At the beginning of the year, I did some clean up on the computers in my room.Â Most of them were running fine, but two of them seemed to be on their last leg.Â I’d picked up the computers second hand from a throw away pile at my school – so they weren’t exactly first class from the start.Â They were running Win XP and probably had some lurking viruses when I got them.Â They served their purpose, rather slowly, for about a quarter.Â They weren’t going to work in that state much longer.
Since I didn’t have access to a legitimate copy of Win XP, nor much desire to use it again, I decided to give Linux a try. I loaded up the latest version of Ubuntu and gave it a run.Â Everything works great on it.Â It comes with Firefox, Open Office, and a number of other apps (including Gimp – a Photoshop like application) pre-installed. The interface is pretty similar to Windows and there are a lot of customization options.Â The computers aren’t lightning fast (they are pretty old), but they run faster than they did with Windows installed.Â My students have been using the Ubuntu computers for two weeks now and didn’t require any special training on using it.Â In most cases, I didn’t even have to show students where to start Firefox.
If you’ve got old computers hanging around that may be destined for the trash bin, a Linux operating system may provide some new life for them.Â They are fully functional and handle all the Internet applications my students use (Google docs, Flash activities, Videos, etc.).Â Even better is that it doesn’t take a very powerful computer to run Linux.Â I’m running it on computers with Intel 2 processors and 256 MB of RAM.