Installfest Linux for SchoolsThe final numbers are in. During Installfest at this week's LinuxWorld Expo, Untangle and its partners put Ubuntu Linux on 750 aging PCs that now run like new. The Installfest was a win for school budgets, kids and the environment. And the event proved -- in a small way -- that Linux can be a key tool that helps close the digital divide.

Let's take a quick look at how the Installfest, driven by Untangle, benefited multiple parties.
  • Schools -- $375,000 In Savings: If a school wanted to buy 750 new PCs with Windows Vista pre-installed, they'd likely have to spend at least $500 for each new system. That's $375,000 for 750 new PCs. But even then, performance would be awful (have you seen Vista on entry-level PCs?) and productivity applications like Microsoft Office would require additional budget.
  • Kids: Ever seen a kid work on a PC for the first time? My sons "lit up" when they got an Eee PC to share. Similarly, kids in low-income areas need to see and learn how the Web is a platform for creativity, collaboration and learning. With the proper supervision and guidance, the Web can be a kid's ticket to greater earning power.
  • The Environment: Roughly 35 million PCs get dumped into landfills, though I'm not sure if that figure reflects an annual trend or a longer-term tally. Regardless, it's a huge number that needs correcting.
I'm not suggesting Linux is a perfect alternative to Windows. But it's hard to find a slim version of Windows backed by an army of Installfest supporters. It's good to see Untangle and Linux giving old PCs new life, and giving kids the tech tools they need.