Linux Desktop Education Deployments Planned in 29 States

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Edmonton, Alberta — Nov. 4
Omni and Userful announced that more than 50 academic institutions from 29 U.S. States and 10 countries worldwide have signed up to deploy Multi-station SUSE Linux Enterprise Desktops through the “Free the Penguins” education initiative.

Originally launched in September, “Free the Penguins” provides customers with a low-cost, high-performance alternative to stand-alone Windows desktops and thin clients for computer labs, classrooms and libraries.

Omni, Userful and Novell have agreed to extend this initiative until the end of 2008 in response to extremely strong uptake from schools in the U.S., Canada, Australia, South America, Europe and Africa. Tough economic conditions have led more universities, colleges and K-12 school districts to consider the hardware, maintenance, space and electricity savings of Multi-station SUSE Linux Enterprise Desktops.

Using this strategy, customers can convert existing stand-alone Windows desktops, which spend most of the day idle, into Linux desktops with up to 10 independent, full-featured stations that consist of just a monitor, USB keyboard and mouse.

“While customers plan to deploy their free desktops in a wide variety of areas —computer labs, classrooms, libraries, outreach sites, VOIP labs, help-desk areas — the No. 1 reason why they are considering Linux instead of Windows, Mac OS X or thin clients is cost,” said Trevor Poapst, director of global marketing at Omni. “Few education customers, particularly in these tough economic times, will say no to a strategy that will allow them to deploy over twice as many desktops for the same budget.”

“Stand-alone desktops sit idle for most of the day,” continued Poapst. “Dual-core or, worse yet, quad-core systems are wasteful for users who typically use less than 10 percent of their computer's processing power. Schools cannot afford to be wasteful, particularly when budgets are tight, computer-to-student ratios leave many children behind and landfills overflow with digital waste.

“For the most critical education applications — Web browser, e-mail client, typing tutor, office productivity suite, drawing programs, math and science games, remote control and management software — an open-source, Linux-based alternative is something all schools should consider.”

“We are very pleased with the response to the ‘Free the Penguins’ initiative,” said Tim Griffin, CEO of Userful, the developer of Userful Multiplier. “This free computer lab promotion lets every school experience firsthand the next generation of desktop virtualization that is already in use in over 3,000 school locations. The global economic situation calls for schools to extract as much value from their limited budgets as possible. This is an ideal opportunity for schools to save nine-10ths of their hardware and maintenance costs.”

Grant Ho, senior product marketing manager for SUSE Linux Enterprise Desktop at Novell, said, “The strong global uptake we've seen thus far with ‘Free the Penguins’ is a testament to the value that SUSE Linux Enterprise Desktop is bringing to schools and we look forward to working with Omni and Userful in the next phase of this program.

“Given today's tough economic climate, schools are continuing to look for ways to rationalize IT spend. By deploying SUSE Linux Enterprise Desktop, schools can dramatically save on costs, while gaining a user-friendly desktop experience that enhances productivity for teachers and provides a first-rate learning environment for students.”

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