SuSE plans to give shrink-wrapped boxes of SuSE Linux 7.1 to U.S. private and public high schools -- free. The supply is limited. So if you are a U.S. high school teacher or administrator submit your request now. If not, give your local high school a phone call and clue them in to the free software and the benefits of Linux.
This is Phase II of a Linux giveaway program that SuSE started in March 2001. In that (phase 1) program, SuSE gave some 2,500 boxes of SuSE Linux 7.1 to qualifying U.S. high schools. Holger Dyroff, director of sales at SuSE's U.S. operation, told MozillaQuest Magazine most schools ask for the professional version.
SuSE Linux Professional is a good choice. It's lots more than merely an operating system (OS). It includes, well, it includes just about everything -- from all that you need for personal or small business computing, to Web surfing and e-mailing, to multimedia and game playing, to large scale business and enterprise computing, to server and network computing, to computer programming development tools. All in all, Linux is a darn good alternative to most flavors of Microsoft Windows.
You can do just about everything with today's Linux that you can do with Microsoft Windows -- perhaps even more. SuSE Linux 7.1 includes a very Windows-like desktop, the K Desktop Environment (KDE).
If you are a Microsoft Windows user, MozillaQuest Magazine has a special series, Linux for Microsoft Windows Users, to help you acclimate yourself to Linux. To see just how similar Linux and Microsoft Windows can look and feel, please take a quick look at parts 2 - 5 of the Linux for Microsoft Windows Users series.
Incidentally, you also can install Linux on the very same computer that you already have Microsoft Windows installed. That way you can boot the computer into either Windows or Linux.
It's a pretty simple procedure if you have a good hard-drive partitioning-tool such as Partition Magic or Partition Commander. Please see our article Dual-Boot Linux & Windows to Get the Best of Both Operating System Worlds for more information about partition and boot management.
If you never have used Linux, something that will knock your socks off is all the great, free, software that comes free with many Linux packages. SuSE's Linux 7.1 Professional distribution comes with an organizer, e-mail client, media players, office tools for word-processing, spreadsheets, and presentations, plus web browsers and lots more.
SuSE's Linux 7.1 Professional distribution also comes with Netscape Navigator 4.7.3, StarOffice 5.2, Adobe Acrobat Reader, and GIMP, the pixel-based, image manipulation and editing program. (GIMP = GNU Image Manipulation Program)
GIMP is a darn good, Adobe PhotoShop clone, image-editing program. It's free Open Source Software (OSS) and there are both Windows and Linux versions. If you are a graphics/art teacher that has students in need of PhotoShop but cannot afford it, clue them in to GIMP. They can download GIMP and install it -- for free -- free -- free.
StarOffice 5.2, from Sun Microsystems, conceptually is very much like Microsoft Office. It's free and there are both Linux and Windows versions. Although StarOffice is not the same as Microsoft Office, you can do lots of the same sorts of things with StarOffice that you can do with Microsoft Office. You can download StarOffice and install it -- for free -- free -- free.
Incidentally, another nice free office tool for Linux and Windows is AbiWord. AbiWord is a free, open source, cross-platform (XP), lightweight, desktop word processor. It looks and feels much like Microsoft Word. (Please see our article AbiWord - A Free, Decent, MS Word Clone for Linux, MS Windows, & Other Platforms for more about AbiWord.)
We asked some questions about the free software program via e-mail. Here are our questions and the answers from SuSE's Holger Dyroff.
MozillaQuest: Why are you doing it?
Holger Dyroff: The educational campaign is part of an ongoing effort to make open source computing the IT standard for operating systems and applications worldwide. The days of proprietary operating systems dominating the computing landscape are limited and this program allows the world to see the changes taking place today.
MozillaQuest: What are the goals and objectives?
Holger Dyroff: To demonstrate the open source philosophy and show students, teachers, administrators and IT specialist that they do not have to be tied to expensive operating systems and ongoing costly upgrades.
MozillaQuest: What are the ground rules for the schools that take the product?
Holger Dyroff: The project is limited to US High Schools. The participation form needs to be filled out by a schoolteacher / administrator. The boxes will be shipped to the school and not to any private addresses.
MozillaQuest: Can they put it on as many machines as they like?
Holger Dyroff: Sure, it is Open Source. The only restriction is, they are not allowed to copy the CDs and sell copies under SuSE's products.
MozillaQuest: Will you ship to any school that asks or do you have a limited number of units for this program?
Holger Dyroff: We shipped 2500 boxes in April/May and we have another 2500 boxes for phase II.
MozillaQuest: Which SuSE product(s) are you shipping for this project?
Holger Dyroff: The professional or the personal version (most schools ask for the professional version). Right now we are shipping 7.1.
MozillaQuest: Are you providing support -- if so is the support free or is there a fee?
Holger Dyroff: SuSE provides the regular installation support.
The free, giveaway product is SuSE Linux 7.1, which was released in February 2001. The current SuSE product is SuSE Linux 7.2, which was released June 15.
Both versions have the basic 2.4 Linux kernel, although SuSE 7.2 has the slightly newer 2.4.4 kernel. In like manner, SuSE 7.1 has the slightly older KDE version 2.0 whereas SuSE 7.2 has the 2.1.2 KDE version.
Incidentally, since SuSE released its 7.2 Linux distribution the K organization released KDE 2.2. Please see our article KDE 2.2 Released -- Binaries and Source Code Available for Downloading for more information about the KDE 2.2 upgrade.
It is not necessary to upgrade from SuSE Linux 7.1 to 7.2. However, if you do want the very latest stuff, you do have some options.
If you like you can download and install the newer components, such as the Linux kernel or KDE, for free. Or, for $70 you can purchase SuSE Linux 7.2 Professional, which includes 7 CDs, 1 DVD, 5 manuals, and 90 days of installation support ($30 for SuSE Linux 7.2 Personal, which includes 3 CDs, 3 manuals, 60 days of installation support).
To apply for your free SuSE's Linux 7.1 package, complete the email form at http://www.suse.com/cgi-bin/schools.pl.
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Schools Apply for Free SuSE's Linux 7.1 Package
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Grokking the GIMP, New Riders, $45, ISBN 0-7357-0924-6
GIMP for Linux Bible, IDG Books, $40, ISBN 0-7645-3398-3
Sams Teach Yourself GIMP in 24 Hours, SAMS, $25, ISBN 0-672-31509-2
Inside Linux , New Riders, $40. ISBN: 0-7357-0940-8
Practical KDE , QUE Books, $30, ISBN: 0-7897-2216-X
Special Edition Using Linux, 6th Ed. , QUE Books, $45 ISBN: 0-7897-2543-6
StarOffice 5.2 Companion, Prentice Hall, $40, ISBN 0-13-030703-3
StarOffice 5.2 Calc Handbook, Prentice Hall, $30, ISBN 0-13-029389-X
StarOffice 5.2 Writer Handbook, Prentice Hall, $30, ISBN 0-13-029386-5