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The Almighty Buck Software Linux

Ostrich Lessons In Oregon? 255

dalslad writes "Oregon Schools Prove Linux Saves Money, says the headline but this article says "One has to wonder if Northwest school districts took ostrich lessons; they must represent the biggest secret in the Linux community. If their successes occurred in New York, Microsoft would be fighting for 5% of the PC desktop share". Maybe so? I've seen a lot of sites with Linux success stories, but the K12 Linux projects show progress I never knew existed." Yeah, I don't think that the schools are going to prove to be the sole factor in Linux on the desktop, but it's a good step. More importantly, I think the success of the system depends on projects like the K12 Linux project and its like, especially for broader individual usage.
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Ostrich Lessons In Oregon?

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  • by taliver ( 174409 ) on Tuesday July 01, 2003 @08:55AM (#6338396)
    Of course having Linux in Public Schools will make Linux appear everywhere. Just look at Apple's success with the same strategy.

    The problem becomes one of kids thinking that Linux is a "training" computer environment, and that when they "grow up" they get to use a real environment.
  • by garcia ( 6573 ) * on Tuesday July 01, 2003 @08:58AM (#6338416)
    Please don't take this as a troll, I am just trying to go with the other side...

    Why shouldn't they be hooked early? Do you think that businesses are just going to magically stop using MS Office in the near future?

    So we are going to have these kids learn Linux and OpenOffice or maybe StarOffice or maybe KOffice and they are going to go about their daily duties with those applications...

    They get to an interview... "Do you have experience with MS Excel, MS Word, and MS Access?" "No sir, but I have used Kblah, OOBlah, and StarBlah."

    I would LOVE to see interviewers more tech. savvy and understand what those applications are. I doubt that day will come anytime soon. They are just too entrenched.

    I think using Linux in schools is a great idea. I also think that MS offering hardware/software to schools is also great. Whereever they can save the money that I end up paying in the end is good for me.

    Just my .02
  • by Gefiltefish11 ( 611646 ) on Tuesday July 01, 2003 @08:59AM (#6338421)

    I think it's well-agreed that most MS users are that way because of simple familiarity. Your run-of-the-mill user wouldn't port to Linux or another platform (even apple, as easy as it is to use) because they all seem foreign and counter-intuitive (this because intuition is based on repeated experience).

    Because of this, it seems critical to catch kids early, before they become pigeon-holed into one particular OS (or any software package). Rather than using Linux exclusively, perhaps a revolving curriculum would be most helpful --Linux, MS, Apple, etc. Provide the variety of experiences that helps kids to learn the similarities among systems that makes for general intuition rather than intuition that is product-specific.
  • by Daniel Phillips ( 238627 ) on Tuesday July 01, 2003 @09:04AM (#6338450)
    With Microsoft's desire to have complete market dominance, how long before they start offering schools free, or cut-rate discounts all under the guise of "charity"?

    They've been doing that as long as they've owned the market. It's not working any more, i.e., it's getting hard for Microsoft even to give Windows away. For educators, Windows just isn't nearly as good a value proposition[1] as Linux.

    [1] Yes, I know that's PHBspeak. It's also intensely ironic.
  • by lederhosen ( 612610 ) on Tuesday July 01, 2003 @09:16AM (#6338526)
    Computers are not needed for small kids.
    It is better for them to learn some math,
    or more important their language.
  • by codepunk ( 167897 ) on Tuesday July 01, 2003 @09:25AM (#6338573)
    I donate my time to set up a terminal server environment and other linux goodies for school. Next week I am going to work on converting a under funded christian school and the week after content filtering solution for a public school. Linux is making alot of headway in these projects and I really enjoy showing them what can be done with a simple download.
  • by tuffy ( 10202 ) on Tuesday July 01, 2003 @09:37AM (#6338650) Homepage Journal
    Why shouldn't they be hooked early? Do you think that businesses are just going to magically stop using MS Office in the near future?

    If the workforce knows an alternative to MS Office, prefers an alternative to MS Office and can get the same job done just as well using an alternative to MS Office, businesses are going to magically use an alternative to MS Office.

    Seen WordStar lately?

  • by fermion ( 181285 ) on Tuesday July 01, 2003 @09:40AM (#6338662) Homepage Journal
    You are correct to point, but it is a chicken and egg thing.

