Indiana's Goal: Linux On Every High School Desktop

Linspire and PC-maker Wintergreen have teamed up and already shipped thousands of systems to dozens of schools across the Hoosier state.

August 4, 2005

2 Min Read
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A program to provide desktop computers to every Indiana high school student is giving an Indiana company and open-source provider Linspire an opening to provide low-cost systems to students across the state.

The Indiana State Department of Education has stated its wishes that the 300,000 high school students in the state each receive their own computer. Indiana-based Wintergreen Systems has been supplying hundreds of computers to students in pilot programs.

"So far shipments are pretty much scattered around the state," said Aaron Leonard, Wintergreen vice president. "The reception has been fabulous. Everyone is on a very tight budget." Leonard said the relative low-cost of the Linspire operating system coupled with its ease-of-use has helped make the program successful to date.

Nearly all of the computers shipped are loaded with the Linspire OS and OfficeStar, the open-office software that includes word processing, spreadsheet, and database functions. Individual school districts often load some software of their own, and some schools have been able to save additional funds by booting software directly off networks.

Very few computers are being shipped with Microsoft's Windows operating system, said one source, who asked not to be identified by name.Linspire reported that thousands of Linspire/Wintergreen machines have been shipped to dozens of school districts across the state. It said that the Linspire/Wintergreen combo systems are the leading desktop Linux system available to the schools, although other firms are able to provide systems to the state's schools.

One school, the Randolph Southern Jr./Sr. High School, has received 125 systems, which are available to students in English Language Arts classrooms and in one biology and one social studies classroom. The school's technical director said that 90 to 95 percent of the 300 students at the school will be able to use the computers this year.

"Many schools across the state have already had the chance to try out desktop Linux, and everyone seems excited to get this program going," said John Levy, Wintergreen CEO, in a statement.

One emphasis of the Indiana Access Program is to promote the acquisition of affordable systems to enable the widespread allocation of computer systems to high school students. The program calls for using Indiana-based firms to benefit the state's economy and could be responsible for the deployment of 300,000 machines over the coming year.

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