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Education Software Linux

23,000 Linux PCs For Filipino Schools 142

Posted by kdawson
from the get-'em-while-they're-young dept.
Da Massive writes "Speaking at the linux.conf.au event in Melbourne, Australia, independent open source consultant Ricardo Gonzalez has told of how he has helped bring 23,000 Linux PCs to over 1000 schools in the Philippines: 'Ministers in the Filipino government now understand Linux can do so much for so little outlay.'" The slow process of educating a government that knew only Microsoft is especially well described in this piece.
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23,000 Linux PCs For Filipino Schools

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  • don't hate me (Score:2, Interesting)

    by blhack (921171)
    Let me preface this by saying that I am one of the biggest linux geeks you're ever going to meet. I run gentoo on my laptop, as well as on my Desktop at work. I have installed Ubuntu on my sisters' laptops and my mom's Desktop. I do graphic design work in scribus and inkscape.

    I'm a linux geek....but

    If the true goal of a computer program for a school is to ready its students for the workplace, then is linux really the best method of doing so? Isn't the school in some way doing its students a dis-service
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by aussie_a (778472)
      Linux isn't used as much as it could be, because everyone knows Windows. If you train the next generation in Linux, businesses will have a greater incentive to switch, which means there'll be a greater incentive to develop software for Linux.
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by DaHat (247651)
        Funny... that's just what Apple was thinking in the mid to late 90's when Macs were most of what you saw in schools... what happend? Those folks ended up using PCs once they went on to college and real jobs.
        • Re:don't hate me (Score:5, Interesting)

          by cduffy (652) <charles+slashdot@dyfis.net> on Monday January 28, 2008 @11:24PM (#22217358)

          Those folks ended up using PCs once they went on to college and real jobs.
          Ehh? I haven't seen a decent university-level computer science program yet that isn't mostly using UNIX, and there're plenty of "real jobs" for folks who know something other than win32.

          Even for those that do go on to work with Windows, though, having used more than one UI is a Good Thing for a reason: The more of them you learn, the better able you are to notice and generalize the common concepts, and the less limited you are to only being able to use the individual UI you learned on.
        • Re:don't hate me (Score:4, Insightful)

          by webmaster404 (1148909) on Monday January 28, 2008 @11:43PM (#22217496)
          Well, think about the pricing, you could get an expensive (yet easy-to-use) Mac or you could get a cheap PC with DOS that no one really liked but it was there OS. Most businesses and people chose the cheaper route and got a PC, today we have the opposite, with Linux being cheaper yet not as (seemingly) easy to use as the Windows and Mac computers. I expect that because of the price point alone (and easier to use distros, Vista becoming ME II and OS X being popular) Unix/Linux will become the most used platform.
          • by hey! (33014)
            I lived through this, being an IT directory in the late 80s and early 90s, through the transition from typewriters and interoffice mail to computers, LANS, email, and finally Internet.

            Back then, you frequently saw Macs on the top management's desk, and PCs everywhere else. That was because you literally were buying computers by the truckload. You were going from no computers on peoples' desks to as close to everybody having a computer as possible. Most people knew, of course, that going by TCO it was c
    • Re:don't hate me (Score:5, Interesting)

      by cheater512 (783349) <nick@nickstallman.net> on Monday January 28, 2008 @10:42PM (#22217034) Homepage
      I am also a Gentoo guy.

      It doesnt matter what OS or software they use.
      Typing up a document or surfing the net is nearly identical no matter what you choose.

      Also hopefully some of these kids will go on to management and instead of being tied to Windows they will lean towards Linux instead.

      I really want to shoot the managers who think "Windows works well on my desktop. Lets make all our company servers run it too!"
      Thats a effect of Microsoft being in all the schools.
      In Australia, Microsoft actually gives away all their software to schools in a effort to make sure everyone is brought up with their software.
    • Re:don't hate me (Score:5, Insightful)

      by corsec67 (627446) on Monday January 28, 2008 @10:49PM (#22217080) Homepage Journal
      Pretty much *any* software you are going to teach in school is going to be obsolete by the time they are "in the workforce", so it would be better to teach concepts as opposed to steps to follow. Teach them how to learn, not how to memorize, and they will get much further.
      • Re:don't hate me (Score:4, Insightful)

        by rts008 (812749) on Monday January 28, 2008 @11:20PM (#22217330) Journal
        "Teach them how to learn, not how to memorize, and they will get much further."

        Talk about hitting the proverbial nail on the head....with a sledgehammer!!

        Sadly, that method of teaching is not as prevalent as it should be.
        When I was in college, one of the most important things I was taught is the concept of knowing where to find 'the reference materials needed' instead of a crapload of by rote memorizing.

