Recently we managed to fund the purchase of 16 new computers in my wife’s primary school. The old hardware were Pentium III 500 MHz boxes running Windows 98. When I connected the computer room to the DSL router (Linksys WRT54G running DD-WRT), they were all crying for security updates.
I wasn’t going to put Windows 98 on the new PCs, so what options did we have? Buying new Microsoft licenses was not covered by the budget, and probably not needed, anyway: the only software that was already available was a set of outdated education programs, most of which could easily be replaced by stuff available online.
After a brief trial with OpenSUSE, my choice was Ubuntu. The reason to go for OpenSUSE was that it’s available with german language pack – going to Linux and english at the same time might have been a bit too much for 3rd graders ;)
But then I found german Ubuntu CD images, and I was good to go. I prepared 5 CDs and installed 14 PCs in less than two hours, including account setup and Firefox preparation (start page to a kids friendly site, Adblock).
Very nice. The next thing to do will be to set up a common file storage, and to look for educational software (1st to 4th grade primary school, in german). Any hints gladly appreciated.