Userful, ThinNetworks, and the large system builders Positivo, Itautec, and Daruma came together to provide a low-cost, high-performance computing solution: one computer powering five independent workstations. Positivo, Itautec, and Daruma provided the PC's, and ThinNetworks provided the video cards, audio hubs and the heart of the project – Userful software.
The Brazilian Ministry of Education chose the free Linux operating system as the platform, calculating the projected long term benefits this choice will bring to the Brazilian economy. With access to thousands of high quality software programs specifically suited to the management and education of K-12, teachers are easily tailoring curricula to individual students from a young age. Students are developing digital skills that will help them with their school work and prepare them for jobs in the future. Because there are no licensing fees or restrictions on open source software, students are also continuing to learn, explore and utilize software programs at home. This has allowed families to be more involved in their children's education.
On average, schools using Windows in Latin America have reported spending 40% of the value of their computer purchases on software licensing fees. Embracing Linux and open source software frees up this spending so that schools and ministries can provide more students with computer access for the same budget.
Virtually every Windows application has a free equivalent for Linux and because of the stable and secure design of Linux, less intervention by IT support staff is required to resolve virus issues and keep the computers running properly. Selecting Linux not only ensures lower deployment costs, but also sows the seeds for a future local ICT economy that isn't locked-in and dependent on a foreign monopoly.