    Many firms use Windows and Office because a large number of persons, not to mention the owners of the firms, are familiar with the software. This familiarity provides a significant comfort level. This is a great change from 20 years ago where most were not familiar with any microcomputer technology, and so it was truly a wide open game.

    Which leads to how we teach our students? Do we teach them commands and processes by rote, explaining that such and such mouse movements are magic incantations that cause the Lord MS to bless us with text, figures, and presentation, or do we teach them critically that the computer is a tool, just like a microwave oven, and not every one will work the exact same way but there are fundamental similarities.

    I hear the people back in the peanut gallery saying that students are too stupid to learn critical thinking and that may be true. But let me ask you this? Who is the more likely to have a lifetime of employment. A person who believes that the only OS is MS Windows or MacOS, or *nix, or the person who understands that all of these do similar things and is comfortable enough to go into an read a book the week before an interview and then go in a proudly claim they know the system and are willing to work on whatever tool the employer has.

  • by Delphiki ( 646425 ) on Tuesday July 01, 2003 @09:42AM (#6338674)
    I really don't think it will make too much difference one way or the other as far as getting a job, as long as it's presented right. If you're applying for a non-technical job where you would be using MS software, I doubt they would be impressed by the fact that you knew non-MS alternatives, though I doubt they would hold it against you too much as long as you said that you pointed out that you had experience in very similar programs. On the other hand if people only know open source alternatives and go into a job interview and start trying to convert the interviewer that's probably not going to help them.

    Ideally I think schools should have a variety of platforms for students to learn on, including Windows, Linux and OS X. Flexibility means being able to work on a variety of platforms, not just being able to work on a non-MS platform, after all.

  • by mausmalone ( 594185 ) on Tuesday July 01, 2003 @09:44AM (#6338688) Homepage Journal
    Well, it may be written poorly, but it's extremely biased, that meets my expectations about Linux Journal. Not an attack on Linux, but I wouldn't read Windows magazine for news either. Or MacAddict *shudder*. As a rule of thumb, I don't trust news reported by evangelists.
  • by bahamat ( 187909 ) on Tuesday July 01, 2003 @09:47AM (#6338701) Homepage
    People will natually want to use the computer system they grew up with. My mom first used to learn about computers with a System 5 Macintosh, and she still swears by them even though she's been using a PC for the past 10 years. She still wishes it were a mac, she just knows they're far too expensive. Today's generation of people using computers really have only known MS products. There's comfort there, and better the devil you know than the one you don't.

    I've always said that Linux on the desktop is not harder, it's only different. It's just different, so they complain. Linux is different so it's too hard. Mac is different so it's too dumbed down. It's just lame excuses from people unwilling to change. If kids grow up learning Linux they'll stick with it their entire lives. Just as youngsters in the 80's loved UNIX and when they grew up and got IT jobs they brought it into business. Truth is, people are sheep. They'll follow and do pretty much whatever they're told. The best progress into the world of home and business can be made in schools. If children grow up riding on a penguin they'll stick with it.
  • We installed linux at a few schools anyway, on their network cores, only to come back later and see that the admins had come around and installed win2k right behind us.

    You installed software (on "network cores", no less) behind the systems administrators' backs, and you were expecting something different to happen?
  • by tambo ( 310170 ) on Tuesday July 01, 2003 @09:51AM (#6338729)
    >What's going to impress you? Someone who just
    >knows MS Office 2k, and gets hysterical when
    >you give them Office 97 or Office XP. Or
    >someone who has a good grounding in something a
    >little different. "Have you ever used
    >Word?" "No, but I've used Writer, Abiword,
    >Islandwrite, and Emacs."

    Two comments - one you'll sort of like, and one you won't.

    Bitter pill first: Familiarity counts. Any application beyond Calculator or Solitaire requires a learning curve - regardless of platform. Even if you know Writer, Abiword, Islandwrite, Emacs, StarOffice, and MS Word, using mail-merge in WordPerfect will still be harder for you (the first few times) than for someone who's only used WordPerfect.

    Now here's a helpful suggestion, though rarely-seen on Slashdot: It's most impressive to have as broad a background as possible.

    Which of the following candidates would you choose for web admin:
    1) The stodgy Microsoft guy who insists on using IIS because that's all he knows; or
    2) The wild-haired Linux guy who launches into a tirade when you mention not using Apache; or
    3) The guy who has solid experience with both, knows their relative strengths and weaknesses, can provide an expert opinion on which is better suited to your needs, and is comfortable developing for the platform that you choose?

