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Linux Gazette: Secure and Robust Computer Systems for Primary and Secondary Schools

“A wealthy school district will have the option of purchasing
new software and hardware at some appropriate interval. It may also
have the technical staff to install and maintain the hardware and
software. Even in this idealized school district, the computer
system environment is a harsh one, with its many student users,
some of whom start as relatively computer illiterate and may not
have acquired the discipline to follow administrative rules
intended to ameliorate system virus infections and other external
attacks on the system. The technical staff has the added burden of
attempting to maintain system security in this nearly impossible
environment, characterized by intermittent, unplanned intense work
shifts in response to system security disasters. Providing the
necessary level of technical expertise is quite expensive and
consequently rather rare in our school systems. In fact, many of
the primary and secondary schools in the USA have computer
facilities that are in dire straits. Perhaps the major problems are
these two:

  • “The networks are plagued by viruses etc. and suffer
    significant down time. Further, loss of files and of attendant work
    time is routine.
  • “Often the computers are a hodgepodge of donated and purchased
    computers with various versions of Microsoft operating systems and
    software…”

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