What a great article--authored by Scott Rowed--shared via Greg Laden's Blog. You will want to read the article in its entirety, but here are some of my notes from that article.
Please take some time to complete this short survey by Tech Director Jeremy Fluhmann on "Desktop Operating Systems in Texas School Districts." Jeremy asks two questions:
1) Which desktop operating systems do you run within your school district?
2) What school district are you representing?
As a whole, Texas districts need to move away from expensive, desktop operating systems (e.g. Windows) and switch to UbuntuLinux. After all, whether you use Dell, Acer, Lenovo, Fujitso (or whatever) hardware platform, it's clear that GNU/Linux can save your districts a lot of money. If you review this list of 101 Free Alternatives to Commonly Used Paid Software, you will soon discover that many of the solutions are free, open source software. . .free not only in terms of rights to modify, but also free as in no-cost.
Not sure whether you can trust free, open source software solutions (FOSS)? If you have doubts about FOSS, listen to David Thornburg on the "March of the Penguins: Linux on the Student Desktop." You might also read this Andy Carvin interview with David Thornburg about the Indiana Schools Linux on the Desktop program.
Find out more about Indiana Schools from Mike Huffman and Laura Taylor in these podcasts:
Top 10 Must-Dos to Make Open Source Work in the Classroom
Indiana's ACCESS Program: Affordable Classroom Computers for Every Secondary Student
One of my favorite interviews of the ones Steve Hargadon shared at EdTechLive includes the chat with Jon "maddog" Hall. And, of course, Steve has a nice collection online at the EdTechLive site.
Here are some of the take-aways from Scott Rowed's article on "Linux in Schools."
Linux in Schools : Greg Laden's Blog: "Linux in Schools- Sent using Google Toolbar"
Scott RowedWhat computer operating system should students learn at school? Most schools use MS Windows or Mac, but a number have switched or are in the process of switching to Linux. For schools the advantages are lower costs, greater security, no viruses or spyware, easier upgrades and better reliability. Lastly, there are very few licensing hassles or concerns about pirated software.
Consider the following breakdown for market share by operating system as of June 2010.
One could easily assume that 'A' is Microsoft Windows, 'B' is Mac and 'C' is Linux. This list, however, does not include family computers purchased at your neighborhood electronics store. Rather it looks at what's happening among supercomputers - the fastest 500 computers on the planet. Now let's identify the OS.
Google runs on Linux. Everything from their massive servers down to their Android operating system for phones and other mobile devices is based on Linux. Even their upcoming Chrome OS will Linux based.
After their Chinese operation was hacked, Google is phasing out all internal use of Windows computers. Any employees wishing to use Windows on their desktop computer must get senior level security approval, otherwise they must switch to Linux or Mac.
France's Gendarmerie Nationale, the national police force, is in the process of switching its 90,000 workstations to Ubuntu Linux. As of March 2009 they had saved over €50 million in licencing fees and reduced their IT budget by 70%. 'Moving from XP to Ubuntu, however, proved very easy.
For students in school today looking to build careers in forward-looking organizations, a knowledge of Linux would be strong asset, whether or not they are in the IT department.
Linux is no longer a fringe operating system, but has widespread adoption at the high end of the market with organizations and companies at the leading edge of science and technology. Students who learn Linux may find a substantial advantage in job opportunities compared to those trained in Windows only.
Schools can benefit by lower costs. In these days of tight education budgets, money saved on computers can be put toward special programs, teachers and assistants, or reduced school fees.
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