        I got my AAS in Veterinary Technology (think Registered Nurse for Critters), and while I was doing that, a BS in Biochemistry just kind of fell into the mix with no additional effort. (Vet Tech is TOUGH!)...No way to memorize all of the needed info, but knowing when and where to find the info needed made the big difference.
        Medical Terminology, Pharmacology, and Anatomy(leg bone connected to the hip bone...by what? and by which attachments?!...hint: there are 27 major attachments to the scapula-shoulderblade to be learned- How's that for a non-sequitur?) are all brute force memorization, but after passing the classes it is just a PDR away (PDR=Physician's Desk Reference). Many times I have thanked the head of Murry State's head of Agriculture and Veterinary Medicine's Dr. Kay Helms for this little bit of insight.

        This concept applies readily to any tech field, and many more. *disclaimer: this could be a more cogent post if I was not into my second beer! (9.5% alcohol by volume, 40 oz.)*

        • Re:don't hate me (Score:5, Informative)

          by CastrTroy (595695) on Monday January 28, 2008 @11:39PM (#22217472) Homepage
          Just don't look up anything in a reference book in front of your patients (or in the case of a vet, the owner of your patients). My boss is a pilot, and he told me a story about how he took up a friend for a flight once, and when coming in for the landing, he got out his checklist to go through the proper landing procedures. The guy got all freaked out because he thought that he was looking in a manual, and didn't know what he was doing. I'm a software developer, and I spend a lot of my time looking up the right answer in various places, rather than trying to come up with it on my own. It's often faster, easier, and more reliable to look up the answer somewhere else, rather then try to solve a problem yourself.
          • by corsec67 (627446) on Monday January 28, 2008 @11:41PM (#22217478) Homepage Journal
            Hah, put "Landing for Dummies" on the cover of the landing checklist.....
          • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

            by syousef (465911)
            Just don't look up anything in a reference book in front of your patients (or in the case of a vet, the owner of your patients).

            I'm actually encouraged when a doctor looks something up. It means they're not just guessing or relying on memory of a similar case they came across a long time ago. The only GP I currently trust proverbially as far as I can throw is one who when I presented a medical problem offered to do some research and ring me the following night from home.

            My boss is a pilot, and he told me a
        • Re:don't hate me (Score:4, Insightful)

          by 0100010001010011 (652467) on Tuesday January 29, 2008 @12:13AM (#22217734)
          There are some majors where rote memorization is good. When you're in the ER and you just reacted to some drug and you're going into cardiac arrest do you want the doctor to go "Hold on a second let me let me look this up."

          I'm an engineer and my sister is a pharmacist. I don't interact with people and nothing needs to be known NOW. Heck I sat in a meeting where we had 5 engineers around the room and I was the youngest and we all broke out our Fluids books to figure out some mass transfer through a pipe.

          On the other hand I just got out of ACL surgery. I wasn't feeling any effect from the Oxycotin (naturally high tolerance to all drugs) so I called my sister. She knew off the top of her head what would react with it and how much more I could take. Granted she also knows where to find the stuff if she doesn't know.

          As I see it:
          Engineer: Where to find it>What it is
          Doctor: What it is>=Where to find it
          • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

            by rts008 (812749)
            "Granted she also knows where to find the stuff if she doesn't know."
            This was my major point. There is WAY too much to know and remember...ask your sister.

            Education and experience will let you know what to remember and what to look up, but in your reply you raised valid points:"There are some majors where rote memorization is good. When you're in the ER and you just reacted to some drug and you're going into cardiac arrest do you want the doctor to go "Hold on a second let me let me look this up." Absolute
            • As an engineer, you should maybe look at this method. (not trying to be an asshat here) Do you memorize every engineering table you are exposed to, or do you only memorize the relevant ones to your work?...and have a clue as to where other relevant tables could be found?

              I don't even memorize the ones relevant to my work. There's no reason to, they're huge. Some of us kept our engineering books (I resold mine but I'm considering picking up some old editions on half.com). Some of the stuff from freshmen year that we've used every year since has stuck around. F=ma, V=IR, rho*g*h, Water is 1000 kg per cubic meter, and the likes.

              But absolutely nothing on the scale of my sister (or my Aunt that's a dermatologist, or my uncle that's an ER doctor).

              • by Dcnjoe60 (682885)
                Not to discredit your relatives who are doctors and pharmacists, but I imagine if you were to ask them seriously, they look up much more than you imagine. Sure your uncle in the ER with the cardiac arrest knows what to do, so probably would a pediatrician, because although it sounds complicated to a lay person, it's pretty straight forward while the patient is in arrest.

                However, ask your uncle what he would do if a patient presents partial paralysis and a MRI or CT scan show negative? Chances are he won't
      • by DrYak (748999) on Monday January 28, 2008 @11:44PM (#22217506) Homepage
        In addition to that, it might be more rewarding in the long term to tech the student solution that they can own themselves.

