The Arizona Republic has an story about Brad Niesluchowski who worked for the Higley Unified School District and was fired for installing SETI@home, among other things. He appears to be some sort of administrator. There appear to be other charges including stolen equipment and failure to train other staff.
Higley officials so far estimate the damages, energy usage and equipment losses linked to Niesluchowski at $1.2 million to $1.6 million.
Higley officials said the SETI program requires wattage to run, and therefore was an extra burden on computer processors and power usage. They allege several computer processors would burn out sooner than expected, and the SETI program’s operation raised utility costs.
They don’t go into specific on how much extra it cost the school district to run SETI@Home but I have to question if it was really significant amount of power. Perhaps the school district and news site are over emphasizing the use of SETI@Home as part of the excuse to fire fire him.
When SETI@Home first came out, there was a lot of competition and I installed it on every computer I could find. Today I don’t care but I could see how it was its easy to install everywhere.
Update 12/05/09: Berkley’s Eric Korpela releases “FAQ and comments about the Higley School District controversy“. He indicates a lot of bad reporting and I agree.