    David Stein, Esq.

  • by 1u3hr ( 530656 ) on Tuesday July 01, 2003 @09:52AM (#6338740)
    They get to an interview... "Do you have experience with MS Excel, MS Word, and MS Access?" "No sir, but I have used Kblah, OOBlah, and StarBlah."

    Wrong answer, Say "Yes".

    If it's a technical job requiring you to have deep knowledge of VBA macros, of course you actually have to study it. Otherwise, using the K* and OO gives you almost exactly the same experience. If lying bothers you, (and this is trivial on the scale of job interview lying), spend an afernoon playing with someone's Windows PC and create and print a few documents, add up your shopping list, sort it alphabetically. You now have all the experience you need to do 99% of real world MSOffice work.

    You don't have to "study" MS Office for six years to learn how to write a memo, or add up a column of figures. I worked it out, the closest I came to a computer at school was a pocket calculator.

    On your resume, you write "experienced with MS Office and Linux office software". Or reverse the order if you think they'd prefer to hear that. You now have one more ability that may help you get the job.

  • by TrekkieGod ( 627867 ) on Tuesday July 01, 2003 @09:57AM (#6338767) Homepage Journal
    heh...if you read the post, you'd understand the point was showing that the person had flexibility.

    I laugh at the fact that they actually have courses to teach people how to use word processors and the such, and then I wake up from geek world and take a good look at my parents. I've never had anyone "teach" me how to use word, excel, or anything else, but when I had to use it, I learned it on the go, and wasn't inneficient at it either. To any computer literate person, the skill to figure out a tremendouly easy gui is just intuitive. "hmm...I want a table of contents...hey, look...insert filters through heading types...I guess all I need to do is set up my headings as I type, then click the right radio buttons for the ones that I want to show up in the toc"

    If you hire an employee that has experience in a system that makes you be able to think (ie, linux, where you need to figure out how to get things to work--and thus learn how to figure things out), you'll not only get an employee who will be able to figure out word xp in no time flat, you'll get an employee who won't be complaining that he can't do his job because he doesn't know how to use the new, upgraded "word l337" or whatever mycrosoft thinks their new cool name should be.

  • Re:Maybe... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by mausmalone ( 594185 ) on Tuesday July 01, 2003 @09:58AM (#6338776) Homepage Journal
    Think of all of the lucky kids who are getting to know Linux at a young age and take that knowledge and (hopefully) preference into adulthood.

    This, of course, assumes that Linux is a good thing. And that these kids will get a chance to know it. Every Windows PC at a school needs to be locked down to prevent tampering and just general mis-use by curious do-it-yourself kids. What makes Linux any different than OSX or Windows if the kids are only allowed to launch certain applications, and never allowed to use the actual underlying OS tools? Basically, we're getting kids acclimated to various program launchers, which is by far the easiest part of an OS to learn. The OSX dock is anything but intuitive, but even that only takes like 2 minutes of messing around with it to figure it out.

    And as far as Linux being a good thing, I'm tired of that being assumed. Linux is an OS with pros and cons, just like every other OS, and instead of immediately assuming that world + dog should be using it we should look specifically at the students and discuss what the positive and negative effects of a Linux shift are.

    I will agree, though, that there is no excuse for running Windows for firewall and routing, and Linux would work well for their web and application servers. The low price tag is moot (as these schools already have licenses to MS products, you don't get your money back for switching), but the stability and speed is a huge advantage.
  • by awakened tech ( 630189 ) on Tuesday July 01, 2003 @10:04AM (#6338816)
    Actually I think exactly the opposite is true. A large company with hundreds (or thousands) of staff can say "that's our Word guy and that's our Excel guy". Having worked for and ran my own small company I know that you can't afford single speciality people in a small group, everybody has to much in a do a bit of everything, therefore the wider their knowledge base the better.

    I'd go as far as to say that if I was employing somebody to work in my 10 person company and they said they only had experience of a very small number of specific programs the interview would be over there and then.