        Teaching Microsoft in 3rd world countries, mean creating a new generation of users that will completely dependant on an foreign solution, and that one day, the workforce of the country will spend significant amount of money which will be spent overboard and will go to the pocket of a foreign company.
        This guarantee future bleeding of money : you have a nice new emerging IT environment that strives to develop, and most of the earned money will exit the country in term of license.

        On the other hand, teaching open source software will help the new generation realise that these solution exist, and that they can take them as their own. Instead of having a Microsoft unleashing BSA-like dogs to crackdown on unlicensed copies, they have access to FSF software whose philosophy is "do whatever pleases you with it *AS LONG AS* you keep guaranteeing the same freedom when you passes it around".
        Once this generation grows and enter into the workforce, a lot of busyness opportunities may appear that don't depend on foreign companies. Thanks to OSS, local solution my be developed, with new emerging companies basing their solution on infrastructure they can own themselves. The earnings from such companies will stay inside the country and help stir up the economy.

        Free software empowers emerging countries, whereas proprietary software represents one additional way to lock them into a permanent dependence on foreign companies that will bleed out of the country the earning of emerging IT busyness.

        That doesn't matter much for rich countries. But learning that you don't necessarily need to depend on some US company is very important in emerging markets.

        Also, as you said, given the difference between Office 2007 and, let's say, Office 97, and given that these children will also be at least 10 years away from entering the workforce (and much more for those few who'll manage to go to universities) learning a specific interface implementation is completely pointless. What they need is to learn some basic concept in computing (what is word processing vs. which button should be clicked). And Linux is just as good as anything else for that.
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by rtb61 (674572)
          Let's not pick on or exclude first or second world users. For open source software there is nor first, second or third world. Your contributions are purely valued on their own merits.

          Of course open solutions created or contributed in the third world not only means they will be save money but they will also be able to achieve a more competitive status, in first and second world technology.

          The important part of open source is to create an effective ecosystem for it, with it being taught in primary and sec

        • Or they torrent the files that they need and don't give a crap about paying the fee.
          • by Locklin (1074657)
            A pirate is still dependent on foreign innovation. A growing industry with open/free tools is able localize, make their own... etc.
      • Re:don't hate me (Score:4, Insightful)

        by webmaster404 (1148909) on Monday January 28, 2008 @11:49PM (#22217542)
        Exactly, and why does everyone think that it has to be MS to create those concepts? I bet that if you go to a school today most people wouldn't know how applications are launched, or even how simple parts of the computer's OS works, and probably 98% think that the GUI==the OS. Most kids know how a program works by launching it from Start-->All Programs--->Games--->Minesweeper and not how the OS really works. MS always ends up creating new "buzzwords" to make their OS/Program seem new just think of the "ribbon" on Office 2007 (if you are unlucky enough to have used it) or "Shortcuts" rather then links, MS has a way of making anything that seems like a computer concept be totally linked to Windows and totally foreign to Mac or Linux, that's how I am sure they manage to keep market share from people looking at Mac/Linux who panic when they can't see a C drive.
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward
      I don't understand this. I think school should teach how to use computers - not to use some specific tool. If the kids learn spreadsheets by using OpenOffice.org I am 100% sure they will know how to use Excel as well. However, the plus side is that while learning OO.org, they are very likely to learn that MS Office is not the only option. Most people who use MS Office are not aware of OO.org or any other options. OO.org users are aware of MS Office though. This applies to Linux vs. Windows discussion as wel
    • by EEPROMS (889169)
      Pretty much any software knowledge one gains when they are young becomes deprecated when you go into the real world. I actually grew up with DOS and Windows and allot of it now is junk as things have moved on.
    • Re:don't hate me (Score:4, Insightful)

      by AvitarX (172628) <me@brandywinehund[ ].org ['red' in gap]> on Monday January 28, 2008 @11:02PM (#22217172) Journal
      I used an Amiga with Word Perfect at school, and DOS with Word Perfect at home.

      Fortunately the skills were useful for Word at a later point, and understanding how directories (now folders) work.

      Many people I work with (as customers) don't understand how to download something from the internet (or an email attachment) and find it at a later time. This is a useful skill that is very cross platform. As are typing, google, webmail, and even spreadsheets.

      If someone can learn enough to type as quickly as fast handwriting, use the internet, send an e-mail, and save a file for later retrieval they are much better off than one who can't.

      Spell check, and spreadsheets are bonuses.

      It could also reasonably be argues that the purpose of computers in school is to save money by not needing encyclopedias and other types of expensive books, and to augment the ability to teach certain types of subjects.

      I say this as someone who set up a Xubuntu computer at my wife's work for a summer internship for high-school students that had very little computer experience (they could use a mouse and type, and certainly knew how to find myspace instead of work though). They would stay after they could leave to use the computer to type essays and learned how to enter data into a spreadsheet along with basic (very basic) spreadsheet concepts like sorting and dragging down a column to repeat a pattern. These are the types of things that will help them be more qualified in the workforce even though they gained no Windows experience.

