According to a study commissioned to Vital Wave Consulting by Microsoft, Window and Linux are on par when it comes down to the large number of computer deployments in schools located in emerging markets in regard to the Total Cost of Ownership. James Utzschneider indicated that the costs associated with maintaining a Linux IT environment in schools for under-served student populations worldwide make no differentiation between Linux and Windows.
You can find a copy of the Vital Wave paper here (pdf).
“We wanted to understand if Linux has a cost advantage over Windows when it comes to deploying large numbers of PCs into schools in emerging market countries. The study indicates that both operating systems have about the same TCO for these types of scenarios. Windows systems have a slightly higher up front purchase price, but this is offset by the hirer salaries required for Linux-skilled systems administrators in places like China and South America. So over a five year period, the total costs for a school system to deploy and maintain a large number of Windows PCs and Linux PCs are about the same,” Utzschneider revealed.