Earlier today, Wes Fryer (Moving at the Speed of Creativity) sent me a tweet and I quickly responded. In my response, I assert that Linux is a solution for schools but that it is yesterday’s solution on the desktop. Some of the problems our children face CAN be solved with Linux netbooks, but those kinds of questions are old ones. If Linux is the answer to old questions, what are the new ones? Same questions, different answers appropriate for now rather than yesterday.
To be blunt, no one wants computer labs, netbook carts anymore. They’d rather have an iPad. That’s not to say other technologies aren’t necessary, useful, worth having. Only that they are a solution to yesterday’s computing problems. New problems, new solutions. You know…you don’t pour new wine into old wineskins.
Let me be up front about a few things:
- I automatically load GNU/Linux on all my laptops, desktops, netbooks. If it doesn’t have Linux on it, then it soon will have. When friends bring me their computer and complain that it has a problem, I load Linux on it to give them an oasis of stability.
- Linux is a great, no cost operating system with a suite of phenomenal software maintained by a global community of developers and supporters.
- I love Android and the Nexus 7 is a wonderful tablet, albeit no where near as robust as the iPad or iPad Mini. Given the choice between an Android and an iPad, I’d recommend iPad because it enables you to do more. For schools, it’s a no-brainer.
- Although Apple, Microsoft, Google will undoubtedly sell you down the river because they want you to buy their product or what they’re selling, the Linux community will continue to innovate because they enjoy a level of freedom.
Scenario #1 – Total iPad Cost: $13,000,340.00Scenario #2 – Total Computer+Netbook Cost with Windows: $8,965,750.00Scenario #3 – Total Computer+Netbook Cost with Linux: $7,663,750.00
One should always use the best tool for the task at hand.Our tasks, in terms of computing needs, however, have changed. Legacy application suites are getting replaced by a seemingly never-ending stream of smartphone and tablet applications. Cloud services for productivity and storage are the new Microsoft Office and hard drive. Touch computing is becoming the norm, not the exception, and mobile operating systems are optimized for it. Simply put: Netbooks are just another example of old-school computing, and world is moving on. Farewell, netbooks; it was fun while it lasted.
“Any government that tells people to teach proprietary software is essentially delivering the country into the hands of a company.”
The only sane choice IS Linux.
Other stuff worth reading in this vein:
- The March of the Penguins on the Student Desktop
- Linux in Texas Schools
- The Mark of the Apple iPad
- Sabrina Joy Stevens Writes it So I Don’t Have To