August 7, 2010

Starting large-scale deployment

Here I going to describe our experience in a large-scale FOSS deployment in our region. And first I show you the task.

The task is to deploy Linux and a pack of FOSS programs in the schools, here in Nizhny Novgorod region, Russia. Nizhny novgorod region have a population of 3.5 m, and the Nizhny Novgorod itself have a population of 1.3 m. There are 1392 schools in Nizhny Novgorod region (more than 200 in Nizhny Novgorod), and even more objects — like sport schools, youth clubs, training centers. Every school have at least 12 computers, plus some administer tasks — director, school management and so on. Special object usually have less than 5 computers.

So, today we estimate, that we need to deploy more than 35000 computers untill the end of the year.

We started a pilot project with the help of the Nizhny Novgorod Linux Users Group. Today they alreadey deployed FOSS programs in 14 schools of Nizhny Novgorod. Not bad start, but next week we are going to make a real breakthru — we made an agreement to install the software on more than 40 schools of Dzerzhinsk, a city near Nizhny Novgorod (~250k people).

We are use a special developed ALT Linux distribution, which was intended to be installed in schools and contain all needed programs, including an amazing iTalc software class management tool.

The main problem of the project is that the school teachers are not well-trained to use Linux. I can't say that they are resisting to use it at all, but some of they are. We are working on this problem too — and going to make our own special training course with support of Nizhny Novgorod Education Development Institute.

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