February 18, 2004

A Computer Lab with No Windows, Part I

Sisler High school is the largest high school in Manitoba, with approximately 1,600 students and 120 staff members on campus. The school offers many
computer courses at different levels, ranging from computer programming and office skills to vocational subjects, such as trouble-shooting personal
computers, networking and advanced operating systems. In 2002, due to a letter from CAAST (Canadian Alliance Against Software Theft), the school spent
more than $50,000 to make sure we had all the necessary licenses for our software.

I have been using and teaching Linux on both the high school and university levels since the mid 1990s. I have set up a variety of Linux servers for a
variety of purposes: Web server, shell accounts, Java/C++ programming, routers, as well as HA (high availability) clusters and Beowulf clusters.

In 2002, I decided to redesign my school computer lab without MS Windows and try to teach all my courses with open-source materials. I started with an
Athlon 1GHz machine with 1.5GB of RAM as my terminal server; 24 IBM 300PLs (a Pentium 200MHz slim-line desktop) as workstations; and three consumer
Gnet 100MHz switches for connections. Running Linux Terminal Server Project 2.1 and using Icewin as the default desktop manager, the lab now runs
smoothly. We never experienced any problems throughout the entire academic year.

Link: linuxjournal.com

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