Calgary’s Userful, a company specializing in Linux virtual desktops, has released a new product that could literally transform the lives of countless schoolchildren in the developing world.
The Userful MultiSeat Linux 2011 allows 11 students to use one desktop PC at the same time; by running programs on a single PC tower and attaching 11 keyboards, monitors and mice through a USB hub, all 11 students can use the computer at once. Not only does this cut down on the costs of PC hardware, but it also removes the need for software license fees and reduces electricity costs. This, along with their Multiseat 4.0 software, means that developing countries can provide computer access for students at just $59 per student.
“Digital inclusion is a very important,” said Tim Griffin, President of Userful. “Userful MultiSeat bridges the digital divide by enabling governments to deploy hundreds of thousands of school computers for costs so low, they were impossible before this release.”
While the “$100 Laptop” may be more durable and portable, this is certainly the cheapest option I’ve ever seen to get kids learning about computers (and by the way, the price of the so-called $100 Laptop is closer to $200). Anyone will tell you, that without some sort of technology education, kids in the developing world will be left behind in the dust, and this solution, if implemented properly, could be key to getting children that education.