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FairfaxIT: Trinity drinks deeply at learning's open source

Jun 08, 2001, 13:45 (17 Talkback[s])

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Here's a positive look at Trinity College computer lab, which took one look at the Sun's Sun Rays and decided it could do better for its needs with a Debian and GNOME-running network of thin clients. Beyond being a deployment success story, the story goes into how open source software has helped the school provide solutions to a lot of problems.

There's plenty here to think about, including an encouraging take on using AbiWord instead of Word: "We're educating, not training."

"By booting from the network, desktop administration is streamlined as software is deployed from a central server, saving time and cost. Clients are swapped in and out quickly, and consistent and rigorous security is maintained. The result is a lower total cost of ownership, Bell says.

The transition removed the need for Microsoft's Office. Word, Excel and Powerpoint were replaced with open source equivalents AbiWord, GNUmeric, and the Photoshop-like GNU Image ManiPulator (GIMP). Presentation packages are not taught but if they were, KPresenter, part of the free KOffice suite, would be the likely candidate, says Wraith.

The team stresses that software selection is not fixed and the easy availability of open source applications means the curriculum can quickly change tack."

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