The article comments on the obvious cost savings, but also about leveling the playing field for those students who might not be able to afford expensive Microsoft software.
I still see very little open source adoption in New Zealand schools, which is regrettable. Does anyone have information to the contrary?
Update: Apparently, Australian schools (at least one of them?) are having some good experiences with it. Also from The Inquirer today is this bit of news here.
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Comment by johnr, on 10-Apr-2008 09:15
Glad I don't go to a swiss school!!
Comment by allstarnz, on 10-Apr-2008 12:18
well, as much as open source software can be good, I think there is also a place for Microsoft software within schools. The schools agreement means that the cost of this is not as high as for your average user, in fact they get very good prices.
The developers of software for schools will often make a choice to develop on a Microsoft platform due to many factors, not entirely related to the cost. Why this should restrict this choice of a school becase of the mandated 'utopia' of open source software is where I totally disagree.
NB I am not an employee of Microsoft or have any direct relationship with them. However, I do have an interest in software within schools.
Comment by BobW, on 10-Apr-2008 13:01
Without meaning to start a flame war about MS vs Linux, I see this move as generally a bad idea.Part of the reason for kids to use computers at school is for them to learn some practical computing skills that they can then use during further education and/or in the workplace.
Like it or not, most computers (especially in work environments) use a MS operating system and associated applications. To limit the kids' exposure to Ubuntu at school will put them at a disadvantage relative to kids who have exposure to a wider range of operating systems and applications.
Surely it would be better to have them use Windows, one or more Linux distros, and some Macs for good measure. But to exclude the most common platform seems to be a case of ideology over practicality, with the kids getting a poorer education as a result.
Comment by Efraim, on 11-Apr-2008 03:56
This is great news. I have switched to Linux last year. I have noticed that my own three kids, now prefer to use linux for browsing and working, they have kept their dual boot with windows just for some games. Linux is just quicker and safer (and waay cheaper) than windows and all its proprietary programs.
I believe that schools that use linux exclusively are doing the right move, economically, didactically and ethically (I think this will be the first time many students will not be using pirated software in their lives!).
I hope that schools all over Europe, encouraged by this clever swiss move, will do the same.
Comment by Neff, on 24-Apr-2008 00:04
I'm swiss GNU/Linux user and I've to say that unfortunately these news are incorrect.
So, when speaking about Switzerland please remember that this is a country composed from 26 independent states (cantons)... we're a federal state by definition, the first federal state in Europe and maybe in the world (Switzerland was born in 1291).
Every State has his own policy for public education, so if some state implement an open source solution (The canton of Geneva made it) this doesn't absolutely means that every cantons will do the same thing. Every state has its own school system so we have 26 different school systems.
The fact that Geneva decided to introduce ubuntu in schools surely is a first step in the right direction but the fight is far to be over!
Thank you and sorry for my bad english ;)
(from Lugano, Ticino, Switzerland)
Comment by Joolz, on 10-Aug-2008 05:39
I work in a semi educational environment, and have lots of school leavers come to me seeking employment. Unfortunately the large problem seems to me to be that an IT qualification from a school doesn't mean anything of the sort. All it means is that they have used some proprietary software to do limited things like make a presentation or write a letter.
I like to test their actual grasp of computers by sitting them down at a Linux computer and setting them some simple tasks. Around 10% work it out for themselves, the others are all looking for the "microsoft crutch" of the wizard tools.
I feel that schools who operate only microsoft applications are cheating their students and denying them the skills they will need. Anybody can click a button and follow a wizard which does it all for them. That isn't teaching, it is advertising.. there is a subtle difference.
Comment by Ashish Barot, on 3-Dec-2008 08:11
If people will not start using Open Source today, then there is no other alternative for them after 1-2 years.
They must have to use Open Source Software.
We can See with Open EYES,
We can Listen with Open EARS,
Then why not to use Open Source.
GNU/Linux is best distribution for Children to learn software with freedom.
We dont have to teach them to reinstall OS, software everytime, we must have to teach them how you can solve your problem by looking into software's code and debgu it.
Then and then only "CAN DO attitude" will be grow inside them from their childhood.
Hope we start from today....
All the BEST.
Comment by Stewpot, on 15-Apr-2011 00:14
My school spends nearly £15,000 pounds a year on licenses to microsoft.
I think they should switch one of the computer rooms to linux and run a few windows servers with photoshop and useful windows programs that you can thin client with. You could alternate computer rooms each week in your I.C.T lesson so that students get a taste of both.
This way you'd experience more operating systems and reduce the cost greatly.