Linspire Pitches to Education Vertical Market

The workers of tomorrow may learn on Linux desktops in school today, if Linspire's low-cost licensing program is successful.

Intentionally or not, Linspire Inc. may be trying to become the "Education Linux" distribution.

The San Diego-based desktop Linux software maker, formerly known as Lindows, Thursday launched a new, low-cost licensing program for schools who wish to install a Linux desktop operating system as an alternative to the more expensive Microsoft Windows operating system.

Through the program, educators will be able to sign up for single copies or per-unit volume license packs of Linspire at special educator rates, starting at $15 per license.

Educators who are interested in the program and would like to receive a free evaluation copy of Linspire should visit this site.

"Desktop Linux is less expensive for schools to buy and less expensive for IT administrators to upgrade," Linspire CEO Kevin Carmony said.

"Its easy to install and easy for teachers and staff members to learn, and its safe from the plague of viruses and spyware. Desktop Linux is the next-generation operating system that students today will grow up using."

Linspire has been working closely with school districts since last August through the Indiana Access Program, which uses desktop Linux systems and standard hardware configurations to keep costs low.

Wintergreen Systems Inc. provided the hardware and Linspire the software for Indiana classrooms.

This program aims to provide each high school student in the state with an individual desktop Linux computer for instructional use in each classroom they visit during the day—a potential 300,000-unit deployment over the next several years.

/zimages/2/28571.gifClick here to read about Linspires efforts to bring the Linux desktop to the channel.

Is this new corporate program a direct spin-off of the Indiana school experiment?

"Not entirely. Linspire has been working on our formal Education Program for some time, but the program certainly ended up being influenced by what we learned while working with the state of Indiana," Carmony told Ziff Davis Internet via e-mail.

"The program was also fast-tracked to help us respond to the large demand we were seeing from other schools who were contacting us after learning of Indianas success with their one-to-one computing program."

Linspire provides a complete, stable operating system for students, teachers and administrators alike. It includes all the applications critical to students and educators—including a full file-compatible office suite, Internet browser, e-mail client, graphics and photo editing programs, and Web filtering programs—in a familiar environment based on the Windows look and feel.

Next Page: The future of Linspires Linux offerings in education.

Chris Preimesberger

Chris Preimesberger

Chris Preimesberger is Editor of Features & Analysis at eWEEK, responsible in large part for the publication's coverage areas. In his 12 years and more than 3,900 stories at eWEEK, he has...