Open Source Market Segment LS
Open Source Market Segment RS
Friday, 30 October 2015 10:21

PrisonPC: How Linux plays a useful role behind bars Featured

By

After 10 years of development, Melbourne open source company Cyber IT now has a fully mature prisoner interactive learning solution that is in use by four correctional institutions in the country.

Cyber IT chief executive Con Zymaris told iTWire that while the take-up so far had been only by public institutions, his company was speaking to private operators of prisons as well.

"But given the complex nature of each system, it will take at least three years to meet individual needs," he said.

The system, known as PrisonPC, has both a server and desktop component. All the software is free and open source, while the hardware is supplied by a number of manufacturers. The desktops boot off a server; individual units are either transparent so that the innards are viewable or else are flat panels.

Zymaris said only free and open source software could be used for such a system, given the amount of tweaking and customisation that was needed.

He said that with the Linux kernel itself, it was not so much a question of changing things as it was of removing support for various functions. For example, USB keys will not work on the PrisonPC desktop machines as that functionality has been removed.

The average prison sentence of three years ends up costing the government close to a million dollars. PrisonPC was designed to make people behind bars productive, give them a chance to learn something and leave as individuals who were less prone to re-offending.

"Recidivism costs the authorities a lot and this system aims to try and make that less likely," Zymaris said, pointing out that PrisonPC reduced the boredom factor, giving prisoners something to do when they were in their cells. That is a major part of the day, sometimes up to 18 hours.

All equipment is specialised; for example, the keyboards are much smaller and have only a 30cm cord. The same goes for headphones and one has to join up a couple of cords in order to use them. There are obvious security risks attached to normal keyboards and headphones.

PrisonPC Overview

After the last update of the software, the PrisonPC desktop can now look after all the entertainment needs of prisoners. Each PrisonPC server can deliver more than 100 channels from 24 TV stations. In-house TV stations from existing legacy MATV systems have been incorporated into IPTV.

There is now full remote-control functionality with a tamper-secure remote-control device.

Prison staff can broadcast messages to inmate desktop screens as they watch TV and they can also record or cache broadcast TV programmes for later viewing by inmates.

The PrisonPC server has software that provides full control over all aspects of the system. Prison staff can control what people see, when they see it and also permit access to films that are deemed suitable.

"Prisoners need to prepare material for court hearings; they can do that on their desktop machines so that they are ready when a lawyer comes next to visit," Zymaris said. "Whatever they store is fully accessible to the staff so that there are no surprises."

While more than 20 developers have been responsible for the PrisonPC solution, Zymaris says the person who has overseen the design and architecture has been Ron Fabre, the chief product manager.

Cyber IT, formerly known as Cybersource, is one of the first open source companies in Australia and will mark 25 years of operation next year.


Subscribe to ITWIRE UPDATE Newsletter here

PROMOTE YOUR WEBINAR ON ITWIRE

It's all about Webinars.

Marketing budgets are now focused on Webinars combined with Lead Generation.

If you wish to promote a Webinar we recommend at least a 3 to 4 week campaign prior to your event.

The iTWire campaign will include extensive adverts on our News Site itwire.com and prominent Newsletter promotion https://itwire.com/itwire-update.html and Promotional News & Editorial. Plus a video interview of the key speaker on iTWire TV https://www.youtube.com/c/iTWireTV/videos which will be used in Promotional Posts on the iTWire Home Page.

Now we are coming out of Lockdown iTWire will be focussed to assisting with your webinatrs and campaigns and assassistance via part payments and extended terms, a Webinar Business Booster Pack and other supportive programs. We can also create your adverts and written content plus coordinate your video interview.

We look forward to discussing your campaign goals with you. Please click the button below.

MORE INFO HERE!

INTRODUCING ITWIRE TV

iTWire TV offers a unique value to the Tech Sector by providing a range of video interviews, news, views and reviews, and also provides the opportunity for vendors to promote your company and your marketing messages.

We work with you to develop the message and conduct the interview or product review in a safe and collaborative way. Unlike other Tech YouTube channels, we create a story around your message and post that on the homepage of ITWire, linking to your message.

In addition, your interview post message can be displayed in up to 7 different post displays on our the iTWire.com site to drive traffic and readers to your video content and downloads. This can be a significant Lead Generation opportunity for your business.

We also provide 3 videos in one recording/sitting if you require so that you have a series of videos to promote to your customers. Your sales team can add your emails to sales collateral and to the footer of their sales and marketing emails.

See the latest in Tech News, Views, Interviews, Reviews, Product Promos and Events. Plus funny videos from our readers and customers.

SEE WHAT'S ON ITWIRE TV NOW!

BACK TO HOME PAGE
Sam Varghese

Sam Varghese has been writing for iTWire since 2006, a year after the site came into existence. For nearly a decade thereafter, he wrote mostly about free and open source software, based on his own use of this genre of software. Since May 2016, he has been writing across many areas of technology. He has been a journalist for nearly 40 years in India (Indian Express and Deccan Herald), the UAE (Khaleej Times) and Australia (Daily Commercial News (now defunct) and The Age). His personal blog is titled Irregular Expression.

Share News tips for the iTWire Journalists? Your tip will be anonymous

WEBINARS ONLINE & ON-DEMAND

GUEST ARTICLES

VENDOR NEWS

Guest Opinion

Guest Reviews

Guest Research

Guest Research & Case Studies

Channel News

Comments