    This true in all industries, for example take a carpenters. If you have a hundred staff you can have one carpenter who specialised in door frames. If you have 5 carpenters you need them to be able to do more than the one specific task (unless of course your company only makes door frames!)
  • by the gnat ( 153162 ) on Tuesday July 01, 2003 @10:10AM (#6338866)
    100% of the interviewers asked "do you know MS Word, MS Excel, and MS Access."

    So fucking what? Lie through your teeth, and tell them "oh, yeah, sure." You'll never be put into a situation where they're testing your prowess with the Word table wizard, and timing you. I never actually use Word or Excel, but I put them on my resume anyway because it's buzzword-compliant and because I'm confident that I can figure out how to do anything quickly enough that no one will notice I'm winging it. It's not like padding your resume with C++ or Fortran - I've seen this done.

    If you're technically competent, you should be able to pick up any application like Word in seconds. The problem with the tech industry is that people learn an interface rather than concepts, sort of like Pavlovian training rather than actual learning. I've worked as a full-time programmer and as a senior tech-support goon, and I've seen many people who were fine as long as they didn't stray from what they knew. There's nothing more pathetic than a Windows support technician sitting down in front of a Macintosh (OS 9!) and looking helpless. I'd far rather have someone less knowledgeable but willing and able to learn anything.
  • by woozlewuzzle ( 532172 ) on Tuesday July 01, 2003 @10:14AM (#6338886)
    I think we're talking K-12 here. The purpose of K-12 is to teach kids to think and how to learn - it isn't a job prep school, it's a life-prep school. In the final 2 years of high school, there will be kids who go directly into the job market for whatever reason. A percentage of these will require specific computer skills (many will need to know how to make change). It would be nice for these kids to learn the current standard (MS Office) - but it really isn't the (public) school's responsibility to provide that. For all the students younger than that, learning a specific product won't help them much, since that product won't be de riguer when they get out of high school. Of course, those that go on to college will be even more removed from the current computing environment. Teach the kids how to use a computer, how to figure out how to use a product (Contextual menus, help files, interface hints) - they can brush up on specific technologies when they're ready to get a job. It's like the complaint that schools use Macs, but Autocad isn't available on the Mac, so they need to switch to PCs - How many 6th graders are quitting school to take a job that requires Autocad skills? Is the correct solution to teach them autocad earlier?
  • by nurb432 ( 527695 ) on Tuesday July 01, 2003 @10:17AM (#6338904) Homepage Journal
    While they may not have been on the front page, K12 has been discussed on here, distrowatch, OSnews, and several educational slanted open source sites ( that I fail to remember the name of at the moment )...

    It wasnt a secret by a long shot.

  • by Kubla Khan ( 36312 ) on Tuesday July 01, 2003 @10:28AM (#6338950)
    While i agree with you , if the person in question is remotely technical, if not this just doesnt work. The average computer user is practically authistic when it comes to application use. Hide a toolbar , move a button, in some cases delete their desktop icon so they have to hunt in the start menu, and that it. The sky has fallen in, the computer has broken, and if you admit that you are responsible god help you. The average, I write memos word user learnt to use it by rote. They dont understand the concepts and principles and they dont want to. Expecting them to adjust to a new user interface intuitively is a pipe dream. Give them a nice little day long class and some printouts and cheatsheets to bring back to their desk and then you have a hope.

  • It's no supprise! (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Pontiac ( 135778 ) on Tuesday July 01, 2003 @10:29AM (#6338962) Homepage
    After the Big screwing [] Microsoft tried to hand NW schools I'm not supprised there is a bigger push for open source software in NW school districts.
    You have a limited shoe string budget to keep the school running.. To the left we have MS asking for a cool half mill a year to license ALL your PC's regardless of OS they really run. On the right we have OSS software.. You make the call.
  • by Dun Malg ( 230075 ) on Tuesday July 01, 2003 @10:34AM (#6338994) Homepage
    Remember way back when, when Apple donated a bunch of Macs to the schools? Yeah, then the parents all bought Macs for compatibility and because their kids knew how to use them.

    Heh, yeah, I remember those days. All the kids would say "c'mon Dad, buy a Mac" and Dad would say "What the hell's a Mac? I'm buying an IBM like we use a work".

    You raise a crucial point. I think it's important to remember that kids don't have money. And, although Linux, OO, etc. are all free, the hardware they run on isn't. So long as you have parents buying the hardware, it's gonna come with all the usual MS crap pre-installed.

