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[DS-discuss]NEWS-HAWAII: A source for schools..

From: Frederick Noronha (FN)
Subject: [DS-discuss]NEWS-HAWAII: A source for schools..
Date: Sun, 11 May 2003 02:46:55 +0530 (IST)


   Industry Focus: NonProfits
   A Source for Schools

   Local techies promote open-source software while benefiting Hawaii
   By Ronna Bolante

   Like most sensible people, high school teacher Rudy Lopez had never
   believed in something for nothing. Then again, most people havent met
   R. Scott Belford, founder of the Hawaii Open Source Education

   Lopez took his computer to Belford, a local technology coordinator,
   for some basic repairs. During that first meeting, Belford asked Lopez
   if hed like to try out some free software known as open source. I
   basically felt that Id probably get what I didnt pay for, Lopez

   Belford is all too familiar with that perception. Last year, he
   founded the nonprofit Hawaii Open Source Education Foundation (HOSEF)
   to dispel such notions about open-source technology and, in the
   process, provide a valuable resource to Hawaiis cash-strapped schools.

    SHINING A LIGHT: Redemption Academy instructor Rudy Lopez (left) gets
      tech tips from Hoala Greevy and R. Scott Belford of the Hawaii Open
                                             Source Education Foundation.

   HOSEF promotes the use of open-source software, which is a cost-saving
   alternative to operating systems such as Microsoft Windows. The
   nonprofit solicits computer donations from businesses and individuals,
   refurbishes the hardware and installs open-source operating systems in
   those units. The final, revamped product is then donated to a local
   school or nonprofit. HOSEF also teaches staff how to use these
   open-source programs and provides continual technical support, all
   free of charge.

   Unlike proprietary systems, open source allows users to access and
   modify its code freely. Most programs can be downloaded from the
   Internet for free and users dont pay any client-licensing fees.

   Warren Togami, HOSEFs chief technology officer, says: Thats why open
   source is ideal for schools, because theyre the ones with the tightest

   Linux is the best-known example of open source. With support from tech
   titans such as IBM and Intel, Linux has become part of mainstream
   technology for corporations across the globe. Local companies such as
   First Hawaiian Bank and Architects Hawaii also use open source.

   Despite such corporate endorsements, it hasnt been easy for HOSEF to
   promote this revolutionary concept. Take Rudy Lopez first reaction to
   Belfords proposal, for example. But once Lopez tinkered with a few
   Linux programs, he immediately fell in love with open source, he says.
   So much so that, a few months later, Lopez asked HOSEF to build nine
   Linux-running computers for his digital-imaging students at Kailuas
   Redemption Academy.

   If we had actually bought all of this software for word processing and
   photo editing, that wouldve cost the school at least $3,500, Lopez
   says. HOSEF also donated nine monitors for the schools new Linux lab.

   So far, HOSEF has received more than 125 computers from local
   individuals and companies, including Finance Factors, Hickam Air Force
   Base, Haseko Hawaii and Pricebusters.

   In addition to Redemption Academy, HOSEF has launched Linux labs at
   Mid-Pacific Institute and St. John the Baptist.

   At the time of this writing, technology coordinator Michael Bishop had
   just requested 60 computers from HOSEF. He intends to build a Linux
   lab for ESL and GED students at the McKinley Community School for

   As all schools are, were limited on budget, Bishop says. So being able
   to have 60 computers donated, plus support from the HOSEF community it
   kind of blows me away.

   HOSEFs 25 volunteer members assist school tech coordinators in
   maintaining their Linux labs. The organization also hosts a free
   online mailing list, where more than 250 subscribers swap advice on
   Linux operating systems.

   As for Rudy Lopez, he plans to eventually expand his schools Linux
   lab, as well as add on more applications. Ive really just scratched
   the surface of what Linux can do, Lopez says. This is just the start.

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