Operating systems and applications
Computer Operating Systems
Windows XP Pro with Service Pack 2 (SP2) is the minimum recommended level of Windows operating system for computers connecting to the network. Windows XP (and later releases) is designed to be secure by default and while computers running Windows 98, 2000, and Me, could be connected to the network, some special care and additional software is required to make these systems secure.
A firewall which protects a computer from malicious access, either from within the local network or from across the internet, is included in Windows XP. Windows Firewall is enabled by default in the latest Windows XP updates.
Mac OS X 10.3 is the minimum recommended level of Apple Mac operating system for computers connecting to the network. Mac OS X 10.2 and later versions include Windows File Sharing which allows PCs running Windows to connect to an Apple Mac computer using their native sharing protocol.
Regardless of the operating system, every computer connected to a network requires a firewall. Mac OS X 10.3 comes with a built-in firewall, but by default it is switched off (Open the Sharing system preference, choose the Firewall tab, press Start, to turn it on).
Network Operating System
Workgroups can be best understood as a loosely connected group of computers. They rely on each other for nothing, but they are there to share resources should the need arise; there is no centralised management system.
Windows XP makes it easy to configure computers for peer-to-peer workgroup networking. The Network Setup Wizard directs the process, asking for information at each stage as required. After connection to the network, it is possible to print to a printer on the network (the printer will no longer need to be attached directly to the user’s own computer), and to access other computers and devices connected to the network. It will be possible to share files with any other computer connected to the network and to share one internet connection among all computers.
For a complete guide to installing, configuring and using Windows XP for workgroups, see “Get Connected with Windows XP Networking” at the Microsoft Website.
An individual computer could be considered as the limiting case of a workgroup consisting of one computer. Where more than one person is likely to use that computer, the same security provisions recommended above for workgroups should be implemented. These provisions included the establishment of individual User Accounts and file access privileges to allow or deny access to specific files or folders on the computer, ensuring a firewall in active and antivirus software is up-to-date.
Windows Home Server
Windows Home Server centralises and simplifies the way a family’s or small business’s digital records, including documents, photos, videos and music are organised, shared, and backed-up.
Digital content stored on desktops and laptops connected to the Windows Home Server network are backed up daily to the server. Designated folders may be copied automatically onto multiple hard drives for an additional layer of redundant protection ensuring complete and easy restoration in the event of equipment failure or loss. The data may be further backed up through a network client.
Secure remote access allows the digital content to be accessed from virtually anywhere internet service is available. Digital records, e.g. photos, can be shared with parents through a secure Web site.
The minimum system requirements for Windows Home Server are modest by most server standards. It is possible to use an older desktop computer to run Windows Home Server but there are limits. For example, setup is not supported on laptops; Windows Home Server must be installed on desktop or server hardware and, while the software is available for DIY enthusiasts, a complete OEM hardware/software solution is recommended.
The tables attached to the downloadable document as Appendix A define the minimum hardware requirements and the recommended hardware for Windows Home Server.
For a complete guide to installing, configuring, and using Windows Home Server download “Getting Started: Windows Home Server” at the Microsoft Web site .
Data security and safety of children is covered in detail in the associated document, ICT Infrastructure Security – Policy and Guideline for Early Childhood Education Services.
Minimum computer standards
Minimum computer requirements to use Windows XP Professional SP2
- PC with 300 megahertz or higher processor clock speed recommended; 233 MHz minimum required (single or dual processor system);
* Intel Pentium/Celeron family, or AMD K6/Athlon/Duron family, or compatible processor recommended
- 128 MB of RAM or higher recommended
- 1.8 GB of available hard disk space*
- Super VGA (800 x 600) or higher-resolution video adapter and monitor
- CD-ROM or DVD drive
- Keyboard and Microsoft Mouse or compatible pointing device
To determine whether your computer meets these requirements:
- Click Start, right-click My Computer and then click Properties. On the General tab, under Computer, you will see your computer's processor speed and RAM listed.
Apple MAC OS X
The minimum system requirements needed to run Mac OS X 10.3 (Panther) are as follows:
- Computer/Processor: Power Mac G4 or G5, Power Mac G3 with a 500 MHz or faster processor, iMac, eMac, PowerBook G4, Powerbook G3 with bronze keyboard, iBook SE and newer
- Memory: 128 MB (512 MB recommended)
- Disk Space: 2GB (3GB or more recommended)
Minimum computer requirements to use Mac OS X v10.5 (Leopard)
- Mac computer with an Intel, PowerPC G5 or PowerPC G4 (867MHz or faster) processor
- 512MB of memory
- DVD drive for installation
- 9GB of available disk space
- Higher-resolution video monitor
- Keyboard and Mouse or compatible pointing device
Windows Home Server
The minimum computer requirements suggested by Microsoft to use Windows Home Server are a 1GHz CPU, 512MB of RAM, and 160GB hard drive. Greater detail is provided at the microsoft website-click on the "discover button".
Compatibility and Interoperability
System compatibility and interoperability, and ultimately sustainability (ongoing development, user support, licence fees), will result from the correct selection of appropriate software and hardware systems. Industry-recognised, standard infrastructures in common usage and the adoption of best-practice principles are promoted by this document with those objectives.
“Management systems” means the business applications that ECE educators and administrators use to support their business and reporting responsibilities. These systems may include:
- Student management and reporting
- Learning management systems
- Staff management
- Financial control
In practice, the systems encompass the most commonly used and publicly available business applications such as Microsoft Office, and sector-specific applications such as student management and reporting systems. The common standard infrastructures support all these applications.
The imperative of compatibility and interoperability need not inhibit the use of open-source applications. While Microsoft Office is the suite of applications most commonly used in the business world other, less expensive, suites of business applications which run on Windows XP and Mac OS X, and are compatible and fully interoperable with Microsoft Office, are available.
These include, but are not necessarily limited to:
For a wider selection try the OSSwin website.