UK Linux company chalks up success... how about NEO?

Submitted by Norm Roulet on Mon, 01/17/2005 - 20:55.

Who cares about open source? The world's teachers, and countries, for example. Today on ZDNet UK there's a headline that could be about NEO college students, but is not - it's about some students in the UK, who developed an open source Linux operating system package for schools, which is also being embraced by nations and industry (and they're seeking US distributors, if anyone here wants a good second tier opportunity - see http://SchoolLINUX.com. How many open source savvy students are we nurturing here to be such innovators? And how soon will we at least use such open source innovations to transform our schools here, so they may better serve our students, so we'll have effective global innovators in the future. These are the brainpower challenges for our region to become a quality connected place for new economy development in the future. Time for NEO leaders to push these issues to the very top of the agenda to drive economic development here. Read how it's happening beyond our island...

Linux company chalks up success with teachers

mailroomuk [at] zdnet [dot] com
ZDNet UK
January 14, 2005, 12:10 GMT

One of the hits of this year's BETT trade show is a company selling an open source desktop operating system for schools

A three-person Linux company was inundated this week with requests for a product it had not expected to be so successful.

IT teachers attending the BETT educational
technology show in London flocked to SchoolLINUX.com's stand to place
orders for its desktop operating system (OS), called SchoolLINUX OS.
The operating system, which runs from a CD-ROM and uses just 50MB of
RAM, has interested teachers whose old PCs can't cope with the demands
of Windows XP.

"This is the first time we've shown it to anyone," said Paul Jenkins,
managing director of SchoolLINUX.com. He explained that he had expected
to see more demand for a storage product aimed at schools, but
estimated that 90 percent of enquiries and orders were for SchoolLINUX
OS.

"I think this is because [the OS] gives people the opportunity to reuse
old PCs. It lets schools do want they want -- keep computers," Jenkins
said.

SchoolLINUX OS costs £29.95 and includes Mozilla's Firefox browser and
Thunderbird email client; word processing and spreadsheet packages that
can read Microsoft files; and RealPlayer. The OS requires no hard
drive, but can also be copied to and loaded from other storage devices,
such as USB keys, and has full networking capabilities.

Jenkins said he was surprised that so many people had taken an interest
in the OS as he and his two partners, both university computing
students, were not expecting the interest.

The self-funded company is less than a year old, but has already turned over £80,000 in its first six months.

"My daughter's school is building a new library. They're using
[SchoolLINUX] with seven-year-old Celeron 400 machines and it works
fine," said Jenkins. "We had a guy come up to us who wants 200 in two
weeks' time. Even the Jordanian government wants us to go over there
and show them our stuff."

The company has also attracted organisations outside of the education
industry -- it has just clenched a deal with home fittings company
KitchensRus. "The owner there was sick of all the spyware and viruses.
He wanted to switch over because it's just so simple to use. So we're
ripping out all their Windows software and replacing it with this,"
Jenkins explained.