  • by Lumpy ( 12016 ) on Tuesday July 01, 2003 @10:35AM (#6339000) Homepage
    The problem with software like that.. espically the type that screams all over it "I'm horribly Expensive!!!!" because of the lack of pricing on the site and the tell-tale... "see if you qualify for a grant" meaning... there is no way in hell you can afford this... let's see if the govt will flit the bill...

    I'm sure you think your software is worth $24,000.00 but the schools don't.. Sell it for $1000.00 max and you will get customers...

    It's nice, I'll give you that... but from what I can see from the website... I know it's too damn expensive... no private school will ever be able to afford it... espically parochial schools.
  • by aallan ( 68633 ) <> on Tuesday July 01, 2003 @11:01AM (#6339211) Homepage

    Anyway, I doubt insubordination is a quality any employer is looking for...

    So what? Being patronising is not a quality I'm looking for in an employer. It goes both ways, there are some people you just don't want to work for...

    If I asked someone to demonstrate a skill they listed on their resume and they acted as though this task was beneath them, I'd scratch them off my list immediately.

    Depends what sort of job and what sort of skill, if I'm interviewing someone for a job that is primarily coding I'd never ask them to demonstrate their MS Office proficiency (listed on the resume or not). I'd be far more interested in figuring out if they knew how to code, and I wouldn't do this by asking they to write some C++, Java, Perl or whatever language we're looking for, I'd ask them to talk me through how they'd solve the problem. Perhaps I might ask if they had a free hand which lnaguage they'd attack the problem in...

    Appropriate questions are the key, an employer asking in-appropriate questions, or demanding that you prove you know how to do something trivial or unrelated to the core of the skills you need for the job, suggests that you should run, not walk, towards the nearest exit.

  • by Kyouryuu ( 685884 ) on Tuesday July 01, 2003 @11:24AM (#6339403) Homepage
    I've personally been witness to one Oregon school district that has switched over to K12LTSP. Over last summer, we built a hundred of those thin-client computers. Let me be the first to tell you, walking into that computer lab today and seeing all of those kids on those computers with Linux and enjoying it would put to rest any concern over the need for Microsoft. Who needs PowerPoint? They've got the OpenOffice equivalent. Why pay thousands for a site license for Adobe Photoshop when The Gimp is free? The whole thing is basically free, of course, which means saved cash in an already strapped sector of the government. In this district alone, over $20,000 is saved annually. That's $20,000 that could be used to keep class sizes small, hire a new teacher, or update textbooks. In this economy, particularly one where schools are complaining everyday about lack of funding, every dollar saved is worth it. I see these other school districts with their pricy Dells and shiny iMacs and wonder just how much cash they blew through that they didn't need to. I don't insinuate that they didn't receive a steep discount, but I would be surprised if their technology spending for their labs was lower than this district. A thousand here, a thousand there - all of those little expenses lead to our state's current financial crisis. Based on the success of Linux in Oregon schools, open-source proponents had moved to pass a bill by the Oregon legislature that would mandate the state consider open-source solutions prior to spending the big bucks for Microsoft. Alas, despite widespread support, the representative from Wood Village shot down the bill and refused to let it be heard, citing verbatim the same reasons the huge tech firms - adamant in their lobby to stop the bill - had argued. The bill eventually died. Proponents mourned. Personally, I didn't see it as an open-source "power grab." I saw it as a way to hold the government accountable for its technology spending. The government should choose the most economical means of getting the job done and not waste taxpayer dollars on extravagant operating systems when all they need is simple word processing or whatnot. If that economical approach is open-source, so be it. If Microsoft decides to just hand over their wares for free, so be it. But always keep them on edge. It's clear this sort of thing scares Microsoft and a bit of fear is always a good thing if it means getting cheaper rates. The fact that the bill died showed Oregon's government is not ready to be held accountable for its decisions when it comes to technology spending. Consequently, I hear the same legislature is trying to up our taxes again in November. Go figure.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday July 01, 2003 @11:33AM (#6339490)
    Ok... but that would work for alternative software too, wouldn't it?
  • by runswithd6s ( 65165 ) on Tuesday July 01, 2003 @11:36AM (#6339525) Homepage

    I had once helped a couple friends install Linux systems at a small extension high school, one of them was a teacher railroaded into the part-time IT Coordinator position. Even though we had successfully deployed a stable, secure, low-maintenance, low-cost Linux environment, his peers were committed to causing his eventual resignation.

