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Linux Fits in Education

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From the desktop to the server room, there is a place for Linux in nearly any educational institution, large or small. The flexibility, stability, and cost savings Linux offers is compelling. With the right skills and careful planning, things that were impossible become possible, and formerly daunting tasks become simple.

This is particularly true in small and medium-sized K-12 institutions where IT budgets are often woefully insufficient. For example, the annual technology budget I worked with most recently for equipment, maintenance, ink and toner, telephone systems, and software costs amounted to just under $30 per student, or $50 per workstation. With the needs of staff and students and the expectations now put on technology this isn't a lot to work with. Stretching every penny is absolutely required.

Linux helps stretch that money. Not only is there direct savings to be had in the form of license fees that need not be paid for a variety of software, there are indirect savings in the form of lower maintenance and lengthened hardware life cycles. The best part of all this is that the barrier to entry is significantly lower than many people expect and educational institutions can begin realizing some of these savings even if their IT staff has little or no Linux or Unix experience.

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