      Software like the test builder/taker in Edubuntu could be a great bonus to a school poor school and could easily save a school dollars a test (goes somewhat to paying for the computers).
      • by fwarren (579763)
        Spell check, and spreadsheets are bonuses.

        I have found spell check on Slashdot next to impossible.

      • by rts008 (812749)
        Thanks for the good post. :)

        It's astounding the number of people get locked into the mindset of doing things *only* a specific way.
        If the thought is taken to paranoid extremes, it makes one wonder how we will advance as a civilization at all.
        My stepdaughter can use any PC as she has been exposed to not only MS crapware, but Linux, and OSX to get things done.

        It doesn't have to be a religious OS matter, just a practical matter.
      • by Bert64 (520050)
        You used an Amiga at school? Where did you go to school?
        Wordperfect was never very popular on Amiga, people tended to prefer graphical apps like Kindwords, Wordworth and Final Writer... The Amiga as a whole was generally geared towards graphical apps.
    • by pembo13 (770295)
      no, they are not doing a disservice
    • by EEPROMS (889169)
      At the end of the day drag and drop and clicking on icons or menu's is pretty much the same on any OS.
    • by Shimmer (3036)
      The true goal of a computer program for a school is to ready its students for the workplace

      No, that's the goal of a vocational program (like shop class).

      The goal of a typical computer class is the same as that of school in general: To educate citizens so they can successfully assume responsibility for running their country in the future. This is reason we have public education.
    • by ozphx (1061292)
      Not to mention that in a real developing country MS practically gives out Windows licenses. I really doubt that the cost Windows is more than 5% of the hardware...
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by webmaster404 (1148909)
        But the hardware is tied to the OS. If you were to get Vista you would probably pick out a new computer with a dual or quad-core processor with 2-3 Gigs of RAM, a nice DRM-compliant video-card for Aero, then of course the average person needs to spend about $300 on anti-virus/spyware, MS office, new versions for programs that MS broke backwards compatibility with, ETC. For a school they can probably get licenses very cheap, however when the student ends up going to college, they can either pay the $1000 set
    • Re:don't hate me (Score:5, Insightful)

      by filesiteguy (695431) <kai@perfectreign.com> on Monday January 28, 2008 @11:25PM (#22217374) Homepage

      If the true goal of a computer program for a school is to ready its students for the workplace, then is linux really the best method of doing so? Isn't the school in some way doing its students a dis-service my training them on a computing method that they will very likely never use again? As much as i DESPISE some of microsoft's products (i admin a damn win2k3 server...do i really need to explain WHY i hate microsoft?) i understand that in order to function in a modern workplace, the ability to navigate microsoft windows is almost as essential as any other office skill

      Actually this is a fallacious argument.

      I just pointed out yesterday that kids can learn any OS. Keep in mind that I (along with all my peers) grew up in a world without windows and yet still managed to learn. In fact, I didn't even see windows until I was 19 and in college. That's when Win 2.0 came out and I thought it was - erm - mostly harmless.

      My seven-year-old and five-year-old sons have no issues moving from my Vista laptop to my wife's Win2K desktop to my openSUSE laptop and desktop and to my mom's openSUSE desktop or to my father-in-law's Macintosh. Unless you're gonna teach kids how to administer Win2K3 workstations, then there's no issue.

      • by rts008 (812749)
        Well said!
        Hear! Hear!

        The root of the problem (no pun intended) is the inability to break out of the MS mindset of how to do anything.
        Claiming that due to MS's coverage of the market making it the standard is all BS, and admitting defeat.

        Save all of the 'but I have to use windows at work" whining. So what! Use something else at home. Get your kids involved in MS alternatives. Our generation is too hooked on the MS Koolaid.
        Kudos for you doing so....how do we get the rest to do so.

        Teach your kids to learn, not
    • by CastrTroy (595695)
      In school I used WordPerfect 5.1, Quattro Pro, MS Works, Filemaker Pro, QBasic, MS-Dos, and CorelDraw, along with a bunch of programs that were so obscure, I can't even remember the name of them. Up until high school, the only computer I had ever used at school was an ICON [wikipedia.org]. I don't use any of that anymore. However that hasn't stopped me from becoming quite proficient with computers. I'm a computer geek, so I did some learning on my own, but nobody I know from school has any problems using computers in
    • then is linux really the best method of doing so? Isn't the school in some way doing its students a dis-service my training them on a computing method that they will very likely never use again?

      Can you think of anything in Windows that couldn't be figured out by someone who has been trained on Linux? My point is this, the sheer amount of software available out of the box in many linux distros allows you to use many different software programs [open office, Koffice etc..] so after a while, you generally g

      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by rohan972 (880586)
        Can you think of anything in Windows that couldn't be figured out by someone who has been trained on Linux?

