I know most of your school’s have way too much money and already own the latest version of all the good software out there, but just in case you actually have budgetary issues and are running older versions of windows, you just might want to check this out. They have recently released a new version of Knoppix, the live CD with a bazillion education related pieces of software on it.
A live CD is a CD that you can simply put into a computers CD-ROM drive and use to boot up a new operating system. It doesn’t need to install anything, simply stick the CD in, start up the computer and all of a sudden you’re a Linux user. It doesn’t mess up your copy of Windows or anything else on your hard drive at all. It also comes with Open Source replacements for Microsoft Office, Adobe Photoshop, Internet Explorer, Outlook, Kid Pix, Typing Tutor and so on…
I know what you’re thinking. “I already have Windows, I already have Office, I already have Kid Pix, why should I try this out?” One reason is that you may have some computers that are aging or that don’t have all of that software. Do you have enough copies of Microsoft Office office to cover every computer? Have you had a few computers donated to the school but can’t afford to put Operating Systems on them without breaking software licensing laws? Then this is a quick and easy solution for you. Additionally, do all of your students have top of the line computes at home with full software suites? If not, you can burn off multiple copies of this CD, 100% legally of course, and send it home with your students. No muss, no fuss. They stick it in the CD drive and it works. It could not be any simpler. All of a sudden, regardless of financial status or the age of their computer, all of your students can have an Open Source version of Photoshop at home.
Another reason is that it provides a quick and easy entry into the world of Linux. Many people have thought about trying it out but aren’t ready to move away from Windows. Just stick the CD in and all of a sudden you’re a full blow Linux user. You can see what all the fuss is for yourself. As I discovered a few days ago, it also makes one heck of a rescue disk. I’m in the process of rebuilding my wife’s laptop, but when everything else failed Knoppix allowed me to get the data off of her laptop. Not only did it simply allow me to, it provided me with a fully functional computer in the meantime.
So stop by the web site, download the live CD, and give it a shot. I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised with what you wind up with.