Cybersource Prepares Free Linux-based Solution for Australian Schools

The Australian Federal and State governments have announced programs to give school kids laptops, but cost and deployment issues are causing these programs to be delayed or stopped. In response, Cybersource has prepared a free, Linux-based solution for use by Australian schools, which makes it possible to bring one million new laptops to Australian school children. The solution involves using low-cost netbooks, allocating one per two students, with the students using 'live' Linux USB keys to store their operating system, applications and schoolwork. This results in a major reduction in installation and maintenance complexity, but still allows the students flexibility in how they use their netbooks and applications.

The solution is expected to cost $500 per unit (ie, for 2 students sharing) or $1000 per 4 students, including all hardware and software costs. All that remains is the effort of having designated teaching staff image the USB keys, which is a trivial, one-click exercise. The solution has been seen to work in other countries, such as France, where 175,000 'live' Linux USB keys were supplied to Parisian school children. This proposal can ensure that every single school child in Australia has access to an educational netbook/laptop for much of the school week and have that laptop filled with hundreds of useful educational software applications, all within the budget offered by the Government. The use of Linux and Open Source software is not a disadvantage as students are not likely to be using the same versions of Microsoft's products years later when they enter industry. It is important that schools teach concepts such as word-processing and spreadsheets rather than specific products such as Word and Excel. This proposal can future-proof Australian school children's education.