        Why do people use this? :)
      • by mhall119 (1035984)

        Can you think of anything in Windows that couldn't be figured out by someone who has been trained on Linux?
        The Registry. Though to be fair, even people who have been trained on Windows can't figure out the Registry. Heck, I don't know of anybody with any amount of training in anything that can figure that mess out.
    • Most people use Windows yes. However with the GUI changing (just look from XP to Vista), training students on an outdated platform of Windows is worse then teaching them *NIX. Because most Linux/Unix GUIs don't need to be new for the sake of being new, most skills acquired on KDE 1 can be transferred to KDE 4 with little problems, and the same with Gnome. Secondly, most basic Windows concepts can be accurately emulated by having a Windows-like WM or theme on the desktop environment of your choosing, I have
      • by drsmithy (35869)

        Most people use Windows yes. However with the GUI changing (just look from XP to Vista), training students on an outdated platform of Windows is worse then teaching them *NIX. Because most Linux/Unix GUIs don't need to be new for the sake of being new, most skills acquired on KDE 1 can be transferred to KDE 4 with little problems, and the same with Gnome.

        Given the differences in look and feel that can exist between KDE installations *of the same version*, your assertion is ridiculous on its face. Anyone

      • by AvitarX (172628)
        I'm still confused for by the application menu in KDE 4.

        stuff scrolls right and left. Sometimes when I go back to it, the same catagory is open, so I have to go button -> left -> scroll up and down for what category I want (defaults to very small) -> click catagory -> click application

        Due to it's memory what I am looking at is slightly different every time I do this, and because it scrolls up and down, I can't to it by muscle memory at all. It is a change more jarring than from XP to Vista, th
    • i understand that in order to function in a modern workplace, the ability to navigate microsoft windows is almost as essential as any other office skill.

      And what will they learn in those classes? They'll learn how to use a mouse, they'll learn how to cut and paste either with the mouse or with control keys, they'll learn how to navigate in a GUI. Then they'll learn how to use a word processor and a spreadsheet. The techniques will be exactly the same as they'll use in the Real World if they end up usi

    • You got it so spot on. These school kids are going to need real Windows(r) skills when they're ready for work in five to ten years.

      So will the next generation and the generation after that. I learned all about registry hacking when I was in grade 3, 1982 I think, and boy, I'm so glad I did.

      What's the use of Linux desktops? If windows has been good enough for the last thousand years, it's good enough for the next thousand years.

    • by MrCopilot (871878)
      If the true goal of a computer program for a school is to ready its students for the workplace, then is linux really the best method of doing so? Isn't the school in some way doing its students a dis-service my training them on a computing method that they will very likely never use again?

      Um, No. A wide range of enterprise servers run Linux or gasp Unix based Operating Systems. Knowing your way around the shell, and administration is a major asset. Never use again, are you kidding me. If they grow up lea

    • The Philippines is pretty low on budget. Not because we lack certain industries or we have a crappy economy, but because those dumb-ass politicians we have keep most of our tax money in their pockets. Mostly, they don't start projects they wouldn't profit from. When a certain amount of money is alloted to a certain project, they find ways to cheapen the price and keep the change for themselves. They see Linux as their cash-cow. They get praise for computerizing the public school system (which gets them vote

    • > If the true goal of a computer program for a school is to ready its students for the workplace, then is linux really the best method of doing so?

      It's not the worst - where kids can't do much of ANYTHING on computers (i.e. only run office and some ed games) because the educators are so afraid the computers will break.

      > Isn't the school in some way doing its students a dis-service my training them on a computing method that they will very likely never use again?

      Many of us long-time geeks learned on Ap
    • If the true goal of a computer program for a school is to ready its students for the workplace, then is linux really the best method of doing so?
      Isn't the school in some way doing its students a dis-service my training them on a computing method that they will very likely never use again? ...the ability to navigate microsoft windows is almost as essential as any other office skill.

      1) The purpose of an eucation is not to train users to use a particular product, but to learn particular skills

      These skills may include :-To use an operating system, to use a word processor, to learn programing languages, to learn how to acquire information and apply it.

      To promote good values such as honesty and integrity. Some of the things you should learn in school.

      2) Teaching useless skills, yes it could be a disservice , but to take myself as an example I learnt word processing in several programs wor

    • If the true goal of a computer program for a school is to ready its students for the workplace, then is linux really the best method of doing so? [...]

      Well, Linux in such a context ("to ready students") isn't a method. It can be a tool (and so can Windows) of a given method. And the method can be adequate or inadequate.

      As to the method, who knows what students will use in the future? At work or at home?

      Schools (if they are not to be short-sighted) should enable students with skills that will allow th

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by merc (115854)
      If the true goal of a computer program for a school is to ready its students for the workplace, then is linux really the best method of doing so? Isn't the school in some way doing its students a dis-service my training them on a computing method that they will very likely never use again?

