Linux for 30,000 PCs at Schools in India

Aug 08, 2007

The Electronics Corporation of Tamil Nadu (ELCOT) will be installing Suse Linux Enterprise on 30,000 desktops and 1880 servers at schools in the southern Indian state.

ELCOT is a government authority for IT services in Tamil Nadu, which has a population of over 70 million. Following a government decision in January 2007, the organization first migrated its own IT infrastructure from Microsoft Windows to Suse Linux. Leveraging the experiences gained in the migration phase, the authority then went on to work with teachers to identify the right Open Source applications for educational purposes. The applications will be installed along with the Linux operating system on every school PC. This followed an announcment by the authority that all state IT projects in Tamil Nadu were to be migrated to Open Source software.

In an interview C. Umashankar, the head of ELCOT, said that costs were the main reason for the change. And his expectations have been confirmed: "We estimate that moving to Linux has reduced our general hardware costs by nearly 25 percent. In the case of high-end servers, the savings could be as much as 80 percent." The Indian IT expert went on to say that benefits for students were even more important: " There is a growing trend towards the corporate adoption of Linux, both in India and elsewhere, so it will be a real advantage in the job market to have experience working with open source software."

The ELCOT has a "greenlist" of devices that the authority has tested with Linux and recommends for use. The neighboring state, Kerala, has also announced that it will be moving to free software.

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