Oracle, non-profit helping schools

Oracle Corp. and the National Association of College and University Business Officers (NACUBO) recently teamed up in a partnership that could net Chicago's public school system up to 2,000 computers.

Oracle will donate 500 New Internet Computers, or NICs, and will match NACUBO and its members' individual donations of up to 500 additional NICs. The computers will be distributed to 10 Chicago schools that will be determined by the city's school system. In May, Oracle donated more than 1,100 computers to 23 Dallas public schools.

The donations are part of Oracle's philanthropic arm, founded to encourage other organizations, corporations, and individuals to donate computers to disadvantaged schools that normally do not have computer access. According to spokeswoman Letty Ledbetter, Oracle has committed $100 million to the project.

NICs are low-cost computers that do not have a hard drive but instead access applications from a central server via a Web browser and run on the Linux operating system. Unveiled earlier this year by the New Internet Computer Co., a private company owned primarily by Oracle chairman Larry Ellison, NICs are priced at $199 without a monitor. However, Oracle's philanthropic arm will provide monitors.

According to Oracle's Web site, schools also receive a laser printer and print server for each classroom, speakers, keyboards, mice and mouse pads, on-site installation of the NICs by Oracle volunteers, online professional development for teachers, and two years of technical support

The Redwood Shores, Calif.-based Oracle is the world's second largest software maker and has annual revenues of more than $10 billion. NACUBO is a nonprofit organization representing chief administrative and financial officers at more than 2,100 colleges and universities.

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