      Your question is quite valid, and worth consideration. However, the inverse could also possibly be true, and one of the core disputes I have with community colleges and many high schools of today, that being:

      How much ar
    • by donaldm (919619)
      Personally I don't despise Microsoft however I would not trust them. Actually some of Microsoft's products are quite good and definitely integrate well with Microsoft software but just try to get other software to integrate.

      I am not overly surprise with the "Oh it's not like Microsoft" attitude it is always interesting how people will say they have a Microsoft product that does not have an equivalent Linux (note I did not say open-source) product and I normally take great delight in pointing out a commerc
    • Can you point to me how using, say Firefox and OpenOffice.org are somehow non-transferable skills? It's not as if IE and Firefox are so different, or that KDE is somehow some quantum-leap from Windows, or that OpenOffice.org is some radical departure from the Office 97-2003 suites (that's reserved for Office 2007).

      Virtually every GUI out there is an iconified program launcher with some pretty picture file manager. Some details may be different, but I have a hard time believing that young Abdul who learns
    • by arcade (16638)
      I haven't used microsoft products since 1999.

      I even work with computers. :P

      So no - the ability to navigate microsoft products is not essential.
    • Education might not be about training, but about teaching.

      One trains animals, one teaches people. One trains Office, one teaches text processing.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by wwwillem (253720)
      No I don't hate you. :) And I think you deserve at least the +3, but not moderated as "Funny", because the issue you raise is serious enough.

      Eight years ago, I was planning for my wife (a health care professional) her first PC, and I thought that the purchase of an iMac would be the most user friendly and logical choice. But her criticism on that plan was (along the lines of your story) that at work she would need to use a Windows PC, and then with a Mac at home she would only get confused. So, I got her a
    • by cp.tar (871488)

      If the true goal of a computer program for a school is to ready its students for the workplace, then is linux really the best method of doing so? Isn't the school in some way doing its students a dis-service my training them on a computing method that they will very likely never use again?

      As a (future) educator, I think that this attitude is actually the greatest disservice both to students and to schools.

      No, the computer program is not supposed to prepare the students for their workplace. Especially not in the sense of teaching them to use a certain bunch of programs that they are going to use once they get a job, and even more especially not in primary school.

      Computer classes, just like physics or chemistry or maths or language classes, are not there to prepare kids for any kind of wor

    • by Bert64 (520050)
      Well, we learned wordperfect for dos at school, by the time we entered the workplace there was no wordperfect for dos to be seen.
      You really need to teach concepts in school, teach the kids what they're looking for rather than where specific apps keep those options. Whatever they learn in school today will be obsolete by the time they start work anyway.
    • by owlman17 (871857)

      If the true goal of a computer program for a school is to ready its students for the workplace, then is linux really the best method of doing so? Isn't the school in some way doing its students a dis-service my training them on a computing method that they will very likely never use again?

      I do agree in principle, that is, if one happens to live in a developed country with a stable IT-infrastructure, well-entrenched in Microsoft products. A lot of small to medium business here in the Philippines use pirated MS XP+Office (plus other MS-based products) but an awareness about piracy and open-standards has been steadily growning. When there was an anti-piracy crackdown a couple of years back, quite a number of those companies made the switch to Linux. Some were partial conversions, the others we

    • If by using linux they learn about dependencies, compiling, advanced use of CLI, proper system of permissions and the advantage of proper documentation. I think they'll do just fine with the 'next...yes I agree...next...next...finish why the hell doesn't it work' nature of windows.

      The best thing about linux, is that encourages you to attempt to solve the problem on your own.

      When a problem occurs on windows, and you don't have an internet connection to search the forums, you're pretty much screwed.

      Aft

    • by symbolset (646467)

      If the true goal of a computer program for a school is to ready its students for the workplace, then is linux really the best method of doing so? Isn't the school in some way doing its students a dis-service my training them on a computing method that they will very likely never use again?

      Yeah, these kids need to know a lot of stuff Windows will teach them:

      • Programming is not a normal task.
      • If there's no button, the feature is absent.
      • All document formats expire in less than eight years so forget everythi
    • And given the fact that you miserably fail to grasp the benefits to deploy Linux as an optimal option to teach general computing skills, it is hardly surprising that you fail to understand the general objectives of a school.

      Schools are centers of education, introduction to science, culture, civic duties and general betterment of the individual.

      Schools are not peddlers of the flavor of the day when it comes to technologies. And for goodness sakes, do not tell me that moving icons, cutting and pasting, is a s
    • by mspohr (589790)
      Thank you for explaining why I can't get a job in 'hi-tech'. I spent all of my time in the 70s wiring up a 8008 and programming it in assembler. Then I moved on to an 8080 with CPM. Later I had an Apple II and an Apple /// and a TRS-80. The trail continued for years with a whole string of now useless computers (anybody want an Osborne?).

