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Open Source Software Making Old Computers Act New Solution by: Linux Terminal Server Project

By allowing many people to use the same computer simultaneously through different workstations, this open source software keeps old computers out of landfills while helping schools cut costs. The Triple Bottom Line

Environmental The vast amounts of electronic waste produced annually can contaminate the air, water and soil.

Social Increased availability of computers is a valuable tool in spreading technological literacy among students.

Economic The ability to keep using legacy hardware eases the economic strain upon schools with limited resources.

This free software provides schools with the possibility of injecting new life into their old computers by turning normal Linux installations into “terminal servers.” Workstations consist of legacy computers that no longer have the power to run modern programs. Instead of being thrown away, these machines can be re-purposed as “dumb terminals” drawing on the power of the Linux Terminal Server Project (LTSP) server. In effect, when a workstation user opens a window on their screen to carry out normal activities, the software is actually running on the LTSP server somewhere else in the building. This means that schools do not need to invest in replacement hardware, but only one powerful machine to supply computing power. Why a Sustainia100 solution? According to UNEP, the lifespan of computers has dropped from six years in 1997 to two years in 2005. 1 At the same time, electronic waste contains hazardous materials, like lead and mercury, which threaten the environment. The LTSP has helped many institutions, including over 180 schools in Greece, to reduce the replacement and maintenance cost of providing their pupils with access to computers while minimizing electronic waste.

Developed: USA

Deployed:  55 countries including Greece, Nicaragua, and South Korea 

1 UNEP. ‘E-Waste Management’. Online :


Sustainia100 2014  
Sustainia100 2014  

Sustainia100 is your guide to the 100 most innovative and inspiring sustainable solutions of 2014. It is an annual guide showcasing innovati...