Using open source in school greatly reduces the time needed to troubleshoot PCs, shows the case of the Colegio Agustinos de León (Augustinian College of León, Spain). In 2013, the school switched to using Ubuntu Linux for its desktop PCs in class rooms and offices. For teachers and staff, the amount of technical issues decreased by 63 per cent and in the school’s computer labs by 90 per cent, says Fernando Lanero, computer science teacher and head of the school’s IT department.
The school in total has 120 PCs used by teachers, staff and students.
“One year after we changed PC operating system, I have objective data on Ubuntu Linux”, Lanero tells Muy Linux, a Spanish Linux news site. By switching to Linux, incidents such as computer viruses, system degradation and many diverse technical issues disappeared instantly.
The change also helps the school save money, he adds. Not having to purchase licences for proprietary operating systems, office suites and anti-virus tools has already saved about EUR 35,000 in the 2014-2015 school year, Lanero says. “Obviously it is much more interesting to invest that money in education.”
Switching to a new desktop PC environment was harder for staff than for students, the computer science teacher says. “Students are eager to work with GNU/Linux, because of its association with hackers. It is adding to their motivation. You cannot imagine how well Wikileak’s Julian Assange and Edward Snowden, a former contractor at America's National Security Agency, are helping to promote free software.”
The biggest hurdle for the IT department was the use of electronic whiteboards. The school uses 30 of such whiteboards, and their manufacturer does not support the use of Linux. Lanero got the Spanish Linux community involved, and “after their hard work, Ubuntu Linux now includes support for the whiteboards, so now everything is working as it should.”
Other problems were caused by proprietary documents, especially spreadsheets. Some of the more pernicious issues were temporarily resolved by using a cloud-based proprietary office solution, says Lanero, giving the IT department time to complete the switch to open standards-based office solutions. The school now mostly uses the LibreOffice suite of office tools.
According to Lanero, Augustinian schools in Valancia and Alicante have begun to replicate the Colegio Agustinos de Léon, setting up pilots and beginning a gradual migration. “And across the country, schools have contacted me to hear about the performance, and learn how to undertake similar migrations.”
Muy Linux news item (in Spanish)
English translation of the interview byb Muy Linux
Ubuntu España news item (in Spanish)
Ubuntu Leon news item (in Spanish)
Diario De Leon news item (in Spanish)
Fernando Lanero on Ubuntu Leon