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The municipality of Hudiksvall, Sweden, cutting their costs with Linux

The trend of offering a computer to every student is growing in Swedish public and private schools. But many schools struggle to meet the demands, as the total costs are deemed high. The most widespread solution is to lease computers, including software and support at a high yearly price.

One example (of many similar in Sweden) is the municipality of Soderhamn, where the leasing contract amounts to € 430 per year and computer, resulting in a total cost of approximately € 1.300 over a period of three years. This is a common and fairly high priced solution, forcing the majority of schools to set up special computer classrooms, where students have to use the facitilites on a "time-share" basis.

As a comparison, the neighbouring municipality of Hudiksvall selected a different solution, thereby cutting their costs by more than half for the same 3 year period, i e spending less than € 500 per computer over the three year period.

Hudiksvall chose to buy their computers at € 323 apiece (Netbook computers). Using an open source specialist company the computers were then configured to the specific needs, based on Ubuntu.

- Utilizing cloud computing applications, in our case Google Apps, in conjunction with the openness of the installed computer software and the responsibility of the individual that follows, is a concept that offers important aspects, says the municipality' s information technology strategist Curt Blomkvist.

In Sweden this still is an unconventionally solution, even though it gives several advantages as well as reduced costs.

- The whole idea is based on the fact that the students must and will take responsibility of their "own" computer, eg. reinstalling the computer themselves if necessary, says the municipality' s project developer Lars Furubom and continues:

- The support demands were much higher prior to using Ubuntu, even though we had fewer computers and 6-7 students shared the same computer. Now we can provide a laptop computer to every student, with the same budget as before.