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CALL cost effectiveness in open-source environments vs. Windows/Mac

Background:  Recent advances in open-source software (e.g., Linux, Open Office, Mozilla, Linux Terminal Server Project) have made computing potentially far cheaper for institutions ready and willing to try it.  However, no commercial software for CALL exists for open-source systems, and there isn't much free software either.  Nonetheless, with the Web as a platform, the lack of software may be less of an obstacle than formerly. 

Research question:  How much more cost-effective can CALL be made in a purely open source environment?  Can learning outcomes still be met? 

Suggested methodology/comments:  Suggest setting up a learning lab with Linux Terminal Server Project running on discarded PC's (old Pentiums will do) obtained for free, with a faster PC as the server.  Compare costs of that with a traditional, Windows or Mac-based lab.  Do a qualitative analysis on whether the learning outcomes were met in each setup. 

Contact:  Jeff Nelson   jtnelson@emirates.net.ae

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