      I now know that I was wasting my time with all of those obsolete luser computers and that they have prevented me from getting that high paying hi-tech job that I've alw

    • by Alioth (221270)
      Schools are supposed to be educating, not training people to click on widgets like monkeys.

      Someone who knows the general concepts will find they easily transfer to Windows or Mac OS X. GUI driven operating systems all work pretty much the same way. Writing a document in OpenOffice isn't appreciably different than in MS Office. The concepts are exactly the same, only the widgets are slightly different.

      Linux is the best method of doing so because it will free up money that can go to paying teachers.

      Your argum
    • by SL Baur (19540)

      If the true goal of a computer program for a school is to ready its students for the workplace

      Nope. The true goal of a computer program in school is to teach students how to program a computer.

      Do you have any idea what Filipino schools are like? The private school I sent my stepson to for first grade had a "library" of five books, one of which was a college-level introduction to Shakespeare. (The local public was slightly better, but its library was still a sad, mostly empty room).

      I hit the roof twice that first year. The first time was when their school-wide fundraising drive was to buy a tent

  • About fucking time! (Score:4, Informative)

    by sgtron (35704) on Monday January 28, 2008 @10:32PM (#22216964)
    The Philippines is such a poor country, it's about damn time they wised up and chose the free option. Although, I can't help to think that with so much corruption in every aspect of the government and business over there. I'll be surprised if this pans out in the end.
    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by kramulous (977841) *
      FTFA

      ... so after a successful deployment of 13,000 Fedora Linux systems from a government grant, plans are underway to roll out another 10,000 based on Ubuntu.

      13000 already done. Time to be surprised.
    • by owlman17 (871857)
      Poverty, corruption. Yes, speaking of which, that's a pretty frightening combination. I just hope MS doesn't "buy off" the people in power here to keep using the unfree option.
      • by sgtron (35704)
        Which is my point. This sounds nice now. And I wish them well, but from experience I know how these things can end up. Graft, corruption and greed invariably take their toll. Poor countries like the Philippines should rushing to use Free Software, not encouraging its citizens to purchase expensive crapware. Let's give this some time and see what happens. I hope things will go well. I hope Free Software will take over the world. But... let's just see what happens...
  • Yeah but can it eat up 10 gig of hard drive space and 50% of the available ram?
  • ...but the Government Ministers kept asking how well these "Li-nux" PCs would run Vista Ultimate...
  • by RuBLed (995686) on Monday January 28, 2008 @10:58PM (#22217144)
    I RTFA because I live in the Philippines and I could agree with the last paragraph..

    "If Linux and open source wants to take hold in the education market it must deliver course material for high schools and elementary schools."

    Most of the public and private schools here only computer textbooks that is only related to MS products. What I find funny is that, they can't afford to buy those Office suites and operating systems in the first place, yet they are teaching them. There is nothing wrong with teaching it but then again it boils down to the fact that they had to pirate these software just to be able to practice what they teach \ learn.

    Recently, BSA had been hot on companies and large educational institutions here, I have seen some smaller educational institutions switch most of their OS to Fedora since they could only afford to show a number of licenses. There are also raids conducted on local internet cafes but the rumor is that, they are not BSA but the local NBI units trying to make some money. Because of these factors, most cafes that only offer printing and internet surfing switched to Linux also. The only cafes I know in our area that run windows are those gaming cafes and those located at known malls.

    Yes, we had been pretty much dependent on MS as a nation. At least this is a good step in the right direction. Even though DSL is pretty much affordable by middle classes here, the combination of OS and Office seems to be much, many just pirate them leading to numerous unpatched systems that are always online, coupled with users who only know the basics.

    On second thought, we should really do something about the whole educational mess we are right now. Not just regarding computers / technology.

    Or is resistance futile?
    • Here's some background on what the parent poster is talking about:

      http://digitalfilipino.21publish.com/janette2/archive/2005/09/01/1ib3vbfqkvzhv.htm [21publish.com]

      Note that one of the people who respond to this blog entry claim that neighboring countries who *don't* collaborate with the BSA get huge discounts from Microsoft.

      While this was going on, the big complaint from my friends over there who use internet cafes wasn't that linux was bad or hard to use. The complaint was that the linux version of yahoo chat didn't allo
  • by mnemonic_ (164550)
    She can still hear the rebel yell just as loud as it was.
  • only wive dolla
  • Where can one sign up to work/help for these folks?
  • The Steve will roll the corporate jet out there and drop some democracy on them...I mean meet with the leadership and promise them $3 XP, hand out some training coupons, take them out to a strip club and get them good and boozed up. They'll come crawling back.

    Oh, yeah.

    I've used Linux for years and no one has ever flown out here and taken me to a strip club. Not once.

    Humph.

    • That's the funny part -- Microsoft did offer them dirt-cheap Windows and training programs, damned near everything but the strip club. Linux still came out cheaper.

