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Calgary Tech Firm Makes Positive Impact on Youth Development in Latin America - Takes part in World's Largest Digital & Social Inclusion Initiative

Calgary, AB – March 24, 2011 –
Userful Corporation, the global leader in low cost and environmentally responsible Linux school computers, today announced it has sold over 500,000 seats of its software in Latin America, and was part of the largest ever digital and social inclusion initiatives in the world in Brazil. Userful has been invited to attend this year's prestigious, Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) Annual Board of Governors meeting this week from March 25-28, as well as the IDB Youth Development Conference on March 24, which are being held in Userful's home city, Calgary. This event is an opportunity for delegates from all over the world to meet to discuss issues concerning Latin America. Userful is proud to add their expertise and contribute to the collaborative discussions around solving issues in Latin American regions on youth development, digital and social inclusion, and education that will be taking place throughout the event. Userful's first hand experience in Latin-America gives voice to the impact inter-American collaboration on innovative technology can have and how it can multiply the success and return on investment of government infrastructure investment.

The low cost of entry and significant on-going cost savings of Userful solutions, are proving hugely advantageous in both education and public sector organizations. More than 50,000 schools worldwide are already using Userful to provide millions of students with computer access. Userful has sold over 500,000 seats of its software in Latin America, and countries such as Brazil, who have already successfully deployed over 350,000 Userful computer stations to schools in every municipality, have shown that with the combined cost savings of Userful MultiSeat, Linux, and open source software, it is feasible to provide every student with an education using computers. To date, this is the largest digital inclusion project in the world, bringing access to computer technology to children and their families across the country.

“This project will bring access to information technology to almost every young student in Brazil.” Said Luiz Ferreira, President of ThinNetworks. “But this project will mean much more: it is the beginning of a cycle of children and adults socially integrated.” ThinNetworks developed and manufactured special hardware for the project designed to work reliably in harsh conditions with little supporting infrastructure. For some schools where roads were impassable by cars, computers were even carried in on donkey-back.

The Brazilian Ministry of Education not only reduced equipment and software costs, but also ongoing repair and maintenance costs, allowing for significant expansion of the project. They used to spend R$18,000 on each traditional computer lab. The new computer labs using Userful MultiSeat are deployed for as little as a third of that cost (R$6,000), and have extended education using computers to 35 million students in the country. In many of these schools the substantially reduced infrastructure requirements of Userful MultiSeat (EX: just one power plug and network connection required) made it possible to deploy these labs without upgrading wiring in the school, achieving further savings over traditional approaches.

Open Source and Linux are being adopted across many Latin American regions. On average, schools using Windows in Latin America have reported spending 40% of the value of their computer purchases on software. Linux and open source software free up this spending so that schools and ministries can provide more students with computer access for the same budget. The Linux operating system, and open source application software, provide free, secure, and customizable alternatives to the Windows operating system, and proprietary application software. Virtually every Windows application has a free equivalent for Linux. Because there are no licensing fees or restrictions on open source software, students can also continue to learn, explore and utilize software programs at home. This allows families to be more involved in their children's education.

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. It is important that large scale infrastructure deployments, such as the one implemented in Brazil, don't inadvertently create a long term dependence such as paying to train their entire population on an operating system the students will in turn need to pay a foreign company to use the rest of their lives. The values of shared and open learning, enable inter-connected and technology aware citizens to emerge, which exemplifies the ideals of social and digital inclusion.

“Social inclusion in the Americas is very important to me, and I believe improving the quality of education available to youth in an environmentally, and economically sustainable way to be one of the key pillars in achieving this.” said Tim Griffin, President of Userful. “The IDB 2011 World Conference coming to Calgary this year is a great opportunity to demonstrate the success Calgary companies such as Userful have had in aiding youth development throughout Latin America.

Userful MultiSeat software turns 1 PC into 10, enabling up to 10 students to use applications at the same time from one host computer. Set up is Plug-And-Play, and each student is equipped with their own independent monitor, keyboard, and mouse. With Userful, Ministries of Education, governments and NGOs can deploy twice as many computers for the same budget dollars using familiar and flexible, standard PC hardware. Userful is a green solution. It reduces electricity use by up to 90%, enabling schools to recover the cost of their computers through electricity cost savings over a few years. It also reduces e-waste by up to 80% and reduces manufacturing water use by over 9000kg per system.

Userful offers a free 10 station, 90 day pilot for any department of education worldwide so that educators can easily experience first hand the high performance, and ease of use of the solution. To learn more and to download, visit products/userful-multiseat, email getstarted@userful.com, or phone +1.403.289.2177 ext.795.

About Userful:

Userful Corporation is the world's leading Linux desktop virtualization company with millions of users in over 100 countries. The company's software which turns 1 computer into 10 lowers desktop computing costs, improves manageability, and reduces both electricity consumption and e-waste. Userful's software is sold through a partner network of resellers and OEMs worldwide. Privately held and founded in 1999, Userful launched their flagship product in 2002, and has since sold over 750,000 seats. To learn more about Userful, visit: https://www.userful.com

Trademark notice: Userful MultiSeat™ is a trademark of Userful Corporation. All other trademarks are the property of their respective owners.