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NewsForge: Gambling on Linux Pays Off in Nevada

Jul 24, 2003, 20:30 (7 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Karen D. Schwartz)

"When Churchill County School District in Fallon, Nev., asked Dan O'Barr to find a replacement for an aging and expensive PIX firewall in 2000, the technology manager for the school district learned it would cost $20,000 to upgrade the hardware and acquire additional licenses through Cisco Systems. O'Barr decided he had nothing to lose by trying to create a firewall with Linux. Even though he didn't have much experience with the operating system at the time--and virtually no experience using it in a firewall environment--he was confident that he could learn how to make it work.

"O'Barr ordered a small rack-mounted server from Dell Computer Corp. for about $1,300, downloaded a copy of Red Hat Linux, and proceeded to create a firewall. The result was a firewall O'Barr says was as good or better than anything the school district ever had with the PIX system--at a significant cost savings.

"After that success, O'Barr was hooked. He learned everything he could about Linux, becoming a vocal proponent--and a thorn in the side of Nevada's Department of Information Technology, which had a history of support for Microsoft products. He became well-versed in Linux, eager to try it on other projects. He would soon have his chance..."

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