      Which means they can afford to go to a strip club anyway.
  • Is how they are going to maintain what are essentially 4 different distributions, fairly fast moving distributions -- although, if the machines worked when they were deployed, they should not decay very quickly.
  • Good move (Score:5, Informative)

    by jantoxicated (964375) on Monday January 28, 2008 @11:33PM (#22217428)
    As a Filipino - and by the way, the comments here are very very disturbing - I am happy this is pushing through. If you are living here, Microsoft Windows IS the most dominant OS around here, with a few exceptions of other who used Macs. The only Linux users I knew are those that belong to my local Linux user group and programmers like me. But ever since the crackdown of BSA on schools regarding pirated copies of Windows and others, schools here (or at least in my city) reacted by moving some of their machines to Linux, using OpenOffice.org and using Firefox. Of course Windows machine didn't evaporated overnight but at least we are on the right track.
    • much has been written about the internet's anonymity exposing truckloads of mindless negativity

      that some of it should reveal itself as racism isn't surprising in the least

      don't feed the troll, nor even be disturbed by his presence

      browse comments above the 2 or 3 threshold, or get some mental bleach ;-)
    • What comments do you find disturbing? I read one about corruption in the Philippines - is that what you had in mind?
    • by fritsd (924429)

      As a Filipino - and by the way, the comments here are very very disturbing (...)

      If you're a Filipino, what is your opinion of this disturbing approach by Microsoft to the Filipino press:

      ZDnet Asia about MSOOXML [zdnetasia.com]

      I had to laugh at the quote

      With OOXML, one can use Notepad or just about any productivity software like Microsoft's rival OpenOffice, to open a file that's saved in Microsoft Word document. OOXML, Microsoft says, is backward-compatible and future-proof...meaning, it can open all previous and futu

  • by earthforce_1 (454968) <`moc.oohay' `ta' `1_ecrofhtrae'> on Monday January 28, 2008 @11:52PM (#22217558) Journal
    This is good news, yet I wonder why they went with Fedora instead of a localized distro?
    ( http://bayanihan.gov.ph/ [bayanihan.gov.ph] )

    • by pembo13 (770295)
      Well, forgetting that they also went with Ubuntu, Kunbuntu and Xubuntu... Fedora is currently a high customizable distribution which seems to be very good at being an upstream distribution. (probably Ubuntu is as good, I am not qualified to say). So a local org can and should start, at the very least, a SIG in Fedora to make and support local spin of Fedora.
  • 'Ministers in the Filipino government now understand Linux can do so much for so little outlay.'

    There. That just about sums it up.
  • The bureaucracy and corruption is stifling, but I give Filipinos credit for some progressiveness.

    Specifically, they had two bloodless revolutions (EDSA I and II, ousting Marcos and Estrada, respectively). Manila is catching up with India as a location for call centers (kahit sino diyan alam mag English/everyone there knows English). There is a wind farm in northern Luzon, where a coconut biofuel plantation is going in, too.

    PS. Mr. Ricardo Gonzalez, post here if there's anything stateside people can do that
    • by owlman17 (871857)

      Specifically, they had two bloodless revolutions (EDSA I and II, ousting Marcos and Estrada, respectively).
      Someday we'll oust Ballmer and gang too. No shedding of blood of course. :)
  • by turing_m (1030530) on Tuesday January 29, 2008 @04:39AM (#22219098)
    "We wanted to use Fedora 5 and it went all the way to office of [the Filipino] President and they kept passing it around saying 'why would they offer something for free, and how would they support and teach it'," Gonzalez said. "The project dragged on for four to five months to a point where Microsoft matched the price by offering Windows XP for $US20 a copy and throwing in Office for $US30, but we still came out cheaper. Microsoft was also providing free training to high school teachers."

    That is the sound of inevitability.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by owlman17 (871857)
      $20+$30 is still expensive. That's about 1/4th the monthly salary of the average worker here. The OEM version of XP is roughly $100 when converted. Basic Office (no Powerpoint) costs around $200-300. Don't even get me started on Vista Ultimate (and the hardware upgrade that comes with it). If people in the US think its robbery, its practically a small fortune over here. OTOH, Linux would run on machines we already own.
      • by dn15 (735502)
        Indeed, any price is too expensive when you're a relatively poor country spending taxpayer dollars on software. As has already been pointed out, it's the concepts of computers that are important, not the memorization of exactly which icon to click.
    • Having been born in the Philippines and still have most of my family there (last time I was there was 2006), I can tell you that it's not going to make any difference.

      Every business is still tied to windows, and every kid's PC at home is still windows (God forbid you give them a PC that can't play Ragnarok!)

      Trying to find a computer reseller that will sells pre-loaded boxes with linux is needle in a haystack work.

      If you want to really effect change, then you need to change the thinking of the chinese filipi

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