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ERIC Number: EJ842185
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2003-Sep
Pages: 4
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: N/A
ISSN: ISSN-0192-592X
Making the Switch to Open Source Software
Surran, Michael
T.H.E. Journal, v31 n2 p36-39 Sep 2003
During the 2001-2002 school year the author was struck with the reality that their computer lab would not meet the demands of their school for another year. Greater Houlton Christian Academy ( is a private school in Maine, and thus does not have access to state or federal funding. This meant that financing a new computer lab would be an incredible challenge. As the system administrator, the author not only had to consider the cost of upgrading their hardware, but the cost of upgrading their software as well. It soon became obvious that the price of new software was just as much as, if not more than, hardware products. Realizing that they would not be able to afford upgrading their lab using traditional software offered by big vendors, the author looked to open source, or "free" software, as an alternative. With open source, he could save their school thousands of dollars by purchasing bare-bones computer kits, then installing a free operating system and supporting applications on each computer himself. After much research and testing, their school committed to upgrading the computer lab using state-of-the-art computers running the open source Linux operating system and supporting applications. As a system administrator, one of the greatest benefits of using open source software is freedom. A rather surprising benefit he has seen since switching their computer lab to Linux is the eagerness of children to learn something new and different. As much as he has grown to love open source software and what it has done for his school, there are challenges in making a switch from one operating system to another. The greatest challenge they have faced is compatibility. While it has been a bumpy road, their switch to open source software has shown itself to be the perfect solution to a problem that more and more school systems find themselves facing. The six advantages of open source software (cost, freedom, quality, contribution, platform independence, and acceptance) are described.
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Elementary Secondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Maine