[clug] Linux in education

Pilcher, Fred Fred.Pilcher at act.gov.au
Thu Oct 4 00:32:21 GMT 2007

I needed to download a document from my child's school the other week.
It was only available as a Word document and, While O.O.o could open it,
it didn't format properly.

I wrote to the school, politely asking them whether they could use an
accessible format or, at worst, PDF, explaining that of all the formats
available, Word was the lest accessible, and why.

I got a very nice reply from the teacher concerned, telling me that when
he arrived it had been school policy to put documents on the web in PDF
format, but that the school board had directed them to use Word because
- I'm not making this up - it was more accessible.

He offered to do what he could.

This is a classic and extremely depressing example of what we're dealing


> -----Original Message-----
> From: linux-bounces+fred.pilcher=act.gov.au at lists.samba.org 
> [mailto:linux-bounces+fred.pilcher=act.gov.au at lists.samba.org]
>  On Behalf Of Hugh Fisher
> Sent: Wednesday, 3 October 2007 4:20 PM
> To: Ben Chaplin
> Cc: CLUG List
> Subject: Re: [clug] Linux in education
> Ben Chaplin wrote:
> > I think the biggest motivating factor in using Windows in 
> schools is 
> > the perception, whether true or not, that "pretty much everyone" in 
> > the corporate and home environments uses Windows and 
> there's no point 
> > teaching kids anything else.
> [ munch ]
> > 
> > Then there are all the ethical and monetary advantages of 
> running  an 
> > open source primary platform but if I get started on those 
> we might be 
> > here for a while...
> Neither schools nor the ACT government would be reluctant 
> about saving money if it were possible. As Ben points out, 
> though, there's a perception that MS Windows is what everyone 
> uses. It's not that they don't consider the alternatives, 
> they really aren't even aware that there is anything else. 
> ("They" is rounded off to the nearest 5% or 10% here - a few 
> teachers may know about Linux, but you need a broader public 
> recognition.)
> Get together with (RedHat/Novell/insert your favourite Linux 
> service & support firm here) and give the schools and ACT 
> government a business plan: "we will convert all your 
> machines to Linux at $X per desktop and server with 
> guaranteed equivalent functionality, we provide
> 24/7 or 8/5 service and helpdesk at $Y per hundred machines 
> per year, you will save $Z per year from not needing MS 
> licenses and longer useful life from PCs."
> If they don't go for it, send a copy to the opposition!
> 	cheers,
> 	Hugh
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