Here’s an interesting account of cost-savings in a school district written by the Technology Coordinator of Noxon Schools in Montana. The school district has been using open source software for the past six years.
Here is the summary of the cost-savings:
OpenOffice Cost for 185 computers = 0 ($0 over 10 years)
Microsoft Office Cost for 185 computers = $11,936.20 ($50,000 over 10 years)
Anti-Virus Software â€“ ClamAV
ClamAv Cost for 185 computers/servers = 0 ($0 over 10 years)
Other Anti-Virus Vendors – $4000 ($40,000 over 10 years)
Red Hat Enterprise 3 servers – $150 ($1500 over 10 years)
SUSE, Slackware – $0 ($0 over 10 years)
Microsoft $7889 (10 Year estimate $23,667)
Novell Yearly Subscription $1000 (10 Year estimate $10,000)
LTSP Server and 100 workstations – $4500
3 additional LTSP Servers – $4000
100 New Computers and Server Hardware for Microsoft Product $78,500.00
10 Year Cost Estimate (upgrade 3 times) – $225,000
Total Open Source Savings for Setup – $92,675.20
Ten Year Savings – $338,667.00
The reality of these figures for Noxon Schools is that if we had Microsoft products only we would not have185 computers we would have 50 because that is all we could sustain. That is the big difference for us.
Relatively, this is a very small school district (only 270 students). Could you imagine the savings in a larger district?
Update: While on this topic, I just noticed a recent short essay by Robert Pogson, a sysadmin in La Loche Saskatchewan. Here, he makes the case for using LTSP (Linux Terminal Server Project) in schools in order to save money on computer hardware.