Students are required to do the following tasks for write report by answering all the
questions at the end of case study: (Total Marks = 90 Marks)
Task 2.a: Answering all the questions at the end of case study. (60 Marks)
Task 2.b: Student is required to write comments as a reflection for case study. (15 Marks)
Task 2.c: Student is required to write report of above mention tasks with proper referencing and documentation. (15 Marks)
Read the case below taken from: “Linux Case Study Orwell High School” by of Andy Trevor of
Total Solution and John Osborne published on The Register global online tech publication: (Andy Trevor, n.d.)
Read the following case study carefully and analyze the situation:
“Orwell High School, in Felix stowed on the East Coast of England, is a school with some 1,000 students ranging in age from 11 to 18. The school has just received Specialist School for Technology status through a Government initiative. Funding is never easy for schools in the UK public sector and John Osborne, the Deputy Head of the School responsible for the Specialist School initiative, found himself faced with a difficult situation. When John contacted Total Solution Computing Limited to discuss his cabling and server requirements, Total Solution were able to propose a one-stop solution to Orwell’s requirements, switching to Open Source for the software systems while simultaneously upgrading the networking infrastructure. All staff at the school now have laptops, and the school wanted to link these to the network wirelessly. The school had specific software requirements for the teaching environment, nearly all of which are met and exceeded by standard Open Source software packages such as OpenOffice.org, MySQL and The Gimp. These have a huge advantage over their proprietary counterparts because the students can also run them at home on their PCs without needing to worry about software licensing.
Total Solution proposed a low-cost solution that fully met the objectives of Orwell High School at a fraction of the cost of the Windows-based proprietary equivalent. The solution has Linux at its core with a desktop based on KDE kiosk-ised to reduce administrative complexity and cost. A crucial component of the Linux-based solution was a switch to thin-client workstations accessing software running on two central application servers. This allowed all of the existing PC hardware to be re-used without any upgrades. When the PCs boot they no longer use local hard drives, but download copies of the Linux Terminal Server software from a central server instead. Running that software, they become clients for the application servers. Instead of spending significant amounts of money on upgrading the hardware, this has prolonged the life of the workstations by several years at least (and as a consequence also reduces the load on the local landfill site). Since the workstations no longer need hard drives, their power consumption and their noise output is noticeably reduced. As discussed later, the thin-client model also slashes administration effort. The Linux-based desktop uses a range of standard applications, amongst them OpenOffice.org which provides word processing, a presentation package and a spreadsheet; all of them are able to save and import files in their native XML format whilst retaining compatibility with Microsoft formats. Quanta is used as the HTML editor, the KDE education package provides an assortment of educational software components, Scribus is the
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desktop publishing package and The Gimp is an excellent image manipulation tool with a wide range of capabilities.
Every student has a personal quota for file space and printer usage. Their personal FTP space is accessible both inside and outside the school and is used to share their files between home and school. There is additional shared FTP space administered by staff, used for setting assignments and sharing background documents. Email is provided to students and staff through Squirrel mail which gives a web interface very similar to Hotmail or Yahoo mail, this too is visible from home as well as from school. The shared-calendar features of Squirrel mail are also proving popular. Overall, the project has been a resounding success. John Osborne said: “I can’t believe how easy it has been to move to Linux. The systems were installed and working within a week and it has been a revelation how simple and painless the process has been. I have saved thousands of pounds per year and got a brand-new ICT infrastructure at the same time.” He added: “Without switching to Linux, I would have been forced to cut back on our ICT hardware and software provision. There simply wasn’t the budget to upgrade to the latest versions of the software nor to keep replacing suites of PCs on a three or four year cycle. Now I have no licensing costs to worry about for the Open Source parts of the solution. We shall be moving to a complete Open Source basis as quickly as is practical and hope to start working with other schools interested in this type of development to share ideas and best practice”. The students have taken to the new system without any difficulty whatsoever. They much prefer it to the Windows systems they had been using before, commenting particularly on the reliability of the system and one observing that he was astonished to discover, having accidentally switched off his workstation before logging out, that KDE’s session-restore facility returned him back to where he had been previously when he logged in again.
The administration overhead of the previous Windows-based classrooms had kept the school’s ICT technician working twelve hours a day. The new system has greatly reduced this workload. John Said “The significant amount of additional work that will arise as a result of our new status would have made his job impossible had we remained with our Windows based network, and we would have been looking to increase our technician staffing to cope. This would have been another significant ongoing cost which we now feel we can avoid. This funding can now be better spent on developing materials for the staff and students to use rather than on keeping the network running.”
4. Considering the above case study, and the fact that cloud based systems is used by all the schools in the scenario like those in place at Orwell High School, do you think single technician could administrator three to five separate schools?