[clug] Linux in education

Adam Jenkins adam at snorkel.rtfm.net.au
Sat Oct 6 01:20:59 GMT 2007

> Cutting out the anti-MS hyperbole would probably help too, no matter how
> true you think it may be.

Some of that hyperbole is quite valid, from a business perpective.  E.g.
it does not make sense to buy from someone who will not customise the
product if it doesn't meet your requirements, and who refuses to follow
everyone else's standards, and who has shown a limited interest in recent
years in the education sector.

> Put yourself in the schools position for a minute.
>     You don't care about the freedom.
>     You don't care about the price.
>     You might care about making students 'job ready'.
>     You do care about having a tool that has the programs required.
>     You do care about having something that your poorly trained IT
> teacher can teach students.

Schools/universities are meant to be making students truly 'job ready'.
Too many people are confusing their task as that of trade schools, private
colleges, etc., which is to teach how to use a specific
In many cases, the reason those institutions can afford to do so, is they
are being thrown lots of dollars from the suppliers of those
applications, and I think those places certainly fill a need.  However,
there is so much emphasis on certain products, applications, OSes these
days, that it makes the need for universities/schools to be objective and
teach kids to be able to do the rest of it, even higher.
That means learning to think/learn for themselves, and be able to adapt to
whatever platforms, applications, processes a company uses.  FOSS has the
most important software covered; things like Mathematica/SPSS are the only
things I can think of which it mightn't, and I'd hazard to guess there are
FOSS projects around that are equivalent/on the way to being equivalent,
that I just haven't needed to find out about.

> I would probably be thinking very carefully before I outfitted a school
> with linux desktops.  The last point is really the kicker, I'm not sure
> how much schools spend to send teachers on training courses.  I've never
> even heard of a suitable introduction to linux course.

You might be surprised; other than all the overseas examples, there's

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