On February 4th, Userful, ThinNetworks and Positivo announced their plan to provide 324,000 virtualized desktops to schools in all of Brazil's 5,560 municipalities—the World's largest desktop virtualization deployment. The Linux-equipped desktops will be offered at a record-setting low-cost for PCs, with the PC sharing hardware and software costing less than $50 per seat. Userful and ThinNetworks will provide the desktop virtualization, including full-screen streaming video, as well as the PC sharing software and hardware. Positivo will provide the PCs and services. This marks the third phase of a nationwide rollout of computer in schools. The first phase provided 19,000 desktops, and was met with great success. Additionally, the computers will have minimal environmental impact—Userful can turn 1 computer into 10 independent workstations, saving the Brazilian government around $47 billion in up-front costs, $9 billion in annual power savings and further savings in ongoing administration and support costs. The computers use 90% less electricity than traditional PC-per-workstation solutions, and save over 140,000 tons of CO2 emissions annually. Turning 1 computer into 10, through the use of extra monitors, mice and keyboards, also reduces computer hardware waste by up to 80%. Ronaldo Mota of the Brazilian Ministry of Education says their goal is to "bring information and communication technologies to 45,000 schools by 2010, and they will serve about 60% of 2.7 million students." The schools will use Linux Educacional 2.0, a special software package put together by the Brazilian Ministry of Education, to leverage the power, flexibility and costs savings of open source software.
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