  Lower support cost: you only manage the servers, and one server
> can run up to 100 thin clients.  Linux admin can manage more PCs than 
> equivalent Windows admin.
>    5.  Lower cost of retirement: thin clients weigh less than 1/5 of
> normal PCs and schools have to pay by the pound to have them hauled off.
> Plus, you can put dozens of modern educational software applications in 
> front of your students for free, and can burn CDs with the software for 
> the kids to take home and use there.  Open Source Software is free to 
> use and distribute as one desires.  Figure out the cost of providing 
> copies of MS office for every home with a PC, let alone Adobe Photoshop, 
> a 3-D rendering package like the GIMP (doesn't exist, and by the way 
> most Hollywood animation outfits have switched to Linux/GIMP), etc...
> Regards,
> Daniel
> -- 
> Daniel Howard
> President and CEO
> Georgia Open Source Education Foundation

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