Linux in education.

Story: Getting Kids Into ComputingTotal Replies: 5
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Oct 28, 2005
8:11 AM EDT
The fact remains that Windows comes shipped with the hood bolted shut. How is our new hacker going to learn and explore and improve if He or She has to move to Redmond Washington before she gets to see the way things work?

Linux belongs in education (along with anything FOSS, for that matter). The ingredients are there in case someone wants to dig down -- and that may only be one in a few thousand kids.

But what numbers. Say there are 2 million school-age kids right now, and that my synopsis is correct (this, btw, is not science, it's a thought experiement). A few thousand kids that might be the innovators of tomorrow as opposed to clicking drones.

FOSS freedom gives a new hacker the tools from the start to do everything -- and to grow, to create, to invent. This is power and in the free educational world we're doing our kids a great dis-service teaching them that the only thing in business is Microsoft Word and Excel...


Oct 28, 2005
12:24 PM EDT
Well said Paul.

Past use of MS in schools acclimated people to using and preferring MS products and lead to the almost exclusive use in business and home. The same is true for Apple/Mac, which probably owes its survival to extensive school contributions. If we expect FOSS to flourish, then it is essential to make sure that Linux is the OS of choice at all educational levels. The future benefits to the society are obvious.

Oct 28, 2005
12:32 PM EDT
Paul, that sounds like the germ of a great article!

Oct 28, 2005
9:10 PM EDT
I can agree with this. I have to use MS Office and Visual 2003 for school work, and I hate that software; the only reason I even managed to get these was because the school board finally licensed 2003 for the students knowing full well the price was way too high for the already broke students to afford without auctioning off their organs.

MS software in schools seems to me like extortion, I have no choice but to fork over for the latest copy of Windows, MS office and every time MS sells the very same to the school at dirt cheap prices knowing they'll then profit off the students. I can't use OSS alternatives because the school only trains the students how to do the special graphs and whatnot using MS Office or, I also can't use older versions of the same software because either the document formats have changed over the last two years or the software has changed too much and the instructions are no good. I also have to upgrade Windows sometimes when this happens because when the time comes to upgrade the software the minimum required version of Windows usually goes up.

Oct 28, 2005
10:17 PM EDT
I expect that schools are an area where Microsoft will fight hard. Whatever children are exposed to on a daily basis becomes "part of reality", whether that be saluting the flag, using Microsoft or being told that abortionists/capitalists/communists/islamists/etc are evil/wrong.

Point being that children who use Windows all the time won't question it's use everywhere else. This is an important marketing point that was pointed out in Supersize Me over McDonalds use of advertising targeted at children.

Get them young at an age where they don't understand and set up some nice emotional logo reactions on a subconscious level.

Just as "big business" must be kept out of politics it also must be kept out of schools. Product placement in schools is desperately stupid, cynical and corrupt and will not produce children gifted with critical thinking.


Nov 02, 2005
7:24 AM EDT
You are right to think about position M$ in education. Think about it if we educators (I'm a technology teacher - 7 years and running) introduce Linux or anyother OSS operating system then students opt to use the software later in life, M$ life blood.

Those discounts are there for a reason. M$ wants to keep the market from any threat at all costs. As far as Linux in education, there is a place at both the server and desktop level. I believe it is difficult to introduce change in education. Plus many sys. admin aren't trained enough or feel comfortable using Linux. Hense stay with whatever we are using. This makes for an uphill battle for Linux or anyother OS to make way. A lot of people don't see the long term cost benefits just the hassles them might have when making change.

As far as what I do to give my students options. I have 26 pcs in my lab with 4 running Linux (3 desktops 1 server). Yes I have bypassed your Novell server for Linux in my class. My district may not like this but I need things done so I do them myself. My students love using Linux. They just get on and go.

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