In Tim Wilson’s recent skypecast interview with Paul Nelson of Riverdale High School in Portland, Oregon, Paul explains no one should expect a single operating system to meet all needs and functional requirements. Paul is the school technology director and co-creator of the K-12 Linux Terminal Server Project.

Paul’s story and perspective on operating systems is worth hearing. Why should school districts continue to throw thousands (and added together, millions) of dollars of precious budget monies down a black hole of unneeded upgrades motivated more by corporate quarterly profit desires than educational needs?

In their cost analysis, Riverdale High School saved 50% installing Linux with a thin client network architecture instead of a commercial alternative. The school still utilizes some Macintosh computers for video, sound, and multimedia editing, and some Windows computers for Pagemaker in journalism classes, but all “basic” computer functionalities are handled well (and RELIABLY) by Linux thin clients and servers: word processing, spreadsheets, presentations, web surfing and research, etc.

Paul points out that Apple and Microsoft’s refusal to openly share the CODECS for their QuickTime and Windows Media architectures is a major downside (currently) to using Linux. In advocating for and carrying the banner for web standards into the world outside the blogosophere, educators should also insist that companies provide Linux-versions of media players like QuickTime and Windows Media. This may not be in the narrow interests of Apple and Microsoft who want more people to purchase and license their operating systems, but it is certainly in the broader interest of educational stakeholders and society in general.

In addition to listening to Tim and Paul’s short skypecast, check out the K-12 Linux in School Project and Edubuntu. The day of broad adaptation of open source solutions in educational environments is dawning. It’s time more school leaders, teachers, and other educational stakeholders take notice and make plans to move at least some (but perhaps not all) of their workstations into the Linux / Open Source fold.

If you enjoyed this post and found it useful, consider subscribing to Wes' free, weekly newsletter. Generally Wes shares a new edition on Monday mornings, and it includes a TIP, a TOOL, a TEXT (article to read) and a TUTORIAL video. You can also check out past editions of Wes' newsletter online free!


Did you know Wes has published several eBooks and "eBook singles?" 1 of them is available free! Check them out! Also visit Wes' subscription-based tutorial VIDEO library supporting technology integrating teachers worldwide!

MORE WAYS TO LEARN WITH WES: Do you use a smartphone or tablet? Subscribe to Wes' free magazine "iReading" on Flipboard! Follow Dr. Wesley Fryer on Twitter (@wfryer), Facebook and Google+. Also "like" Wes' Facebook page for "Speed of Creativity Learning". Don't miss Wesley's latest technology integration project, "Show With Media: What Do You Want to CREATE Today?"

On this day..

Share →

2 Responses to Embrace Linux

  1. Jason says:

    I think you do a great job of articulating a big selling point for Linux.

  2. Jason says:

    I think you do a great job of articulating a big selling point for Linux. I know it is easier to maintain a single platform but it seems silly to have a full blown multimedia machine at every workstation when a scaled-down thin client or even an old machine with an open source install will do. I have an older computer that I have hooked to television that I use only to display the daily schedule. I run Ubuntu on it with OpenOffice.org 2.0. It is not a necessary machine by any means but it is nice to have a free software solution to keep that machine running without worrying about license fee and upgrades.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported License.

Made with Love in Oklahoma City