    Windows was the only "real" answer for his peers, even while staring into the eye of a year of success with Linux. A year of success. Sometimes you simply cannot win against the engrained "religious" beliefs of some computer users, especially those people who influence financial and policy decisions in your work place.

  • Re:Impressive (Score:3, Insightful)

    by mindriot ( 96208 ) on Tuesday July 01, 2003 @11:44AM (#6339594)
    220 would pretty much do it for half a highschool

    No no no. You're missing the important keyword concurrent. Even for a high school with about 2,000 students, this should be enough with current computing needs. You'll hardly have more than that amount of students using the system at the same time.

  • by nolife ( 233813 ) on Tuesday July 01, 2003 @12:11PM (#6339845) Homepage Journal
    So we are going to have these kids learn Linux and OpenOffice or maybe StarOffice or maybe KOffice and they are going to go about their daily duties with those applications...

    School and learning is not supposed to be about very specific things. The goal is for you to be able to think for yourself and learn and use problem solving skills. Learning one very specific software package is NOT going to be an advantage to you later in life. Have you ever worked in an office that did not have at least 5 applications that were not "mainstream" or some oddball accounting package or invoicing system? How are people able to pick up on those? Trying different things and exploring are how people learn to learn.

    When I fininshed HS in 1988 we still had typewriters and Apple IIe's. I doubt I am the only one from that time frame that has been successful in IT now.
  • by sisukapalli1 ( 471175 ) on Tuesday July 01, 2003 @12:17PM (#6339886)
    This may sound like a flamebait, but here is the reason... I use windows and cygwin at work (mainly tools such as xemacs, gcc, perl, jdk, mozilla, latex)... The underlying OS is more or less irrelevant it seems. Linux is nowhere in here, but GNU/OSS is everywhere. Of course, sometimes it is still way better to boot up in the linux partition (though some of our work *needs* to be done on windows).

    In this context, may be it is the introduction of tools to youngsters is more important than the underlying OS. For instance, compare xemacs with wordpad or textpad or the latest $29 shareware text editor with obnoxious alerts about registering. May be show how it is better to write a "structured document" versus highlight and the standard way of selecting a font size and strength of some text in a document. May be show how tabbed browsing in mozilla or opera is good... Most of the die hard fans of systems such as emacs/mozilla/perl/latex are fans because these tools do things "better" in some way... If kids are shown that "there is more than one way to do it", they may really be ready to experiment with new software.


  • by delphi125 ( 544730 ) on Tuesday July 01, 2003 @01:00PM (#6340375)
    She still wishes it were a mac, she just knows they're far too expensive

    First of all a disclaimer: I am not a Mac fanatic, indeed I haven't used one for about 15 years. Also I don't use Linux at either work (tho I would love a Kylix contract!) or play (hmm maybe NWN now?). But I think to claim Macs are too expensive (despite the fact that I can't afford one) is unfair.

    Why? Well unless your mother is desperate to play the latest games or needs fast compilation/rendering/whatever, a Mac will last a bit longer. Browsing, word processing, e-mail etc. should run fine. The PC I had running in 1995 was as fast as anything since; I've probably bought 3 complete systems since. Now, as a nerd, that is fine, but it would have been cheaper in the long run to invest in a Mac if all I had wanted to do was surf etc.

    In summary, my point is not against you, but our mothers who have been convinced they need to upgrade their PCs. They need a stable OS (and hardware) instead.

  • by Geekbot ( 641878 ) on Tuesday July 01, 2003 @08:28PM (#6345060)
    "You raise a crucial point. I think it's important to remember that kids don't have money. And, although Linux, OO, etc. are all free, the hardware they run on isn't. So long as you have parents buying the hardware, it's gonna come with all the usual MS crap pre-installed."

    This was brought up earlier in the comments. And it is about the only real negative point made and maybe the easiest to refute. You point out a comparison to Macs but say that parents are going to buy the systems and get what they have at work. Well, that's fine, because their *86 compatible computer is going to also run Linux. The kid can just pop in a CD for linux without even installing anything.

    I agree in the point that this is why Mac vs. PC in schools went nowhere. However, the two are not very comparable because of that difference: that linux will run on dad's Windows box and will run even without a regular OS installation set up.