[K12OSN] OT: Apple Imac lab

Ryan Collins mr.rcollins at gmail.com
Sun Mar 1 23:20:56 UTC 2009

Peter Scheie wrote:
>> TCO for 24 machines will basically be the same as a lab of thin 
>> clients, especially if you purchase a copy of Apple Remote Desktop. 
>> From one machine you can update the lab, install software, change 
>> settings, etc.
> No, it's not.  TCO is not just a measure of updates and the effor they 
> require.  All those fat clients have several more variables by 
> definition than do thin clients, which must all be managed; the cost 
> difference increases as the machines age and hardware becomes more 
> likely to fail; performance varies as some clients are replace sooner 
> than others; consistency quickly falls apart, driving up management 
> costs.  

The beauty of Macs is the standardization and reliability. It doesn't 
matter if machines are replaced with newer machines, one image can 
re-image all of them. You aren't hunting for drivers. I've got one Intel 
image for OS X 10.5.5 that goes on every single Intel Mac we have, from 
the Mac mini, to a couple of different revisions of the iMac.

As for reliability, with only 24 machines you will probably run that lab 
for 5-10 years without a failure. (maybe a hard drive, but those aren't 
hard to replace if the machine is out of warranty).

As for me, I still have All-in-one G3 macs from 1998 running as 
thick-clients to my LTSP server. Macs last forever.


> I think Burke arguably had the best idea, with some caveats: Create a 
> small Mac lab for the video editing, but have it piggyback on the LTSP 
> server for authentication and home dirs.  LTSP lab(s) should be the 
> default configuration throughout the school since it will provide 90% of 
> what students need; and use a *small* Mac lab for such a specialized 
> app.  And make it clear how and why that lab costs more and provides 
> less than the rest of the computing system (LTSP). Frankly, as a parent, 
> I'd rather have the money spent on a(nother) teacher's aide.

I agree completely with this and think it would be a very good direction 
to go. I can understand why the teacher wants to have Macs for a 
multimedia course. It's very difficult if not impossible to compete 
against Garageband, iMovie, Keynote, and iPhoto with OSS solutions.

Someone else said in this thread, the best tool for the job. That's why 
I support OS X, Linux, and Windows.

Ryan Collins - Technology Coordinator - Kenton City Schools

Blog: http://ryancollins.org/wp/
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