I just got out of high school, and for the summer I'm working on the district network with five other tech people from my CISCO Networking Academy class. Over the summer we've been doing the most exciting thing I've ever seen on this network.
Six hundred of our thousand or so machines are now Linux Thinstations using Citrix to log on to our Windows server farm. Next summer the department will work on converting to OpenOffice instead of the Microsoft Office Suite. The only thing stopping us now is our dependence on Outlook (which is our biggest security risk, too, btw), but my boss says he'll have that worked out by next summer.
Buying Microsoft licenses for all our programs on just 18 servers instead of 600 workstations is saving our district hundreds of thousands of dollars, and centralizing activity is increasing security exponentially (examples: I lost count of how many times I had to run SpyBot at a workstation, and kids' - and teachers' - use of peer-to-peer downloading programs had been quickly increasing over the last five years). And for the few programs the schools use that cannot run from the servers, we still have several WinXP labs.
This setup works so well for this district because everything has been Microsoft from the beginning (except for a few Macs back in the day, but we don't like to talk about that disaster), so that's what the teachers are used to. All the arguments here that people like what they know are valid - I spent an hour each day for two years at the high school's help desk, so believe me, neither students nor teachers want to learn any more new stuff than they really have to, and I've discovered that a high school is a rather humorous expression of society as a whole...
Anyway, to the point - we've got a weird setup. The servers are Windows and the workstations are a stripped-down Linux. You just don't see that a lot. After implementing it, I don't see why it isn't done more often. Through this thread I saw but one mention of thinstations, and I lept at it, but it seemed that no one else did. I suppose most people are small biz/home office users and wouldn't need to think about hundreds of thousands of dollars and a thousand workstations, but the so-called "popularity" of Microsoft products (how about "abundance" anyone?) is most prevalent in corporate America and school districts, where this kind of a setup would make the most difference.
I'm off to University in a month, and at my new school they are also trying out Linux Thinstations to decrease their dependency on Microsoft. I anticipate having a great time learning more about this crazycool OS scheme.
Glad to see a civil discussion on this, everyone!
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